SerenTori: Laotian, Vietnamese, Thai and More

I was by myself the other day when I stopped in for lunch at SerenTori restaurant, 5748 34th Ave., Minneapolis, so I could only try one dish, which made it kind of a tough choice. The $6.95 lunch specials didn’t sound that appealing – they’re mostly Chinese take-out classics like Sesame Chicken, Egg Foo Young, […]

Pizza Farm

About 50 years ago, the BBC broadcast an April Fools report about the annual spaghetti harvest in Switzerland, and got hundreds of inquiries from viewers who wanted to know where they could buy their own spaghetti trees. Really. So just to be clear on this – the pizzas at the Pizza Farm, (real name: A […]

The Favor Cafe: Miami Vice to Southern Fried

It’s a scene enough to bring tears to a restaurant owner’s eyes. As we dined Friday night at the new Favor Café (the former Restaurant Miami), 913 W. Lake St., one party after another walked in the door – mostly young women dressed for a night of partying. Some of them sat down at tables, […]

White Bear Thai, Fun Times at Victor's, Wine Classes at Dancing Ganesha

Notes From the (e) Mailbag: Subject: Ban Thai. "I went to the most wonderful Thai restaurant in White Bear Lake last night," wrote Julia Barton recently. "I live in White Bear Lake and I found out it’s been open and I’d never even heard of the place. I talked to the waiter/husband of the chef/owner […]

Naked Bones at the Brickhouse BBQ

As I get older and balder, I have come to appreciate the t-shirt legend that proclaims, "Only a few heads are perfect – the rest are covered with hair." Something similar is true of barbecued ribs – the best way to serve mediocre ribs is smothered in sauce – but to serve ribs naked, they […]

Outdoor Dining: Old Favorites, New Finds

My how time flies. It is almost August, the days are getting shorter, and the evenings of patio dining will soon be a distant memory. I still haven’t made it back to my all-time favorite outdoor dining spot, the patio at the Black Forest Inn, for a mug of Pilsner Urquell, a pair of bratwurst […]

Gandhi Mahal – In Pictures

The first time I visited Gandhi Mahal, the new Indian restaurant at 27th and E. Lake St., was before it was actually open for business. I introduced myself to the owner, which seemed like the right thing to do at the time, since I wasn’t reviewing the place, and I wanted to ask a lot […]

The Naschmarkt: Vienna's Outdoor Market

"Probieren Sie mal, Herr Professor," says the guy behind the counter at the market stall, as he holds out a freshly fried felafel ball. "Have a taste." (I guess the beard and glasses make me look like a Herr Professor.) A few feet away, another vendor holds out a green olive on a toothpick. Strolling […]

Vienna: A lot more than just Wienerschnitzel

Zum Alten Fassl, a typical Viennese tavern-restaurant. Image from Zum Alten Fassl website. Greetings from Vienna, one of the great food cities of the world. Americans may lump Austrian cuisine together with German cooking, but Vienna has its own distinctive cuisine, and it’s a lot better and more interesting than German cooking. In part, this […]

Gastronomy in Germany? Ja, Sicher!

photo: diners in Bad Lauterberg listen to the bawdy stories of Fra Davolo Goettingen, Germany. Most people don’t come to this German university town in search of great cuisine, and I didn’t either. I came because my father is recovering from quintuple bypass surgery at a clinic near here. Everything you have heard about prices […]