Archive for the ‘Bright’s 2011 Restaurant Blog’ Category

O O Looks Like Pan Pan Has Closed Closed

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Sorry to hear that Pan Pan on Division Street in Northfield has closed. Good luck!

Where the Smart Ones Go for Christmas Dinner Winona Garden Chinese and Thai Restaurant

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Haha, I’m just joking around. Everyone knows we want to be home for the holidays around the hearth with friends, neighbors and family every single year. But there are times when that’s just not going to happen. People may not have anyone in the family that can cook, or they travel abroad, or become ill, it could be the weather that stifles travel or sometimes it’s just a little misunderstanding that will blow over in say, ten, twenty years. Sigh.

Well, we couldn’t wait for any of those disappointments so when I was lucky enough to discover this place on the Internet only yesterday. And please remember that these are American business people as I watch charges against China for it’s alleged business espionage. Sigh.

Anyway, I have been dying for Thai food. Back in Chicago, we had three Thai restaurants within three blocks. We ate there almost every day. Mmmm. We got fat, too. We did not realize at that time how many calories were in the food. Now, i almost always bring home half my meals eaten out for the next day. And I neither gain or loose weight from that choice.

SO, I had my favorite vegetable pad thai and dh had his fav beef basil. Both were decidedly delicious. They came with appetizers of soup and crab ragoon. We didn’t have drinks today, so we came out of there spending only $22, and that was with a holiday size tip.

The restaurant was clean, played quiet Chinese music and the waitress was very nice. There are 160 items or so on their menu and they have three sauces on the table. They will give to chop sticks if you ask and they are so much fun, I always get them.

I’ll keep this short today, only to say they are handicap friendly. See all the info below;

The Good News and the Bad

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

First of all, I would like to thank you all for reading my blog and making me a sortofkindofasubceleb, as even here in my new digs, people have heard of me before I meet them. Kind of nice for a person who has been a wanderer for decades, often far from native home.

The bad news is that both Sarah’s of Red Wing, MN and Slippery’s of Grouchy Old Men fame have closed and UPDATE is now re-opened. I am so sorry to see Sarah’s go down. She was the chef of Norton’s for years til a divorce from her Husker Du husband. Argh. I really enjoyed our time there. I hope someone can make it go forward again. Truly.

Then, Slippery’s on the Mississippi River in Wabasha went into foreclosure. I have heard that the previous owners who retired will purchase and re-open next year. Hope so.

The other bad news is that Coffee Mill Golf Club’s Cherokee Grille is closing for the winter.

The good news is that there is still Nosh, The Railhouse Grille, T-Bones, and a Tex Mex place in Wabasha, as well as the Flour Mill Pizza and Ice Cream Parlor. There are others, but I haven’t been there yet.

December is the worst month for alcohol related accidents, so remember when you think you have it under control…people don’t abuse drugs, drugs abuse people. Drugs have more power than we give them credit for! Be safe, stay sober.

And have a happy holiday!


Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Nosh is a fine dining restaurant in Lake City on the harbor of the Mississippi River. It served some of the best food I have ever written about since I have been writing this blog for six years (or more?). The food was excellent, the atmosphere, dark and mysterious, simple and full of music, which I loved. The prices, not so bad for the quality of food we had and the experience of eating somewhere where a lot of thought is given to each scenario. The service was spot on…thanks to Austin and a wonderful lady. Austin knew everything about the menu and he also snapped a picture for us.

And now, I must set the record straight. The food was not only good, there was a goodly amount of it. Not the French style of dining, with the tiny but mighty morsels. This is a well rounded meal in itself without a lot of add ons, but the add ons should do fine if you have a superlative appetite.

I had the seafood paella with sausage. Dh had the lamb with chick peas, cauliflower and some of my sausage. I cannot tell you how happy I was to eat shrimp that was perfection, scallops, the best, sweetest, browned just enough with a piece of walleye, which is hard to do badly, and mussels, which to my surprise were sweet and delicious. The beef sausage was not like meat I have known in the past. It was delectable, delicious, hard for me to share with dh, but I did.

Dh had the lamb rib eye which he thoroughly enjoyed, along with chick peas and cauliflower in a lovely tomato sauce.
He even ate the chick peas and cauliflower, which he has heretofore be unknown to do. (Haha. Heretofore. Where do I get these words? Americans don’t know the words from the 19th or early 20th century … we have whittled down our vocabulary quite a bit and I’m bringing it back, one word at a time.)

For dessert, the maple nut tart with cranberry compote and vanilla bean ice cream was so perfect. How do they do that?
Not too creamy, not too dry, chopped nuts all the same size, crust, again, perfection. My hat’s off to the chef or chefs at Nosh Restaurant and Bar in Lake City. To close I will say, read all about it at their cool web site, but tasting is believing.

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OMGoodness, The Railhouse Grill is Opened for Business!

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011
800 West LYON Avenue
Lake City, Mn

I am so glad to have a new restaurant to report on. This place, newly new, is a real American restaurant for the 21st century. Not too fancy, not too plain. Prices are just right. Food is more than one would expect and for extra convenience, it is attached to the Liquor Depot.

Although the big train that travels parallel to HWY 61 also travels right to the back of the Grill, it’s not that noticeable. Especially since Connie, the hostess and Shelly, the waitress, are so kind and thorough with all the customers. They took especially good care of me.

I had the tuna steak sandwich that comes with both Swiss and cheddar cheese, I did miss the pickle and garnishes, but not so much because the sandwich was so delicious, I made a special effort to savor it slowly. Dh had the Thursday night ribs, which I have to say, are as good as they get. Falling off the fork tender, and tasty without eing overdone.

The sides were very good, too. I had the tomato bisque soup, very tasty, well seasoned, low salt and the cole slaw was minus the extra mystery sauce and went down easily. The taters were broiled and just perfectly done so that you could eat a few and not feel too full right away. The iced tea was a good and strong, but not killer and had the regular iced tea flavor we have known for years before the fruity ones hit the market. All is all, a big smiley face dinner.

I hope you can make it out there sometime soon. Just follow the birds south if you are coming from the Twin Cities otherwise look to Canada and follow your nose. :)

Update: We met some friends at Railhouse for Thanksgiving and the meal was a typical thanksgiving meal, including ham and pie and as hard as I tried, I could not find anything wrong with the meal, the service or the beautiful 60 degree day we enjoyed!

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Back to Basics

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Terrific weather has kept us moving, and eating all over the SE Minnesota area. We have tried lots of new places to eat and have been generally satisfied, but truth be told, I think the restaurants have quit trying to provide ambiance. Sure the location may be nice and the parking sweet. The restaurants are clean and the rest rooms followed suit. However, I sure miss some of the things that made restaurants a fun place to go, places that were a lot different from my home, our home kitchens.

I miss the juke boxes and the quarters the owners would hand out when things got a bit too quiet. I miss the old Sinatra tunes at the steak houses, because it’s so loud when they have a full house, which is because it’s all tables and walls and no booths to buffer the sounds. What happened to booths? Why are we all being sat down in open seating. What about the lighting? I cannot tell you when I have seen anything in the way of lighting that suggested a thoughtful plan on comfortable, non glaring, non harsh lighting. Or too much lighting. I sometimes feel like an experiment in a scientific lab, the light is so great.

I’ll admit, walls seem to have gotten some attention at one time and there is usually some collection of paintings or objects that fit the bill. Nice.

But, what about a few kind words. The last place we went the hostess said, You can have either table that’s available and one of them was still not cleared. No, welcome, how are you this evening, or anything. Gheesh. Well, anyway. What can I expect when they have taken our pickles, our lemon wedges, our lettuce and our spoons. One waiter asked me to keep my used fork for dessert. Hang me now.

Oh, this isn’t all the restaurants, and I am not meaning to damn them all. But we all know which ones I mean and they should take heart and provide offerings that bring people a nice experience to the restaurant guest.

So, I am protesting by eating out less. Back to basics for me means rice and red beans. with whatever I have on hand tossed in…red peppers, eggs, onions, garlic, oregano, or curry, cumin, maybe dill and fresh lettuce. I can throw in
a handful of cheese ravioli, some salmon or chicken. It’s a world unto itself, rice and red beans, and I make it healthier by using either half white and brown rice or all brown rice, long grain and organic. Keep it basic.

For dessert, any fruit or fruit juice and an oatmeal raisin cookie. Nothing better and I can play any music I want on
my dvd player.

Guest Chef’s – A Great Idea!

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Up at Coffee Mill’s Chippewa Restaurant, we have had the great pleasure of having a couple of special dinner nights with guest chefs…members of the golf club who are good, if not super good chefs. In both cases, we got barbequed meat and veggies. I won’t go into how delicious the filet mignon steak was, or how exhilerating the pork ribs were last night…but I want to talk about what a good idea it was to have people who may only have one thing they cook well come in and do their thing for a predetermined size group who sign up for the deal weeks beforehand.
The price has been right, the change of menu is delightful, and the results, so good.

If you own a restaurant, or if you have just one meal you mastered the heck out of, why not get it together and
share your talents or your talented person with the rest of us. We love it!

What Goes Up Stays Up – The New Restaurant Price Hike

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

We were back in Northfield today getting our teeth cleaned and we also drove through downtown and watched the set up for the big weekend of Taste of and Listen to Northfield 2011. The real name is Taste Of Northfield 2011, the sixth annual such event…and well worth the effort to check it out…but I often feel like the world of sound is taken for granted yet if there were only silence at these festivals and outdoor events, people might have on a slightly different experience. Ahh, but I digress.

We went to George’s, our old standby, for lunch. We got off to a late start so we were not able to order a pizza like we planned, but remembered the delicious hot Pesto Sandwich they have with chicken and bacon on a big lightly flaky bun. It’s one of the best hot or cold sandwiches I have ever had.
We ordered one to split with some fries. The sandwich is huge, as are all their sandwiches. Now, to the point…the price went up about $1.50.

Most places we have gone to have hiked up prices from $1 or $2, or even $3 on dinner so don’t be surprised if you haven’t been out for a couple of months.

Just like so many other restaurants, grocery stores and other retail marts, prices have gone up, I guess it’s the gas prices at the root, and it has certainly changed my way of buying food. I don’t like not being able to get lunch under $25. I don’t like that I now cook all my beans from scratch instead of buying cans of organic garbanzo beans at $1.89 a can…but now I buy a whole big bag for that same amount and actually soak the beans myself..they are better that way, as you can control the salt and the flavor is more pronounced.

Now George’s Vineyard never raised their prices for years and years. And the sandwich w/ fries is big enough for two. We actually got out of there for $15.00 and that included a $4 tip for Meagan and an iced tea.

A lot of working men go into George’s at lunch, but so do women and children, seniors and bikers alike. It’s a nice clean place well run for anyone who is hungry. George (Phil) doesn’t pay me for this promo, and I doubt he even knows about it, but it’s just a great little establishment that keeps on ticking for me and mine…so I share it with you and hope you get a nice meal there and think, gee, Bright sure knows her great little establishments.

My greeting cards promotion..I have 5,000 to view at

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T-bones Grill and Bar

Friday, May 13th, 2011

T-bones Grill and Bar
260 Main Street West
Wabasha, MN 55981
11 am – 10 pm daily

We floated into T-bones yesterday for the first time ever around noon time and were happy to see a familiar face. Darryl, a waiter we had met in another establishment was now working here for the same owner of both places. Anyway, he was glad to show us the menus and explained that we might be able to get some of the dinner menu items at lunchtime.

The atmosphere was really neat. Very high ceilings with dual floor seating and outdoor terrace seating as well. We are just a stone’s throw away from that mighty river, the ol Mississippi, and she is very high, but not that high yet. Whheew!

There are wine racks on one wall and long paper rectangle light fixtures drifting up by the ceiling. There is lots of natural lighting and there is a small sit down bar where you can watch tv and the top half of the kitchen goings on. Modern tile floor and all steel bathrooms, to boot! Very well done.

For lunch I had the Ceasar’s salad with chicken because I am watching my weight as I gained a few pounds over this dreary winter. But then, I asked for hash browns and they only have hash browns with delicious creamy gooey flavorful cheese. So, I got that, but then, feeling enourmously guilty, I traded half of it to dh for some of what he had to offer, which was beef au jus from his Italian style beef sandwich that I dipped my hot dog shaped dinner roll into. Good. Really good. I went a little crazy I guess…never go to a good restaurant hungry when you are watching your weight. Haha.

The food was all good. And at the end, dh had to order a seven layer chocolate cake which I tasted twice and have nothing whatsoever bad to say about it. Oh, yeah, dh ordered iced tea which I stole a sip from and it gets my vote for the strongest, yet not bitter unsweetened tea we have ever had. So, good job, T-bones. We’ll be back!

Stacy’s Kitchen, Wabasha, MN

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Stacy’s Kitchen is only opened until 2PM every day except Tuesdays so if you sleep til noon, you might miss out. So, Get Up, You Lazy Fool! Drag your self over there cuz the food is really good.

I and dh have been there twice already. I had the special lasagna and side salad with the bleu cheese dressing which is my secret way of telling what is to come after the salad, and dh had French toast and thick smoked apple bacon the first time which all was good enough to try a second time before we stamped our big important judgment on it. So, today, I had the special of the month Greek omelette with mushrooms, artichoke,tomato, feta cheese and black olives, and dh had his fav bacon dbl cheeseburger with kettle chips…and my personal favorite, a cold crisp garlic pickle spear. A real and rare treat these days. We also had two strong iced teas. Very nice.

Stacy serves the different flavored kettle chips in a tray, still in their individual sized bags. I brought the Maui Onion flavor one home to try…at $2.25 per bag along with their famous melt in your mouth cinnamon buns at only $2.50 each.

Stacy’s is just across the street from the U.S. Post Office and you can see the National Eagle Center from there, too.

Stacy’s is small, but laid out well so that there are quite a few table tops, very creatively decorated with very nice restrooms and, although it’s handicap accessible, I wouldn’t say it’s 100% easy due to a tight entryway and small step.