Uptown Eats

I tried a couple restaurants around Uptown that have been on my ‘to-try’ list for quite some time.

The first: Fuji Ya

Fuji Ya is a sushi restaurant on Lake Street between Lyndale and Garfield. I’ve seen it recognized as a top notch sushi joint on several occasions, so I decided to give it a try.

IMG_2185 IMG_2186

Their happy hour deals from 5-7pm are awesome, so I went with a couple friends during that time frame. I ordered the yakitorii (chicken skewers) and futo maki specialty roll (egg, tofu, squash, spinach, cucumber, and japanese pickles).

IMG_2188 IMG_2187

Everything was good, but I always seem to have the same feeling after eating sushi: I’m not full. I feel like I would need to eat several rolls to really feel full after a sushi dinner. Still, I thought it was good and would certainly go back here. I think I still prefer Wakame in Calhoun Commons though.

The second place I tried was Caffrey’s Deli.

Caffrey’s is a sandwich shop on Lyndale between Lake and 31st.

IMG_2212

Caffrey’s is another place that had been highly recommended both by people I know and various Twin Cities food reviews (VitaMN just listed it as the #2 sandwich shop in the Twin Cities). That said, I was pretty excited to see what all of the fuss was about.

Caffrey’s has a pretty small interior, and you order at a walk up counter (they also deliver).

IMG_2213

Besides the main event of sandwiches, there was a case with some nice looking desserts, and they also appeared to sell Sebastian Joe’s ice cream.

Their menu is pretty basic – sandwiches and soups. The specifics, however, are not basic. Rather than offering one or two soups, there are 8 to choose from. The sandwiches come on white or wheat, and they have the standards along with philly-style sandwiches and a make-your-own option.

I opted for the loaded chicken philly on wheat (loaded means it comes with peppers, onions, and mushrooms) and a side of cole slaw.

IMG_2214 IMG_2215

The sandwich was good, but I wouldn’t write home about it. I think all the hype got me thinking that I would take one bite and be thrown into an ecstatic frenzy yelling, “this is the greatest sandwich ever!” Needless to say, that did not happen. The sandwich was fine. I enjoyed my meal. But I don’t plan on running back to get another one any time soon. Disclaimer for all you Caffrey’s die-hards: I will admit I am not a big sandwich person to begin with. I much prefer other lunch time meals, so feel free to consider that fact when judging this post. 🙂

Butter Bakery Cafe

I’ve had my eye on Butter Bakery Cafe for quite a while. I actually tried to go there for lunch once before, but I ended up at an abandoned storefront (they had changed locations and I was not aware). Their new location, and the one pictured here, is at 37th and Nicollet. I would describe the interior, briefly, as adorable.

photo 1(65)

As soon as you walk in, you are greeted by a mouth-watering display of various baked goods:

photo 2(63) photo 3(62) photo 4(53)

Some menu items are listed on chalkboards behind the counter, but a more extensive menu is also available on paper for you to look at:

photo 5(48) photo 1(66)

Added bonus…they love the earth:

photo 2(64)

Butter describes their dishes as ‘extraordinarily ordinary,’ meaning they serve comforting old favorite dishes – but they do it extraordinarily well. After finally trying their food for myself (which – by the way – is all made from scratch and sourced from small and local farms/businesses whenever possible), I would say I agree with their description.

I ordered biscuits with mushroom gravy topped with one scrambled egg, plus a side of seasonal veggies. Unfortunately, we went in the mid-afternoon and they were out of their homemade biscuits, but they offered it to me on whole wheat bread. An offer which I accepted. 🙂

photo 3(63) photo 2(65)

My dad and brother got turkey sandwiches:

photo 4(54) photo 5(49)

And my mom got a small chicken salad with a bowl of thai chicken soup:

photo 1(67) photo 3(64)

Everything was fabulous. I will definitely be coming back here and might even go so far to say that I would make it a regular stop for when I go out for a quick and casual meal. My only regrets were 1) they were out of biscuits and 2) I wasn’t hungry for any of their award-winning and drool-inspiring desserts. Next time. 🙂

Travels and Vermont Co-ops

I am currently in Vermont, enjoying the snow/sunshine, maple syrup, and a lovely week of total relaxation. Noah is from Vermont, so we’re here visiting his family. I traveled from MSP to Burlington on Delta, and man oh man, for anyone traveling through the Minneapolis/St Paul airport, you MUST go to Concourse G at Terminal 1. IT IS AMAZING! I’ve never had a flight from that concourse before, but I will be heading straight there from now on no matter where my flight is. First of all…

photo 2(42)

Seating areas with iPads at every spot. This is not just at some swanky restaurant but at EVERY SEAT in the concourse. Second of all…

photo 4(33) photo 5(28)

salad, fruit, and hot food bars a la Whole Foods. I was initially sort of skeptical (at an airport?), but a cursory look at the food led me to believe it was of a respectable quality. Third of all (the best for last)…

photo 3(40)

FROYOAGOGO. Yes, a frozen yogurt bar in the middle of the MSP airport Concourse G. I went a little crazy, as I’m sure all of you are doing right now. Bottom line: I am stoked. Do other airports have this incredible-ness?

Once I got to Burlington, it was nearly 2:00 and I was hungry. The hot/cold bars at the airport had been on my mind all day, so Noah and I decided to go the City Market – Onion River Coop.

photo 1(44)

Neither of us had been there before, and we both were very impressed. In addition to a wide selection of groceries and produce, there was a fabulous cold bar:

photo 4(34)

hot bar:

photo 5(29)

and deli:

photo 3(41)

I got a combo of foods from the cold bar:

photo 1(46)

In the mix: asian slaw, broccoli slaw, curry seitan, maple cabbage/carrots, and fruit salad. Everything was great. I really enjoy the taste of seitan and other wheat based faux-meats, but they always make me feel really full afterwards – almost like they get denser in my stomach. Does this happen to anyone else?

Noah got a sandwich from the sandwich bar (which offered various cold, grilled, and do-it-yourself options):

photo 2(45)

Yum. yum. After lunch, we did the quick 45 minute drive from Burlington to Montpelier. As luck would have it, we needed to do some grocery shopping for the house, so we ended up visiting the Hunger Mountain Coop in Montpelier as well!

photo 2(44)

Another great coop! When we walked in the door, we were immediately met with a colorful display of organic fruit and vegetables:

photo 3(42) photo 4(35)

There’s also a great bread section with loaves, rolls, bagels, etc. from local bakers:

photo 5(30)

Their hot and cold bars are smaller than the ones at the City Market Co-op in Burlington, but there was still enough to make me want to get lunch here sometime. They also offer hot and cold sandwiches as well as wraps and burritos. Starting my trip with these two beautiful co-ops got even more excited for my week in Vermont and enjoying all the great food and fun it has to offer!