Tag Archives: St. Paul

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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Filed under Food, Minnesota, Restaurant reviews

Homi – Restaurante Mexicano, St. Paul, MN

If you’re in St. Paul you must try Homi.  Real. Mexican. Food.  And, let me tell you, it’s fabulous!!  We’ve been going by this place for a while and finally decided to try it tonight.  We’re so glad we did, we are definitely going back.

It’s a tiny place and parking is problematic so Homi put a nice, big sign in his window: “parking in back”. And there was!  I forgot to take a photo of the front.  If you’re taking the green line you’ll go in the front door (not pictured).

Homi's back entrance

We sat down and started with their homemade guacamole.  Oh my goodness. Delish!!  He leaves the pit in the dish and I thought that was a nice touch.  It is made fresh, as is everything at Homi.  They have a sign explaining that there is a bit of a wait because everything is made from scratch.  It’s definitely worth the wait.

fresh guacamole

I had the chiles rellenos.  These might be the best chiles rellenos that I’ve ever had.  The sauce was to die for.  It came with rice and beans. We also got fresh and warm corn tortillas (rice, beans and tortillas not pictured).

Hubby had the tamales, equally delicious. I tasted it, yum!

tamales

They’re right on the green line and easy for downtown worker bees to have lunch.  They are also on this list of some other great places to eat in St. Paul, Lunch along the Green Line.

Their portions are large, so bring your appetite. Or bring home the rest and have it for lunch the next day.  Do try this great Mexican restaurant when you’re in St. Paul.  I’m sure you will leave happy.

Homi Restaurant
864 University Avenue
St. Paul, MN
651-222-0655
Homi Mexican on Urbanspoon

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Babani’s Kurdish Restaurant – St. Paul, MN

“There was, there wasn’t . . . In a land far away – a great and mighty Kurdish tribe called the Babanis. The Babani men were known throughout the land for their patriotic sentiments, their fierce fighting habits and their sexual prowess.  In contrast, the women were said to be kind, forgiving, hardworking and excellent cooks. In this respect the men and women were well suited for one another. And so as one may imagine the tribe flourished spreading children throughtout Kurdistan. In more recent years, the great leaders of this mighty empire could not contain the curiosity of young men whose desires to explore the treasures of exotic lands were insatiable. In keeping with their Babani male tradition, this especially applied to the wonders of women. So many as we say here in Minnesota, “took to the trials”. One exceptionally brave and handsome young man;

Jamal, son of Abdul Karim, Mohammed, Qadir, Gafur Fuad, was the first to leave his tribe. He made his way to the Americas where one day he heard some interesting news on the radio. The reporter was saying, “In Minnesota the women are strong, blond and beautiful . . . their children are far above average.” He needed no more cajoling (for he felt the news was directed at him) before he found himself among this mysteriously mild yet unsparing culture. And as he had hoped he soon met Gail, a most beautiful young blond maiden. Much to his delight he realized that she had many of the qualities of the women of his great Babani tribe. Still, he was unsuccessful in convincing his parents of this face. And Gail’s parents, Barb and Ed, were unimpressed by Jamal’s tribal ancestry. In spite of the many protests Gail and Jamal were soon to marry . . . And this is how the first Kurdish restaurant came to be in Minnesota . . . The End”

The story above is what you find on the front of Babani’s menu as well as their About page on their website.  I thought it was such a nice story that I had to share it with my review of this outstanding restaurant in St. Paul.  My friend at work (now my former job) asked me if I’d be interested in eating there and I’m always up for new food adventures so I said “Sure!” And we headed out into the cold with our boots and parkas on and made our way north and west to this small, charming place that is not attached to a skyway. A pleasant young man waits on the tables and he too is very charming.  That time we both had Chicken TawaChicken sauteed in lemon and other spices then baked in layers of potato, green pepper, onion, and dried limes.  Served with basmati rice.  The chicken was so moist and tender, it melted in your mouth and was heavenly.  We also split an order of baklava.  Oh my, yum!!

We went back to celebrate my new job. We chose other items from the menu and this time I took pictures.  We started with an appetizer called Bajan ReshkDeep fried eggplant covered with Jajic, cucumber, olives, tomatoes, lemon.  Served with bread.  Again, very delicious.

For lunch, my friend chose Kubay Brinj: this rice “dumpling” is filled with lean ground beef, special spices, olive oil and parsley, then quick fried to a crisp brown shell.  She enjoyed it immensely. I’m getting the impression that anything you choose on the menu is very good as she’s had 4 or 5 of the dishes from the lunch menu so far and sne’s enjoyed them all.  I had Bakla: Kurdish saute of mushrooms, broccoli, zucchini and onion in olive oil with pepper and other seasoning. Served with basmati rice.  It was really good albeit a little spicy, but not enough to make me stop eating it :) You have a choice of side dish and we both had the tabouli.  I used my friend’s photos, I liked them better:

I thought I could not eat another bite…..until my friend suggested the baklava again.  Such a sweet and nutty treat and something one should really have here.  It’s served warm and I had never eaten it this way.  But I gotta tell you: it’s the bomb!!   We were so anxious to eat it that I forgot to take a photo!  Until the last bite:

the last of the baklava

the last of the baklava

Other photos:

I highly recommend this charming downtown restaurant.  It’s cozy with friendly and quick service.  Do make a point of eating here, I’m pretty sure you’ll go away happy.

Babani’s Kurdish Restaurant
544 St. Peter St.
St. Paul, MN. 55402
651-602-9964
contact@babanis.com

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W.A. Frost & Company, St. Paul, MN – an anniversary restaurant review

It’s been a few years since we celebrated our anniversary at W.A. Frost.  It’s always a great experience so we decided to go back again this year.  It was a fabulous experience!  Come with me while I walk through our evening last night.

We always like to start the evening in the bar adjacent to the restaurant.  It’s full of character and the bartenders are great. We started with gin gimlets.  We ordered the Steamed Blue Mussels which are described thusly: coconut-green curry broth, cilantro, celery, Fresno chilies, grilled sourdough. They were excellent!  And hubby had their trio of Pacific Coast Oysters and enjoyed them.

We then took our seats by the fireplace.  I always love to sit by the fireplace.  While it was a relatively warm winter day here in the twin cities, it’s always nice to sit by a warm fire.  Here are two views from our table, one with the fire, one without:

Hubby decided that he really wanted the Chef’s Featured Charcuterie as he liked the way the bartender described it.  It was head cheese accompanied by veggies and some secret sauce that he really enjoyed.  He loved it!! Me, not so much.

As most fine restaurants do, W.A. Frost has their menu on the web and I had already decided that I was going to have their duck.  But just days before the menu had changed and the duck was no longer an option.  But I know their quality is always great so I kept an open mind and decided on the Truffle and Goat Cheese Risotto which is described: “beet marmalade, sunflower sprouts, pistachios, saba” and it was wonderful!  I also had their Roasted Mushrooms on the side which were also delicious.  Hubby had the Braised Pork Cheeks:  “celery root purée, sauteed rapini, curry-apple relish”.  He looked like he was in heaven it was so delicious.

Truffle and Goat Cheese Risotto

Truffle and Goat Cheese Risotto

Braised Pork Cheeks

Braised Pork Cheeks

It was another fabulous anniversary spent at one of the finest restaurants in St. Paul.  I highly recommend W.A. Frost to anyone that enjoys a fine dining experience.  The food is always excellent and the wait staff is superb.  You won’t be disappointed!

W.A. Frost & Company
374 Selby Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55102
651-224-5715

W.A. Frost & Company on Urbanspoon

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My second blogoversary

How time flies when you’re having fun!  Last year I had fun creating a summary of some of my favorite posts during my first year of blogging.  Check them out at the link if you are so inclined.  I thought I’d do the same thing this year as well.  So, sit back and enjoy a snapshot of my second year of blogging.

I love the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.  Last February we paid a visit and I documented it.  There are so many great works of art there it’s hard to choose just one photo so I’m choosing two :)

I write restaurant reviews from time to time and here’s one I especially like, both the restaurant and the post.  It was our first visit to Hell’s Kitchen and we really need to go back again!

I take part in several challenges, so here’s one of my favorites that was fairly popular.  It was a dual challenge post for both the weekly photo challenge and the CBBH challenge.  And the Chihuly ceiling and red velvet cake garnered the most comments so here they are again:

I did some posts from downtown St. Paul.  The skyways of St. Paul.  I like this photo from that post:

When the weather was nicer I took some outdoor photos downtown.  Here is Downtown St. Paul on the outside.  The Peanuts sculptures were quite a hit with readers so here is one of those:

in downtown St. Paul

in downtown St. Paul

This was a fun post to snap photos for, Downtown St. Paul – the old and the new.

And who can forget the mighty storm that was the start of our summer last year? The same storm that knocked out power to 250,000 of us in the twin cities.  I created a post about it to document our fun weekend without power :) The appropriately titled “another interesting weekend in the great white north”.  We got creative and had bacon and eggs, cooked on our Coleman stove on the back step:

When life hands you lemons, you make vodka and tonics to get you through a weekend without power :)

Moving on through the summer I created a short post with the lovely iris from my garden:

Another photo challenge that was fairly popular was the one entitled Pink and this gorgeous pink bloom was part of that post:

I had a lot of fun creating this post on how to make paella and here is the end result, yum!

And then a few more photo challenges that were popular.  Good morning, Unexpected and Family and a couple photos from these.  My daughter’s clever apology:

And one from my family post.  My mother’s family from 1939:

Leidermans 1939I also created a post about my favorite holiday Thanksgiving and one at Christmas time about my silly cat Fritz. Here’s Fritz enjoying Christmas presents:

Fritz loves Christmas

Fritz loves Christmas

One other post I created contained many photos of my cats and it was fun to put together.  And to round out the year I will end with our recent visit to a small art gallery on the University of Minnesota campus that we really enjoyed.  Here’s a sample of the art there:

Once again, thank you to all of my followers.  And to the bloggers that I follow as well where I get a lot of inspiration.  You’re all fabulous! Here’s to another great year of blogging!

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Marjorie McNeely Conservatory – Como Park, St. Paul, MN

One of our favorite activities during the winter months is to visit the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in Como Park. It’s a ten minute drive from our house and provides a nice refuge from the frigid weather.  And boy howdy, have we ever had frigid weather this year! Not to mention the piles of snow we’ve accumulated.  Here’s a good view of that snow with the conservatory in the background:

This year I focused more on the blooms.  Last year I documented many of the plants that are contained within the conservatory.  If you’re interested, check out that post by clicking here.  We managed to strike it rich in terms of seeing beautiful orchids. The winter carnival is happening right now and there was an orchid contest and the winners were displayed in one of the rooms.  I also noticed that there were many more orchids blooming this year than last year.  Last year we visited the equivalent of about 3 weeks ago.  What a difference 3 weeks makes!

I did snap some photos of lovely greenery too:

A collection of some other things blooming:

The sunken gardens where many couples get married:

And here’s a photo from hubby’s camera, the photographer at work ;)

This was quite the scene with the sloth named Chloe and the lone sun bittern.  There was a volunteer who just told us how the bittern loves to torment the sloth to gain control of this tree.  Another volunteer watched with us while the sloth moved away from the bittern.  He said he’d never seen that sloth move so fast! It seem the bittern won this round:

I’m thinking the bonsai room was either closed last year or we missed it.  There’s a nice display of a few bonsai plants but it wasn’t a good day to take photos in there.  It was too bright.  But I did get one of an olive tree and then a view of the room:

Finally, a study of amaryllis. I liked hubby’s photo a little better than mine so he let me display it here.

I’m participating in my friend Marianne’s new photo challenge “one trip every month”.  Do check out other trips at the link to her blog and enjoy!!

one trip every month

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Weekly Photo Challenge – One Shot, Two Ways

I love the Peanuts character statues all over downtown St. Paul and here’s a pair of the same statue.  For more entries in this week’s challenge, click here.

Oh heck, here’s one more.  They’re so cute!!

I took photos of other Peanuts character statues recently. Do check them out here.

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