Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Skyway Sybarite: Zelino's

Once upon a time the hubs held a temp job on Nicollet Mall. Apparently, at this temp job, they ordered food from Zelino's a lot. Very good food, from what he says.

So, on his recommendation, I was excited to try this place out. Although it is literally on the other end of downtown, I could really use the exercise, so I didn't mind walking. But I'm glad I had AC with me to navigate the skyway.

AC ate: Chicken Fennel Soup
AH ate: A huge slab of lasagna

AC says:

Zelino's is tucked away in the corner of the Medical Arts building in Minneapolis - although not in the skyway, rather ground level, it still counts because of the contrived way you have to go to get here. They share some pretty fantastic neighbors and have have some pretty stiff lunch competition. Not that Zelino's sweats it - they happen to share a kitchen with big brother, Zelo, a full blown Italian place packed with an important lunch crowd. Serving soups and sandwiches on the go, there isn't a place to sit down, actually, there is hardly room for a line. A pretty, dimly lit operation not unlike the rest of the building, run here if you want something quick and have a few extra bucks.

AC likes: The chicken fennel soup was very good. The vegetables had quite a bit of tooth so head's up if you are fully cooked vegetables-in-your-soup person. I was fairly sure this was vegetarian when I started eating it due to the little bit of chicken in it but since I'm also completely ok with that I was happy. It is crammed full of greens and flavor lacking the overwhelming amount of salt that some places add to make up for the tasteless broth. The egg salad is also quite good.
AC would skip: This isn't the place to go if you're a few days off from pay day as it's expensive for what it is. A bowl of soup plus soda in a bottle was more than $8. The sit down restaurant version is actually pretty close to the same cost.

My two cents:

Zelino's is basically a limited take out coutner for Zelo's. They have soups, salads, wraps and pasta. I had heard that the lasagna was really good, and that seemed like a good hearty food on a cold winter's day, so I decided to try that. The hubs had warned me that the line was sometimes really long, but when we went there were only a few people ahead of us. I ordered a piece of lasagna that was about the size of a brick and got marinara sauce on it, since the meat sauce contained pork. The staff was friendly and fast and knowledgable (at least about their meat sauce containing pork). The lasagna and a Diet Coke came to $11, which is pretty steep for a one course meal if you ask me. Plus, for some reason I felt the need to tip on the credit slip, so I was out a few more bucks.

Anyway, back at my desk, I dug into the lasagna. After about two bites, I was full because it was honestly at least four inches thick. But I kept at it, because it was amazing. It was just cheese lasagna, but there were about a trillion layers to it and oh, man it was good. I managed to eat half of it before I ran out of room, and marinara sauce.

I was going to try to tackle the other half the next day, but I'm really not a fan of leftovers.

AH likes: It was delicious. Definitely worth the hike. If you work on the south side of downtown, get to Zelino's ASAP and order yourself some lasagna (to split with a friend).
AH would skip: I would have liked a little more sauce, if I had eaten the rest the next day there wouldn't have been any sauce on it. Also, $11 is pricey, but if you split it into two meals it's not too bad.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Baby Love

We still have several weeks until the big "reveal," when we find out if we'll be bringing home a little boy or a little girl this summer.

I'm getting ants in my pants and want to start planning the nursery already, so I thought I'd try to plan a fairly gender-neutral room. What do you think? It might be a little on the feminine side, but I couldn't help myself.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Finally got Polyvore to start working for me. Do you use this while blogging? If not, check it out. You can do all sorts of stuff.

Here's my latest achievement:

Friday, January 21, 2011

Kitty Drama

Oscar, our eleven-year old cat, had quite a horrendous week.

Long story short, what we thought was a hematoma turned out to be a tumor, which got punctured and bled all over our house. I can't even explain the amount of blood we cleaned up.

Oscar had surgery to remove the tumor and two blood transfusions to try to bring up his Packed Cell Volume (PCV) which was at 14% and should be at 40%. The transfusions were not successful in doing this, but he is at home recuperating and we will be finding out more on what is making our big guy sick.

Here he is, resting in his favorite chair, with his newest (and loathed) accessory - the dreaded cone.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Skyway Sybarite: Allie's Deli

Last Wednesday, AC, kHm and I headed to Allie's Deli at 5th and Marquette. This has long been one of AC's and kHm's favorite lunch spots, but I of course, had never been.

kHm ate: Bowl of White Chicken Chili
AC ate: Half a BLT and a cup of Chicken Wild Rice
I ate: Half a Rueben and a cup of Chicken Wild Rice

kHm writes:

It's no secret that I am a White Chicken Chili fanatic. Once the chill in the air evolves to the demi-ice that lingers until the frosty climes of the Frozen Tundra thaw mid March, this soup is my lifeblood. I can't recall just when or why I first ordered it, but I have almost never strayed since that fated day. I love it because it reminds me of ski-hill soup at the slopes I learned to ski on in Northern New Mexico. The soup has a little zesty bite thanks to the green chiles sporadically swimming in the broth, which is infused with sautéed onions and garlic. Allie's Deli is not shy with the shredded chicken and the white beans are the perfect balance of firmly squishy- perfect to smoosh on one's hard palate when savoring this 10 out of 10 for skyway soup (at least in my book).

If the soup wasn't enough to bring you in, the place is always hopping, the staff is attentive, speedy and friendly. Jokingly, AC and I nicknamed Allie's "Muppet Deli" after Pete's Deli in "Muppet's Take Manhattan"- I am still not sure just why, but it reminds me of that little coffee shop. Everytime I go, I expect to see Fozzy chopping up lettuce for the salads, Skeeter spreading mayo on a sandwich or Rolf operating a cash register.

The only drawbacks are the fact that it is compressed in terms of square footage- better as a pick up for lunch than a sit down and the fact that Muppets do not actually operate this hidden jewel in the skyway system.

AC writes:

AC Likes: Super friendly people who are genuinely happy you chose to come to their deli for lunch. I can appreciate that. They also have good prices, tons of choices and will make any and all of your substitution requests. I love the BLT on bread w/o mayo plus guacamole and the sliced fruit topped with cottage cheese. If they run out of the pre-packaged fruit/cottage cheese they will always make you one.

AC would skip: The whole sandwich - half is more than enough.

My two cents:

Although I ordered what was possibly the unhealthiest thing on the menu, I didn't feel like a glutton. The half sandwich was a nice size, the whole thing would definitely have been too big. The Rueben was stuffed with saurkraut and was piping hot in less than three minutes! The Chicken Wild Rice soup (always one of my favorites) was a creamy, delicious treat. I love that Allie's uses shredded chicken instead of chunks.

AH likes: Fast, friendly service and top-quality food. Isn't that what we're looking for?
AH would skip: Less is definitely more at Allie's. Ths sandwiches are big, so just get a half.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011


One of my favorite things about winter is the citrus fruit. Not that I live anywhere that gets to take advantage of fresh fruit in the winter, but I do get to buy boxes of those darling clementines.

Martha Stewart Living had a really simple recipe for clementines this month (Really, the whole February issue is great!) so I decided to give it a whirl.


1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
8 clementines, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise

1. Bring water, sugar and cinnamon to a simmer in a small saucepan. Cook until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute.
2. Arrange clementines in a large bowl. Pout warm syrup over top, and let stand for at least 30 minutes.
3. Divide clementines and syrup among four bowls and enjoy!

Extraordinarily simple and very delicious!

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Skyway Sybarite: Zen Box

This week's review is Zen Box Japanese Eatery located at 6th and Hennepin. With guest reviewer Amanda from if you tell anyone....

I ate: Yaki Soba bowl and Spicy Funky Roll

AC ate: Buckwheat Soba Salad and Zen Ocean Roll

AC writes:

Zen Box is certainly a box - a very small, hot one with minimal space except to order and get out. I had been waiting for a long time to eat the soba noodle salad there. Weeks, in fact. I'd walked past the sign telling me delicious soba noodle salad waited just inside the doors but I ignored it... until I realized there are about three healthy things in the skyway to eat for lunch and the soba salad was one of them. I'd say for Japanese fast food I wasn't disappointed. The soba noodles were not the highest quality buckwheat noodles around but they're not bad. I think it could have used a few more vegetables besides edamame but the dressing was great and the lettuce was crisp.

AC likes: Employees who know what ingredients are in the food - a bonus for those with allergies. They also are the only fast food place in the skyway that serves short grain brown rice.
AC would skip: The sushi. There are plenty of places in the skyway that have a fresher tastier selection.

My two cents:

Service was extremely fast and friendly. When I asked for Yaki Soba with no chicken, the girl behind the counter did her best to give me as little chicken as possible. In my world, steam table meat = G R O S S. The yaki soba bowl was advertised with assorted vegetables, but I could only identify cabbage. That said, it was tasty and quite a bargain for a such a large portion. I think I ended up eating about 1/3. The roll was decent, for pre-made sushi, but wasn't anything special. I've had worse but I've had better. I like my pieces a little daintier, so I don't look like a chipmunk while I try to chew and swallow my food.

AH likes: Aside from the meat, the food did not have the "steam table" taste or texture that usually turns me off at fast food eateries. There were a fair amount of vegetarian options, as well.
AH would skip: I agree. The sushi. Nothing will live up to my beloved Bagu.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Eleven in '11

I know I've been posting a lot about New Year's resolutions, and all the stuff I'm going to do better or differently in 2011, but I couldn't resist one more.

This isn't a resolution, per se. It's a goal. A challenge. And I invite you to take on this challenge yourself!

So, here it is: I'm going to do eleven new things in 2011.

Yeah, I know. Yawn.

But seriously, last year I tried some things I never did before. Like having a booth at an art fair, making my own stationary, and flying on a plane by myself.

This year, I want to do more. I'm not going to count things like eating...something. Geez, I seriously cannot think of one food I've never tried. But what I mean is, the goal or the accomplishment has to be big-ish.

Like replacing whole wheat pasta for semolina pasta all year. Or hand writing a letter to a different person each month. Or taking a new class. Or having a baby. Yeah, I'm already 1/3 of the way done with that one, but it's something I've never done before and you have to admit - it's BIG.

Eleven in '11. Join me!