October 28, 2013

Oh HauteDamn!

Ya'll don't understand, I found a restaurant that makes me throw my hands in the ayer - ay-ayer! This is what happens when Flo Rida is pumpin' in my CD player, player after eating at one of the most unique and excellent restaurants my wife and I have ever had the chance of eating at. The HauteDish located off Washington Ave in the Warehouse District is that said place.

Since hearing of HauteDish just a few years ago, I've been wanting to pay them a visit after reading the menu. I finally got that opportunity during the most recent Restaurant Week put on by Mpls/St.Paul Magazine on an annual basis. There's plenty of great food being served on their everyday menu's, but during restaurant week, it's just a few select items, select items that I was interested in trying any ways. Now, when I say this place is unique, it's an understatement and in an awesome way! 

We started our dining experience with a a couple of drinks and two selections from the first dish list. We went with their House Salad and Char Cuts. This was no ordinary house salad like most other restaurants, this was probably one of the best! I can't really explain every detail of this simple, yet delicious salad, but the dressing (which they simply called a ranch) was nothing like a traditional ranch. If they want to call it ranch though, it's the best I've ever had. The other dish was a plate with three versions of meats with one of them (pink looking stuff) being a chicken and beef pate. We did indeed try it, but decided to save our appetites for the other dishes. The other two were excellent varieties and you'll just have to go check them out for yourself.

Lets keep this "party movin'" with the next courses. Our next two meals were their Mac N' Cheese and Pumpkin Stew. As you can see by the photo below, our stew actually came out in a mini pumpkin and was one of the best soups that I've ever had, hands down! Scallops, King Crab, Blue Prawn and Panang Curry is what you will find in this stew and I can't stress this enough... it's a MUST get! The Mac N' Cheese was outstanding with a completely different twist to mac n' cheese. Made with; Taleggio (white Italian cheese), King Crab, Celery, Truffle Oil over a very large noodle - oh HauteDamn is right! 

We finish up this "dance party" with our final two dishes of the evening. The first dish I'm going to share is the dish that caught my attention and my obsession to want to check this place out. Tater Tot HautDish, but not just any dish and nothing like an actual hot dish that grandma perfected over the years and past down to the next generation of cooks. This one, unfortunately for grandma, is better! Short Rib, Porcini (fungus family), green beans in a house made and amazing gravy and finished off with their version of a tots. I can't explain the tots, but trust me - this dish is absolutely outstanding. The other and definitely not least dish was the Roast Chicken X2. What caught my attention was the description - German Inspired. Yep, I must try that! An assortment of Colored Beets, Carrot, Fried Asparagus Tips, Sauerbraten with a Butterflied Chicken Breast with a Pate in the center. For not being a German restaurant, they nailed it! 

Touch the ceiling baby, because the HauteDish will have you doing it anyways with the cuisine they're serving up to their patrons. We didn't go for a dessert, but I'm guessing those are just as delicious as the rest of the menu. I am indeed looking forward to a return visit to try some their other amazing sounding dishes and ready to, throw them hands up! 

119 Washington Avenue North 
Minneapolis, MN 55401 

October 13, 2013

Got A Little Full Last Night

I might've been a little tired to eat, shoot, who am I kidding, I'm never too tired to eat food especially when it's something good to eat. I reached out to friends through social media in hopes that one of them was going to tell my wife and I about a great new place to eat, Lucky for us, we have plenty of friends that like to try new things just like us. In "Nordeast" Minneapolis off Hennepin Ave. sits a quaint little place called Eli's Food & Cocktails. Wouldn't you know it, the first thing I start sing is an Eli Young Band song!

Walking in to Eli's, my senses were already happy because something that was smelling delicious was making it's way from the kitchen. Something else that I tend to do is look for the taps to see what's being served. More and more locally owned restaurants are starting to tap the locally owned brews and that's awesome. I love the local brew scene and Eli's, like many others, is keeping that alive. My wife and I ordered Boom Island Witness and Brimstone, respectfully and they both were yummy.

Our friend told us that it was a must that we ordered the spicy guac app (Spicy Avocado-Feta Salsa). This app had; Avocado, Tomatoes, Giardiniera, Feta Cheese with Pita Chips and for anyone who knows me, I'm not a huge guac fan. Eli's was able to turn me into a huge fan, well that is if you serve me their rendition each and every time! The spiciness of their version is what made this the best quac I'v ever had. Two drinks in, no hurt and definitely not feeling bad, I was ready to order my entree and see what else Eli'shad to offer.

A couple items caught my eye while my wife was digging one of their specials. Since a decision had to be made, I went with the Jerk Marinated Wild Acres Chicken with Black Beans & Rice and Jicama Slaw. My wife decided to order the Eli Pasta Special with Pan Seared Shrimp & Scallops, Slivered Garlic, Shallots, Basil, Crushed Red Pepper, Lemon, Tagliatelle, San Marzano Tomato and Parmesan Cheese. We'll start with my wife's first.

Right away, we both noticed that the scallops had great flavor. When restaurants put scallops in a pasta, they tend to be smaller and often times the quality is also low and they taste fishy. At Eli's, this is the farthest from the truth - these were awesome. While I wouldn't say it goes down hill from here (I may say that again), it also wasn't eye popping magnificent, but it was good and worth trying. The shrimp was like any other shrimp and the sauce needed just a little more something extra added to it. I will say this... It's better than what some of the Italian Restaurants around town are serving up, so that saying something right there.

My meal can be looked at two ways and I'm going to of course share both approaches with you. If you've never been to Jamaica and have no plans to ever go, the Jerk Chicken might just be an eye popper. If you've been to Jamaica and loved the food down there as much as I did, you might be a little disappointed. Lets break it down! The chicken was juicy, not dry and was delicious, however it was more inline with what I would call a blackened or Cajun variation over Jamaican Jerk. I would like to make a minor suggestion that I think would benefit Eli's, order the jerk sauce from PimentoWood.com and smoke or grill your chicken with some of the same spices you used. When it's got the prefect grilled look to it, toss it in the jerk sauce then place on top of the Black Beans & Rice and Jicama. What I ended up doing was cutting the entire chicken breast up and mixed everything together and it made this meal absolutely fantastic. In fact, I didn't leave anything on my plate!

Feeling full and very much happy with this culinary find, it was time to head home. However, once we heard the desert list, we were sticking around and enjoying their version of a Banana Cream Pie. WOW! Who's Baker Square? I'm sure glad we finished the evening with this delicious desert. My wife and I didn't get a little drunk that night, but we sure enjoyed some great food and I'm looking forward to going back to try their Coq Au Vin and Honey Soy Wings.

Eli's Food & Cocktails 
Two Great Locations In Minneapolis

October 6, 2013

Giuseppe's Got Whatever It Is

Just a small town Italian restaurant situated in a strip mall in Rosemount where there's definitely a chef cutting things with a knife and plenty of lips tasting sweet red wine and we're glad someone told us to stop by and try it. This small town Italian restaurant, Giuseppe's Pasta Alforno is just the place to check out if you're looking for some delicious Italian food at an affordable price and not a fan of the chain's. ZBB might even like a small town place like this one!

How small is this place? Well, there wasn't much room for waiting and "the bar" only had about four or five stools as well. But hey, it's about the food here, not the bar and people were willing to wait for a seat, that's for sure! Upon sitting down at your table, you're brought a basket of freshly made bread along with some olive oil, but not just any olive oil. Their olive oil looked like they decided to take every last spice that you would put on a porketta and add it to their olive oil instead - I'm glad they did. It was so delicious and the bread was very good as well, it wasn't stale or rock hard like we've experienced elsewhere. 

Looking through the menu, it's much smaller than most places, but that's just fine. There's no need to have 50 different varieties of pasta on your menu, especially for a smaller restaurant. There was plenty of dishes though that my wife and I wanted to try, but a choice had to be made. My wife went with their Mostaccioli and I decided on their Chicken & Sausage meal. 

The Mostaccioli inlcuded; Hot Italian Sausage, Pearl onions, Roasted Red Peppers, Mushrooms and Tomato Sauce over Penne. While this dish was really good and my wife was definitely enjoying it, I wasn't as much of a fan of it as I was my own dish, but the hot sausage was excellent. I would still recommend this dish to try, but there was just something that I wasn't digging. 

The Sausage & Chicken had the following ingredients; Italian Sausage and Chicken Breast in their signature Rose Sauce over Linguine. Now this dish had whatever it is! The Italian Sausage was seasoned and spiced just right and the Chicken Breast wasn't dry either. Their signature Rose Sauce was outstanding and was full of great flavor. 

I'll be honest, I was a little surprised that Giuseppe's could blow me away like it did. If I were you, I would either show up really hungry or consider sharing a meal, well unless you love leftovers as much as I do. They know how to feed you here and you'll definitely leave full, happy and with a doggy bag. So, whatever "it" is...... I hope they keep it in their recipe's! My wife and I are looking forward to trying something new off the menu the next time we're in the mood for some delicious Italian food.

15090 Chippendale Avenue
Rosemount, MN 55068