Posts Tagged ‘food’

Dive Night is a once monthly adventure undertaken by me and Husby, along with our friends Ruthie and Ray. Each couple alternates choosing a restaurant, one which must come under the category of “dive.” Our definition of dive: a neighborhood gathering spot with a laid-back atmosphere and good food. We’ll find the interesting hang-outs in the Minneapolis/St Paul area. Casual attire required. A sip of beer or wine doesn’t hurt either.

Some of you who are über old might remember this place as Al’s Place. It was established in 1949.

Others, who are not quite über old (like Husby and Ray) might remember it as Stasius. It was established in 1975.

It’s the really young people who have only known this place as Stanley’s Northeast Bar Room.

Don’t misunderstand.  It’s not only young people who frequent Stanley’s.  I was happily surprised to see people of all ages at this Northeast Minneapolis (“Nordeast” if you’re from around here) landmark.  It used to be a favorite stomping ground for Husby and he was excited to see what it had become.  Even the über old people are still coming to enjoy Stanley’s.  It was a great mix, and it was packed.  We had to wait about thirty minutes for a table.

I love to see these old buildings being renovated rather than torn down.  The inside of Stanley’s was right in line with the building’s integrity.

When ordering a drink, don’t ask what’s on tap.  The list is way too long.

The atmosphere was very friendly and it’s the kind of place I would make a habit of haunting every Friday night if I were younger and could stay up past 10:00 p.m.  Remember the days when 10:00 was when things just started to get rolling?  Ruthie’s age really came through when she needed the flashlight app on Husby’s phone to read the menu.

And on with the food…

Mini corn dog appetizer. These things were so dang good I could hardly stand it. The batter had a nice texture with the corn meal and was so crisp. Much better than any corn dog, appetizer or full-size, than I’ve ever had. Sorry Pronto Pup.

OMG. The second appetizer we got were these gigantic deep-fried mushrooms. Seriously, it took three bites to finish one off. They came with a delicious seasoned sour cream. So, so good.

Husby ordered the turkey burger topped with lettuce, tomato, and a cranberry chipotle chutney. He also got sweet potato fries with a chipotle mayo dip. Yum!

Ruthie got a grilled cheese (swiss, cheddar & gouda mix) topped with tomato and bacon on wheat bread. She also got the colossal onion rings with that.

I also got the grilled cheese topped with bacon but no tomato. Mine was on marble rye bread. I also got some really good french fries with seasoned sour cream.

I also got a cup of clam chowder because resistance of chowder is futile.

Ray had the reuben. He gets reubens a lot because he loves them so. This one was packed with a ton of meat and served on marble rye. He also got the french fries and seasoned sour cream.

We were all thrilled with our meals.  They were hot and served to us in a decent amount of time.  And speaking of service, Ruthie thought our server was flirting with Husby.  And why wouldn’t she?  Husby’s a hottie.

One negative thing about or evening at Stanley’s was the fact that we waited a really long time for our check to come.  Our server checked in on us to see how our food was, but after that we didn’t see her for a really long time.  We had to flag her down for our check.  It was a pretty busy night so we cut her a break, but it was worth noting here.

I’d definitely visit Stanley’s again.  It not only has good food, but the atmosphere had a definite effect on me.  Seems like the places we’ve been to recently were frequented by older people, where we fit right in of course.  But Stanley’s was a breath of fresh air with the energy of the younger generation mixed with really cool, more mature people.  Nordeast rocks!

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It was a cold and snowy night.  The dive was to be chosen by me and Husby so we decided to keep it local, avoiding a slippery and treacherous ride for Ruthie and Ray.  We chose the Beartown Bar & Grill, or Beartown Lounge, or whatever it’s called.  They don’t have a website but if you Google Beartown you can find some stuff on it.

Those are snowflakes you see glowing against the dark sky, not orbs from beyond the veil.

We walked in and saw on the floor a sign that said, Please wait to be seated.  So we did.  It didn’t take long for someone to come and greet us and she asked, “where do you want to sit, bar or dining room?”  We all kind of looked at each other, then let her know we would sit anywhere she decided to put us.  She hesitated.  I turned to Husby and said “if we can sit anywhere we want why did the sign on the floor say to wait to be seated?”  Well, someone spoke up and said dining room so that’s where she took us.

This is the bar, the place we didn’t sit.

This is the dining room, the place we did sit. It’s like we were put in the room of shame. Weren’t we cool enough to sit with the regulars?

We started out with some cocktails.  I must say the drink specials were hard to resist.  Buy one get one for $1.50, except for tap beer.  Ruthie and I got a couple of wines each, Husby got a couple of Greyhounds, and Ray got a tap beer.  The waitress asked if he was sure, because he wouldn’t get the deal with that.  Yes, he was sure.

Even though we were set away from the crowd in the bar the service was pretty good.  We actually had three people checking in with us throughout our visit.  So once we got our cocktails we ordered appetizers.

Ruthie and Ray got chips and salsa. The chips were pretty good. The salsa was more like picante sauce, not chunky, and not really enough was supplied for a whole basket of chips. It was all pretty good though.

Husby and I ordered the cheese quesadillas. It came with the same “salsa” as the chips, and also a couple of tubes of sour cream. Tasty and cheesy.

In case you’re new to the dive night reviews, each couple orders an appetizer and we all share.  So far you might think this is going to be a Mexican meal considering the appetizers we chose, but that’s not the case.

I ordered the fish fry special and I totally forgot to take a picture of it so you’ll have to rely on my description.  The waitress said “sometimes they give you a choice of cod or pollock but I don’t know if you get a choice tonight.  If you had a pick which one would you choose?”  I told her it really didn’t matter, and I have no idea what kind of fish I got because I’m not a fish connoisseur.  It was white and flakey.  However, the batter was pretty greasy and was pretty nondescript as far as flavor is concerned.  My dinner came with waffle fries and seasoned sour cream.  I also got a side salad which was also pretty nondescript, but salads are always pretty nondescript to me.  I ate it all up so it must have been good enough.  And now on to the other meals I remembered to photograph.

This is Husby’s French dip sandwich with onion rings. He liked the onion rings because he could bite them without having a string of onion sliding out of the batter. He didn’t have much to say about the sandwich. “It’s okay,” he said.

This is Ruthie’s chicken with waffle fries. The cup of white stuff is seasoned sour cream for the fries. She said the chicken was okay but “it could have a little more seasoning.”  The dinner allowed two pieces of chicken and she got her choice of what pieces she wanted.  She chose two thighs.   She also had a side salad with her dinner.

Ray ordered the meatball sandwich with onion rings. The sandwich looked great with its toasted bun and six meatballs with sauce and cheese. When I asked Ray (whose mother is an excellent Italian cook) how the sandwich was he responded “it’s kind of bland.”

It was very clear that none of us was overly thrilled with our meals.  We came to the conclusion that seasoning is not high on chef’s list of priorities.  The appetizers were fine, so we decided that if we had been sitting in the bar and were half in the bag with a big case of the munchies the appetizers could satisfy a need for food.  Going for dinner?  Never going to happen again.  I was extremely dissatisfied with the food at the Beartown Bar & Grill, although as I said before the service and drink specials were good.

I can’t close out this post without mentioning that this restaurant used to be called Big Ben years ago and served the best pie in town.  Like, the best.  The Beartown doesn’t even serve pie.  Although if they did they’d probably have canned filling and soggy crust.  None of us was happy with our dive experience at the Beartown, but we all agreed we’ve been pretty lucky over the past few years with the other dives we’ve tried and we deserve to come across a clinker once in a while.  Beartown is definitely that clinker.

Ruthie says, “Not.”

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One of the things I like best about Christmastime is the music. Ever since I was a child I knew Christmas music was a lot different from regular music. The old carols kind of confused me though, because of their weird choice of words (weird as in Victorian and British).  For example, We Wish You A Merry Christmas has the following lyrics that always set my imagination wild:

Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer

What in the world is a “figgy pudding?”  I pictured it as being a very off-colored vanilla pudding, or some wobbly, many-tiered  jello-type thing.  One thing I knew for sure, it was made with figs.  As a child I thought a figgy pudding would be as gross as tapioca pudding, which is commonly known in my family as “bugger pudding,” even though everyone likes it except me.

But guess what?  I finally got a taste of figgy pudding.  And was really quite good.

Those British.  Like Yorkshire pudding isn’t actually pudding but popover stuff, the figgy pudding isn’t really pudding either.  It’s kind of cake-like.  And very good with a little caramel sauce and a lot of real cream.

So yes, bring us a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer.  Yum!

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Dive Night is a once monthly adventure undertaken by me and Husby, along with our friends Ruthie and Ray. Each couple alternates choosing a restaurant, one which must come under the category of “dive.” Our definition of dive: a neighborhood gathering spot with a laid-back atmosphere and good food. We’ll find the interesting hang-outs in the Minneapolis/St Paul area. Casual attire required. A sip of beer or wine doesn’t hurt either.

There’s nothing like spending a crisp, clear autumn evening on the shores of the St. Croix River in Stillwater, MN.  Our Dive Night was spent on such an evening on just that river…in Stillwater yet!  PD Pappy’s was a surprise as it’s hidden from the street.  If I had a houseboat on the river I probably would have known it’s been there for a long time.

The St. Croix River as seen from the deck of PD Pappy’s.

This restaurant has dining and drinking indoors and out and halfway in between.  We had our dinner on a semi-enclosed deck-like section.

The outdoor (sort of) deck area.

There’s also a nice little gazebo bar outside.

Ray poses as a local.

The inside of the building is filled with lovely woodwork and interesting details.

The fully stocked bar.

Of course you’re wondering about the food.  Well it was just wonderful!  The menu was extensive and the offerings were creative, especially when it came to the appetizers.

A poor picture of some very delicious crab and artichoke dip served with corn chips and pita bread.

Lemon pepper shrimp skewers. They offer different flavors of shrimp skewers. Husby loves lemon pepper so that’s what we got. So good. I’d like to try the other flavors some time too.

The entrees were fabulous too.  Husby and Ruthie both got a chimichanga, one chicken and one beef.  They reported them to be delicious.  Ray got a very nice-sized reuben with fries, and I got a fried haddock sandwich with fries.  You might remember how I like to dip my fries in tartar sauce when I get a fish sandwich.  The tartar sauce was so good I could have eaten it all by itself with a spoon.  The sandwich was huge and hot, and the fries were plentiful.

My haddock sandwich and fries.

The chimichanga, served with salsa and sour cream, enjoyed by both Husby (beef) and Ruthie (chicken).

Ray’s reuben, peeking out from behind the fries. A Fat Tire beer too!

And don’t forget, PD Pappy’s has live music.  We weren’t there late enough to hear the band playing that night, but we saw them setting up for a night of music and dancing.

PD Pappy’s is a fun riverside restaurant and bar.  Don’t be dissuaded from going if you happen to hear it’s a biker bar.  Sure, lots of “motorcycle enthusiasts” visit, but they’re there to have a good time, just like you.

Thumbs up all around the table.  The food was great, the service wonderful.  This place is probably best enjoyed in the summer and fall months when you can take advantage of the nice weather.  Sit back, sip on your favorite libation, snack on some good food, and watch the boats float by on the river.  Relax at PD Pappy’s.

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I’m distracted.

Why?  Because in two days it begins.

Yep, in two days the Great Minnesota Get Together begins.  Twelve days of livestock, food, games of skill, food, people watching, food, haunted houses, food, spinny rides, food, and of course food.  I’ll be spending a few days at the Minnesota State Fair indulging in all it has to offer.  My first visit will be Friday, and I’ll be armed with my camera, packin’ on the winter fat, and reveling in all the chills, sights, sounds, smells, and tastes the fair can dish out.

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