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Tag Archives: food and beverage

Burnsville, MN

Decided to stay local this weekend and try a newer restaurant called JL Beer. Billed as a “Relaxed hangout featuring burgers with creative topping combos & an assortment of craft beers.“. It was so relaxed we only each got a glass of water in the 20 minutes we waited for service! So, we bagged it and left saying to our supposed waiter” Thanks for waiting on our table”. He just looked at us with a blank stare!


What to do now since we were in the mood for a burger? Drove through the Burnsville Center parking lot, which was across the street and decided to try Lucky’s 13 Pub, just inside the mall. Great choice!luckys

The menu options were so much better than at JL Beer and the prices were comparable (even getting to choose between fries or onion rings . . . no extra charge!). The service was nonstop, bringing us water and taking our order within 10 minutes of being seated. I chose the Hawaiian Chicken with onion rings for $13.49 and my husband had the Mushroom Swiss burger with onion rings for $12.99 and a tall lemonade for $2.95 (free refills). Both were so filling I had to bring home a couple of the onion rings!

The Hawaiian chicken had a nice slice of fresh pineapple, ham, onion, teriyaki sauce and provolone served with 4 giant onion rings. I mean giant because each ring was about 1/3 of the onion. The Mushroom Swiss was a basic burger with sauteed mushrooms and Swiss cheese also served with 4 giant onion rings.

It was worth walking out of JL Beer and walking into Lucky’s 13 Pub. I’m kind of curious to try the Mac & Cheese Burger!

hawaiian-chicken Hawaiian Chicken

mushroom-burger Mushroom Burger

I would go back to Lucky’s just for the onion rings as a meal! Iffy on trying JL Beer anytime soon.



South Beach, Miami, FL

South Beach, Miami, FL

Flying into Miami you wonder where you should go next. We decided to venture to South Beach and it was totally worth it. The kitchy hotel we stayed at did not have airport shuttle, which was fine, since there is a public bus that takes you to South Beach for $10 round trip (open ended!).

Where to eat? So many choices along Ocean Drive. We landed at Park Central Cafe, which is the hotel  restaurant that goes out onto the sidewalk for “people watching”. Now what to eat? Traditional? Seafood? Oh, the choices abound!

I picked the Fish & Chips basket made with traditional white fish and shoestring fries. Nothing much more to say about it. Not memorable as far as dining out is concerned. My husband ordered the Maui Club Sandwich with Yuca Fries. Now that was a more memorable meal.



The experience was a bit more expensive for lunch than I would have liked but you are in South Beach so it was expected. I’m not sure I would recommend this restaurant, though they have since undergone some extensive renovations so maybe it is better.

For dessert who can resist gelato? With so many options it was hard to pick one. We settled on Milani Gelateria ( What drew us in was their outside seating:milanigelatosouthbeachgelatosouthbeach3 Who can resist sitting in an ice cream cone? Their gelato was amazing and reasonably priced. A must go to when visiting South Beach.

Visit South Beach. No need for a rental car just some good walking shoes!





Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

Planned a day trip to Salt Lake City, Utah to do some research at the Mormon Genealogy Library. My sister started me on this ancestry journey and I wanted to fill in some more pieces. Yes, it is possible to take in Salt Lake City in a day! It is a beautiful city surrounded by Oquirrh and Wasatch Mountain Ranges. Host to the 2002 Olympics there is great transportation throughout the city by train that will take you to the many shopping and restaurant venues.

One of our plans is to visit some of the eateries from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. We ventured out to fine Moochie’s Meatball’s & More. We seemed to keep walking and walking and not finding it and ended up at Squatters Pub and Beer. Squatters describes its menu as ” eclectic daily specials and traditional pub favorites such as bacon topped meatloaf, pizzas and a delicious array of burgers, all paired with our world-class beer and welcoming atmosphere.”

With so many choices I went with the Tatonka Chicken Sandwich for$10.99: grilled chicken breast with spicy buffalo sauce, cheddar and daily’s bacon. The buffalo sauce is what makes the sandwich. Added onion rings on the side and a Brigham’s Brew Root Beer.

buffalo chicken         Root beer

The food was delicious and the root beer was a good choice. Squatters offers a Frequent Diner rewards program. I may just have to join!

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.


The Burbs of Minneapolis

The Burbs of Minneapolis

Decided to try a local restaurant near home over the weekend. I had been putting it off because it would be a spendy expedition. Made my reservation . . . just in case. Turns out that wasn’t necessary!

Jensen’s Food & Cocktails was the destination in a suburb of the Twin Cities called Eagan. The restaurant is billed as “the premier casual dining choice for lunch and dinner offering classic steak and seafood dishes plus beer, specialty martinis and early-bird deals. . . .  We serve simple and flavorful interpretations that inspire and make dining memorable. . . We make most everything from scratch. . .”  Based on this description from their website I would never have fathomed what we actually were served!

I ordered the Grilled Chicken Breast: tender, juicy & marinated in classic Italian dressing for $15. Each entree comes with unlimited popovers with a nice whipped honey butter and a salad. I could have eaten just the popovers and been fine! That’s it . . .that’s all you get unless you want to add a side to you entree that supposedly serves 2-3 people. The least expensive side is a loaded baked potato for $5. I stuck with just the chicken, saved my salad to have with my chicken and made my own complete entree.chicken

My husband decided to go with the 14 0z New York Strip: center cut strip aged and marbled to perfection. Even this did not come with any sides for $38 no less! He got the loaded baked potato and it was enough just for him not for 2-3 people!steak

Thank goodness I had gotten a gift card to use. I am in no rush to go back there anytime soon (unless I can purchase ONLY the popovers!). It was ok but for Fine Dining I guess I expected a little more “WOW”.

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?

San Diego Hot Spot

On a recent visit to San Diego we spent the day exploring the Embarcadero area. First we went to the Farmer’s Market in Little Italy. What an amazing variety of vendors selling everything from fresh produce to crepes to organic clothing! Who knew?

Venturing south towards the USS Midway we got hungry and had a hankering for fish and chips. Being from the Midwest it’s hard to find good fish and chips! In clear view of the USS Midway is The Fish Market, seafood market and restaurant. We decided to check it out and we weren’t disappointed.

fish market

I just wanted the basic fish and chips.  On the menu is was described as “Panko Style” w/french fries and coleslaw with your choice of fish. I chose the Alaskan Cod for  15.95

fishandchips I liked it enough that I would order it again. The trick is to have it when it is piping hot to get that crispy crunch of Panko on the fish.

My husband did not know what to get so he just dove into the seafood platter so he could try everything! The menu described the dish as a Smoke Fish Sampler for  18.75  that included trout, salmon, nova lox, albacore.

seafoodplatter He thought it was ok. I’m not convinced that he liked to nova lox all that much. Included in with the lunch entrees was a basket of fresh baked bread. You could never have enough!

There is also a small market where you can purchse from a wide selection of the freshest fish, shellfish, smoked fish and menu items for take out. All in all the experience was good . . . to try new things. The view of the harbor was priceless. So if you are ever in San Diego try The Fish Market