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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.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Pancheros in Arden Hills

Pancheros Arden Hills Exterior Pancheros is open in Arden Hills!

Snowy night....we'd thought we'd stop in and check out the new place in the neighborhood.

Our conclusion:   "So far, we like Pancheros!"

Pancheros has been open about 1 day...this might be Day 2.   Tonight there wasn't much of a crowd - we went late (after 8 p.m.) and it was snowing.   So we almost had the place to ourselves.

Pancheros Arden Hills This isn't any different from ordering at Chipotle, just a more limited selection of proteins (3 meats plus tofu) and a different array of salsa.  The available 'forms' are burrito, bowl, quesadilla, tacos.  You can get extra tortillas, additional portions of meat or guac or sour cream, etc for 50 cents to $1.25    Sides of chips, chips and guac, chips and know the rundown.

Pancheros Arden Hills Be's clear these folks are all new, so they're still working out the techniques for rolling a burrito and making an attractive bowl.  They were trying very, very hard...especially to place things in the bowl in an appetizing way.  Having observed, if you're in a hurry, grab the bowl....they were still struggling with filling and rolling the burritos...they took much longer than the bowls tonight.

Pancheros Arden Hills We decided to split a bowl (we had a great lunch at Brunson's today, so didn't need a big dinner).  Our choices tonight:  a smaller portion of rice, pintos, carnitas, veggies....more veggies(!),  cheese, corn salsa and the salsa verde (I couldn't get anyone to explain exactly what was in the salsa looked like green chiles and tomatillos...I'll check further on future visits).    I looked at the list...there's the verde which is medium heat; the tomatillo is dark colored/not green....and has about the highest heat level.   There's also pico, etc.

Pancheros Has Two Great Sauces: Greenade & Flavolcano

Pancheros Arden HillsIn addition to the choices on the line, there are two bottled sauces...Greenade or  Flavolcano.   The red volcano sauce (Flavolcano) is quite hotl---I had a few bites, then John tried it and coughed for a few minutes.  He lived! [John: "I liked it but it did overpower the other food flavors."]   If you don't like 'hot' skip this one.   I found it tasty after the heat subsided.  The Greenade was really, really good.   Jalapenos, tomatillos, habaneros and excellent assortment of goodies in the bottle (having tried to figure out what I was eating at Old Southern BBQ--they have unlabeled bottles--bad if you have any food allergies, I appreciate that the ingredients are on the sauce bottles at Pancheros).    
I'd would say both of these bottled sauces were tasty; I lean heavily toward the green---I found it delish!

Pancheros Bowl

Pancheros Arden HillsThe bowl itself:  we were disappointed that the temp of the meat, rice, and beans was, at best, lukewarm.   Having run a food biz for awhile, I'm pretty aware of safe food temps and am always suspicious of lukewarm  (our county food inspector had a name for lukewarm which, luckily escapes me right was not 'complimentary').   So I hope they work on their temps.  
The veggies looked a bit limp, but were really quite good--and we're glad we asked for extra---they were a tasty addition to the bowl.   John really enjoyed the roasted corn salsa.   I absolutely loved the salsa verde...very flavorful.  My only regret:  I should have asked for made the bowl better.

Pancheros: Much Better Than Chipotle

So, our initial reaction is that we like Pancheros.  We don't eat at Shoreview's rated among the worst Chipotle's in the Twin Cities and we've never had good experiences there.   
We're hoping that Pancheros can fill the gap for burritos and bowls that are tasty, fresh, and served attentively (read:  attractive, not 'slopped' [John: "I find the Chipotle big spoon heap/slop approach distatesful."]).   
Pancheros Arden Hills 
The tortillas looked good...we almost ordered one just to give 'em a try.   But we'll do that next a burrito and as a tortilla 'side'.   The sign says they're handmade, so each one, like a snowflake, is different.    We'll check that out and let you know.

Pancheros in Arden Hills --give 'em a try.

Pancheros Arden Hills


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