Archive | Restaurants RSS feed for this section

Papa Murphy’s: The Mini Murph

26 Apr

Mini Murph. So cute to say, even cuter in the box.  Last night we picked up a few of the take-and-bake pizza kits from Papa Murphy’s.  Designed for kids, each kit is filled with everything they need to build their very own pizza including crust, sauce, cheese, pepperoni (optional), and a temporary tattoo.  Because nothing says “I’m a chef” like a tattoo.  The crust and sauce at Papa Murphy’s are non-dairy, so the kit is perfect for our house because it means that just by adding a little non-dairy cheese of our own, Sophie can have THE SAME as everybody else.  And when you’re seven, sometimes THE SAME is a big deal.

The kids took charge of the assembly, carefully reading the instructions.

Armed with rice mozzarella shreds, Sophie topped her pizza, stealing a few slices of pepperoni from Martin’s kit.  Martin consented, only because Sophie gave him the cheese from her kit and agreed that he could have FIVE slices of pepperoni to her FOUR.  If I had let her, I think she would have used a protractor and a scalpel to EXACTLY AND EVENLY divide that extra slice of pepperoni.  If left to their own devices, kids would use pepperoni as currency.

While the pizzas baked, the kids made some art.  I think its super important that kids learn to express themselves visually, so we do this every night before dinner.  KIDDING.  I tricked them into thinking that it was a required part of the Mini Murph’s that you do some drawing and writing while the pizza bakes.  I figure this will be good for maybe one or two more times before the jig is up.

Martin’s Mini Murph practically DARES you to eat him.

Sophie has a very big interest in title pages, therefore her title content makes up half of her story.  I know, a kid who likes title pages.  I wish that she’d been around when the card catalog was still a big piece of furniture filled with long drawers and tons of cards.  She’d have loved that old-fashioned thing.

Back to the pizza.  By the time they were done writing and drawing, the pizzas were ready.  They loved them.  I don’t know this for sure, but I think there may be a dash of MIRACLES in the ingredient list because the kids ate the whole thing – including the crust.  Which has never happened before.  EVER.

We loved the Mini Murph’s, and we’ll definitely have them again.  Thanks to Papa Murphy’s for the gift cards and for suggesting we give them a try!  We’re hooked.

Michoacan Taqueria/Raspados

8 Aug

While we were in Tucson, I was hoping to eat at one of the many food trucks that serve the city.  Having read about some that serve up some pretty fine food, I was dying to try some of the specialty treats that are not available in my area.  Then when it was time for lunch, and it was well over 100 degrees, we decided to move our food truck craving to an indoor and air-conditioned location.  Jenine drove us straight to Michoacan Taqueria/Raspados, and after trying a few items, I can totally see why.

What to eat:
The first dish I tried, Churros Locos, looks more like a fully loaded bloody mary than a meal.  Served in a cup, Churros Locos contains chopped vegetables, clamato, chamoy (a sweet, salty, fruity, spicy sauce), and topped with fried Mexican snacks.  Although we snacked on it while we waited for the rest of our food to arrive, this would make a perfect light lunch all on its own.  I’m going to be busy trying to recreate this all summer. 

It was here that I discovered the best hot dog on earth – the Sonora Hot Dog.  A tasty dog, topped with seasoned pinto beans, diced tomatoes and onions, mayo, and mustard, all held in place by the world’s softest bun.  I couldn’t eat it fast enough, and couldn’t stop talking about it afterward.

Martin had Tostilocos, served up in a bag of crushed chips, topped with chopped vegetables and chamoy.  It is similar to the Midwestern “walking taco” or “taco in a bag”, except that it contains no taco meat or cheese, and in Martin’s words “can also burn your face off”.  Not wanting to miss out on anything, he also ordered a side of beans.  They were delicious, but I’d recommend that if you order beans that not you do so with Martin, because he is an 8 year old boy and they love nothing more than to discuss what happens when you eat a lot of beans.

Sophie could barely be bothered to eat because she was holding out for Raspados.  Shaved ice mixed with chopped and blended fruit and juice, Raspados are the more natural and refreshing cousin on the slushy.  They were so tasty, and readily consumed.  She chose this one because it came with a cherry on the top, then proceeded to give it away because she does not care for cherries.

Let’s get one last look at that hot dog.

Where to go:
Michoacan Taqueria/Raspados
3235 N. Flowing Wells Road
Tucson, AZ 85705

More info:
(520) 888-0421


20 Jul

I spent last Saturday roaming from one restaurant to the next (best idea ever).  I had loads of wonderful food and was able to try out three new restaurants.  Having spent the night before trying to capture images of Donnie Walberg, the battery on my camera was flashing a low signal before we’d even had breakfast.  So by dinner time, my camera was completely dead which meant I was unable to capture the beauty of the fine meal we had at Biella’s in Excelsior.  Luckily for you my food recall is as sharp as a tack.  Please enjoy the illustrated version of Biella’s (actual food may vary in appearance).

What to Eat:
We started out with the Artisan Board which featured a variety of meats, cheeses, and antipasti.  There were some wonderful cheeses on this plate; my particular favorite was one that had vibrant green veins of what I think were tasty herbs.  This is unconfirmed, but definitely delicious.

I am pretty sure I have never passed up Caprese on a menu.  I love the flavors and textures of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and balsamic.  In this version, they’ve also added a light lemon flavor which was a great addition to the traditional salad without being distracting.  Which is good, because I don’t like anything to get in-between me and a plate of tomatoes and mozzarella (sort of dangerous).

One of the things I really loved about Biella’s menu is that they have an option for a full or half order for many of their entrees.  I chose a half order of the Lobster Ravioli, which was plenty for a meal.  Filled with a variety of seafood and asparagus, the dish was full of flavor and tasty bits.  There were two good-sized ravioli that were beautifully striped (I’m thinking could be squid ink, but this is also unconfirmed).

All of this was followed by two desserts that we shared.  They disappeared so quickly they hardly register in my mind’s eye.  The dessert menu changes regularly and they feature two different cheesecakes daily.  Be sure to save room for dessert.

Where to Go:
227 Water Street
Excelsior, Minnesota 55331

More Info:
(952) 474-8881

Le Boui-Boui

29 Jun

Our two main activities in Paris last week were eating and walking.  If it hadn’t been for one, we would never have been able to do the other.  One afternoon, we explored a neighborhood that is straight north of Notre-Dame.  It is pretty far away from any of the regular tourist areas, near the metro stop Etienne Marcel. Armed with the info that the “rue Montorgueil” is a street worth checking out and the names of a few restaurants to consider, we found it on the map and headed in that direction.  Not able to find the restaurants we were searching for, and exhausted after so much walking, we settled on one we found on a side street off of rue Montorgueil.

We lucked out with Le Boui-Boui.  It is a cute restaurant, the menu had plenty of items from which to choose, and the people were very friendly. 

What to Eat:
The menu appears to change regularly, and items are only available until they run out.  We had a variety of items, and loved them all.  I had a chicken salad that I’ll probably be busy trying to recreate for the rest of my life.  Lightly dressed greens with fresh herbs, chicken, roasted potatoes, fresh tomatoes, a tortilla with melted goat cheese, topped with a little balsamic and pesto.  It was hearty but not heavy, full of flavor but not overdone.

And although we were full, we had dessert anyway.  Once we saw the dessert menu, we couldn’t pass up the apple gelato topped with Calvados.  The gelato had a bit of a citrus taste with tiny bits of apple, all made a bit float-like with the addition of Calvados. 

It is worth the effort to find this location – you’ll be glad for the break from tourist areas, and the food was some of the best we had in the city.

Where to Go:
11 Rue Marie Stuart
75002 Paris, France

More Info:
Phone: 01 42 36 40 94

Cold Spring Bakery

16 Jun

Downtown Cold Spring is a busy place on a Saturday morning – people stopping at the hardware store, making a quick stop for groceries, getting a haircut at the barbers.  But the busiest place on the block is the Cold Spring Bakery.  Walk in on a Saturday morning and you’ll need to take a number, but you’ll stay busy browsing past the counters trying to decide what to order while you wait for your number to be called.  This is a game for us really, as we always order the exact same items.  Everyone has a favorite, some of which disappear early in the day.  Apparently, the early bird gets the Custard Filled Long John.

If you live in town, no one needs to tell you what a treat it is to have a great bakery near by.  If you plan a trip through Central Minnesota, it is worth a stop (notes: closed on Sundays, best selection early in the day).  If you are planning a Doughnut Pilgrimage, the Cold Spring Bakery should be on your list.

What to Eat:
The counters are long and the cases stacked high with a wide variety of sweets and treats.  There are lots of new things at the bakery (cake balls, fancy cupcakes, petit fours), but we love the old specialties:
Raised Glazed Doughnut – the perfect combination of fried softness with a glaze so light you might feel like you’re making a healthy choice (hint: still just a feeling)
Raspberry Bismark – topped with a layer of white frosting and has the perfect filling to doughnut ratio
Mocha Cake – a salty and sweet unexpected treat – dense but light white cake coated in frosting and a layer of peanuts (no mocha flavors, as far as I can tell)
Custard Filled Long John – a rectangle-shaped doughnut filled with creamy custard and topped with a layer of chocolate (nothing disappears faster than this doughnut)


Where to Go:
308 Main Street
Cold Spring, MN 56320

More Info:
(320) 685-8681