Jan 042013

A couple of months back Manitou Station in White Bear Lake debuted a new menu and I have been fortunate to try several of the new items. Here are just a few:

Bruschetta ~ This order came with six garlic crustinis topped with fresh chopped tomato, grated margiano, basil, and balsamic vinegar.  Fresh and delicious!

Artichoke Dip ~ A blend of artichoke hearts, cream cheese, parmesan and seasonings, baked in a ramekin and served with flatbread wedges.

Sausage and Peppers ~ This pasta dish starts with a bed of Fettuccine tossed in a zesty rose sauce with roasted bell peppers and Italian sausage.  I loved this, it very flavorful!

Black Pepper Blue Burger ~ All the burgers at Mantiou are delicious, big (7oz) and juicy.  This particular burger is topped with several big chunks of bleu cheese and fried onion straws, served on a toasted bun with steak fries.

Black & Bleu Burger at Manitou Station ~ White Bear Lake, MN

Black & Bleu Burger at Manitou Station ~ White Bear Lake, MN

Also new to the menu are the Scotch Egg Burger, Chicken Marsala, and Buffalo Wings. You’ll have to visit Manitou Station soon and taste what else is new!

Jul 072012

Cuisine: American, Fish & Seafood, Steaks, Chops
Restaurant Features: Bar, Banquet Room, Hotel, On-Site Parking
Location: White Bear Lake, MN
Address: 4940 Hwy 61 N White Bear Lake, MN • 651.653.6718
Hours:  Mon- Thurs 11am-1am *Fri-Sat 11-2am * Sun 9am- 12am  * Kitchen open until 12am
Links: Rudy’s Redeye Website * Rudy’s on FacebookGoogle Map
Atmosphere:  Located in the White Bear Country Inn & Suites just a few blocks from Downtown White Bear Lake, Rudy’s Red Eye Grill is a beautiful, elegant yet casual restaurant.  The walls are painted a rich red, with a handful of abstract paintings adorning the walls  and flower arrangements placed strategically.  The seating is a mix of tables and deep, dark booths along the outer walls.  The Bar Area is also a very popular spot, with several bistro tables as well as seating along the long, beautiful wooden bar.

Menu: Appetizers include Spinach Artichoke Dip, Jumbo Tabasco Onion Rings with Seasoned Sour Cream, Buffalo Wings with or without the Bone, Oysters Rockefeller, Oysters on the Half Shell, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Crab Stuffed Mushrooms, New Orleans Shrimp, Brueschetta, Calamari, Chicken Kabobs, Walleye Cakes, Bull Bites, Walleye Fingers, Coconut Shrimp, and Tuna Taki.

Soups and Salads offered at Rudy’s include French Onion Gratin, Homemade Chicken Noodle, Soup Du Jour, Chili, House Salad, Iceberg Wedge with Bacon and Blue Cheese, Garbage Salad, Caesar Salad, BLT Cheddar, Oriental Chicken, Bleu Bistro, Rudy’s Chopped Salad, Seared Black & Bleu Tuna, Salmon Goat Cheese with Raspberry Vinaigrette, Calamari Caesar, and Redeye Sirloin with Creamy Horseradish Dressing.

Sandwiches come with french fries, fruit, coleslaw, pasta salad, or cottage cheese. Rudy Burger or Chicken Sandwich with BBQ Sauce, Cheddar, and Hickory Smoked Bacon, Grilled Portabella, Bacon Bleu Burger, Chicken Caesar Wrap, and Beer Battered Walleye Sandwich.

Pasta dishes include Fettuccini Alfredo (chicken or shrimp), Spaghetti and Meatballs, Seafood Scampi with Shrimp and Scallops, Sun-Dried Tortellini Pesto with Shrimp, Cajun Chicken Fettuccini, Lobster Ravioli, Seafood Fra Diablo, Baked Five Cheese Penne

Rudy’s Entrees are served with choice of potato.  Options include Angus Medallions, Prime Rib (limited availability), Ribeye: 20 oz. Served Bone-In, Redeye Marinated Sirloin, New York Strip: 16 oz. Served Bone-in, Cajun Combo: Two-4 oz. Blackened Medallions and 3 New Orleans Style Sauteed Shrimp, 8oz Filet Mignon, Blackened Pork Tenderloin topped with Bernaise, BBQ Pork Baby Back Ribs, Drunk n’ Dirty Pork Chop, Tomato Basil Grouper on Mashed Potatoes, Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breast with Marinara, Rudy’s Pan Fried Walleye, Coconut Shrimp, Fish n’ Chips, Pistachio Encrusted Alaskan Halibut, Bruschetta Salmon, Seared Scallops, Blue Ribbon Meatloaf, Blackened Ahi Tuna, Steak & Lobster, and Cold Water Lobster Tails.

Price guide: Appetizers $7-12 Salads $5-13 Sandwiches $9-12 Entrees $15-34
Happy Hour:

  • Everyday from 3 to 6 PM and 9 to 11 PM
  • $4.25 Appetizers
  • $2 off Tap Beer
  • $4 House Wine

Weekly Specials:

  • Sunday Breakfast Menu 10am-1pm
  • Pancakes, Breakfast Quesadilla, Pecan Encrusted French Toast, Eggs Benedict, Seafood Benedict, Breakfast Burrito, Steak & Eggs, Ham and Cheese Croissant, and Rudy’s Skillet (Diced ham, red pepper, green pepper, onion, potatoes, cheddar cheese, and scrambled eggs).  Omelets include Ham & Cheese Omelet, Veggie Omelet and Rudy’s Omelet.
  • Monday ~ 1/2 priced Bottles of Wine
  • Tuesday ~ $5 Ruditinis all day
  • Wednesday ~ $16 Walleye Entree

What we ordered: Several of my companions and I  started with Rudy’s famous house drink, The Ruditini. This cocktail comes in a  shaker filled with Stoli Razberi, pineapple juice, fresh lime juice, and a splash of cranberry juice. Comes with a shot of champagne to pour on top.

We were brought a big basket of Warm french rolls, served with a side of honey butter.  Delicious!

A couple of my companions started with an order of the Artichoke Spinach Dip ($9).  Served with toast and tortilla chips.  I did not try this but I have had it before and it is very good.

Another companion ordered the Bruschetta ($9).  The order came with six pieces of toast topped with fresh tomato, basil, olive oil, and melted parmigiano.  The order was drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

For my entree I ordered the Beer-Battered Walleye Sandwich ($12).  This sandwich came with a long, thick walleye fillet, heavily battered and deep fried with a side of steak fries.  Although the breading seemed a little on the thick side, the fish was quality walleye.

One of my companions ordered the Cajun Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo ($18), a bowl full of fettuccine alfredo topped with slices of cajun-spiced chicken breast.  This looked delicious, and as much as I think I might have liked it, it was very peppery and nearly too spicy for my companion to eat.

One companion ordered the Caesar Salad ($9), served with several whole leaves of romaine topped with homemade Caesar dressing, toasted croutons and freshly grated parmigiano.

One of my companions ordered the Mozzarella Chicken ($18), a large chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella cheese, then topped with marinara and more mozzarella cheese.  It was served with angelhair pasta with red sauce, and green beans.

Another companion ordered the Oriental Chicken Salad ($10).  This photo you see is actually the second salad served, as the first was below standard.  The salad which was remade looked far more appetizing and was topped with several slices of grilled chicken, served cold.  It was topped with a handful of wonton strips and served with a side of the Oriental dressing.

Another companion ordered the Pistachio Encrusted Halibut ($17).  This dish was served with green beans and choice of potato (mashed). Looked great!

Service: On this particular visit, our party of eight had reservations for 6pm on a busy Saturday evening.  The table was waiting for us when we got there and we were quickly seated.  We took our time, first ordering appetizers and cocktails, then later our entrees.  It was a very busy night and there were several other large parties at Rudy’s that night and it took an exceptionally long time (about an hour) for our entrees to be brought out to our table.  Despite the long wait, our server was apologetic and otherwise very accommodating.
Overall Impression: I have been to Rudy’s many times since they first opened in 2003 and they consistently deliver excellent food.  The food can often take longer than you would think necessary, so plan accordingly.
Rudy's Redeye Grill on Urbanspoon

Apr 282012

Cuisine: American
Restaurant Features: Patio, Wine Bar
Location: White Bear Lake, MN
Address: 2125 4th. Street, White Bear Lake, MN 55110 651-429-9600
Hours: Sun-Thurs 5-9pm  Fri-Sat 5-10pm
Links: Ursula’s Website * Ursula’s on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Ursula’s Wine Bar and Cafe is located on 4th Street in a stand-alone building right next door to the White Bear Bar, just a block west of Hwy 61.  The interior is quite small, with the bar in the middle and seating for roughly 20-30 people at the tables that surround it.  There are several sets of paintings displayed on the wall, all of which are for sale by a local artist.

The bar itself is just a few feet away from the front door and has room for about ten people to sit at.  There is also an outdoor seating area on the deck along the west side of the building.

Menu: The menu at Ursula’s changes monthly, the following is what was offered in April 2012.

Starters include Marinated Olives, Goat Cheese Gratin with Sun Dried Tomatoes, Flatbread Pizza of the Day, Tomato Basil Hummus with Warm Flatbread and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Crab Cakes, Crostini with Roasted Eggplant, Manchego and Pomodoraccio Tomatoes, Mussels, Lamb Skewers with Tzatziki, and Chef’s Selection of 3 Artisan Cheeses with Fruit and Cashews.

Soups and Salads offered are the Soup of the Day, Mixed Greens with Bacon, Tomato and Creamy Basil Dressing, and
Grilled Iceberg with Roasted Fennel and Shaved Carrot topped with Citrus Vinaigrette.

Ursula’s also offers the following Entrees: Pasta of the Day, Fish of the Day, Chicken Breast en Papillote with Carrots, Celery, Onion, Grape Tomatoes and Zucchini with Brown Rice and Lemon Dill Butter Sauce, Chili and Lime Glazed Ribs with Roasted Plantain and Spinach with Cilantro Cream, Hoisin Filet Mignon Medallions with Wasabi Mashed topped with Roasted Pistachios and Chestnuts.
Price guide: Appetizers $5-10 Entrees $16-24
What we ordered: We started with the Lamb Skewers.  The order ($9) came with three skewers that were made with ground lamb meat that was grilled to give it some char.  The skewers were served on a bed of lettuce leaves with Tzatziki sauce for dipping.  These were great! The lamb was moist and well seasoned and the Tzatziki was homemade.

We also tried the Crab Cakes, which came with two in the order ($9).  The crab cakes were also quite good, a thick patty made with sweet crab meat and blended with dill and other seasonings.  There was a pureed rep pepper sauce, as well as lettuce, served on the side.

There are only a couple of entrees to choose from and I ordered the Filet Medallions ($24).  These small, tender cuts of beef were cooked with an Asian-inspired hoisin sauce and topped with slices of roasted chestnuts.  The medallions were served with wasabi mashed potatoes that were great and tasted similar to horseradish, as well as steamed broccoli.  I thought the price was a little steep considering the portion size and the fact that it didn’t come with salad or bread.

My companion ordered the Ribs with Chili Lime Glaze ($18), served with plantains and steamed broccoli.   My companion liked this but I really didn’t care for it.  There were about four ribs in the order and to me  they tasted like they had been boiled in water until all the good natural flavors were leached out. The chili-lime glaze was good but it didn’t provide enough flavor alone, the meat had to be dipped in the cilantro cream sauce (very good!) that was drizzled on the plate.

Service: We arrived at Ursula’s on a weekday, shortly after they opened and it was already pretty busy.  We were told by the bartender to seat ourselves but there was just one table for two left.  Once we sat ourselves it took at least five minutes before we were greeted by our server, who was not the greatest.  I asked about a couple of items on the menu and quickly suspected that she might be new because she didn’t seem very knowledgeable about it.  It also took much longer than necessary to check on us and refill our tiny water glasses, mostly because the server was the only one visible in the entire place.  It took quite awhile to prepare our food as well.  We ordered our appetizers and our entrees at the same time but it took nearly 30 minutes for the entrees to come once we were finished with the first course.  We were ready to get our bill long before we were presented with it, and then the bartender ended up running our card himself, as he could see we were waiting longer than necessary for our server.
Overall Impression: The food was good but the service wasn’t so great.  I had very high expectations for Ursula’s based on recommendations and other reviews I had read, but my experience fell short.  I think the big draw at Ursula’s is the wide selection of wines, with service being secondary.  I won’t be rushing back anytime soon when there are other better comparable-priced restaurants in the area with far better service.
Ursula's Wine Bar and Cafe on Urbanspoon

Apr 222012

Cuisine: Barbeque, Ice Cream
Restaurant Features: On-Site Parking, Patio, Waterfront, Boat Delivery
Location: White Bear Lake, MN
Address: 4441 Lake Avenue South, White Bear Lake, MN 55110   651-493-6763
Hours: Closed Monday and Tuesday  * Wed-Sat  11am-9pm * Sundays 11am-5pm
Links: CG Hooks Barbeque Website * CG Hooks on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: CG Hook is located across the street from Tally’s Dockside on White Bear Lake, in a stand-alone building.  There are a couple of entrances, the front leads you from the parking lot to the ice cream counter, where there are colorful T-Shirts and a giant wooden sculpture of a pig.

The main dining area has a handful of wooden tables and chairs, as well as a sit-up bar fashioned from an old surfboard that looks out the windows.  There is a beach-like feel to the place and overall I thought it was really cute.

Menu: Appetizers include BBQ Slider, Frito Burrito Pie, Barbeque Rib Smackers, and Southern Style Barbeque Pizza.

Salads include House Salad and Hook’s Salad.  Soups offered include Smoked Chicken and Wild Rice and Soup of the Day.

CG Hooks offers a variety of sandwiches including Smoked Ham, Smoked Turkey, Smoked Club, Reuben Panini, Rachel Panini, Brisket Reuben, Raspberry Ham and Brie Panini, BLT Panini, Hot Dog, Chicago Style Dog, Miss Piggy’s Nightmare (hot dog topped with pulled pork and bacon), Grilled Cheese, and Peanut Butter and Jelly.

Barbeques Meats are where its at! Pulled Pork, Pulled Pork topped with Bacon and Swiss, Beef Brisket, Pork Ribs, and Pit Smoked Chicken.

CG Hooks also offers 16 flavors of Chocolate Shoppe Old Fashioned Ice Cream.
Price guide: Appetizers $3-14  Sandwiches $3-8 Barbeque $8-23  Ice Cream $3-5
What we ordered: CG Hooks has a handful of beers of tap, just the right beverage to cool down the spicy barbeque

For my entree I had the Beef Brisket, a moist, tender and slightly marbled beef that had fantastic flavor.  There are two types of homemade barbeque, I tried the spicier of the two.  It had great kick to it and the flavor of peppers but when I asked which peppers they were, I was told it was a secret.  Bummer that this barbeque sauce is not yet available to buy.  It was served with three sides: Moist cornbread in the shape of a fish, baked beans and Memphis style coleslaw.  The beans were homemade with a couplf of types of beans and a sweet, savory sauce with the distinct flavors of garlic and brown sugar.  Yum! The coleslaw was Memphis style, which is more vinegary and less creamy than traditional coleslaw.

One of my companions had the Full Rack of Ribs, a huge pile of very meaty, moist ribs that were smoked until the meat was practically falling off the bones.  Served with corn bread, beans and coleslaw.

Another companion had the Pulled Pork Sandwich, a big pile of tender moist pork on a fresh bun. Looked great!

Another companion had the Smoked Turkey Sandwich.  The smoked turkey had good flavor but was slightly dry.  It was served on white bread with lettuce and tomato.  This wasn’t bad, just the least exciting of all the things we ordered.

Less than a week after my first visit I went back to CG Hooks and tried the Chicago Dog.  It was everything a perfect Chicago Dog should be: all-beef hot dog with a nice skin on it, topped with tomato, pickle spear, onions, relish and mustard served on a poppy seed bun.

I also tried a small dish of old fashioned ice cream. CG Hooks uses Chocolate Shoppe ice cream and has a selection of 16 flavors at all times.  I couldn’t resist the Fat Elvis, which was banana ice cream with chunks of peanut butter and dark chocolate.  Delish!

Service: The staff at CG Hooks are very friendly.  On both of our visits we were able to get a table and order as soon as we were ready.  The food is prepared reasonably fast and staff is very friendly.  On one of our visits we met the owner who came over to chat with us and see how we liked everything.  That is always a nice gesture in my book :)
Overall Impression: CG Hooks is a hidden gem on White Bear Lake, open year round.  It is the perfect place to order your favorite barbequed meats and old fashioned ice creams.  They also offer boat delivery to Tally’s Dockside.
C.G. Hooks on Urbanspoon

Feb 202012

Cuisine: Fine Dining, Italian,
Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking, Patio, Seasonal Menu, Water-Front
Location: White Bear Lake, MN
Address: 4453 Lake Avenue South, White Bear Lake, MN 55110

Hours: Tues-Sun 4-10pm
Links: Acqua Website * Acqua on Facebook * Google Map
Atmosphere: Acqua is located on on Lake Avenue, overlooking White Bear Lake, just a block east of Hwy 61.  Making its home in a structure that was originally a house, Acqua is a small and intimate dining destination.  The lighting is dim and there is only room for a handful of tables on the lower level, but each is adorned with white tablecloths and stemware.  One of the best physical features of Acqua is the patio overlooking the lake, open during the warmer seasons.

Menu: The menu at Acqua changes seasonally.  Small Plates currently offered include Calamari, Bruschetta, Pettine e Foie Gras, Polpette (veal and pork meatball), Mitili (mussels), and Carpaccio (beef tenderloin with black truffle horseradish panna cotta).  There is also a selection of Artisan Cheeses.

Soups at Acqua include Lobster Bisque and Crema di Funghi.  Also offered are salads such as Caesar, Fried Goat Cheese with Golden Beets, Field Greens, and Baby Spinach with Apple-Pear Compote.

Entrees include Black Truffle Gnocchi, Butternut Squash Ravioli, Risotto e Pollo, Rack of Lamb, Sea Scallops, Ossobuco di Porco, Ragu alla Bolgnese, Bacon Wrapped Beef Tenderloin, Lobster Tail, Veal Chop, Crab Encrusted Certified Chilean Sea Bass, and Panko Encrusted Walleye.

Side items also offered include Brussel Sprouts, Malt Vinegar Fries, Roasted Asparagus and Black Truffle Risotto.

Acqua also has excellent, desserts such as Smoked Chocolate Souffle Cake with Marshmallow and Graham Cracker Ice Cream, Oreo Semifreddo with Peanut Butter Ganache, Butterscotch Budino with Caramel, Vanilla Crème Brulee, Almond Panna Cotta with Brandied Cherries and Dark Chocolate, and Trio of Izzy’s Ice Cream or Sorbets.

Price guide: Small Plates $9-15  Soup/Salad $8-10  Entrees $18-45 Desserts $7-8
Daily Special:

  • Daily 3 Course Tasting Menu $35
  • First Course (choice of one): Caesar Salad, Cream of Mushroom Soup, Baby Spinach, Roasted Golden Beet Salad, or Field Greens.
  • Main Course (choice of one): Braised Pork Shank, Roasted Chicken, or Panko Encrusted Walleye.
  • Dessert Course (choice of one): Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee, Trio of Izzy’s Ice Cream or Sorbets, Butterscotch Budino with Caramel, Oreo Semifreddo with Peanut Butter Ganache, Almond Panna Cotta with Brandied Cherries and Dark Chocolate, Smoked Chocolate Souffle with Marshmallow and Graham Cracker Ice Cream

What we ordered: We started with a couple of cocktails; I had the Ginger Jameson, made with real ginger and fresh lime.

My companion had the Mojito, which was very good.  The drink was both sugary and tart, the rum was pleasantly noticeable, and it contained several muddled mint leaves and freshly squeezed lime juice.  While this Mojito is good at any time of the year, I can imagine how refreshing it would be in the summer out on the patio, overlooking the lake on a hot summer day.

Mojito at Acqua Restaurant ~ White Bear Lake, MN

We were brought some bread and butter, both were pretty standard but tasty all the same.  The butter was creamy and salty and the bread was thick and crusty.

We then had an order of Calamari, which was battered and fried crispy.  The calamari were cut into wide strips and were on the verge of being chewy however the flavor and texture of the breading was very good.  It was served with a lemon thyme aioli that was both creamy and citrusy; light and refreshing.  Calamari at Acqua Restaurant ~ White Bear Lake, MN

Foie Gras is one item I will not pass up, when given the chance to eat it. The version at Acqua comes seared atop a giant Massachusetts Day Boat Sea Scallop with a  walnut-blueberry chutney and Cabernet reduction.  This variety of scallop is very meaty and tender and well-matched with the melt-in-your-mouth foie gras. The piece of foie gras was slightly thin but was cooked to a beautiful brown on both sides.  The sauce added just the right amount of sweetness and the walnuts provided a nice crunchy contrast.
Scallop and Foie Gras at Acqua Restaurant ~ White Bear Lake, MN

Scallop and Foie Gras at Acqua Restaurant ~ White Bear Lake, MN

My companion ordered the Tasting Menu, which came with the choice of one of a handful starters offered. Everything sounded good but my companion opted for the Cream of Hen-of-the-Woods Mushroom Soup.  This was the best Cream of Mushroom soup that I have had the pleasure of eating.  It was buttery, creamy, and seasoned so nicely, while having the beautiful robust flavor of roasted mushrooms.  It was drizzled with something slightly sweet and was served with Fontina Cheese Crostini. Absolutely delicious!

There were so many tempting choices for entree and our server did a great job explaining each and every one of them.  It was a very tough choice but I decided on the Branzino Crab Encrusted Certified Chilean Sea Bass.  The dish was prepared with a nice meaty slice of sea bass topped with a delicious, crispy crab mixture served on a bed of roasted red potato wedges and steamed broccolini.  The rich and creamy Chili Buerre Blanc sauce pulled the entire dish together perfectly.

My companion had a choice of three different entrees for the Tasting Menu and went with the Pork Ossobucco. You would think that the entree in a tasting menu would be on the smaller side, but this was a full size pork shank.  The port demi-glace sauce was rich and hearty and the meat extremely tender.  It was served with organic white sweet potato puree that was a nice change of pace from the traditional mashed potato.Braised Pork Shank with Port Demi-Glace and Sweet Potato Puree at Acqua Restaurant ~ White Bear lake, MN

We were beyond full at this point but since my companion had a dessert coming with the Tasting Menu, we ordered the Chocolate Souffle with Marshmallow Fluff and Graham Cracker Ice Cream. Every aspect of this dish was delicious; a gourmet spin on the traditional S’More.

Service: Weekend reservations quickly fill up at Acqua, so I wasn’t surprised that I couldn’t get a table until after 9pm with a weeks notice.  Our table was waiting for us when we got there and our server quickly introduced himself and was a real gentleman all evening.  He took his time to explain the menu to us and answered any questions we had about the dishes.  He was attentive but also very respectful of our privacy.  The courses were brought out to us with time in between so that we never felt rushed.
Overall Impression: We had heard great things about Acqua and it certainly lived up to the expectation.  The dishes and cocktails were well executed and the service was impeccable.  Highly recommend the Cream of Mushroom Soup and the Foie Gras.  The Three Course Tasting menu with many options for $35 is an excellent deal.
Acqua Restaurant and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Feb 042012

Cuisine: Bakery
Location: White Bear Lake, MN
Addresses: 2184B 4th St White Bear Lake, MN 55110 (651) 762-2900

Commercial Bakery- 1765 Buerkle Rd  White Bear Lake, MN 55110 651-779-0707
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am – 6pm * Sat 7am – 6pm * Sun. 7am – 2 pm
Links: Grandma’s Bakery Website * Grandma’s Bakery on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Grandma’s Bakery is located on 4th Street, in Downtown White Bear Lake.  This location sells freshly baked goods that are produced at the Grandma’s commercial bakery at 1765 Buerkle Rd.  It is warm and inviting and smells great from the freshly brewed coffees.

Menu: Donuts include Cake Donuts (plain, powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, chocolate iced, vanilla iced, sprinkled, peanut, buttercrunch), Glazed Old Fashioned, Chocolate Donuts (glazed, double chocolate, sprinkle, coconut, german chocolate, peanut), Raised Donuts (glazed, chocolate iced, sugar, maple iced, buttercrunch, vanilla iced sprinkled, raspberry glazed), Bismarks (powdered lemon, lemon iced, powdered jelly, raspberry iced, boston creme, and flavor of month), French Donuts, Chocolate Iced or Maple Long John, Peanut Long John, and Apple Fritter.

“Fancies” include Cinnamon Twist, Chocolate Hockey Puck, Cream Cheese Crowns, Apple Fritter, Glazed Cinnamon Roll, Maple Iced Cinnamon Roll, Caramel Roll, Cherry Flip, Apple Flip, Cinnamon Crispies and Bear Claw.

Danish include Apple, Brown Sugar Pecan, Cheese, Lemon, Raspberry, Strawberry Cream Cheese.

Muffins include Blueberry, Cranberry, Lemon Poppyseed, Banana Nut and Double Chocolate

Cookies include Chocolate Chip, M&M, Sugar, English Toffee, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal raisin, Snickerdoodle, Monster, Double Chocolate, Iced Sugar Cookies, Smile Cookies, White Bear Cookies, Jumbo Macaroon, 10″ Chocolate Chip.

Bars are sold by the pan, 8×8 or 9×13 and include Brownies, Brownies with Nuts, Snicker Brownies, M&M Brownies, Butterfinger Brownies, Apple Brown Betty, Lemon Crumb, Lemon Cream, Peanut Butter and Raspberry.

There are also Apple, Cherry, or Blueberry Turnovers and Raspberry White Chocolate Scone, Twin Berry Scone, or Cranberry Orange Nut.  Coffee Cake varieties include Bee Hive, Cinnamon Crumb, Philly Cream Cheese, Apple Fritter, Strawberry Cream Cheese.  Filled Croissant Varieties include Almond, Butter, Chocolate, and Strawberry Cream Cheese.

Fruitbread options include Banana Nut, Butter Pound Cake, Cranberry, Blueberry, Sourcream Crunch, Lemon Poppyseed.

Grandma’s also bakes fresh bread.  Varieties include White, Honey Oatmeal, Buttercrust, Cinnamon Raisin, Chunky Cinnamon, Whole Wheat, Light Rye, Dark Rye, Vienna, French, Garlic, English Muffins, Bread Bowls, Dinner Rolls, Hot Dog Buns, Hamburger Buns, Onion Buns, Wheat Buns, Steak Buns.

Bagel flavors offered are Plain, Sesame, Poppyseed, Blueberry, Crunchy Cinnamon, Cinnamon Raisin, Jalapeno Cheddar, Whole Wheat and Everything Bagel.

Grandma’s also makes Cupcakes, Sheet Cakes and Decorated Cakes.  Cake Fillings include Bavarian Cream, Raspberry, Chocolate Fudge, Strawberry, Lemon, Key Lime, and Tropical Sensation.  Mousses include French Mocha, Hazelnut, Raspberry, Strawberry, Chocolate, Caramel, Irish Cream, Peanut Butter, Mint, Strawberry Almond, Lemon and Amaretto.

What I’ve ordered:
Of all donuts, I think I love fritters the most.  The Apple Fritter at Grandma’s is over an inch thick, with a decent amount of apples and cinnamon.  The inside is soft yet dense and the outside has a slight crust and just the perfect amount of glaze.

They have a handful of  Kruller varieties at Grandma’s, I have tried the glazed.  Great, eggy texture while still being somewhat firm.

The Maple Long John with Bacon made my Food Spotlight a few months ago. This raised donut was light and airy, soft on the inside with a slightly crunchy golden crust.  The maple icing was sweet and when paired with the crispy, salty bacon crumbles, it tasted like classic breakfast with every bite ;)

I rarely eat jelly or custard-filled donuts but was intrigued when I saw the bright neon green frosting and then sold when I was told they were Key Lime.  The filling was tangy and delicious.

Another Donut Grandma’s offers is a Chocolate Cake Donut with Coconut (natural or toasted).  Very good

Service: The ladies who work at the bakery are incredibly sweet and patient, your order is prepared with care.
Overall Impression: Great place to pick up any bakery item that you could want or need.  I recommend stopping for breakfast and getting something sweet with a coffee.
Grandma's Bakery on Urbanspoon

Jan 222012

Here are my current picks for Best Ribeye based on the restaurants I have personally visited and reviewed.  I admit this list is limited but it will grow and change as necessary.   If you know of other tender, succulent ribeyes that I need to try, please leave me a recommendation in the comments of this post.  I plan to add Manny’s, Woolley’s (visited 12/31/12), Seven, St Paul Grill, Pittsburgh Blue, Capital Grille (visited  7/10/12), Kincaids and many others as soon as I have a chance.  Not all steakhouses offer ribeye steak but since it is my favorite cut, I will certainly find the ones who do!

#1 The Capital Grille ~ The Porcini Rubbed Delmonico is currently our top pick for the best ribeye in the Twin Cities.  This bone-in steak was prepared medium rare, just as requested, with a beautiful char on some of the edges.  It was juicy and tender as can be, a superior cut  aged to give it a more robust, deep flavor.

Woolley’s Steakhouse ~ The Red-Eye Ribeye ($36), which comes served over a bed of swiss chard and melted gorgonzola. This steak was amazing!!! I ordered it medium rare, and it was cooked just perfectly. When I say that this steak was tender, it could melt in your mouth. The melted gorgonzola was a wonderful accompaniment and added even more flavor. It was served with a warm cheddar ale biscuit and choice of potato. I will order this steak again every time I visit Woolley’s from now on. I might even dream about it ;)

Murray’s Restaurant ~ One bite had me declaring this the best steak of my life! The ribeye was huge; 20oz without the bone.  I ordered it medium and it was cooked just the way I like it.  I could tell that the quality of this steak was excellent, it was extremely tender and seemed to be completely gristle free.  The fat was barely noticeable except for the delicious flavor it added.  The aged beef had a robust flavor and was really well seasoned while also being served atop a small amount of au jus.  Magnificent!! Worth every penny of the $42 price tag.  It was served with choice of potato or salad.  I had baked potato which was also very good.  I have been to Murray’s a few times now and the steaks are consistently wonderful.

Porterhouse Steaks & Seafood ~ They had two size options: 18 or 24oz.   This 24oz steak was boneless and absolutely huge, a great value in comparison to other fine steak houses.  Every bite was extremely  juicy and tender.  I was happy I ordered it medium minus, it was much more red than I usually eat it, but I found that I really enjoyed it like that.  The bleu cheese that was melted on top was flavorful but not too overpowering. So good!  Another of my companions ordered this same steak and also enjoyed the extremely tender cut.

Lakeside Club  ~ They offer two sizes of Ribeye at Lakeside: 12oz & 16oz.  I usually order the 12oz Ribeye, medium temperature.  My steak was phenomenal; it was cooked perfectly and was incredibly tender and juicy.  It was only lightly seasoned with salt but the flavor of the aged meat was wonderful.  It is served with a side salad and choice of potato.  I chose the Shoestring fries

Gordy’s Steak House ~ My companion and I both ordered the 18 oz Delmonico Ribeye Steaks. My steak was a very tender cut, grilled to a perfect medium. The steaks at Gordy’s are said to be aged for 28 days; I could taste just a hint of the aged flavor. The steaks were seasoned very mildly (if at all?!), emphasis was purely on the beef. I dressed mine up with raw horseradish and my companion ordered a side of bearnnaise. Unfortunately my companion’s cut of ribeye was not nearly as tender as mine, unsure of consistency since I have only visited there one time.

Watch this list change and grow as we try more ribeye ;)

Jan 212012

Cuisine: Bakery
Location: White Bear Lake, MN
Address: 1640 County Rd E E   St Paul, MN 55110
Links: Donuts Deluxe on FacebookGoogle Map

Atmosphere: Donuts Deluxe is located in a strip mall on County Rd E (just east of Hwy 61) in White Bear Lake.  The front of the space looks like someone had once tried to spruce it up a little and offer a cute little eating area and a coffee station adjacent to the bakery case. Despite this effort,  there isn’t a wall dividing the front from the back so you can see stainless steel bakery equipment and everything else that is going on in the back of the shop.  That seemed a little strange to me but I do know that Donuts Deluxe produces a ton of donuts every day that they supply many convenience stores with so maybe the front was just an after thought??

Menu:  There was a big menu board displayed above the coffee station that advertised donuts and muffins, but there weren’t any muffins available on the day of my visit.

The Donut selection included Old Fashioned, Bismarks, Apple Fritter, Cinnamon Pinwheels, Long Johns, Glazed Raised Donuts, etc.

What we ordered: My companions and I picked up a box of Assorted Donuts to try including the Fried Cinnamon, Long John, Bismarks filled with cherry and lemon jelly, Old Fashioned, and Bear Claw.

I had the Apple Fritter, which has always been one of my faves.  This one was wonderful! It was actually somewhat crispy on the outside but the inside was soft and filled with many big pieces of apple.  I loved the contrast in textures.  The dough of this fritter was spread out so it was less fluffy than most apple fritters but it was very big and very filling.  It was glazed with the perfect amount of sweetness. Donuts go great with coffee, don’t they? I snapped this pic with my iPhone ;)

Bear Claw

Overall Impression: Donuts Deluxe has a handful of common donut varieties and they are all very good and made fresh daily.  The selection wasn’t impressive but I was perfectly content with my apple fritter.
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