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.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Lake Elmo Coffee << Fills East Metro Gap

Lake Elmo Coffee - Great East Metro Option

lake elmo coffeeWe have our favorite metro coffee destinations.  None of them are the name brand places.  Most tend to be hidden away gems on Hennepin, West Seventh, Central, etc., the kind of places that lack a drive-thru, where people sit and chat, often with strangers.

The east metro is a bit short of those real options.  We were delighted to come upon Lake Elmo Coffee recently.  They've been around for a year or so and based upon our first visit their future looks good. 

Lake Elmo Coffee ... and Food!!

All day breakfast is high of people's expectations these days and Lake Elmo Coffee came through with the Beetnik Bagel and a Breakfast Sandwich.

The Beetnik Bagel included cream cheese, pesto, greens and beets.  The combination of cream cheese and beets was a new spin on enjoying beets.  The bagel was fresh , flavorful and unlike the 'tough to get a bite' versions most often found. Using spicy pickled beets would bring this sandwich to greatness.

lake elmo coffee

The Breakfast Sandwich put most to shame with a real egg, maple bacon, ham and real cheese on a nicely toasted English muffin.  The addition of a side of sliced strawberries was a surprise.

lake elmo coffeeWe started off with scone that appeared to be baked on-premise.  It looked dense and heavy but was flavorful but more moist than expected. 

The Mocha and Cold Brew pairings completed our breakfast.

Lake Elmo Coffee Ambience and Service

Seating includes tables and soft options around a fireplace.  Were it not 28 degrees there was also outside seating available.  The high ceiling space is warm and casual, not particularly loud.  Overall it was welcoming.  

Prompt service accompanied by a sense of humor (John asked if they had marital counselors on site) means we will be back. 

lake elmo coffee

lake elmo coffee

lake elmo coffee

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Nick's Diner in Cannon Falls for Comfort Food

Nick's Diner in Cannon Fall...Good Stop For Comfort Food!!

Last week we headed to Cannon Falls to Ferndale Market to stock up on all things 'turkey' which was a good reason to stop in town for lunch at Nick's Diner (also known as Nick's Downtown Diner).

The Food At Nick's Diner

We went right to the comfort food on this cold November day. Linda opted for the chicken pot pie served in a bowl, topped with an herbed puff pastry square with plenty for another meal later in the day.

John was indecisive, but all along wanted the meatloaf.  It was flavorful and moist because of that old fashioned ketchup glaze that carmelized while baking. The skin-on mashed red potatoes were a delight in texture and flavor over the standard mashed spuds.  Grilled nicely, the Texas Toast was far better than the expected standard white bread.  The gravy appeared to be from a can and could have used drippings from the meatloaf to bring out a homemade flavor.

The treat was the unexpected side of green beans with Asian sauce drizzle...we'd go back right now if  there was an 'all you can eat' green bean option.  

The Ambience

This cafe uses a classic, old space re-done, high-lighted with architectural items reminisient of America's past, cafes adjacent to gas stations.  Simply stated it's cozy with windows on two sides, wood floors and an overall comfortable feel.  Seating is spaced so that you have some privacy but you get a sense of other conversations...small town-like.

The Staff

John narrowed his choices down to two or three items, was wavering, and just asked the waitperson to pick without telling him ahead of time.  "Oh, that's going to be fun and I know exactly what I'm going to pick" was the enthusiastic response.  John was giving off meatloaf vibes.

Overall Rating At Nick's Diner

At Marianne's Kitchen a nice family regularly brought their children in for lunch. They wanted them to know that there are places where the owners and employees are genuine and the food is real.  Their return visits were one of the best compliments that we ever received.

We put Nicks's Diner and their staff and their food pretty high on the 'genuine' list.  It's the real deal.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Trio Plant-Based Dinner on Lake Street

Trio Plant-Based Lake Street VeganTrio Plant-Based on Lake Street

We made our first visit to Trio Plant-based on Lake Street near Hiawatha in Minneapolis.  Info on their origin, menus and deals are available on their website and on Facebook.

Trio Plant-Based, appropriately named, serves a completely plant-based menu, using 'meat' from the Herbivorous Butcher and plant-based 'cheez'.
Trio Plant-Based Lake Street Vegan

Trio Plant-Based Lake Street VeganGreat space with many windows to watch the activity on Lake Street, interesting wallpaper, plant-green molded chairs and a hint of 'industrial' decor.

John went with the big meal,  the soul platter (you can mix and match a variety of sides), and I opted for the soup and sandwich combo, but replaced the soup with their already famous spaghettrios!

Trio Plant-Based Lake Street Vegan

Grilled Cheese & Spaghettrios

My sandwich choice was grilled 'cheez'...made with vegan cheese on a nice crusty bread.   I've had some vegan 'cheese' in the past that wasn't particularly tasty or was off-putting.   This was delish.  The sandwich was a perfectly made grilled 'cheez' with crunch and ooey-gooeyness.   The spaghettrios taste exactly like they've managed to capture that taste of childhood in a vegan dish.   Great work!

Trio Plant-Based Soul Platter

John's soul food platter included ribs from the Herbivorous butcher, collard greens and cornbread with maple 'butter' on top.  John thought the sauce on the ribs was a bit harsh and the 'meat' texture a bit grainy.   It's hard to top our great meal last year at the Howe on Minnehaha south of Lake Street where
Trio Plant-Based Lake Street Vegan
they perfected the presentation of the 'meat' from the Herbivorous Butcher.   This one fell a bit short of expectations.   The cornbread was okay (John says "not corny enough"); I loved the maple 'butter' on top.   We both agreed the collards were over-the-top salty...we mentioned it to our server and she returned with a fresh batch for us to take home.   

Trio Plant-Based Lake Street Vegan

Trio Plant-Based Peach Cobbler

A complimentary dessert was offered to make up for the salty collards but we'd ordered a peach cobbler which was large enough to share. The offer of another dessert was appreciated.  The bowl had plenty of peaches and a nice level of peachy spicing.

Overall, we felt that the choices were much more grain-based that we anticipated.   We had been hoping for more veggies in various forms.

Trio Plant-Based Lake Street VeganBut, the good news, right after our visit, one of the owners responded to a request for 'more veggie' and created a beautiful plate of sweet potato and black bean lettuce wraps.  The picture was so tempting that lots of us asked them to add this dish.'s now on the menu!!!

I think more veggie-based options are on the horizon.  That will extend the current basic menu and add a variety of interesting textures and flavors.

Mac 'n Cheese Next Time at Trio

As we finished up our meals several other tables filled up.  We always look to the 'regulars' to see what they are ordering.  All four millenials ordered the soul platter with mac 'n cheese.  That's a great recommendation.

Trio Plant-Based Lake Street Vegan

We look forward to our next visit to see what the new items will be.   I'm sure we'll pair them with a comforting bowl of spaghettrios!!!!

Trio Plant-Based Lake Street Vegan