Restaurant: FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar
Web Site: http://www.firelakerestaurant.com/moa.php
Address: 2100 Killebrew Dr, Bloomington, MN 55425
Phone: (952) 851-4040
Minnesota’s Mall of America is largely a touristy place. A lot of the local population avoids it and it is a big production getting in and out of the mall because of its size. In the mall, most of the food vendors are typical national chains with the same menus they have anywhere. FireLake is a local “chain”, two locations: the mall and downtown Minneapolis.
FireLake is not in the mall proper but attached to the mall and part of the Raddison hotel directly connected. The decor is slick, with a lot of natural stone, wood, and glass looking south from the hotel. Very full bar service with a more than expected whiskey list. There must have been at least 200 available on the list, broken
We were in during a weekday evening in September, so well past tourist season. It was not very crowded and the service was very attentive and the timing was a nice leisurely meal. This is probably good, the interior was largely hard surfaces and I imagine it gets pretty noisy there if the place is full.
Two very nicely presented salads, very fresh and well put together. The local fish, walleye, was panko-crusted and exceptionally cooked. The salmon was a special, glazed with honey from bees kept on the roof somehow (not sure how they find their way down from that tall building). The salmon was a little sweeter than I would have liked, but that’s OK and mostly personal preference.
A nice wine list reasonably priced.
Restaurant: St Boni’s Bistro
Web Site: https://stbonibistro.com
Address: 8516 Kennedy Memorial Dr, Saint Bonifacius, MN 55375
Phone: (952) 446-1600
We were on a long drive through the Minnesota countryside, on our way to The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota (which is a story for another day). It was one of those stretches of rural highway without many places to stop except the occasional gas station. We were going to pop into a Subway when a work call interrupted us enough to bother looking at a map and seeing we were a few blocks off the beaten path from St. Boni’s Bistro.
This is not a place that is visible from the highway, back a block behind a park. However, well worth a stop. Its a small neighborhood place and has a little of everything. A wide variety of tea, coffee including a really nice nitro cold coffee, a varied menu, indoor and outdoor seating. Its clearly a hangout for the little town of Saint Bonifacius, which is one of those nice salt-of-the-earth towns that are all over the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
We hit it at late
A place that would be recommended no matter where it would be located. In its current location its a great find out in the country and worth a bit of a detour as you drive along.
Restaurant: Limerick Diner
Web Site: https://www.limerickdiner.com
Address: 411 W Ridge Pike, Limerick, PA 19468
Phone: (610) 489-3500
The Limerick Diner has been there longer than I’ve been walking this planet. The quick description is that it is a classic American Diner, with a menu longer than your arm. More detail is that is it open 24 hours (and breakfast is all day long), with full bar service and all the pie you could eat.
It’s easy to find, and just a few minutes off route 422. Given that this part of 422 is mostly chain restaurants if you don’t know the area its worth driving a few minutes off the highway to find something more interesting. The place is large, and on some nights the bar area has things going on like trivia contests or karaoke.
The menu has everything; all the breakfast foods, every sandwich, wrap, salad, burger, pasta you could think of quickly, entrees, etc. The menu is kind of overwhelming it takes so long to absorb. It’s easier for me to just tell them what I’m in the mood for knowing its on the menu somewhere.
Service is good – everyone is very friendly – and the meals are reasonably priced and all that I’ve had are well done.
Restaurant: Midtown Cafe
Web Site: http://www.midtowncafe.com/
Address: 102 19th Ave., South, Nashville, TN 37203
A business dinner in a well established downtown restaurant. What I liked most was the old school, professional service. A menu item I remember was a french toast looking thing that was polenta done in the style of fried mozzarella sticks. Really a great taste.
Nothing to dislike. The menu was a good collection of different dishes, everyone seemed to enjoy their meal. Not a real large place, but it was a nice place to sit and talk. Would recommend it to others.
Restaurant: Harbor Seafood & Steak Company
Web Site: http://www.harborslc.com/
Address: 2302 S Parleys Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84109
Met a friend for dinner, it was a Thursday evening and I’m guessing a little slow. Several empty tables.
Service staff were great; very helpful explaining the menu, not too disruptive when we were trying to talk, etc. Good at helping us navigate the menu; neither of us had been there before.
Menu is pretty standard for s steakhouse, everything is a la cart and some of the steak cuts broke the 40$ mark. Yikes!
Had a salad which was fantastic, fresh, and very attractively presented. Entree was “fish and chips” which was of course more elegant than typical for this English take out food. But, perfect pieces of fish and perfectly cooked.
Restaurant: GR Kitchen
Web Site: http://eatgrkitchen.com
Address: 702 Union Park Ave, Midvale, UT
Chipotle concept with greek food. Bowl or pita, pick a protein, pick toppings, etc. But, its greek food not fake Mexican, and the quality was very high. Server steered me toward a kale salad which was awesome. Went there on business based on Yelp reviews, and were disappointed that its really a fast food atmosphere, but the the food was very good and it ended up being OK because it wasn’t crowded. It was a very good value/quality point, would eat there again if I didn’t need table service.
Restaurant: Bohemian Brewery and Grill
Web Site: http://www.bohemianbrewery.com
Address: 94 E 7200, Midvale, Utah, 84047
Phone: (801) 566-5474
There with colleagues. The place feels more casual dining than “sports bar” like many beer making establishments seem to be. And, all oriented out of an central Europe style of brewing with the ownership being from Czech Republish. The menu items and beer choices were all oriented around this.
The food is all pub style and I don’t think anything was really going for healthiness; I’m pretty sure the only vegetable on my plate was sauerkraut. But, the food was all fresh and delicious. Everything seemed to be real comfort food, which worked out fine on a snowy day with cold weather. The beer was really well crafted and went well with the food I have.
Restaurant: Aqua, Duck, North Carolina
Web Site: http://restaurantsouterbanks.com/
Address: 1174 Duck Road, Duck, NC 27949
Well recommended, and the recommendations were spot on. Sound-side waterfront restaurant with fine dining, very nice wine list, and extremely good service staff. We were there in the off season, and the place was very empty (we ended up closing it down), but there was never any hint they were trying to rush us out and shortening the quality of the food or service. The place has plenty of outdoor seating (too cold this time of year), nice decor and is right in the heart of the Duck commercial area.
Salads and soup were very high quality and well presented. Wild salmon and rockfish were perfectly cooked and well presented. The in-house dessert was creative and delicious.
Restaurant: Black Pelican
Web Site: http://blackpelican.com/cms/
Address: Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
Phone: (252) 261-3171
Selected from Yelp as we were driving down the road looking for something open in the off-season. The Outer Banks has lots of great dining, but it has an overwhelming amount of deep fried bar food and in the off-season a lot of places are closed or closed Monday through Wednesday. Yelp and on-line menus seemed to indicate we would like this place, but we had no reference from anyone.
We were very happy with the choice. While Black Pelican had menu items catering to the sports bar crowd, they had a very large and varied menu including pizzas and lots of seafood offerings. Its located in an old (very old) building that was a lifesaving station and sits right on the beach in Kitty Hawk. I’m sure in the summer its a great place for lunch or casual eating where you can watch the ocean. We were there in the middle of November at night, so we’ll take it on faith. The sound of the surf right over the dunes from the parking lot is noticeable.
Food was really good, and at a good price point. The staff were more than friendly, accommodating, and helpful, which has been a universal observation while visiting the outer banks. A good, more casual dinner choice while visiting.
Restaurant: Lifesaving Station (No. 5)
Web Site: http://www.sanderling-resort.com/dining-lifesaving-station.php
Address: Duck, North Carolina
Phone: (855) 412-7866
Restaurant attached to the Sanderling Resort. The menu is not extensive, but that is typical for most places on the outer banks. They focus on doing a few things well, and that focus is pretty sharp on a seafood/southern things. Shrimp and Grits is common, etc.
We’ve only visited in the off season. There are admittedly few options, particularly early in the week, and the menus are pared down a bit which makes sense given the smaller crowds. Lifesaving Station has great service, and nice (while not large) wine list that goes well with their food, and if you are lucky with the weather (and table) a great view of the sunset.
Food is super. The scollops dish is a favorite, and their salads are consistently fresh and very attractively presented.
Pretty far up the outer banks, but worth the drive.