Greeting Text

Following twenty years of farmer's markets selling locally grown vegetables, native fruits, and local honey Linda created Marianne's Kitchen in Shoreview, MN, an oasis of good food, conversation and laughter in a suburban food desert. Operating from 2011-2017 the cafe offered home made soups, fresh bread baked daily, great sandwiches and treats and a complete line of gluten-free soups, pickled products, jams, jellies, salsas and locally sourced soups, honey and grains.

The Marianne's Kitchen of sharing, conversation, and learning continues with ongoing commentary, food reviews and food finds as we grow, cook and eat our food and sample local restaurants.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Big Marina Deli

On a recent evening, we pondered where to have dinner.  Big Marina Deli is always a favorite (across the street from Stanley's in North East).  We wondered if they had encountered any difficulties in the current politically charged environment because they serve a large Muslim population, have 'Halal' info in the front window, and clearly have names which many people seem to fear, like Mohammed.
Marianne's Kitchen Big Marina Deli

We don't know.  But on this weeknight evening, we were the only customers for most of the hour we spent enjoying the always-delicious food.  Chef Adel greeted us warmly as we entered and thanked us many times for coming in...both as we entered and as we were leaving.  

This is our go-to place when we can't think of anywhere else to try.  It's always worth the drive....just for the hummus and the eggplant salad if nothing else.  I think I could survive on those 2 items every single day.

But, of course, there are the ribs....and the okra.....and the taboulleh.....and the potatoes and greens.....and various other meats...and the perfect spicing on every dish...and the fabulous baklava...and on this night, a banana, too (I miss the
Marianne's Kitchen Big Marina Deli
Sunshine Cafe-they always served a banana)...maybe I had the banana because I was thinking of how welcoming they had been when I ate at their cafe.

This night was no disappointment.  The food was all fabulous and, gee, no line at the buffet!  We watched some soccer on the big screen TVs, shared the dining area with the staff (since there weren't any customers to serve), and had a wonderful time.

After a hard day of serving others, it's always a welcome change of pace to enjoy the great food (prepared by someone else) with wonderful flavors and spicing at the Big Marina Deli.  Hope we see you all there sometime soon.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Yup, I was freakin'...

Yup, I was freakin'.....

I've managed to avoid 'corporate food' for days and days and days.  But it's Sunday night, I've been baking for hours, I need to make a quick grocery store run because I have run out of yeast...

Okay, I'll grab a quick veggie sandwich, mail my overdue letters, and hit the grocery store.

So, I thought I'd go to that place that wants me to be 'freaked'.  Well, I was, but probably not the way they wanted me to be.

The sandwich picture on the wall is so....ummm....artsy.  Overflowing with full the bread doesn't even close.


Then, food reality.

As I've said, "texters" are no longer able to carry on human conversation.  My hypothesis was supported in the following exchange.  

I walk up to the counter:

Young man: "What can we get for you?" (or whatever the exact line is that they're trained to say) 

ME:  "A veggie sandwich and a regular size soft drink."

Situation becames hopeless.

Young man:  "What?  What kind of sandwich did you want?" 

Me:  "A veggie."

Young man:  "What?"

Me:  "A veggie."

Young man turns to his co-worker

Young man:  "Where's that on the register?"

Co-worker:  "It's a number 6."

Young man:  "Where's that on the register?"

Co-worker points.  

Young man pushes the key.

Young man:  "Do you want anything to drink?"

Me:  "A regular sized soft drink."

Young man:  "Do you want regular or large?"

Me:  "Regular."

He rings in the total (which is when I realize that Marianne's Kitchen is cheaper than the 'freakin' place), hands me the change and walks away without giving me a drink cup.

Ah, but he has priorities.

As I grab my sandwich (and my own drink cup), I settle in for 5 minutes of time off my feet.

He has his own plan.  He's in charge of filling the chip racks.

Fabulous strategy.....go in the back, take out 5 bags of chips, carry them to the front of the store in your armpits, lay them on the floor, kneel on the floor and text your friends. (oh, but look up each time to make sure your manager/coworkers don't see you)



It was great entertainment while I ate my ingredient-less sandwich.  Unlike the beautiful picture, I can't see any ingredients when I unwrap the sandwich.....just a piece of kinda squished bread.  I don't look inside anymore, because frankly, then I might really 'freak'.

Last time I had one of their sandwiches, I actually brought it back and weighed the meat and cheese just to see because I couldn't believe how little was on the sandwich.  The meat and cheese together were less than 2 oz. 

You know, I love colorful things you can see stained glass windows.  But I never thought about it as a way to observe meat.  So thin I 'freaked'.   I've never thought about see-through meat.

So, once again I know why I avoid corporate food places where teenagers are in charge.   They may carry chips in their armpits and set them on the floor so that they have their hands free for texting.

The corporate places have all raised their prices....they are more expensive than we are....and we actually put VISIBLE meat and cheese on your sandwich....that you can't see through.

My recommendation:  save some money, come to Marianne's and get a reasonably priced sandwich full of fresh ingredients and topped with sauces that we make here.  ....and we never stock the chip rack using our armpits : )

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Bonnie's any small town cafe....only on the Green Line

Marianne's Kitchen Bonnie's
Bonnie's Cafe

As some of you know, I'm a researcher by trade.  More than 30 years of designing research studies & evaluations, developing research protocols and instruments, designing large databases, and analyzing data sets big and small.  My most current research gigs are in rural health.  So, between traveling to small communities across America and having a farm near several small communities in Minnesota, I've eaten at my share of local cafes.  Amy's in Sandstone, Nichols in Pine City, etc. plus places in Afton, WY (an arch of elk antlers greets you as you enter town), little places in Tennessee-where you can always get some sweet tea, places in IA, WI, MS, UT, ID, MT, rural CA (not quite like being in LA-the city, not the state).  But it's rare to find many local cafes with that small town feel around here (maybe the Columbia Heights Flameburger or Magnolia's in St. Paul).

So, this morning in my quest to again avoid anything close to corporate food and to give some
Marianne's Kitchen Bonnie's
support to another family business, it was off to University Avenue and Bonnie's Cafe.

Entering Bonnie's is like stepping back in time--I think it reminds me of a place in Wheaton or ???? (my pal and rural health traveling partner Jill could probably remember---we had lots of mosquitos the night we walked around town and she ran out of shampoo--oh, yeah, that town).

Green painted booths, 12 inch square floor tiles, and a beautiful row of green padded diner stools.....gotta love 'em!!!

This is the place to get a small town cafe that's what I ordered. 

Marianne's Kitchen Bonnie's
  Two eggs over easy and hash browns--but with a twist---Polish sausage, and an English muffin instead of the standard white or wheat toast (I always get the Polish at Magnolia's, too).  Yup, it was just what I imagined....except the Polish was scored on 1 side and grilled so it was crusty on the outside and juicy on this inside---an interestingly presented as 2 arches on the plate.  

The best parts of the experience were:  Mia, my server, who was cute as can be, friendly, and excellent at her job; the mix of customers was a melting pot of humanity; a small town meal on the Green LIne; and of course, I spent one more day NOT eating anything that was breaded, came from a deep-fat fryer, or was reheated by a teenager : )

This is not a meal you should have very comes mostly from the 'tan' food group....but that's all part of the small townish experience.  

Bonnie passed away 2 years ago, so one of her daughters is running the place.   It's great when a family member can pick up the torch and continue a family tradition.

If you came from a small town, haven't been back, and miss the local cafe....stop in at Bonnie's and relive your history.