Category Archives: Food

Sen Yai Sen Lek

Sen Yai Sen Lek
2422 Central Avenue
Minneapolis Minnesota
Thai Food
The Good: The dish I had was tasty. Thai Iced Tea went down well to cut down the aftereffects of the spice
The bad: Server messed up my order, bringing me Pad Kee Mao (Stir fry wide rice noodles with garlic, Thai chilies, Thai basil,
tomato and onion) when I had asked for Pad Gratiem Prik Thai (Garlic and black pepper stir fry with
cilantro and bell peppers. Served with steamed jasmine rice.). Rather easy to see the difference…
I wound up eating the Pad Kee Mao anyway, because it was one of the dishes I had been thinking about.
Also bad: The server brought me the wrong bill when it came time to pay.
Overall, food good, service less than stellar. I will return, but I won’t “hurry back” if you know what I mean.

My first foray into Kurdish Cuisine

After I went to the Science Museum on Saturday (as part of a work sponsored event), I then decided to branch out yet again, cuisine wise.
This time I went to a small family restaurant in St. Paul called Babani’s.
The cuisine they serve…Kurdish.
Babani’s claims to be the first Kurdish restaurant in the United States. I don’t know the truth of that claim, but it was certainly the first time I’d ever heard of a restaurant specializing in Kurdish cuisine. Turkish, Iranian, Syrian, and even Iraqi, yes. Kurdish, no.
What I had, for my first foray was, as described in the menu:
“2- Kubey Sawar – Crushed wheat made into a dough and
filled with lean ground beef, spices, and onion then
sauteed in olive oil. This dish was first made famous
in Nineveh – Modern day Mosul, Iraq.
I had a choice of soup or salad. I chose soup:
Dowjic – Chicken, yogurt, rice basil and lemon juice. This
soup’s tangy bite has traditionally kept many a Kurdish
traveler from wondering too far from home.
The food wasn’t extraordinary, and not too different than other middle eastern cuisine I’ve had, although I admit the soup was a tangy, sour surprise. I wanted more of that when I was done! The Kubey Sawar’s weren’t spectacular, but they were certainly tasty enough.
Its not in a location that encourages me to visit often, but anyone who is already in downtown St. Paul might want to try it in order to get a taste of a cuisine not really well known on these shores.

Restaurant Rant: Cantina Corona

While at the Mall of America today, My Friends the Olsons™ and I visited Cantina Corona
for lunch. Its a Tex-Mex place on the fourth floor of the mall, in a narrow and twisting space that offers good views of Nickelodeon World but is a nightmare of a design otherwise.
We were less than thrilled. In point of fact, it was a very negative experience.
Dani seemed to like her kid’s chicken burrito, and Scott’s shrimp tacos were, to his mind, okay but nothing spectacular. The free appetizer we got (and one reason we picked the place), a queso-chorizo dip and chips, was again, nothing spectacular.
The problem came with my order and Felicia’s.
I ordered the “Austin”, which was advertised as two beef tacos and a chicken burrito. Felicia ordered a 4×4 shrimp dish.
First, when they brought the food, they brought *two* Austins by mistake. Felicia reminded them of what she had really ordered and settled to wait while the rest of us ate. And she waited and waited…
In the meantime, my dish was not much above the level of Taco Bell. The chicken burrito was unprepossessing, but the tacos were u-boats. What I mean is, they used what looked and tasted like bargain basement hard shell “tacos” that Scott and I call u-boats. An extremely negative dining experience.
Worse, they were so slow in getting Felicia some food (we all finished what we wanted of our dishes and were twiddling our thumbs) that she and we finally gave up, and left to settle the bill.
Ironically, it was as we were settling the bill that they finally had the shrimp dish ready. This is unacceptable, especially given how relatively uncrowded the restaurant was and how quickly shrimp cooks. We did not pay for that dish, of course, but we felt that our unhappiness, evident in every way, should have been rectified even more. It was not. They clearly wanted to wash their hands of us and we will return the favor.
We would never go there again, and I advise you never to make the mistake.

Chocolate Meltdown

Arthur Lebow, from NY Times Magazine, has an op ed in the NY Times today about chocolate. He laments the loss of quality of Scharffen Berger’s chocolate after being acquired by Hershey’s, and looks with concern at the attempts by Kraft (and possibly Hershey too) to acquire the British candy giant Cadbury.
He’s worried that the artisan chocolate Green and Black is going to be devalued and denatured, just as Scharffen was, if one of these giants wind up picking up Cadbury. I think he has, unfortunately, a very good point.
I like chocolate. I am a fan of good dark chocolate. I remember the days, and shudder, when I thought that Hershey’s “Special Dark” chocolate was the best thing on earth–because I just didn’t know any better. Throw in a visit to England to be introduced to real Cadbury chocolate, and my education in things chocolate proceeded apace.
Right now, for a “common everyday chocolate”, I rely in Ghirardelli dark chocolate. Lindt’s are more expensive, so I only get those on special occasions.
It would be a shame if Kraft or Hershey devalued British chocolate. There isn’t enough good chocolate in the world. There is already too much mediocre chocolate.

Paying more for Pizza

Have you noticed increased prices for pizza lately? You’re not going crazy.
The culprit is cheese. In January 2006, block cheese cost $1.20 on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Now, 18 months later, that price has increased 75 percent, to $2.10.
And why has cheese gone up so much in price? Simple. Grain prices have skyrocketed as lots of grain has been converted to ethanol rather than being sold as feed or as food.

Keep Chocolate as Chocolate!

Via Jerry Pournelle:
Go to

Find the button that lets you email comments on dockets.
That is HERE:
Comment on Proposal
Tell them not to allow fake chocolate to be called chocolate. Do that early and often. This is serious.,0,2342362.story?coll=la-home-commentary
Let them sell chocalicious or cocoalicious if they like. But if it says chocolate it ought to BE chocolate!