Was visiting twin cities last weekend, so here is my report:
First stop was at Shilla, a Korean place on Snelling in St. Paul. I generally love Korean food, but think that this restaurant is exceptional. It's unpretentious and the food very fresh and flavorful--lots of attention given to taste, seasoning. Great little kim chee appetizers. Wife had her mainstay, bi-bim-bop, I had a lunch dish with stir-fried beef, hot peppers (serranos?), and cellophane noodles. All great, delicious, and by request seasoned to Korean taste.
Also went to Pickled Parrot, downtown Minnie near Target Center. I had rib lunch--very good, considerable bite and chew to the ribs, which I like and could also smell the smoke from a block away. Sauce was excellent, I suspect made on premises, molasses/brown sugar based sweet & sour with little or no tomato, hint of onion and citrus? Wife's dish was undistinguished and disappointing--flank steak tacos. Steak itself was not particularly flavorful--little or no seasoning--and was cut so thickly and was so tough that when one bit into the taco, the steak tended to come out of the stale and cardboard-like soft flour tortillas, which themselves were prone to falling apart from rancidity. Probably because it was St. Pattie's (although around noon-time), we had to wait 15 minutes to receive check and another half-hour to pay it; management was unprepared, but energetic staff tried to compensate & run around as best as they could.
Went to Royal Orchid on Saturday evening; were fortunate to get table at this time, although in back room. Had good "lemon-grass & citrus soup" (called hot & sour or Tom Yum elsewhere?) with "seafood." I put seafood in quotes here, because only items in soup were shrimp and scallops, and menu promised squid & some other stuff, but no delivery on this--also, price increase for asking for seafood was substantial. (In recall, also, there were only 4 shrimp and 5 scallops, total, included in the tureen.) Still, the broth itself, although not painstakingly flavored with sauted shrimp shells, etc., (as I have had elsewhere) was about as good and well-balanced and flavorful as any around. Pad Thai was also excellently seasoned, although we suspect not quite up to the "Thai hot" level of spiciness we had ordered. Blame it on a busy night?
Lastly, on way out of town, went to El Amanacer on Concord St. in St. Paul. My wife had a combination plate, while I had chicken enchiladas smothered in picante green sauce and cheese; wife said that I won. This is pretty run of the mill Mexican restaurant--good, sturdy, heavy meals, well seasoned, nice beans and rice--sorry I didn't have time to try some of the seafood on the munu; seafood soup especially looked intriguing. Awhile ago, I also had very good standard Mexican stuff at Mi Tierra, just across Concord--menu there, though, didn't seem to be as extensive as Amanacer's.
Well, that's all for now.