Thursday, September 26, 2013

World Street Kitchen - truck and restaurant revisited

I have a couple more recently revisited items to share. Apparently I’ve been eating at WSK a lot in the last week or two. It is so good, I can’t stay away! I wish we lived closer!

John and I went to the restaurant one weeknight for dinner. It was not busy at all, though it was pretty early in the evening. He had the burrito again, but I tried something new, the MFC biscuit sandwich. This sandwich is amazing! It is what they call Moroccan fried chicken with carrot/preserved lemon salad and spicy feta spread on a cheddar scallion biscuit. The biscuit reminds me of the Red Lobster cheddar biscuits. However, this biscuit is a bit sturdier to hold the chicken and other contents. I also think WSK should fry up whole chickens, because the breading on this chicken breast was outstanding. It was light, but very crispy and flaky and there was a hint of spice as well. The chicken was very juicy too. The carrot and preserved lemon salad gave the sandwich a tart and cooling after bite and the spicy feta was indeed spicy, but it was not overpowering with the chicken and the bread. The sandwich did not look that large, but I was full when I was finished.

MFC biscuit sandwich

I stopped at the WSK food truck this week as well. I saw on twitter they had a steak sandwich on special, so I had to try it. The so-called twenty dollar steak sandwich has shaved rib eye, caramelized onions and truffled taleggio fondue on a toasted baguette. The meat was well done, but not at all overdone or chewy. The cheese over the top was divine. Very rich and flavorful. All for $12. It was a very large and filling sandwich. I would order this again!

World Street Kitchen
2743 Lyndale Ave. S  #5,
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 424-8855
Twitter: @eatwsk1

Monday, September 23, 2013

Raku Sushi - revisited

We went back to Raku sushi again as they had another Groupon deal. It is hard to resist those when you know it is good food and a good deal. 

John had the megu sashimi roll with no rice, spicy tuna, asparagus, yellowtail inside, wrapped with soybean paper, topped with salmon, eel, avocado, caviar and crunch, served with special spicy sauce.

I had the snow thrill roll with tuna, salmon, yellowtail and avocado inside, topped with crunch flakes, served with spicy mayo and eel sauce.

The service was just fine again on this visit. 

Deals and Discounts: Groupon had a deal back in just recently for $15 for a $30 certificate, which we jumped on. When we arrived I also noticed they had signs for a variety of happy hour specials as well. I would call or visit their website for the current happy hour deals, as I am sure the offerings can change frequently. 

Here is the link to our last visit:

Raku Sushi and Lounge5371 W 16th StSt Louis Park, MN 55416(952) 378-1803

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Rusty Taco truck

I was in the mood for some fish tacos the other day so I went to see if any of the food trucks had fish tacos available. I ended up trying the Rusty Taco truck.

I ordered a fish taco and a shrimp taco.  The fish taco had a light breading, with chipotle creama, red cabbage and cilantro. The shrimp taco also had a light breading with a spicy baja sauce, cabbage and cilantro. Both tacos were good, though I think I liked the shrimp taco better as the sauce had more flavor and spice.  I thought both tacos were quite good,  but I was disappointed the tacos did not come with any chips or salsa. I guess there is an extra charge for chips. As a result I did not think the tacos were a very good value. For two tacos the price was $7, which seems a bit steep to me with no chips.

Rusty Taco
Twitter: @rustytacomn

Monday, September 16, 2013

Falafel King food truck

At the recommendation of a co-worker I visited the Falafel King food truck recently to try the gyro falafel combo. The combo includes gyro meat, vegetables, yogurt sauce and pitas as well as some hummus and a couple falafels. I really liked the falafels and the garlic flavored sauce on them. The falafel was crisp, but the sauce is what really made them great—very creamy with more than a touch of garlic. The gyro meat was ok, but it seemed a bit soft and mushy. I prefer it when the meat is a bit crunchy on one side from the rotisserie the meat cooks on. The hummus was good, nothing wrong with it. It was a nice side item to have though. The pitas were warmed up and several were included in the bag.

I believe the combo cost was $9.00 and it seemed like a good value for the price as this was a lot of food. It was more food than I could eat anyway!

Falafel King truck
Twitter: @FalafelKingMN
Usually found on Marquette Ave in Minneapolis

Friday, September 6, 2013

Topolo Tacos truck

I think I have been neglecting the food trucks in Minneapolis this summer. I had better get back out there before they are gone!

I tried the newer Topolo Tacos truck the other day since I was in the mood for tacos. I think this truck has been out on the streets since June.

I had the carne asada tacos and they were quite good. I liked the fact that the tacos came with a side of chips and salsa. A selection of salsas are available to try as well. The green one was tomatillo based and the red one was pretty spicy, but not overly so.  These are authentic Mexican style tacos, so don’t expect lettuce or cheddar cheese on them. My tacos has some cilantro, radishes and crumbled Mexican cheese on them. Overall, I liked the Topolo tacos and I’ve like to go back and try a few other menu items like the elotes and other types of meat fillings for tacos.

The truck is very bright and colorful.

Note: The website only provides an image and a phone number. No menu or twitter information. The truck can usually be found on Marquette Avenue in downtown Minneapolis around lunch time.

Topolo Tacos

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Las Vegas Trip Report - August 9-13, 2013 - The one with Ke$ha

Ok it is time to get the trip report finished. I have been procrastinating long enough! I will try to keep this concise, but I’m really bad at that. So it will probably be long.

So this is the one with Ke$ha because we heard her terrible, stupid songs every single place we went on this trip. Sometimes a trip is like that, where you recall the song or songs as much as the actual trip. Maybe her songs are so terrible they are just more noticeable, whatever the cause, it simply is what it is.

This also turned out to be one of those trips where I forgot to take a lot of photos. I was enjoying the moment you see. And I just forgot. And this was a bit of a last minute trip. We wanted to go in June, but the flight prices were too high and I was waiting for some points to post, and I can't take off work in July, so we ended up going in August. So we were very happy we were able to add in one more trip this year.

We left MSP after the longest day ever at work on Friday, August 9th. We arrived at the airport in plenty of time and ate at the noodle/sushi pace at the airport again, called Shoyu. I forgot to take photos of that, but I think I had the tuna burger again and I think John had a hamburger. The place costs an arm and a leg, but the food is good for airport food. Our flight was on time and very full. I believe we both traveled on some sort of award ticket. John used Delta miles for his flight and I used Flexperks miles for my flight. Why pay for flights, right?

We arrived in LAS around 9pm and grabbed our bags and headed to the Golden Nugget downtown. The taxi line was very short and traffic was not bad at all. There was no line at the Golden Nugget front desk either and we were once more upgraded to the Gold Tower from the Carson Tower due to our Landry’s card. This card has turned out to be a great deal with two upgrades so far. The room had no view whatsoever. The window looked out to a wall, but I decided that was OK since it would stay dark in the room in the morning. I think we had to pay the Golden Nugget’s new $5 Fremont Experience fee. We got a sheet of coupons, but none of them were all that great in my opinion. It is just a resort fee in disguise and resort fees are stupid if you ask me.

 This paper is valued at $5 apparently. 
After dropping our bags in the room and freshening up a bit, we headed down to the Golden  Nugget casino for a couple drinks at the Rush Lounge. Don’t you just love that feeling of excitement and anticipation when you first arrive in Las Vegas? I tried to relax a bit, but could not. They are expanding the Rush lounge it looks like as there were construction barriers off to the left side of the lounge. There was also construction outside the western entrance to the Golden Nugget and the eastern entrance of the Golden Gate. The Golden Gate is adding a new bar and a new entrance. It was rather crowded and tough to get around in those areas when a band was playing on Fremont Street. It still seems crowded in areas where the landing towers for Slotzilla are being built on Fremont even though the construction fencing has mostly been removed. Slotzilla might be neat, but it is terrible for traffic flow on Fremont and I doubt this will improve much when it is finally opened.

Anyway, after drinks, we went to the Golden Gate to play some blackjack. I believe John had a very good night and I did not do too well. We went down to the D to check things out and played Sigma Derby for awhile. We thought about playing black jack, but all of the tables were at least $10 limits. So we decided to go to Walgreens and get some bottled waters and go to bed. I think it was around 2am anyway. Considering I was up at 7am for work and it was 4am at home, I’m going to call that a good day.

Saturday we managed to sleep in a bit and we decided to go to Magnolia’s for breakfast. I forgot to take photos, but it was good as always. I think I used a buy one get one ACG coupon as well. After breakfast we sat by the pool for awhile. Luckily I managed to score chairs in the shade or I would have melted. It was pretty hot, but not bad in the shade. I had tried to save a pool chair as we left for breakfast, but the stuff was gone by the time we came back. Maybe they are not allowing people to save chairs anymore?

After a couple hours, I decided to shower up and head over to the North Premium outlet mall and check things out. I found a new purse at the Coach store, but did not buy much else. After the outlet mall, I met John over at Main Street where he was playing blackjack. I decided to play some video poker at the Boar’s Head bar. It was pretty uneventful, though I did get one four of a kind and a scratch ticket to go with it in which I won a whopping $2. After some time, we decided to play a few slots here and there. I think we played some Wizard of Oz slot at the Cal for a bit and then we used and ACG coupon at the Vegas Club and the Plaza as well.

It was nearing dinner time, so we decided to head over to La Comida. I’ve been looking forward to this a lot and it did not disappoint.

exterior view
We stared with free chips and salsa. Great chips too!
Prickly pear margarita for me and a drink called Verano de Jalisco for John.
John had the camaron maya which were shrimp tacos with cabbage and mango.
Both came with a side of beans and rice. The refried beans were really awesome.
I had the enchilada camaron, which are shrimp enchiladas. They were really good and I especially liked the green chile sauce over the top. La Comida is a great addition to downtown and I think we will make this a regular stop on every trip.

After dinner we went over to the El Cortez and used some free slot play and also played some single deck blackjack. We did not find any low limit tables though, the best we could do was $10. What’s up with that? Isn’t the El Co the king of low limits? Not on A Saturday night I guess. I think John did quite well, but I did not.

We  stopped in at the Vanguard Lounge for a couple drinks as we wandered back over to the Fremont canopy.
The drinks were great and we had fun talking to the bartender as it was pretty quiet in there as it was really early in the night. We also got some sort of a deal on Foursquare for checking in. I think our first drink was half off. Not a bad deal.

After that we played a bit of blackjack at the D, I don’t recall if the table minimum was $5 or $10, I think it was $10. And the dealer was pretty new as things went painfully slow. Yuck. At least go at a decent pace. After I did badly, we went to the Golden Gate and lost at a much faster rate. Their dealers are quite a bit better.  More fun too. I think we stayed up until 1am or so and called it a day. A busy day at that.

On Sunday, we got up, got ready and had to pack up as we were switching hotels today. We decided to try something different this time and split our time between downtown and the strip. We have stayed downtown for our last 4-5 trips, but since we were able to both get a free night through the MyVegas Facebook game at the Monte Carlo we thought it would be fun to try a new hotel. After packing, we checked our bags with the bellman and headed over to DuPar’s for breakfast. I forgot to take photos of that, but we have been there plenty of times before. See a previous trip report if you really want to see what their food looks like.  The food was as good as it always is and the sourdough toast always hits the spot after a rough night of having fun.

We picked up some more bottled water at the ABC store, headed back to the Golden Nugget to pick up our bags and get a taxi to the Monte Carlo. It was around noon at this point so we just checked our bags and headed off on a strip death march in the 100 degree heat. First, we went over to the MGM to play the Lion’s Share slot. We both donated a share, but did not win a darn thing. We stopped at Ross to see if they had any good deals, but the place was rather cleaned out.

Then we decided to have lunch at Holstein’s at the Cosmo.  We were seated at the bar as there was a short wait for tables in the dining room and the bar was just fine with us anyway.

John had the classic burger with fries. The fries were great. They have to be made in house.
I had the ahi sliders. They were very good, a bit light as I did not think I was very hungry. The sauce had a slight kick to it as well. I thought the food was great and we’d definitely go back. We did not have any drinks (other than a Coke) so the bill was pretty affordable around $34 I believe.

After lunch we went to Book and Stage to play a bit of video poker and enjoy some beverages with my favorite mixologist Heather. We played for quite awhile and I got another four of a kind on Jacks or better. John got four of a kind on Double Double Bonus Poker for a really decent win. I think he was playing at Heather’s recommendation. High fives all around and a nice tip for her!

It was late afternoon so we decided to go check in at the Monte Carlo. The line was really long, but it moved pretty quickly. Our room was fine, everything looked clean to me, but the safe was broken. We could not get it to work at all. (It was fixed the next day, when we asked if we could put some items in the safe deposit boxes at the front desk. They sent someone up to reset the safe very quickly.)

 Nice view of the pool from our room. 
Nice view of City Center as well. 

After checking in we took the tram over to the Bellagio and checked out the conservatory.

Then we headed over to the Flamingo and played a bit of crappy 6-5 blackjack. But I did get a margarita while I was playing, so that was great. We kept wandering and checked out all of the changes at the Quad, tried to play some blackjack there, but it did not go well. The Quad is a lot nicer now, but it looked like a lot of the casino was still under construction and blocked off. We headed over to Harrah’s and found a fun table and dealer named Loreli in the Toby Keith’s party pit. It was still 6-5 and of course I had a bunch of blackjacks, but at least we got some drinks and had some fun. I think I still finished the day down though. I think John did pretty well though. He actually had a winning trip this time and finished even overall, thanks to some random slot wins here and there.

Next we wandered over to the Ventian, walked through the mall and then decided we were hungry. We debated between Sushisamba and Table 10. We decided to try a new place and went to Table 10. We told the server we just wanted a couple appetizers and she did not seem too happy about that. The restaurant was very empty, so it is not like we were taking up a table unnecessarily. By the time we left, the place looked ready to close.

We had the sriracha chicken wings and boy were they hot. We could hardly finish all of them.
We also tried the Emeril’s New Orleans BBQ shrimp. These were really good. The BBQ sauce was very flavorful.
I had a really good mai tai.
John had a signature mojito.

The food was good, but I’m not sure we’d go back. It is one of those things, where it was fine, but it did not impress me that much and the fact that there are so many other choices in Las Vegas means it really needs to stand out to make me want to come back.

After that we decided to grab a taxi and head back to the Monte Carlo. It was only 11pm, but we were tired from walking all day.

Monday morning we headed over to Mon Ami Gabi for breakfast on the patio. It was a beautiful morning and the temperature was perfect in the shade.

John had the eggs with bacon, hash browns and toast.

I had the ham and gruyere cheese omelet with hash browns. Both were very good and we even had a coupon for $20 off our meal that we got from the Mon Ami Gabi Facebook page. Lucky for us the coupons arrived the day before we departed for Las Vegas.

After breakfast we walked back to Monte Carlo and went to the pool for the afternoon. It was a warm day, but the temps in the shade were not bad at all.

We used the MyVegas picnic by the pool award and got an order of nachos and a bucket of beer for free. I wish the waitress would have stopped back though. We ordered 2 more beers that were never delivered and we did not have the change to tip her either. I guess her shift ended as she just disappeared and never came back.

After leaving the pool we went up to the room to get ready for the evening. We wandered around the Monte Carlo for awhile paying various slot machines. I did not have any big wins, but I think John had a couple. We had another MyVegas award for $50 dining credit, so we went to Dragon Noodle for happy hour. The mai tais and a few other drinks were two for one so we each had one. We just sat at the bar again and enjoyed talking to the bartender a bit. We also got to see the Blue Man Group’s parade through the casino before their show started.

mai tai
We had an order of pork pot stickers, which were quite good. We ate a couple before I remembered to take a photo.
We also got a sushi roll, the spicy ocean roll. It was great and definitely a bit spicy. John also had an order of the tuna sashimi that I forgot to take a picture of. Our bill came to $55, so we added in the appropriate tip and felt we got a great deal after the $50 MyVegas comp.

After eating at Dragon Noodle we headed over to Aria and played slots for awhile. We had gotten free tickets to Zarkana though MyVegas as well and we had a bit of time to kill. I also had a nice win on the Hangover slot here. I liked Zarkana quite a  bit. There was a lot of the Cirque style acrobatics, that we had not seen in the other shows we’ve been to like Love and O. I believe John thought the show was a bit on the weird side. At least it was free. That is one great benefit to playing MyVegas anyway. I am hoping to see all of the Cirque shows for free by playing the game. Why not, right? Overall, on this trip I think we saved $476 in MyVegas comps. Also, we were not charged the Monte Carlo resort fee. I’m not sure if they forgot to charge us or what, I was told I would be charged when I booked the rooms over the phone. Oh well. I should add that extra $20 per night into our savings I guess.

Anyway, after Zarkana we headed back over to the Monte Carlo and played a random slots for awhile and headed to bed a bit early. Apparently, I started out strong on this trip and was unable to stay awake late as the trip went on.

Tuesday. Time to head home today. We could not decide where to have breakfast. We wandered around the Monte Carlo a bit and finally decided to just take the tram over to the Bellagio for their breakfast buffet. We figured it was only a couple bucks more than the buffet at Monte Carlo and we knew it would be good. And it was. We went back to the room, packed up and headed to the airport. For some reason I decided I needed one last run at the slots, so I played $20 on Wheel of Fortune at the airport. It did not take long before the $20 was gone. Rats. Our flight home was uneventful, which is great.

Another trip in the books. And we already have another one booked! We are going at the end of October for my birthday! This may or may not be a big birthday that may or may not end in a zero. But at least I will be having fun in Vegas while I turn another year older! Can’t wait!