Boca Chica restaurant, St. Paul, MN

Recently we dined at this great restaurant just over the river from downtown St. Paul.  One of our favorites as we always have a great meal and leave satisfied.  We started off with some margaritas.

Next was the soup and then our entrees. We both had their delicious tomato soup with what looks like small pieces of spaghetti and fresh cilantro on top, oh yum.  Hubby had the tamales, their grandmother’s family recipe described like this “Two fresh tamales filled with your choice of pork seasoned with chile ancho sauce or chicken seasoned with salsa verde, then wrapped in a plantain leaf and steamed to perfection. Served with chile gravy and sopa.”   I had Los Dos Amigos: “Two handmade thick corn tortillas topped with refried beans, green chile sauce, onions, queso fresco and cilantro. Served with sopa and any one enchilada.” Hubby ate both his tamales and I took home most of his beans and rice and had them with the other half of the two amigos the next day for lunch.  Yum!!

The walls of the restaurant are decorated with interesting murals and we sat by the fireplace this time which was nice on a cold, winter evening.

If you’re in the twin cities you really should have a meal here. I’m pretty sure you will leave happy.

Boca Chica
11 Cesar Chavez Street
St. Paul, MN 55107
651- 222-8499

Boca Chica Restaurante on Urbanspoon

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Rule of Thirds

I have no idea how I do it but hubby always tells me that I capture the rule of thirds many times.  So, here is one of my favorites from the lake.  Please visit the link for more great entries this week and enjoy!!

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Stella’s Fish Cafe – Minneapolis, MN

Hubby’s favorite place to eat in the twin cities.  And it is very fine.  Every time we go, it’s another great experience. And so it was again last weekend.  Hubby loves oysters and this place does them well, apparently.  I am not a fan of this seafood.  I do love their peel and eat shrimp and the champagne mussels however.  So we got those and hubby had his oysters.  I also had their beet and pear salad which is light and refreshing.

If you’re a fan of oysters, this is the place to get them. Hubby leaves happy every time.

Stella’s Fish Cafe & Prestige Oyster Bar
1400 West Lake Street
Uptown Minneapolis, MN 55408
612-824-8862

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my third blogoversary redux

How could this be a redux you say? Well, I am having technical difficulty with the one I started so I am going to do something different and hope this works better.

For my last two blogoversaries I created posts with a recap of some favorites over the past year including some photos.  I was having trouble inserting text after posting a photo. Instead I am going to link all the favorites first, then you can have a photo tour in the form of a gallery. That seems to work well lately so I’m going with it!  Thanks to all my followers once again.  Here’s to another year of blogging fun!!

To start, here is a restaurant review from W.A. Frost where we dined for our 23rd anniversary. Next, some weekly photo challenges that were popular with fellow bloggers: Weekly Photo Challenge – Inside,  Weekly Photo Challenge – letters and Weekly Photo Challenge – Spring.

Early last spring I did a review of Babani’s Kurdish Restaurant.  Oh yum!!  In walks with my sister, there are some fun reflection photos.

Last summer, I went to Chicago for my aunt’s 95th birthday party.  It was a blast!  I also collected photos of sunsets at the lake.  While working downtown Minneapolis last year I was able to take walks around and through Gold Medal Park. And that included walking by the 35W Bridge Remembrance Garden and Memorial, a lovely memorial to those that died the day the 35W bridge collapsed. I work in a building that is right next to the rebuilt bridge.

Another collection of photo challenges that were popular with viewers from last fall:  Weekly Photo Challenge – silhouette, Weekly Photo Challenge – signsWeekly Photo Challenge – minimalistWeekly Photo Challenge – yellow and Weekly Photo Challenge – serenity.

To round it out, a summer blooms post and the Minnesota State Fair.  I have two holiday posts, one about our unusual Thanksgiving last year and another celebrating Hanukah.  One last one on our brief, but “full” visit to the Walker Art Center. Hubby always says his eyes are “full” when it’s time to leave the museum and take a break from absorbing all that stimuli.

As promised, what follows is a gallery of some of the favorite photos contained in some of favorite blog posts of the year.  Enjoy!!

 

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Winter visit to the conservatory 2015

Each winter we try to make at least one trip to our beloved conservatory that is just down the street a piece.  It’s the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, formerly known as the Como Conservatory and it’s located in Como Park in St. Paul, MN.  If you’d like to checkout my posts from the last two years’ visits, you can find them here and here.

This year’s visit was perfectly timed in that the temp was 12 when we left the house.  It’s a bit windy today so the wind that blew in our faces as we ran to the entrance probably made it feel like 5.  BRRRR!!! We felt much better in the warmth of the conservatory and then waited a few minutes for our glasses to defog.

As usual, we saw many beautiful flowers and plants.  I also see something new each time I visit.  For example,  I had never seen the “hairy” bark of a palm tree before.  There’s a photo of it in the mix below.  I hope you’ll enjoy today’s visit with me while I show you what I saw.

We started in the sunken garden where it’s already spring.

No visit is complete without seeing the fern room.

Then of course there are the lovely orchids that are found throughout the different rooms.  They are so beautiful.  Which is your favorite orchid?

We always enjoy the bonsai room:

And then a mish mosh of other photos:

 

 

 

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so…….I’m going back to Spain

We are planning to take a two week trip to Spain during spring break next year.  EEK! It’s NEXT year already!! Wow, how the time it does fly.  And I thought I’d create a blog post just for it.  It’s good to have a rough agenda of at least where you’ll be and to have hotels booked.  We will be staying in only three cities this time, Barcelona, Madrid and Málaga, which will allow us a few day trips. This differs from our last two week adventure 5 years ago when we stayed in too many cities.  Oh, it was a fabulous trip, but it was a bit too much travelling between cities.

We know the hotels we’d like to stay at in Madrid and Málaga but we haven’t yet chosen our hotel for Barcelona.  Perhaps there are other travelers out there that could give a recommendation?  Either way, here are two that really interest me.  We need a hotel that is close to a metro, not on the Ramblas but a short walk to it would be great. It should be able to accommodate three people.  Both of these hotels meet those criteria.

First is Villa Emilia.  It’s #23 out of 516 hotels in Barcelona and it gets rave reviews on TripAdvisor.  Here is the hotel’s website.

Next is Condes de Barcelona which is #96 out of 516 hotels, also gets rave reviews on TripAdvisor.  Hotel Condes de Barcelona’s website.

We will take a flight from Minneapolis and fly through Amsterdam both directions.  After our Paris fiasco, we are hesitant to ever fly through Charles De Gaulle again. One day I might write a blog post about it.   But I digress.

We’ll get to Barcelona on a Saturday and I’m really hoping we don’t miss the sardana at the catedral on Sunday at noon.  Or perhaps we should take a flight out on Thursday so that in case we have jet lag we won’t sleep through the sardana like we did 5 years ago. That’s a possibility.

Here is our rough itinerary as it is right now.

Day 1 (F) – fly to Amsterdam

Day 2 (Sa) –  arrive in Barcelona

Day 3 (Su) – Barcelona- try to see the Sardana at noon in front of the catedral; Picasso museum in the afternoon. (Check website for the Picasso museum to see if it’s still free on Sundays and adjust accordingly)

Day 4 (M) – Barcelona-Gaudi day? (Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila, Casa Batlo, La Pedrera)

Day 5 (Tu) – Barcelona- do leftover Gaudi stuff we didn’t get to yesterday because, really, that’s a lot! We’d also like to reserve at least one restaurant for a fabulous meal.  I have a few places bookmarked but nothing picked out as of yet.  Any recommendations?

Day 6 (W) – to Madrid

Day 7 (Th) – Madrid – day trip to Segovia(weekly flea market on Th from 8 to 3); make reservations at Meson de Candido? (open 1-4:30) or Restaurante Jose Maria? (TA reviewer said lamb is great)

Day 8 (F) – Madrid

Day 9 (Sa) – Madrid – day trip to Toledo (meet ladyofthecakes!! I hope)

Day 10 (Su) – Madrid – Rastro, Retiro, Reina Sofia is free from 1:30 to 7:00 (El Brillante afterwards)

Day 11 (M) – Madrid

Day 12(Tu) – to Málaga (take early to mid afternoon train)

Day 13 (W) – Málaga

Day 14 (Th) – Málaga – day trip to Cordoba

Day 15 (F) – Málaga

Day 16 (Sa) – Málaga

Day 17 (Su) – fly home

There are some things that I want to get done ahead of time.  Plane tickets are obvious, but I also want to book hotels and purchase train tickets.  There is a post on TipAdvisor that describes how to purchase Renfe train tickets online.  It’s very helpful and I’ll be perusing it once again towards the end of this year to freshen up on how it works. There are updates all the time to this post and it’s a great tool. One other thing I need to make reservations for are some restaurants where we’d like to dine.  One for sure is Posada de la Villa, which is a favorite of ours.  As you can see above, I would also like to reserve a spot at a restaurant in Segovia.

So many little things go into planning a trip.  I will be refining this as it gets closer to our departure and this is what I’ve got today just 13.5 months prior to departure.  But who’s counting?? Ha ha.  I’d love any comments and suggestions for any piece of this trip.  Thanks so much!! I’m going to close with some photos of the places we’ll be visiting next year.  NEXT year!!!  Yay!

La mezquita, Córdoba:

La mezquita, Córdoba, Spain

It will be fun to see the progress of Sagrada Familia, Barcelona:

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

One of my favorite cities in the world and this is a treasured spot – Plaza Mayor – Madrid:

Plaza Mayor - Madrid

One of my other favorite cities in the world, Toledo:

And, one last one.  Teatro Romano, Málaga:

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Express Yourself

I might have to contain my excitement with this week’s theme as I have many photos that fit.  How’s that for expressing myself huh?

The first one that came to mind is this one of my first mother’s day.  Miss M sure had some attitude going here.  And you can tell how much I adore my little girl:

first mother's day 2000

Fritz, brand new. What a face!

Miss M drew this in the sand at Venice beach CA to express how much she loved L.A.:

My brother-in-law snapped this one of my sister and me in Chicago last summer. I don’t recall what was funny but we sure were having fun!

nina,toby,laughing in Lombard IL

One last one of my boys anxiously awaiting Thanksgiving dinner:

please, can I have some turkey?

please, can I have some turkey?

 

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