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.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

You Can Get All You Want At Alice's Restaurant

alice's restaurant woodside caYou Can Get All You Want At Alice's Restaurant

It's 1967 in small town Minnesota, Albert Lea to be exact.  Late at night you could pull in WLS from Chicago, and really late you received a static-filled dose of 1960's counter-culture on 'Beaker Street' hosted by Clyde Clifford.  Music, Viet Nam, President Johnson, Haight-Asbury and Arlo Guthrie's long, iconic song, Alice's Restaurant.

Today we visited Alice's Restaurant on Skyline Blvd in Woodside, CA.  The drive up from the San Francisco Bay area through the redwoods and into the foothills was a scenic delight.

As we pulled into Woodside both sides of the rodes were filled with cars, motorcycles, hikers, tourists and mountain bikes.  We saw the sign and all simultaneously exclaimed "Alice's Restaurant!  Arlo Guthrie!  Let's stop."
alice's restaurant woodside ca

There was a twenty minute wait but with all the people even waiting was a worthwhile event.  The inside and outside seating, strangers chatting and beautiful weather all put together was  'California cool' was all mellow.

alice's restaurant woodside caThe atmosphere turned out to be much better than the food but the 'experience' could not have occurred elsewhere.  The biscuits and gravy with one egg was a disappointment other than the gravy.  The locally grown organic kale salad with pine
alice's restaurant woodside ca
nuts and house-made avocado vinegrette was lacking in vinegrette.  A handful of chips, a small coleslaw and house-made bourban barbeque sauce accompanied the pulled pork sandwich which was the best  choice of the three.
alice's restaurant woodside ca
But as we said this is a stop about the experience, not the food.

Now the bad news.  Woody Guthrie's song was released in 1967 on his first album of the same name, Alice's Restaurant.  This Alice's Restaurant was purchased by Alice Taylor in the 1960s and renamed after herself and Guthrie's song.  It was a famous stop long before it was called Alice's Restaurant.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

White Castle Vegan!!! Wow!!

White Castle Has A Vegan Slider!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Almost everyone grabs some fast food (questionable if it's food) once in a while.  After a challenging few weeks John caved and suggested going to White Castle.

White Castle Vegan Slider by Impossible Foods

Oh, my, were we surprised.  White Castle is now offering their plant based Impossible Slider.  Skip the smoked cheddar cheese and it's vegan. White Castle buns have been vegan since 2015.  The patty is produced by Impossible Foods.  The flavor was good, (better than the standard White Castle slider),  it had great texture and really made us wish we'd ordered more; it is like most White Castle sliders, small.

Impossible Foods has a big goal of saving the planet by offering plant based food alternatives to traditional meat, which is an environmental disaster (even with hurricane rains overflowing the Carolina hog waste ponds).

We also ordered our standard double cheeseburger with ketchup which was just fine as sliders go.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Holman's Table ... St. Paul Airport Dining

holman's table holman field st. paulHolman's Table ... St. Paul Airport Dining

"Eat, Drink & Depart" 

Finally, downtown St. Paul at lunch time...picking someone up from Jury Duty (his third chance...maybe he'll get a trial this time).

So, we flew across the river to Holman's Table at the airport!

holman's table holman field st. paulI have so many wonderful memories of Holman Field...from penny-a-pound plane rides way back when or my dad hiring a pilot and plane a few times to circle the Twin Cities on a Sunday
holman's table holman field st. paul
afternoon...nothing but great experiences.

I love the building (Holman Field History)...and now I love the comfortable decor at Holman's Table.

Holman's Table Ambience

Seating at a high, snuggly booth was cozy on a cool rainy day.   Quite a few people enjoying late lunch...a mix of people in business attire and many seniors laughing it up at tables all across the room.

Holman's Table Dining

The lunch menu includes some starters, fairly standard salad and sandwich options, plus pasta.   Surveying other tables, it looked like the sandwiches were big with mountains of fries.   Maybe something a little more fresh....and maybe not deep-fried.

holman's table holman field st. paulThe harvest salad includes mixed greens, chopped apples, pepitas, craisins, & parmesan, dressed with vinagrette.   We'd have to describe this as a pretty common salad these days....greens with some fall fruit and seeds or nuts.   
Here, John and I had the exact same response instantly.   We said, simultaneously, this salad would be much better with Destiny's bright lemon vinaigrette from Home Street Home Cafe.   The vinaigrette actually on this salad was not very exciting and suffered from being terribly salty.   At first we thought the salt was from the pepitas or just the saltiness of the parmesan.  But each bite of a green leaf brought a lasting saltiness that ensured we drank our daily requirement of water.  

holman's table holman field st. paulOur main course was a difficult choice...pesto pasta or duck ragout with ricotta gnocchi and topped with parmesan (there are 2 other choices, as well).   It's hard to pass up we didn't.    The ricotta gnocchi were rich with great ricotta texture and a nice exterior....excellent in the tomato ragout.   We loved that the veggies in the ragu still held a little crispness..difficult with a fine dice,
holman's table holman field st. paul
but well-executed here.   The duck was moist and succulent...and there was a good portion of duck.   Topped with a crisped dill sprig that brought a soothing aroma to the table, overall we'd rate the dish as quite good.   The only problem was that, like the salad, someone in the kitchen has a heavy hand with the salt.   There was nearly enough salt in the cheese to accent the dish, with perhaps a dash in the ragout.   By putting a more salty ragout with the parmesan, the resulting saltiness was a distraction.  Otherwise, we loved the idea and the preparation of the parts.

Holman's Table Service

Our server was friendly and efficient.   He checked on our level of lunch enjoyment and we mentioned that while the dishes were good, we found both overly salty.   He thanked us for the feedback...and returned shortly to offer us a dessert on the House.   We declined the generous offer...but appreciated the great customer service.  

holman's table holman field st. paul

Conclusion: Holman's Table 

A comfortable lunch experience on a rainy day, thinking about memories of past fun, and enjoying lunch served by attentive staff.   The topper would have been taking the time to follow the sign in the lobby to sign up for a helicopter ride...there are 3 options based on the radius they fly.   Next time, for sure.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Mickey's Diner...Open 24x7 for 70 Years

Mickey's Diner Mickey's Dining Car St. PaulMickey's Diner ... An Iconic St. Paul 'Experience'

Last night we were headed off for dinner to one of our regular healthy dining spot...which simply did not work we said "to hell with healthy" and stopped at Mickey's Diner in downtown St. Paul.  We're going to be right up front about this.  It's as much about the experience as about the food.

Established in 1939, Mickey's has been open 24x7 for almost 80 years.  John has been a Twin Cities resident for 40+ years and has eaten at Mickey's three times, twice with Linda.  Everyone should eat there once and maybe again a few decades later when you cannot remember the last time you were there.

We've always referred to this destination as Mickey's Diner; looking at the official website and photos it's actually Mickey's Dining Car.  If you are looking for it you can simply ask anyone in St. Paul how to get to Mickey's.

Mickey's: The Food

This is classic diner food.  Burgers, fries and breakfast all day.  This is not a heart-healthy or vegan destination.

Fry 2, two eggs and toast was Linda's choice.  The eggs were cold and the toast was burnt.
Mickey's Diner Mickey's Dining Car St. Paul

Mickey's Diner Mickey's Dining Car St. PaulJohn choice the O'Brian Special comprised of two eggs, toast and O'Brian potatoes.  Ordered over medium the eggs were over runny.  The raisin toast was not quite as burnt as Linda's.

We shared the O'Brian potatoes (ham, onion, pepper) and they were OK, but sort of a mix of raw and really fried.

The food at diners always depends on who is cooking and how short of sleep they are.  At Mickey's you always leave with a story.

Mickey's: The Experience

Mickey's Diner Mickey's Dining Car St. Paul

Mickey's Diner Mickey's Dining Car St. PaulConstructed long before ADA requirements, access and seating is tight.  Being open non-stop for decades does not allow much time for decor upgrades.  The legacy of dining and other adventures is reflected in the interior.

The service is aways great.  Our waiter was wonderful with a good sense of humor and knowlege of the history.  

Mickey's Diner Mickey's Dining Car St. PaulThe people-watching is good: a combination of people living downtown, those on their way to the Excel Energy Center, those in need of food and coffee before driving and those with nowhere else to go.

There are a few other diners around town but there is only one Mickey's.  Put it on your 'experience' bucket list.

Mickey's Diner Mickey's Dining Car St. Paul

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

El Taco Loco ... great family-run business

el taco loco columbia heightsEl Taco Loco on Central in Columbia Heights

We'd driven by El Taco Loco on Central in Columbia Heights several times and last week gave it a try on our never-ending 'search for a good taco,'  a spin on Bob Dylan's Never Ending Tour.

Open since 2015, El Taco Loco is a family business
el taco loco columbia heights staff
that is full of kids working towards college and beyond.  During our visit the family patriarch and matriarch and family made this place hum.  

el taco loco columbia heights interiorThe menu boards offered many tempting options.  Linda predictably opted for a cheese quesadilla with a mild tomatillo sauce.  John, always predictable, chose the Alambre with pastor (pork). 

In the fast-casual format we seated ourselves and our food arrived in just a few minutes.  
el taco loco columbia heights quesadilla
The quesadilla was of adequate size with delicious cheese.  The mild tomatillo sauce was house-made with a fresh almost herby tomatillo flavor and a bit of complimentary heat.
el taco loco columbia heights al hombre pastor
Alambre can vary dramatically in size and presentation.  El Taco Loco scored on both.  The pork was complimented with delicious cheese, peppers, onions, radishes and a slight amount of pineapple.  Served on six corn tortillas and with a few slices of lime this was an absolute delight.  The portion was larger than it appeared.  The hot sauce was rich and flavorful...and hot...Linda ate most of it.  Half made it home for a later treat.

As we left the staff (family) thanked us and we committed to a return visit.  Small business, family-run, good food...what more could anyone want!

el taco loco columbia heights

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Home Street Home Cafe ...good locally sourced food

Home Street Home Cafe on Ohio in St. Paul...

Home Street Home Cafe Ohio and George St. Paul

Shoreview...when oh when will we have some locally sourced food choices?    .....another night of being beckoned by places outside the suburban borders.

So off to St. Paul for a great cold brew and a meal of locally sourced morsels of goodness.

Home Street Home Cafe Ohio and George St. PaulHome Street Home Cafe's menu is built from the food truck menu that made Destiny's truck so popular.   Grinding her own locally sourced beef, using great cheese, making vinaigrettes and sauces to create wonderful casual food....just the ticket after a long day of working today.

John opted for a hard cider and I, of course, wanted a delish cold easily met my expectations!

Home Street Home Cafe Ohio and George St. PaulNow, the menu....we're working our way through the choices.  Tonight it's time to try one of those gorgeous-looking quesadillas that I've admired in the past.   BBQ chicken...yup, sounds great.   John was debating the chicken gyro or the house-made hummus pita.   He decided the vegetarian option was the way to go tonight.

We were a little concerned that there was a big party at the next table plus a guy waiting for takeout and a couple of other smaller parties ahead of us.  But the wait for our dinner was really pretty short....a plate with the hummus pita and greens plus a large silver tray with the quesadilla and sauce appeared through the kitchen door within minutes.

The greens were perfectly dressed with Destiny's
Home Street Home Cafe Ohio and George St. Paul
great house-made of the nicest around.   The house-made hummus has a distinct tang from the fresh lemon, and John noted the beautifully sliced veggies.   

Home Street Home Cafe Ohio and George St. PaulThe BBQ chicken quesadilla satisfies (I couldn't possibly eat a whole one).  The locally sourced chicken makes all the can taste it.  Great, but not overpowering BBQ sauce on wonderful chicken and great tasting cheese....the complete package.

Top this all off with conversation, and it's a perfect casual dinner.   Chatted with Judy (Destiny's mom) about the foibles of the restaurant biz.   Had hysterical conversations with everyone....great dinner topped off with laughter and sharing.   That's what a great food venue is all about.

Home Street Home Cafe  at Ohio & George in St. Paul

Home Street Home Cafe Ohio and George St. Paul