I took last weekend off and headed off to the Twin Cities. I would like to thank everyone who posted their favorite places in the Twin Cities. Unfortunately, as we were up there for only a couple of days, we were only able to really try out one of the restaurants recommended.
The purpose of our trip was to do a lot of walking and finally get to see some of Minneapolis. On my prior visit, in 1987, I spent three days riding busses between the Marriott City Center and the local Dodge dealership trying to get my car running again.
The first place that we tried was Q-cumbers, which is located on France Road north of I-494 in Edina. It was not my first choice but we left all of my downloaded information in the hotel room and needed to eat. The best way to describe the place is that it tries to be an imitation of Sweet Tomatoes. They have the soup and the salad bar. They also offer baked goods, rotisserie chicken and a taco bar. It is nothing special and we probably would not return.
After dinner, we ran down the street and stopped at the Byerlys, the Twin Cities upscale supermarket. The supermarket was one of the most impressive markets that I have seen in a long time. It is similar to Dierbergs in St. Louis, Ukrops in Richmond, or maybe Heinens in Cleveland. They have a full upscale bakery, a number of prepared food stations, a juice bar, and some really great selections of cheeses. Presentation of all the food is really above average and the food screams buy me. The employees are really above average. I was listening to one of the employees serving a customer. The customer was impressed with the employees knowledge of the meat. He remarked that you pick up information over 27 years. And the guy was working at 86 pm on a Saturday night which is usually when the 1st string employees in supermarkets are not working.
I guess that my only comment about the grocery stores that I visited in the Twin Cities whether chain or independent was WOW the prices were HIGH. I never thought that the Chicago prices were low but they are lower based on the four supermarkets that I strolled through. Byerlys and Hi-Vee are both worth a walk through.
Sunday evening, we went to Es Soul Food, which is at the corner of 18th Street and Nicolette Ave. in Minneapolis. I had a long list of items that I wanted to try off of the menu as I spent an hour on the website last week. However, the server recommended the special beef shortribs served over rice with mashed sweet potatoes and collard greens. My wife ordered the cheesy grits and the whiskey beans. We both had the sweet potato cornbread muffins. We had also ordered some okra poppers.
The food was great. The shortribs were falling off the bone and tender. There was a lot of meat perhaps 6-8 oz and was served in a rich sauce. The ribs could have been a lot hotter as they were served lukewarm. The rest of the food was very hot. The sweet potatoes were sweet but not too sweet. The greens were well seasoned and flavorful. I would pass on the okra poppers. They were alright but they were nothing special.
I would recommend the place. The portions were very reasonable and the food was overall very good. There is another soul food place next door with a limited menu. It looked more like a club that served food than a restaurant.
On Monday, we drove home on US-14 stopping at every cheese and dairy co-op on the route. We noted one interesting thing. When we stopped at the cheese places along I-94, most of the cheese was priced in the $6-8 per lb range. When we stopped at the co-ops, we were buying cheese in the $1.80-2.50 range. The cheese was also a lot better from the co-ops.
I would like to thank everyone for their help.