'07 in review: The Greatest Resolution There Ever Was

8 Jan

katana.jpgLike most rational people, I realized long ago the futile exercise in setting lifestyle-changing New Year’s resolutions. They never last and rarely do more than make the resolution-setter feel like even more of a loser than they did in the first place. So I’ve tended to steer clear.

However, in 2007, I devised what came to be universally known (by me only) as The Greatest Resolution There Ever Was: visit one new bar or restaurant per week. 52 total. It was designed to broaden my horizons and add to my conversation starter fodder, and frankly just keep myself interested in the occasionally lackluster act of going out on the town.

This was the only resolution I can remember actually fulfilling. To celebrate this monumental achievement, I’ve decided to recap all 52 locations, if for no other reason than to officially record it for my own future recollection. I’m doing this for both of us.

— The full list, after the jump —

1. Punch Pizza (St. Louis Park, MN) – Have you been searching for a pizza joint that can bake you a soggy pie in less than two minutes? Look no further. Punch Pizza is your place.

2. Kincaid’s (Bloomington, MN) – I’m told Kincaid’s is an old-school swank joint. I was there for lunch, and forgot about my meal, the ambiance, etc by the time I arrived back to work.

3. D’Amico & Sons (Eden Prairie, MN) – Great sandwiches.

4. CC Club (Minneapolis, MN) – A cool old dive bar in Uptown. I went there with a girl who told me she just wanted to be friends. Good beer selection, great jukebox, I’ll never go there again.

5. St. Clair Broiler (St. Paul, MN) – The meal was terrible, but that ain’t my main beef with the Broiler. I had to choke down said meal in an uncomfortable vinyl booth, listening to the worst yacht rock ever created over the loudspeakers. I’m talking Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross, Chicago, the Doobies, etc. An almost tear-inducing soundtrack.

6. The Bulldog (Minneapolis, MN) – I discovered The Bulldog (Nordeast location) early in the year and, throughout ’07, it became far and away my most-visited spot. Best sandwich (The Californian) and veggie burger in the city. Not to mention the money tater tots. Yes, I said tater tots.

7. Edina Grill (Edina, MN) – A delectable veggie burger, if you’re willing to make the trek out to Edina.

8. 3 Degrees (Minneapolis, MN) – My associate Norm and I stopped in on a lark one night on our way to one of our bump-n-grind hotspots. Yes, it’s a Christian nightclub, but Jesus drank wine, right, so what was the harm in having a glass of red with the late-night Christian bar-goers? Turns out, alcohol isn’t served at 3 Degrees, which explains why the total time we spent in 3 Degrees was less than one minute. A trip to the bar, a swift u-turn and we were out the door.

9. Envy Nightclub (Minneapolis, MN) – Envy is a Posh McTrendy wait-in-line club downtown, totally not worth the wait. It’s got two separate sections: an open room with a huge bar and a DJ spinning hip-hop in the front, and loud-ass techno and huge dance floor in the back. So, basically a room for the boozehounds and a room for the coke/ecstasy crowd.

10. Gino’s Pizzeria (Chicago, IL) – Damn good pizza. Ate it by myself in my hotel room after a business conference. I am very cool.

11. The Loop (Minneapolis, MN) – Opened in early ’07 in the building that used to house Mel’s Beauty Bar, The Loop is probably my favorite downtown bar. Good-looking twentysomethings, plenty of excitement, trendy vibe, a refreshing lack of eardrum-popping hiphop found at other downtown spots.

12. View (Minneapolis, MN) – Good location in Uptown, easy parking in the ramp, great happy hour deals.

13. Rosen’s (Minneapolis, MN) – No, really, I’d never been there until 2007. And I probably won’t go again. Nothing too terrible, but nothing worth remembering either.

14. Sunshine Factory (New Hope, MN) – Did you know this place has happy hour specials on SATURDAY NIGHTS? For that knowledge, you are welcome.

15. Miami (Minneapolis, MN) – Cheesy ’80s bar with a Miami Vice theme. Some love it, some hate it. I was in the middle. Sure, it’s trying too hard, but that’s better than not trying at all, right? (See: Rosen’s)

16. Brix (St. Louis Park, MN) – Cool bar, nice area, but the drinks are too spendy. Seems like a place thirtysomethings go on their first match.com date when they’re trying to look “hip” and “with it.”

17. Sneaky Pete’s (Minneapolis, MN) – An underrated locale for watching sports. Huge TVs all over the place, great specials, central location.

18. Crema Café (Minneapolis, MN) – I honestly don’t remember even going to this place.

19. Jensen’s (Eagan, MN) – Great breakfast spot for the elderly.

20. Fresh Wok (Minneapolis, MN) – Sweet little takeout joint on the south side.

21. Chaska American Legion (Chaska, MN) – What can I say? It’s a Legion bar. In Chaska.

22. Liola (Minneapolis, MN) – Ladies love this summer spot. I went there with the same woman who just wanted to be friends a few months before, and this time around she was eating from the palm of my hand (OK, not literally.)

(Or figuratively, for that matter.)

23. Turtle’s (Shakopee, MN) – It was at this bar’s jukebox that I rediscovered my love for “Bell Bottom Blues.” Have you?

24. Dukes (Malibu, CA) – Malibu will make you hate yourself for living anywhere that isn’t Malibu. Unless you live in San Diego. In which case: screw you as well.

25. The Lounge (Minneapolis, MN) – Lame bar that seems to want its patrons to feel like they’re drinking import beers while sitting in a cave. On the plus side, I’m less hideous in dark bars. Stupid concept, boring patrons, not my scene in the least.

26. Crave (Edina, MN) – It’s a bar in the Galleria. Pretty much exactly what you’d expect. Dig the name, though.

27. American Pie Pizza (Richfield, MN) – I had a hoagie the size of a brick. Not bad.

28. Great Waters Brewery (St. Paul, MN) – They make a great homemade beer, but I wouldn’t recommend going during busy hours. I work about ten miles away and, when factoring in traffic, parking, walking, etc, it took me over an hour to get there. Gotta love downtown St. Paul. In hindsight, allowing a blind crackhead to design the city’s road system probably wasn’t the smartest idea.

29. Katana (Los Angeles, CA) – By far my favorite restaurant of 2007. Classy sushi joint located smack-dab in Hollywood. I went there with the hopes that I would see The Hills’ Spencer so I could get him to punch me in the face, but no luck. Instead I had one of the most delicious foods I’ve ever eaten: the fresh crab hand rolls. I’m getting heated just thinking about it.

30. Aqua (Minneapolis, MN) – Man, do I ever hate this bar. Offensively loud, terrible top 40s hiphop, gold-diggers and jackass former frat boys and wannabe pro athletes as the clientele and absolutely no character inside the bar. Steer clear, normal people.

31. N.E. Palace (Minneapolis, MN) – A fun dive located down the street from Gasthof’s. A bit ghetto, which provides the added excitement of wondering if a fight will break out at any moment between either the rednecks or thugs. The nice karaoke stage and cheap drinks make it all worthwhile.

32. Naviya’s Thai Kitchen (Richfield, MN) – Had the lunch buffet, left disappointed. I ask you: is there a more disappointing eating experience than the asian lunch buffet? I think not.

33. Jake’s (Eden Prairie, MN) – Yep. Been to Jake’s. That is all.

34. Crab House (Stillwater, MN) – My pals and I ordered Michelob Golden Lights, and sent them all back when they all (oddly, incredibly) tasted like liquid butterscotch. The next round tasted the exact same, so we just shrugged and decided to soldier on with the melted butterscotch beers. Stillwater is a cool city if you keep your expectations low.

35. Matty B’s (Minneapolis, MN) – Mostly forgettable.

36. Grand Hotel Ballroom (Mackinaw Island, MI) – There are no automobiles allowed on the island of Mackinaw, only horse-n-buggies, which means that, yes, the city has clean air, but what’s the point if you’re afraid to inhale on account of the ever-present aroma of dung? I’ll take exhaust fumes, thank you very much.

37. Tailgate Bar & Grill
(Richfield, MN) – Totally forgettable.

38. Ike’s (Minneapolis, MN) – Love this trendy lounge restaurant located right downtown. Great calamari. Good date spot.

39. Gun Barrel (Jackson Hole, WY) – Some hearty eating in this Wyoming supper club. I ordered the elk torso with a side of deer parcels. Love the outdoors? Give Jackson, Wyoming a shot. A wild west town straight off the set of Tombstone.

40. La Grolla (St. Paul, MN) – Everyone claims it, and everyone’s right: La Grolla is the best italian joint in St. Paul. Hot tip for the fellas: when your date for the evening remarks that the tables are so close together that it would be funny to start a fake fight to make the table-neighbors uncomfortable, and you decide to kick things off and respond by loudly calling her a “whore,” that is not what she had in mind, you inappropriate twat.

41. Sarpino’s (Brooklyn Park, MN) – My mom ordered pizza from here. Better than the chains, which isn’t saying much, which is precisely what Sarpino’s deserves.

42. Hell’s Kitchen (Duluth, MN) – A bold blood-red-and-black interior design, which makes the boring fare all the more disappointing.

43. The Powerhouse
(Procter, MN) – The best local townie bar featuring a live band on the weekend in the entire city! Of Procter! Procter, Minnesota!

44. Pink Taco (Los Angeles, CA) – See “Hell’s Kitchen” above and substitute the interior design for a dirty restaurant name & theme.

45. Kip’s (Minnetonka, MN) – It’s a bar inside a hotel. The end.

46. Amore Victoria
(Minneapolis, MN) – (Shrugging shoulders.)

47. Dragonfly (Dallas, TX) – (Scratching head.)

48. Café Maude (Minneapolis, MN) – Supposedly french cuisine. I had a hamburger. Didn’t taste very french to me. Decent, though.

49. Jethro’s (Maplewood, MN) – A townie restaurant that was strangely playing indie music the entire time. That is all I remember. Well, that and gagging on a walleye finger gone seriously bad.

50. Oceanaire (Minneapolis, MN) – Fanfuggintastic all around. I was there for a company outing so I have no idea the pricing, but if you’ve got enough dough to make it rain from time to time, I suggest you make it rain towards an Oceanaire server and have her bring you their appetizer sampler, stat.

51. Patrick’s French Bakery (Richfield, MN) – Not a fan of baked goods in the morning (I was there for breakfast), but I will say I enjoyed the diet coke I ordered. I will say that.

52. D’Brian’s (Eden Prairie, MN) – Great concept, horrible execution. The sandwiches are sloppily constructed and the damn wait/bus staff saunters over to your table every three minutes to ask if you’re finished while trying to pry your dish from your grip. A word of advice, if my sandwich is still in my hand, and I’m still mid-chew, I ain’t yet done. Park your ass in the kitchen and count to a thousand.

And this concludes my recap of 2007’s Greatest Resolution There Ever Was. The resolution for 2008: 25 new books, 50 new movies. Shouldn’t be too tough, and definitely won’t be as fun, but I’ma soldier on either way.


9 Responses to “'07 in review: The Greatest Resolution There Ever Was”

  1. A.B. January 8, 2008 at 5:00 pm #

    Re: #18. Go to Crema on a sultry summer night. Wait six months and go in and order a scoop of Green Tea ice Cream, or the Cabernet Chocolate Chip. (Scoff now, smile later.) The ice cream is crave-worthy. It’s insane.

  2. J.Phizzle January 8, 2008 at 9:14 pm #

    Re #10…Chicago, MN. MN? Really, B?

    We’re in a fight.

  3. B. January 9, 2008 at 9:42 pm #

    Fixed! We cool now?

  4. J.Phizzle January 10, 2008 at 9:49 am #

    Love you mean it, don’t go changin’!!!

  5. BreAnne January 10, 2008 at 1:09 pm #

    This is such a good idea! Some of my comments:

    #4- I hate the CC Club, so why do I keep going there? Maybe because it’s like 2 blocks from my house. Everyone who goes there thinks they’re so cool, it’s kind of annoying.

    #14- Rumor has it they also have BINGO night at the Sunshine Factory, which greatly pleases the octegenarian in me.

    #38- Ike’s is one of the best HH spots downtown, in my opinion.

    Also, I made it my goal to finish 30 books last year…I made it to 27, so you should have no problem with 25. Please post some reviews, I’m always in desperate need for recommendations.

  6. Cool Rut January 13, 2008 at 8:26 pm #

    Your resolution was great and the exact opposite of mine! I pledged to eat at the same restaurant (Applebys) 52 times in 2007, preferably on Fridays. I was 3 short. I had pneumonia for a while so I was too sick to enjoy eating good, I just wanted to sleep and soak the couch with sweat. I feverishly tried to make up for lost time but fell short.


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