Greeting Text

Marianne's Kitchen is a locally-owned market cafe at CR E & Lexington in Shoreview, MN, offering home made soups, fresh bread baked daily, great sandwiches and treats and a complete line of gluten-free soups, pickled products (e.g. Pickled Beets) and jams and jellies (e.g. Hot Apricot Jelly).

Linda, Anne & John consider Marianne's Kitchen to be an oasis in a suburban food desert and offer perspectives on food, their favorite food finds, recipes and commentary on a small family owned business, a small box gem in a big box world.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Pajarito--West Seventh ST (AKA Post Road)

Visited Pajarito last week ...

Good beer selection


PajaritoHigh level of 'noisy' in a fun decor....but really, we've already spent a lot of time with the Catrina-like decor at Catrina's (pajarito a little more sophisticated version, of course).
Food...1.5 to 2 stars 

Rick Bayless introduced me to green chorizo.  Love it, love it, love it.  It's pretty hard to beat the green chorizo from El Burrito Mercado in my childhood stomping grounds on St. Paul's West Side.   Maybe you've tried our green chorizo stew at Marianne's---it has the herby, earthy, out of this world flavor from the tons of fresh herbs in high quality sausage.  That's what I was hoping for......a comparison to other great green chorizo.

Pajarito
Sadly, at Pajarito, not green, not chorizo-y.  Queso fundido with green chorizo = grainy cheese dish lacking any hint of green chorizo served with little tortillas tasting of undercooked flour. 


Chilequiles-----beef with a little bit of mushroom (which had no flavor) in a sauce that might have been good except for the bitterness at the end of the bite.  The opportunity for greatness.....but falling short of its potential.

Conclusion:  Pajarito---go there for a beer with friends (don't try for conversation).  Skip the food.

Pajarito

Visited Pajarito last week ...

Good beer selection


PajaritoHigh level of 'noisy' in a fun decor....but really, we've already spent a lot of time with the Catrina-like decor at Catrina's (pajarito a little more sophisticated version, of course).
Food...1.5 to 2 stars 


Rick Bayless introduced me to green chorizo.  Love it, love it, love it.  It's pretty hard to beat the green chorizo from El Burrito Mercado in my childhood stomping grounds on St. Paul's West Side.   Maybe you've tried our green chorizo stew at Marianne's---it has the herby, earthy, out of this world flavor from the tons of fresh herbs in high quality sausage.  That's what I was hoping for......a comparison to other great green chorizo.

Pajarito
Sadly, at Pajarito, not green, not chorizo-y.  Queso fundido with green chorizo = grainy cheese dish lacking any hint of green chorizo served with little tortillas tasting of undercooked flour. 


Chilequiles-----beef with a little bit of mushroom (which had no flavor) in a sauce that might have been good except for the bitterness at the end of the bite.  The opportunity for greatness.....but falling short of its potential.


Conclusion:  Pajarito---go there for a beer with friends (don't try for conversation).  Skip the food.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Up Coffee Roasters

High expectations for Up Coffee Roasters...after all, they roast coffee there...lots and lots of coffee, so the coffee should be the best part.  Really nice ambiance.  Food menu looked great.  We chose a breakfast biscuit and a lunch sandwich.  Execution was lacking.

Coffee served in a great mug.....room temperature.

Enough said.


This hard flat brown thing is their signature biscuit. The contents were good after we chiseled our way in.

Chick-Fil-A Redux



Chick-Fil-A 


You may have noticed...I'm pretty interested in food.  Being in Marian's kitchen as a kid was completely fascinating.....brewing root beer (or dandelion wine), frying onion rings, making jam.....food, food, excellent local (from the garden in the backyard) food.
Container 3"x1" Deep
So, I check out every food place I can.

It seemed like this month had a lot of disappointments.  But, in reality, the insights have been much better than the food.

Tonight we ventured to the Chick Fil A.  We haven't been in one since I was working in Tennessee..we hit one in Charlotte NC on the way from the airport to TN along a scenic route.  
I've been greatly impressed with the physical structures of several chains this month.  I really like the interior at the new Starbucks on 96 and Centerville Rd.  The Tavern Grill was REALLY an expensive building (and that doesn't even count the months of land remediation we watched as the lot was constantly under water) and it's beautiful in that old boys club leathery kind of way (although kind of large and echo-y).  The Chick Fil A in West St. Paul is a palace......almost a cathedral....not to God, but to pretty marginal corporate food offerings.

Maybe that's the trend.  Who cares about what you're serving, as long as the place is a show-stopper?

Chick Fil A had high-end finishes, tile, general 'we spent a lot of money on this place' appearance.  Ditto Tavern Grill.

They have a lot in common.

But the real common denominator for me was.......waffle fries.   Now I'm not a big indulger in the fried cancer sticks or fried cancer waffles.  I'm kinda enjoying my life on earth not being riddled with cancer.  Why would I eat carcinogenic potatoes at either of these overpriced places?

Both of these places could build palaces....literal palaces with expensive everything in the interiors and exteriors.....based on the sales of 38 cents worth of potatoes in the form of waffle fries and something 'meh' to accompany them.  At one place, for $14 you can get a giant, heaping plate of 'waffles' with a 'meh' sandwich.  At the other you can get a scrap of chicken...plain so you can see how tiny it is or covered with breading to make it look like you're getting something for your money.....with a heap of 'waffles' for about $7 or $8 with a drink that they parcel out to you (another corporate cost-misering method).  One place uses a plate.  The other uses the biggest pile of disposable waste I've seen at a fast food meal in a long time (you know, when you finish the meal, what's on the table in plastic is just as big as when you started).  But both places make their profit off 38 cents worth of potatoes fried into 'waffles' (that's the large portion) to fill your plate or tray and make you feel like you're getting a 'value' for your dollar.

Kale 2" x 1.5"
Obviously, from the flow of cash that enables these places to build such luxury palaces, selling people 38 cents worth of potatoes in the shape of cute little waffles is, indeed, a highly profitable endeavor.

Okay, I'm gonna go look for some food now....I'm really hungry....and I spent all my money enjoying the 'palaces', but I didn't really get any food (I guess I should call that 'superfood' portion of kale at Chick Fil A food).  I think I'll go to that dumpy little soup and sandwich shop on the corner and have some pineapple slaw or mango chipotle salad, turkey on a sun dried tomato roll with some real cheese and fresh lettuce not from a bag....and see if anyone left a cookie crumb in the case at the end of the day : )


Sunday, February 26, 2017

"If you can's say anything good..."


We hit a new local establishment last week.  The rage is small batch breweries.  Many attempt to put out food.  Some small places realize their strength is beer and put a circle of food trucks in close proximity.  Others try...and fail.


Service is critical to success.  It includes the greeting you receive upon arrival, the knowledge and attentiveness of the wait staff and the overall appreciation of your patronage.  Behind the scenes it includes food preparation and safety.

The casual display of utensils looks friendly.  Unfortunately it's a food service violation. Everyone reaching for a fork touches the others which end up in your mouth.  It gives pause to consider what's going on in the kitchen.





Known for our super-good, hard-to-beat Banh Mi sandwich, we added one to our order of a couple pale ales.  The high point of this serving were the pickles.  The bun was dry.  We think the meat was chicken.  It had a couple of small carrot slices and was over seasoned with mint, a dash of basil, pate and a tasteless green sauce that might have been cilantro; we're not sure.  The pickles were sweet and flavorful. A plate or bowl would have been better than any other part of this serving.

Our favorite location for grilled romaine is Cafe Biaggio on University Avenue in St. Paul.   We should have driven there instead. 

This serving started with already wilted Romaine.  The bacon lardons were hard as rocks and will max our dental plan's 'restorative' allowance. Served with bleu cheese (OK), a house pico (tasteless) and the house hot sauce (tasted like 'out of a jar'), the whole thing was a disappointment.

We like to give every place a couple of visits before commenting but we've decided to put a big "PASS" on this location.  Sorry.  We'll continue our search and recommendations elsewhere.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sauce and Impeccable Service - Great Saturday Lunch

Friday night we headed out to one of the new local food & beverage establishments in 'the burbs.'  It was a long week at Marianne's Kitchen and we needed a break.  Plans are good but sometimes the outcome is not.  Our choice for Friday left us disappointed, and as people say "if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all."

Saturday Linda convinced John to head to St. Paul were we regularly find good options.  Stewart's Cafe near St. Thomas was fantastic.




The pannekoeken was thin, nicely textured and garnished with a not-too-sweet fruit topping and home made ice cream.

The grilled cheese is where everything was simply marvelous.  Three cheeses, mantasio, chedder and fontina on substantial grainy bread and a delightful house made aioli defined a wonder treat.  We opted for the 'Korean' fries which were a $1 up charge. The spicy ssamjang sauce was complex and by itself worth the trip and made up for a long week.  We both keep repeating to each other how wonderful the sauce was.  We dipped both the grilled cheese and fries and several times an empty fork.

During the course of our visit we were served by three staff people, all of whom were helpful and attentive.  The facility was immaculate.  Seating is a bit limited and we're sure a wait could occur during busy times.  We're going back to try the dinner menu soon and will make reservations.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Swede Hollow & Supermercado Y Cafe La Palma


Enchiladas & Cubano

During the warmer months we frequent a Taco truck on the north side of 7th ST just west of downtown St. Paul.  Each time we go there we see a sign for La Palma on the corner of 7th ST and Payne AV and remark "we should try that place."  As we frequently post..."we're always on the search for a decent taco."



Saturday evening we ventured to Supermercado Y Cafe La Palma a supermarket and cafe catering to Salvadoran and Mexican options adjacent to St. Paul's historic Swede Hollow.  The emphasis is on Salvadoran.  We enjoyed browsing the market before and after dinner.  The cafe is located in the back of the supermarket and very much has a local cafe feel.

Sharing the Cubano sandwich and the enchiladas with verde salsa was a good choice.  You order at the counter and you food is delivered to your table in reasonable time.  The staff was pleasant and offered explanations and recommendations.  Overall it was OK, not great, for a casual meal.

John had to resist buying the Tamales from the freezer case despite the great packaging....loved that cow!!