Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Spill the Wine; Minneapolis

On the other side of town, Willie’s wine bar shuts down because of no business. That was in the Laurel Village neighborhood next to the behemoth University of St. Thomas Minneapolis campus. Come on, we all know that college kids don’t drink wine. Meanwhile, Spill the Wine is birthed on Washington Avenue next to the Metrodome. Will Twins fans come? Ha, try Guthrie Theatre goers. Spill the Wine will give it a go at its East Downtown location, with two separate spaces for dining and drinking. The bar has televisions and a wall displayed with regional wine. The dining room features an open kitchen.

Get $5 appetizers from 4-7 p.m. or even $15 bottles of wine. Grilled asparagus sounds pretty darn good with a nice sauvignon blanc, no? At dinner, order the beef tenderloin and another bottle of wine, this time a crisp pinot noir. Besides, there’s no rule about switching colors midway through, just make sure to clean the palette. If you want to make a real night out of it, come for one of the five-course Italian Wine Dinners. The next one is September 27. At $59 a pop, it presents a real opportunity at reeling in your biology class crush (if you’re one of those special college kids who like wine).

Spill the Wine is in a great spot to sweep up Guthrie fans and Metrodome fans alike and don't forget the weekday lunch rush of business people - this is in a booming business district with fresh new office buildings including the one on the corner of Washington and Chicago that belongs to local Minnesota ticket broker, Ticket King.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Lake Elmo Inn, Lake Elmo, Minnesota

You might run the risk of running into some obnoxious teenagers out for a sno-daze ball, but the Lake Elmo Inn is always a good bet when you want to spend a night out with a pleasant drive and elegant dining. The Inn was established in 1881, and current owner John Schlitz is keeping tradition alive by keeping the Inn’s legendary salt & pepper shaker collection intact and the restaurant’s historical décor pristine. It’s fine dining, yet casual. You’ll receive a hot towel, but the service is friendly.

Enjoy a relaxing drive out to Lake Elmo down highway 5, an area of the Twin Cities less bustling but more picturesque than the west suburbs. The cuisine is classic and fine, but highly affordable. The Lake Elmo Inn continues to hold fast to its location, refusing to roll over to chain restaurants while offering quality dining at a reasonable price.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Eli’s Food and Cocktails, Minneapolis, MN

Oh how I pity you, all you downtown business people who wait for a Chipotle burrito in a 20-minute long line over the lunch hour. Why wait for Chipotle, when you can escape the horrors of lunch hour on Nicollet Mall at Eli’s Food and Cocktails down the street on Hennepin Avenue. Eli’s, located at 1225 N Hennepin Ave., has a true neighborhood feeling to it in a downtown area. The across-the-street Laurel Village apartments and close-by Loring Park add to its more quiet atmosphere compared to skyway restaurants and eateries inside of downtown towers.

You can sit yourself down over the lunch hour and have a beer while reading a good book, or stroll down with a co-worker for some conversation. The menu offers favorites in seafood, pasta and sandwiches, with a daily “board” menu offering specials. Try the macaroni and cheese for grown ups or do one of the tasty sandwiches. The food is great, the service is extremely friendly and the décor is modern without being futuristic or intimidating. Stop in after work for happy hour from 3-6 for dollar off drinks. Escaping the Nicollet Mall never felt so good.