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Lakeville, MN

Lakeville, MN

Being cooped up in the house for the past few weeks because it is so darn cold out side has it’s limits. Ventured out for lunch to Rudy’s Redeye grill in Lakeville. It wasn’t busy so the service was quick and the menu had many good options. Their motto is “Where strangers become friends, and friends become family.” I’m not so sure about going that far!

Could not decide what I wanted so I landed on the Triple Combo. The entree was a series of mini sandwiches, soup and a salad for $11. The soup I had was the chili, which happened to be the soup of the day. The salad was their bistro salad: bleu cheese, golden raisins, baby heirloom tomatoes, walnuts, with balsamic maple vinaigrette. My sandwich choice, of which you get 2, were the Rudy burgers the size of sliders. I enjoyed the meal very much


My lunch date had the chili but in the big bowl and the house burger with bacon for $11. He really liked the chili and it was a huge bowl rather than the small cup. The burger and fries, he said, were good, but he would like to try something different the next time we go. In other words he could take it or leave it, nothing spectacular.

All in all it got us out of the house on a below zero day in Minnesota! I would certainly go to Rudy’s Redeye grill again and maybe go for the Baja Fish Tacos!


Dallas, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Flew off to Dallas, Texas to visit family over the weekend. Yes, it was hot but it was hot at home and I don’t have a pool! Fabulous visit and fabulous food!

Lunch time! The choice for lunch was a kitchy place in Little Elm called the Hula Hut. Offering a mix of Mexican and Polynesian cuisine in a restaurant on the banks Lewisville Lake. Who would have imagined a fusion cuisine of tacos, fajitas & luau platters plus tropical cocktails under a thatched-roof pier with lake views, and erupting volcano and a waterboard park?

Hula hutHula Hut 2


Not having any idea what to order the menu can be overwhelming. With the guidance of family I chose the Veggie Tubular Taco, with chicken of course. The platter was more than enough for one person but I managed to eat it all. For $10.99 it was well worth it!Hula menu

Veggie platter

There is endless homemade chips and salsa. The chips were nice and thin and crunchy. The salsa was okay since I do like a hot salsa rather than a mild. Finished off with a really tall glass of lemonade for that 90 degree day. The Hut is extremely family friendly with garage doors that open up to let the breeze filter through.

If you are ever in the Dallas area do take a drive to the Hula Hut. I highly recommend it.


Chicago’s Finest Pizza

Chicago’s Finest Pizza

Decided to take a day and try out Giordano’s Pizza in Chicago. I had heard it had the “BEST” pizza in Chicago. Known for deep-dish pizza, this casual chain serves other classic Italian food, plus beer & wine. Located on S. Cicero, just outside of Chicago Midway Airport, it only took a few minutes to walk there. It was a beautiful day so why not . . .

Now, to be fair, I am not a fan of pizza except my own homemade, but I am always willing to sample when on a trip. We actually arrived for an early lunch and was thankful we did because the restaurant can fill up quickly once noontime rolls around.

The menu is pretty straightforward. There are starters (Giordano’s Sampler is your best bet), then the pizza choices: deep dish, thin crust, or extra thin crust, or go with a pasta dish instead, add a salad, beverage and even dessert ( a S’Mores pie to keep with the pizza theme). The prices for any of the menu items is reasonable. We went with the Thin Crust “The Special” in the medium size.  It took close to 40 minutes before we could try the pizza. As I said, I am not a fan and I can say it was not as “great” as all the hype around the restaurant. To me is was just your typical pizza restaurant with the same offerings as something I can get locally in my neighborhood.

giordanos6-6-09thin samplerWe ended up taking about 1/2 the pizza home with us. It did make the other passengers on the flight a little jealous!

Actually they just opened up a Giordano’s in my neighborhood. Maybe I should give them another try?

Helena, Montana

I never thought I would find myself spending a lot of time in Montana, if any. Well, I did. This trip took me to Helena. I had to look it up on the map to find where it was! What a gorgeous area. Climbed to the top of Mount Helena, which is 5468 feet above sea level. No wonder I had a hard time catching my breath. The hike was worth the view from the top!

The climb took about 50 minutes and the descent took about 30 so I was hungry! Being Labor Day the downtown, named Last Chance Gulch, was pretty quiet. Decided to stop at the Quarry Bar & Grill. Had a big glass of lemonade to quench my thirst and peruse the menu. I chose the Fish Tacos off of their Recession Section. Good choice.

The two tacos were made with battered cod, coleslaw, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheddar and jack cheese on a flour tortilla, served with tortilla chips and salsa. All this for $6.95! Funny that three out of the 5 people in our party ordered these and polished them off. One companion had the French Dip with a side salad and polished that off while the other companion had the Reuben and sweet potato tots and took 1/2 home for dinner! They both seemed to enjoy the Bozone Amber Ale, made at the Bozeman microbrewery.

I would say that the lunch hit the spot after the long hike up the mountain and back. Hopefully next time more places will be open to try!

Virginia Beach, Virginia

I have not been to Virginia beach in about 25 years! A lot has changed since I lived in the little town of Little Creek, just outside of Norfolk.  I was curious so I took a trip into Towne Center. I remember the Pembroke Mall, but the Town Center was all new to me. Where to begin?

I wandered a bit and checked out the mall. certainly not the largest mall I have ever been to but it had you basics. On the walk there I noticed a gelato shop and thought I would stop in on the way back. So I did. The shop was named Confetti Cafe and Gelato. Now, in a past life I owned a gelato shop so I know what I like so I can be a bit biased. The flavors all looked enticing and the presentation was quite appealing.

The dilemma: what flavors to choose. You can have a 1-2 scoop or a 3-4 scoop. I chose the 1-2 scoop option: blackberry ricotta and sea salt caramel. I was looking forward to a little salty and to my surprise the flavor I got was vanilla latte! I didn’t say anything, though I probably should have. The texture was nice and smooth and creamy but the flavor was not powerful enough to make me think coffee. The blackberry ricotta was a beautiful purple color but there was no flavor! Where were the blackberries? Again, the texture was there but not the flavor.

The cost was $3.49 for the two scoops. I actually picked up one of their frequent guest punch cards because I know I will be back to try the other 10 flavors. I would have to give them a second chance wouldn’t I?

Dallas, Texas

In the middle of all this stormy weather I made it to Dallas. I love Dallas. Just not in the summer!

Staying at the Marriott in Westlake. A little out there, but managed to navigate all the construction. What a very modern hotel and the associates were very nice as well. Decided to have breakfast at the Cielo Restaurant in the hotel. The choice was the menu or the breakfast buffet. Though the buffet was tempting I went with the menu.

Chose the 3 blueberry pancakes with 3 strips of  bacon. The pancakes were almost the size of the plate and the bacon was done just to a crisp! I enjoyed every morsel for about $10. My companions enjoyed their breakfasts as well. Buttermilk pancakes and bacon for one and corned beef has for my other two guests. Each was approximately $10.

The food was good, the company was fantastic and I look forward to visiting Dallas again. The next time it will be for a longer stay!

Raleigh-Durham, NC

The home of the Carolina Hurricanes among other sports great teams both professional and college. The hotel is located near many types of restaurants so your choices are plenty. I wanted something different that I may not find at home. Found the Haveli right down the street from the hotel.

Haveli is a family owned Indian Cuisine restaurant. They offer Dine-in or Take-out as well as FREE delivery (with a $25 minimum purchase). I can honestly say that I have never had Indian cuisine so I looked for something I was somewhat familiar with. Decided upon the Peas Pulao and Naan bread. Did as a take-out so I could relax and watch a movie at the hotel.

Peas Pulao: long grain basmati rice cooked with fresh green peas and saffron. The portion was huge and then to have the Naan bread as well made for an excellent lunch the next day. If you have never had Naan bread it is amazing, especially when it is hot out of the clay oven! Cost: $ 7.50. Seriously, that was it!

I don’t know how adventurous I will be the next time I find an Indian restaurant so if you have any suggestions please send them along. I am willing to try just about anything (notice I said “just about”?).