Someone should sponsor me to test out chain restaurant happy hours with friends. In exchange for sponsorship, we’ll eat and drink a bunch of things, after which I will post a recap (when it’s convenient for me) and even supply my own very average phone photo!
Why P.F. Chang’s?
There’s been a lot of discussion about Andrew Zimmern’s restaurant opening and Fast Company interview in which he calls P.F. Chang’s a rip-off and questions founder Philip Chiang’s Asian identity. Chiang had my favorite response to the whole shirtstorm in this Washington Post interview. He simply responds, ““I am not going to get involved in his muck. I am totally comfortable with who I am and with who I am not.”
I was also struck by local, third-generation restaurateur Edward Fong’s thoughtful response. Growing up in the south suburbs, one of my family members would occasionally invite us over for a take-out meal from one of the Fong family restaurants. It was such a treat and now I want to go back.
I have a long-held fascination with malls and food courts. Especially mall food courts.
Growing up, we frequented the mall food court. Everyone could split up and reconvene with their favorite foods; A slice from Sbarro, a baked potato loaded with teriyaki chicken from 1-Potato-2, a combo from the Chinese restaurant or Philly cheesesteak from Steak Escape.
These days many malls are barely hanging on for dear life and others are still thriving.
The Rosedale Center, a thriving mall, located in Roseville, Minnesota (a suburb located near St. Paul) revamped their food court. Sure, there’s still an Orange Julius/Dairy Queen/Karmelkorn. But now there’s this fancy new food *hall.
Revolution Hall just opened just last month. The concept of a food hall is very cool. With the decline of malls and giant department stores, food halls are a compelling way to fill these empty spaces. It’s especially fun to see one of our childhood malls revamped – it was actually built long before we were born in 1969.
As summer turns to fall, I’m continuing to drive to and from Rochester about twice a month.
I wrote about our search for breakfast in Rochester earlier this year.
This month entailed two trips to and from Rochester. On work days, we’re in a mad rush trying to race back to work. I decided to take it easy after my last visit.
The restaurant I chose to visit on my way home was Brava, a restaurant serving East African food.
Usually I stop by one of my favorite Minneapolis-St. Paul Farmers Markets on Saturdays.
However, I found myself in Burnsville for an early morning oil change and swung by the Bloomington Farmers Market on my way home.
It’s been years and years since I’ve shopped here. Before we moved to Fargo eight years ago, we lived in Bloomington. I remember enjoying this market back then.
The Bloomington Farmers Market is just the right size. It’s not overwhelmingly huge and it’s not too small. Of course there are plenty of produce vendors, plus a good variety of vendors offering items like candied nuts, jam, pickles, meat, eggs, flowers and honey.
The Patty Melt:
I wish I had a better photo of this patty melt but I don’t.
Jake loves patty melts. He’s in the “Even bad patty melts are good patty melts” camp. Patty melts have never been my preferred style of burger, but, then again, I’ve only had pretty bad patty melts. This is not a bad patty melt.
Earlier this summer, we noticed Stewart’s added a patty melt to their dinner menu. Jake couldn’t stop raving about it and has ordered it each visit since. Stewart’s makes his personal favorite patty melt and the remedy to a long week.