Sunday, December 27, 2009

Wine: Witness Tree "Chainsaw" 2007 Pinot Noir

Light-bodied, earthy. Great with or without food. Nice from this small Oregon vineyard. $-1/2

Friday, September 11, 2009

Restaurant: Hell's Kitchen, Minneapolis

As good as its Duluth cousin. New location is nice and creepy (to a fan of " el dia de los muertos"). Super cobb salad and a lovely peach bellini ( though not called that). $$

Monday, August 31, 2009

Wine: Falling Star 2008 Merlot Malbec

Super wine at a lovely price. Medium-body; the merlot balances the normally weighty malbec, making it a good late-summer red. $

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Restaurant: Pok Pok, Portland, Oregon

Not to be missed. The #4 bus goes right there. A Thai-street-food tapas-style restaurant with tasty dishes and a charming atmostphere. Sit outside, especially if it's raining. Cool, interesting cocktails. $$

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Restaurant: Pop!, St. Paul, MN

Creative fusion menu with South American flavors. Friendly bar, hip decor. You can't hate a place that has the guts to sell Tab. $

Restaurant: Great Harvest, Portland

Good bread makes a hearty breakfast sandwich. Cautious service. $

Wine: Penner Ash '06 Pinot Noir

Yummy; blackberry pie with cream. $$ (when one's usual is $7)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Restaurant: 112 Eatery, Minneapolis MN

Interesting menu; great wine list. Upstairs staff is fantastic. Gnocchi is not to be missed. Beautiful frites and avocado salad. $$$

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Restaurant: Halal Cart, Chambers & W Broadway, New York NY

Great breakfast, cooked to order. Friendly owner. Delicious. $

Bar: The Modern, New York NY (at MoMA)

Lean, clean decor in this classic and classy bar. Free wi-fi. Check out the arty bathrooms. $$

Restaurant: Bubby's Pie Shop, New York NY (Tribeca)

A gem for brunch. U.S.-inspired menu, including fabulous huevos rancheros and cheese grits. Sourdough pancakes that are fluffy as all get out. Good bellini; great blood orange mimosa. Don't plan to eat for the rest of the day. $$

Hotel: Smyth Hotel, New York NY

Another ultra-modern hip property. Beautiful, quiet large rooms (we had a 3rd-floor corner). Bathroom was larger than most NYC apartments. Room service needs some refinement. $$$$

Restaurant: Strip House, New York NY

Don't come here if you don't want steak. We mean it. Super wine list and friendly regulars, surrounded by vintage opera singer publicity shots. Don't miss the creamed spinach with truffle. $$$$

Restaurant: Landmarc, New York NY

Varied menu in this classic place in Columbus Circle. I mean, marrow bones, boudin noir and sweetbreads? Plus several interesting salads. Don't miss the ricotta and mozarella fritters--light as air. Apple sorbet was phenomenal. $$$

Monday, February 16, 2009

Shopping: Super One, Duluth MN

Chitterlings? In a Duluth grocery store?

Restaurant: Hell's Kitchen, Duluth MN

Happy hour review: Great atmosphere; bad parking. Unique appetizers where they understand "spicy". Excellent customer service. Get the devilled eggs with horseradish. $

Restaurant: Little Angie's Cantina, Duluth MN

Bar-only (hoppin' spot) review. Ironically BAD icky-sweet fruity marg mix. Excellent happy hour drink prices. Interesting infused spirits, including vodka with peppers, cilantro, green onion and lime (for bloody marys, but we tried a delicious sip). $

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Restaurant: D'Amico & Sons, Golden Valley MN

Who can argue with bottomless wine? Since they make you order food with it, it's a good thing the food's delicious. Great salad sampler. $$

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Drink: Tamek Sour Cherry Nectar

This Turkish product comes in large containers or in 12-oz. cans. Delicious by itself (chilled) but it makes great cocktails. I tried mixing it with añejo tequila and it seemed a marriage made in heaven.

Concert: György Kurtág in New York

The 82-year-old composer was in the United States for his first visit. He's best known for Messages of the Late Miss R.V. Troussova (1976-80) for chamber ensemble and soprano, here the piercing Natalia Zagorinskaya. Two packed Zankel Hall evenings ended with the composer playing some of his own music (plus Bach and Bartók) with his wife, Márta, sitting side by side at an upright piano.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Wine: Chalone Monterey Pinot Noir

Warm, tart, ripe black cherry. My friend said, "Nummy." Awesome value.

Restaurant: Guiseppe, New Brighton MN

Charming locally-owned strip mall Italian. Delicious sweet-ish red sauce on pasta. Fantastic Mediterranean Salad. $-1/2

Restaurant: Bacio, Minnetonka, MN

Hearts of palm salad and perfect pasta! Pesto-encrusted sea bass that even I thought didn't suck. Loud bar, good wine. $$$

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Museum: Bay City Museum, Bay City, TX

Very interesting Gulf Coast historic items. Includes children's museum and nice gift shop. Don't miss "La Belle" shipwreck exhibit. Visitor center kiosk outside the museum wins award for "Coldest Possible Place to Stand in the Bay City Summer Heat". $

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Sorry, that belongs in the Ten-Second Reviews.


Movie: Slumdog Millionaire

Nice to see director Danny Boyle (Shallow Grave, Trainspotting) have a huge hit, but it's a little darker than the kind of romance some of the ads would have you believe. The cast is great, but editor Chris Dickens is the real star, organizing countless flashbacks so you can grasp the storyline. Great photography, too, and make sure to stay until the end of the credits, for the big Bollywood finale.

Movie: Radio

Great storyline, fine acting. Cuba Gooding, Jr will put a smile on your face. Ed Harris is superb, rapidly becoming a fav actor of mine since I first saw him in Apollo 13.

Restaurant: Key's at Foshay, Minneapolis

The wonder of Key's upscale diner cooking with the coolness of the Foshay Tower. Great grilled chicken salad; distracted server. $$, Casual, Family-friendly.

Movie: The Tale of Desperaux

Dark; not for young kids. Nice animation and impressive celebrity voices. Convoluted story with a good message.