Monday, October 16, 2006

Great Venues

Regular readers of my blog know that I love to do restaurant reviews utilizing a five-point scale with a "1" being, "I would not eat here again even if you paid for it............" to a "5" being, "I wish I had an apartment/condo above this restaurant so I could eat here more often........"

With that as background I wanted to share an initial list of the "Great Venues" for eating, drinking, or just socializing that really stand out for me after several years of travel along with some reasons why these establishments qualify as "Great Venues":

  • "Ernesto's on Cozumel Island (Mexico) -- the Ernesto's near South Hotel Zone not the downtown one. A thatched roof, no walls to allow the Caribbean breeze to join you at the table, and great fajitas so what else do you need??!!! Really this is THE venue for post-scuba diving story telling and they serve an excellent "divers' breakfast" to get your day started.
  • "Pink Flamingo" in Key Largo (Florida) -- located across the parking lot from Captain Slate's Dive Shop. They serve great conch chowder and one day I witnessed a fisherman bring a fish in which the chef cleaned and cooked for him. Now that is customer service!!
  • "Elements" in Phoenix (Arizona) -- still the only "5" rating I have issued. I hope to return to this restaurant in December if scheduling allows.
  • "Mickey's Diner" in downtown St. Paul (Minnesota) -- buckwheat pancakes and surly waitresses make for a great combination. A bit of a greasy spoon so don't overdress!!
  • "Taco House" in Okoboji (Iowa) -- be sure to try their brown sauce on a soft shell taco. I love the place but not the long lines but that is the price for enjoying their successful menu.
  • "Miro's Bistro" in San Jose (Costa Rica) -- near "La Luz Restaurant" assuming both places are still open. Costa Rica does not use USA-style street addresses opting instead for directions/land markers mentioned in meters away from each other. Great pasta dishes and the "bomba" after dinner drink is powerful. Miro's is known as a "Croatian-Italian" restaurant but I just call it "damn good."
  • "Arthur's Cafe" in Brussels (Belgium) -- I love the woodwork and their range of food. This is a relaxing oasis in hectic Brussels.
  • "Mad Dog Cafe" in Virgin Gorda (British Virgin Islands) -- large, open windows that allow the Caribbean breeze to dine at the table with you. They have a limited sandwich menu but their location is top knotch and it is a completely relaxed atmosphere.
  • "Casey's Coffee in Washington DC" -- a low key venue that is the polar opposite of StarBucks. Casey's has a nice range of unique sandwiches and a very friendly staff.

I plan to add to this list in a future posting as my recollections of past travels resurfaces.




jdsqrd said...

What? No Hickory Park in Ames, Iowa? Mickey's had a major role in the film "Prairie Home Companion." Most of the camera work was from the booth I last sat in.

Tom said...

Kelley's isn't on the list?

Todd said...

Yes I do enjoy Hickory Park in Ames but there are much better venues there such as -- Tip Top Lounge strictly because of atmosphere and of course Great Plains Sauce and Dough which is one of the best pizza places in the country!!

As for "Dan Kelley's" in Minneapolis -- I like going there because my r-ball buddies are there but as a "venue" this place would not qualify for any short list I would compile.

Now Hell's Kitchen in Minneapolis would qualify for decor and the "colorful" wait staff they employ. Clear evidence that diversity is alive and well in the USA.

Bon appetit, Todd

Anonymous said...


Ernesto's for breakfast, that brings back memories. Taco House is the best mexican resturant in the Midwest.


PS: are your days at Ernesto's numbered yet? See you soon!

Todd said...


My days at Ernesto's will never end!! The wife and I plan to dive in Cozumel one day so I hope you get off the couch to join us :)

Reed is pretty close to diving age so let's get going.