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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!

jl-beerjl-menu

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.

 

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?

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!

luxurysweets@charter.net

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?