Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Visited on Monday, August 23rd with Kate (no Ben)


Erin's Review
As a thank you to Kate for taking such beautiful photos of Annie, I wanted to treat her to dinner. We finally were both available and since it was such a beautiful summer night, we wanted a patio. I had just driven by Muffuletta last weekend, and remembered how much I wanted to go back - it's not a restaurant that gets a ton of press, so sometimes it's not exactly at the top of my mind. Ben and I did visit Muffuletta before, before we even started the blog. It is perhaps the most pathetic post that we have, so I knew I wanted to update anyway :) Some of Kate's foodie peeps over at Heavy Table said that Muffuletta is doing awesome things right now, so she was in.

Muffuletta patio


I arrived at exactly 7:30 to find Kate already sitting on the patio - Muffuletta is in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood, which is quite cute. While Como is a pretty busy street, the patio is separated enough by being on a deck that it doesn't feel as crowded or loud as some sidewalk patios. The server came around and noticed me taking photos - she made a comment about it being a photoshoot which we both basically ignored. I think she was looking for an explanation but we both just said, yup, we'll be taking photos and that was that :)


Muffuletta has some great deals right now - a $10 special every night of the week. Luckily for us, Monday's special is $10 bottles of wine, so we quickly ordered a red to split. When the server brought it out, I indicated that Kate would be tasting, and Kate noticed that it wasn't the same wine she ordered. After a bit of back and forth over if we wanted the actual wine that was on the list, Kate finally decided to own up to her snobbery and preference for California cabs versus Argentinian and the server was happy to go back and exchange the bottle. I left that decision solely up to Kate as most know that I'm DFW (down for whatever) when it comes to wine.



Since I wanted a heavy pasta type dish for my entree, I ordered the heirloom tomato salad to start. I also have been missing tomatoes this August, as our CSA has suffered tomato blight for the 2nd year in a row. I used to hate tomatoes, but since joining a CSA have grown to love them, so it is sad to have boxes in August with no tomatoes! The salads came out quickly - I loved my salad, it was the perfect mix of tomatoes, melon and basil with just a bit of dressing and cheese but nothing overpowering. Delicious! Kate's beet salad looked gorgeous as well.

Heirloom tomato salad

Beet salad

I ordered the ravioli for my main course since I mainly just wanted something cheesy. It certainly didn't disappoint, and in addition to the gooey cheesiness of each bite, I loved the tomato sauce as well. There was just the right amount for me to get my fill and have a tiny bit left over. It also seemed to go well with the wine. I had a bite of Kate's gnocchi which I think I got last time and it was definitely delicious - the hint of lemon made it feel a bit lighter.



We hung out for awhile as the sun went down - I love late August evenings where it's still quite warm in the evenings, perfect patio nights. If you haven't been to Muffuletta in awhile, or have never been there before, I definitely recommend making a trip!

2260 Como Ave
St. Paul, MN

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Town Talk Diner

Visited on Sunday, August 8th

Outside Town Talk Diner

Erin's Review
Since our little Annie goes to bed pretty early (7:30 or so), it's pretty easy for us to go out to eat after she's in bed as long as we have someone willing to sit on our couch on the off chance she wakes up. We don't really take advantage of this fact too often, since we're either hanging out with the neighbors in our backyards, doing fun things like dishes or laundry, or most often just vegging out on the couch surfing the internet or something exciting like that :) On this night, Becca requested to babysit - since I am breastfeeding, it's just easier for me to have her come over and hang out awhile with all of us, me feed Annie and then leave after she's eaten so I don't have to break out the pump more than is absolutely necessary.

We got to Town Talk Diner around 7:30 that evening, and the bar was full - we had to wait a few minutes for a table so I enjoyed reminiscing about the child free lifestyle of actually going out to bars. It was kind of a foreign concept to be out at a crowded bar at night... Something we really should do more often given our close proximity to willing babysitters!

Inside Town Talk Diner

Inside Town Talk Diner

We were seated fairly quickly, and went back into the dining room which was a completely different vibe from the bar. There were actually quite a few kids and toddlers in the dining room, reminding me that not every child goes to bed as early as Annie - which is a nice glimpse into the future when perhaps we will be able to take her out past 5:30pm. There wasn't a lot of decor, but it was a fun and open space.

Inside Town Talk Diner

Inside Town Talk Diner

Since it was pretty busy, we did have to wait a bit to order and get waters - not too long, maybe 5-10 minutes. I considered one of Town Talk's "adult malts" but decided to go with a cocktail given the happy hour special. I went with the Water Tight, which had watermelon juice and basil and I don't even remember what kind of liquor. It was okay, but not fruity enough for me :) We also ordered crab and artichoke dip, which actually came out before the drinks, as they take awhile to "craft", which the menu notes, and the server pointed it out as well - a little overkill, but I guess it prevents people getting pissed their drinks are taking so long.

Water Tight

The dip was quite good - I was expecting something creamy and cheesy, but there actually wasn't much cheese in it. A LITTLE disappointing as I am a cheese lover, but the artichokes were delish. I was starving, so we polished it off pretty quickly, and the server was happy to bring out more crostini.

Crab and Artichoke Dip

I chose the Begnaud Burger as my main course - it is a corned beef patty with gruyere, saurkraut and thousand island dressing on a pumpernickel bun. I love burgers, and this was a great twist. Pretty much anything with gruyere is just fine by me. It was huge, I definitely couldn't finish the whole thing even with my newly huge appetite, but I put a pretty good dent in it. I also liked the fries, but not NEARLY as much as Ben did, apparently.

Begnaud Burger

Town Talk closes at 9 on Sundays (which we didn't think to check before leaving) but they didn't kick us out, and the bar was still hopping when we left at like 9:15. We were never rushed at all, which was nice. I really enjoyed the food and atmosphere here, and would definitely return!

Ben's Review
When Groupon offered a $30 coupon to Town Talk Diner for $15, I knew I had to snatch it up. We managed to get over there on a Sunday night for dinner, leaving my sister and brother-in-law to watch over Annie as she slept.

We knew that Town Talk was well known for their specialty cocktails so we wanted to make sure to sample a couple at least. Each of the specialty cocktails are in the $8-$9 range so I knew the $30 would only be covering a portion of the meal. To my surprise, they have happy hour on Sunday nights and all the cocktails were $6, not a bad discount! I started off with the Blood and Sand (their drink menu online doesn't list this one, but it had scotch and some orange juice, amongst other things) while we waited for our appetizer of crab artichoke dip.

Blood & Sand

The drink was good, but being used to drinking most liquor just on ice makes mixed drinks taste weak. I still like ordering different stuff when I'm out though; no sense in ordering Jameson on ice when I can get that at home anytime.

The crab artichoke dip was damn tasty, and the server even was kind enough to bring us more bread after we devoured the first round. I wanted to get a (beef) burger for my meal, but I couldn't resist the brat burger with spicy sauerkraut with the garlic fries (holy shit I love garlic fries).

The food took a little while to make, which was fine by me as we were enjoying an evening out sans Annie and Town Talk has a good atmosphere for hanging around with a cocktail and having some conversation (probably conversation about Annie). I was eying up the table next to us because the guy had a PBR tall boy and I had noticed that they are only $2 during happy hour and that sounded like a good accompaniment for my brat burger, but I held off knowing that I would want another cocktail instead and that's what I was there to do!

Brat Burger

The food came out and it looked delicious. The burgers were huge and the fries were hot and plentiful. The spicy sauerkraut on the brat burger was fantastic and the garlic fries were amazing, I can't get enough of those things. They reminded me of the truffle fries at Capital Grille which are also awesome. Oh, and the brat burger comes with bacon, a concept I had never considered before. Obviously the bacon works really well on top of a brat.

I couldn't help being amazed at Erin's burger and how well it had been cooked. It was perfectly medium from top to bottom, completely evenly cooked. I couldn't get over it and kept wondering out loud how the hell they could cook a burger medium without overcooking the edges. Then Erin reminded me that she had ordered a corned beef burger and that's just the color of corned beef. Oh. Right. So THAT'S how they do it.

Begnaud Burger

After the awesome burgers I settled on the bacon Manhattan as my post meal drink, which features "bacon washed bourbon" and a bacon garnish. I have tried bacon infused vodka and it is disgusting, but since this was "washed" and not "infused" I thought I would be safe, and I was right. There was just a subtle bacon flavor to the drink and the cherry liqueur blended nicely with it. I actually forgot to eat the damn garnish, but I had had enough bacon with my meal that I wasn't too distraught over it.

Bacon Manhattan

Total bill after using our $30 coupon was $17, plus $3 for a tip made the total $20 for the night, not bad! (Just kidding, we tipped on the original amount, don't worry, I'm not a total prick).

Town Talk Diner was awesome and I commented to Erin that many places we go to we always say "it was good, but I wouldn't go back over trying a new restaurant", but this is a place that I will definitely go back to, it was great.

  • Service: Excellent service, they kept our waters full and took care of everything we needed.
  • Food: Great food, I can't wait to get those garlic fries again.
  • Drinks: Full bar with good selection of beers and a fun list of cocktails. We didn't sit at the bar but they are also known to have knowledgeable bartenders.
  • Ambiance: On a Sunday night it was still reasonably busy, just busy enough to give the place some good energy, but not so loud you couldn't have a conversation, great balance.
  • Convenience: Located on Lake St. you could take the bus, light rail, bike, walk, or drive.

2707 1/2 E Lake St