Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mall Of America in Bloomington, MN

Along with our visit to the Waterpark Of America, we also visited the Mall Of America. In our package, we got four passes to Nickelodeon Universe. We were excited to see the new rides. Everyone had fun and enjoyed the park, but a complaint we have is that, when Christopher rode the Brain Surge, he lost his glasses. The ride operator quickly tried to find them, but they were underneath the ride, and she had to call park maintenance. They took an hour to finally come get his glasses. We were not happy because, since it was a Sunday, the mall closed early at 7pm. We had to hurry to try to get everything in before we headed back home.

I was in my big wheelchair and the doors were double with no bar in the middle. It was easy to get in and out. The main aisles and around Nickelodeon Universe were also easy to move around as well. The major complaint I would have is about the stores I wanted to shop at. I couldn't get around all the stuff they have in the doorways, and most had tight aisles I could not get around. Even with a standard size wheelchair, access and mobility would be a concern. That was very disappointing to me, since I could not get on the rides. I was at least looking forward to shopping. But, in the meantime, I am thinking it's their loss of money from a customer. I would like to say thank you to Spencer's staff. As soon as we were heading in, they were moving shelves as much as they could and offered help throughout the visit.

Jodi had fun at the Mall Of America. She liked riding on Brain Surge and the food choices that we don't have around us. Her favorite place was Long John Silvers, but it was a hard choice, because there were Chipotle and other places. She ordered Fish N'More.

KayMarie enjoyed riding Brain Surge as well. It was a fun ride, and it was different from the other rides. She enjoyed having a Smoke House burger and a vanilla coke from Johnny Rockets. 

Christopher enjoyed making a bear at the Build A Bear Workshop. He got his bear a Mall Of America shirt to show where he made it. His favorite ride was Brain Surge. He liked that he could make it go forward, backward, and even spin the wheel. He had Kids Fish from Long John Silvers.
Jonathan liked Brain Surge ride as well, though he was scared at first seeing rides this big. He was a trooper. He also liked meeting the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and getting his picture taken with them. He had mini corn dogs from Johnny Rockets.

I liked that there was a store for Chiliheads, called Pepper Palace. Too bad I couldn't wheel all the way around the store to look at the items for sale. But, what I did see had my mouth watering. It didn't help that you could sample different sauces and salsas. Too bad there were no chips out to try the samples. I got a Sushi Appetizer Sampler from Masu Sushi & Robata.

Mall Of America is of course a STOP IN for the indoor Amusement park, stores, exhibits, theaters, and, of course, the restaurants that provides a taste for everyone. Through all the crowds and crowded stores the Mall Of America is the place to experience and make memories.

Check it out at Mall of America!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Radisson Hotel and Waterpark Of America in Bloomington, MN

For our family's biggest summer vacation, we headed to Bloomington, MN, to stay at the Radisson Waterpark Of America and to visit the Mall Of America. We got all packed up and headed 4 hours south to The Cities. This will be our first time staying at the Radisson Waterpark Of America. We were worried because Jodi called to ask if they had an ADA handicapped room with a roll-in shower. They said they did not. I called the same place not knowing Jodi called there earlier. I asked the same thing that Jodi asked: if they had an ADA handicapped room with a roll-in shower, and they said they did. So, we were not sure what to expect when checking into our room, but we were hopeful that our stay would go smoothly.

Arriving at the hotel, the lobby was packed with people. The line was very long, and they had ropes to the counter, but a kind gentleman that was staying as well helped move the ropes for me. When getting up to the counter to check in, the counter was too high for being in a wheelchair. It would have been nice to see a lower counter for me to sign and not be looked down on. We were not recognized for being Club Carlson members. I showed the hostess my number, and she said, "Oh I have it right here." 

We got the package that got us four passes to Waterpark Of America and four passes to Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall Of America. We needed to get me a dry pass, since I am in a wheelchair and could not access all the areas. When I made the reservation, they said that it would be at a discounted price. 

As we got to our room we saw room service plates in front of our door. It was very unappealing and not a good start to our stay. There was cleaning staff down the hall. As we are getting ready to go to the waterpark, we thought she would take it. But, when we left the room, the plates were still there. Also, while in the room, I had to use the bathroom, and the toilet seat was very loose. I was afraid to fall off or that it was going to break. Others used the toilet and said the seat being that loose was scary. 

We headed down to the waterpark and wanted to talk to a manager. We were not looking forward to being in the long line. We saw a maintenance staff coming by. His name was Roberto. We told him we wanted to speak to a manager. He asked what the issue was. Roberto went and got the manager on duty, William (Willie). While we were waiting to talk to the manager, Roberto went right away to fix the toilet seat. We told William the issues that we had since check-in, and he said, if we had any other problems, to let him know. 

We got to the waterpark counter to get my dry pass, and the same thing as in the main lobby: the counter was too high. We asked for a pass for wheelchair, and the lady was charging us full price. We said that it was for wheelchair, and that I am not going to be able to take full advantage of the park. But, she still rung us up for full price. Then, we mentioned that when we made our reservation, they said I could get a dry pass that would be at a discounted price. She finally gave us the correct pass.

Overall, our family enjoyed Waterpark Of America, there just needs to be more tubes for the amount of people that visit. For wheelchairs, there is plenty to do, with easy access to the wave pool and in Fort Snelling (the water playground with the giant bucket). There was a lift chair to lower you into the water into a tube near the Lazy River. The only challenge was the accessible ramp that goes across to the other side of the park. It had some steep parts, so being by myself would have been difficult. And the visitors that use the ramp would have to turn around so we could get by, luckily people were considerate, but that may not be the case all the time. A standard size 32" wheelchair will work best in the waterpark and in the hotel. Also, inside the waterpark the air was cold, a lot of us were shivering.  

Back in our room to shower, I rolled into the shower, and I couldn't reach the showerhead. If someone was staying by themselves, they wouldn't be able to reach the showerhead. So, I am glad I had my family there. When I was not using the showerhead, there was nowhere to hang it, raise it, or lower it to where I needed it. The bar that I would place the showerhead to where I needed it was there but the hook on the showerhead was missing. 

The king-size bed was a nice size for Jodi and I. But, with having one leg to get up from the bed, the bed was too low. When we were lying in bed, I noticed inside the light above the bed was full of dust. It was gross and didn't seem to reach the Radisson's high standards. Christopher and Jonathan really enjoyed the bunk beds that were in the wall, with little nightlights, and a curtain. KayMarie thought the sofa bed was okay, but the bar in the middle hurt her back. And, there were no blankets for her. I had to call and request them. 

When checking out, we talked to the manager on duty. His name was Willie. He listened to our concerns, was understandable, and made corrections for us that were fair. Even though there were some issues, our family did enjoy our stay and would visit again. We recommend Radisson Hotel and the Waterpark Of America as a STOP IN, but fixing these minor issues will make it a even more enjoyable stay for all who visit. 

Check out all the rides at Radisson Hotel and Waterpark of America!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ledge Rock Grille in Two Harbors, MN

It was my month to take Jodi out on our monthly date night. I searched on the internet for places outside of Duluth, and Ledge Rock Grille came up. The reviews looked outstanding, so I looked at their website and was very impressed. They have their menu online, showed pictures of their dining room, and I saw a link that caught my interest about eating at the Chef's Table. I had to call to get more information.

When I called Ledge Rock Grille, the staff worker was very helpful while explaining the Chef's Table. It's a six-course meal that the chef puts together himself, and it's a personal way to show their skills that is different than what's on the menu. While at the Chef's Table, the chef interacts with you during the courses. The price to sit at the Chef's Table is $75.00 per person. For the experience, I thought it would be worth it. 

He mentioned that, since I'm in a wheelchair, the counter will be too high to sit at the Chef's Table. He said its close to five feet in height, but they would accommodate me with a table close to the Chef's Table. Before we hung up, he asked if there was anything else that they should know about, like food allergies or any other accommodations. That really impressed me a lot. They made me feel that our needs were a priority, and they valued us as a customer. 

Asian Spinach Salad
When we arrived for our reservation, handicapped parking was good. The outside of the Lodge was clean and inviting. We brought my standard size wheelchair. The doorway was wide enough, but my bigger wheelchair may not fit. Inside the Lodge, it was clean and warm. The staff welcomed us with smiles and asked if we needed help. 

When we got to the restaurant area, we were greeted kindly by the hostess, but we weren't asked if we had a reservation. I thought they knew, because I made sure that the reservation had that I was in a wheelchair. But, I had to mention it to the hostess. Going into the dining area, the tables were close together. So, I would have had a problem getting through, but the staff moved the tables without hesitation. It may have been a problem, if the tables were full.

Duck Liver Pate on Herb Crostini
The hostess sat us at a table near the Chef's Table. I did go up to the actual Chef's Table seating, and the counter was too high for a wheelchair. So, I am glad that they accommodated me. To be honest, I think I would rather sit at a table than the high bar stools, they would possibly get uncomfortable during a six-course meal. 

Our chef for our dinner was Chef Alex. He came over to our table, introduced himself, and explained his menu for the night. Then, our waitress came over and explained about having a wine pairing with each meal for an extra $19.00, which I did. 

Raspberry Sorbet & Champagne
Even though Jodi and I enjoyed everything on the menu, we did have some favorites. We both enjoyed the bacon-wrapped scallops the most. They were so good and cooked perfectly. The rack of lamb was very good as well. It was not in a marinade, but seasoned and grilled very well. The raspberry sorbet in champagne was very refreshing, but their famous S'mores cake was a great dessert to end the dinner. It was warm and gooey, just like a real S'more.

Grilled Lamb Rack with Rosemary Pesto
On the way out, the staff moved the tables, so I could get through. And, they were all kind to us during our visit. And, when going past the front desk, they were kind and friendly, saying thanks for visiting. We felt that our needs were taken care of, and we were treated as a priority as a guest. It was very personal.

Ledge Rock Grille also offers a Culinary Club. It's free to sign up. You can sign up online, or ask your server. You get a card in the mail, and, when you visit Ledge Rock Grille, you get 1 point for every dollar you spend. They have different levels of points that you can redeem to get rewards from Ledge Rock Grille to free nights in a cottage.

Smores Cake
If you are looking for a romantic dinner that offers a personal six-course meal from the chef's menu, then Ledge Rock Grille is a must STOP IN! Or, if you are looking for a family outing dinner overlooking Lake Superior, then stop in at Ledge Rock Grille. They do offer a menu with items such as steaks, seafood, lamb, wood-fired flatbreads, soups, salads, chicken, duck, burgers, and pastas. They also have a wine list and beer. They also have a 3-2-1 Happy Hour which is Daily from 3 – 5pm. Save $3.00 on any appetizer. Save $2.00 on any specialty drink. Save $1.00 on your choice of wine or beer.

Also, heated outdoor deck seating is now open for the summer! And, if you are looking for lodging, they have cottages at different rates. You can look online, call, or they have an online chat available on their website: Ledge Rock Grille.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Lakes 10 Cinema in Hermantown, MN

This was our first movie theater outing together as a family. We surprised the boys by seeing Monsters University. They were excited!

I used my bigger wheelchair and it fit thru the doors just fine. They were double doors with no bar in the middle. As we got up to the counter, we were greeted in a very friendly manner and with a smile. There was plenty of room to get around the ticket booth and enough room to get inside where our movie was. 

There was a family sitting in the wheelchair row. I wanted to sit with my family, so I went to the ticket counter and asked if they could ask some people to move. Without hesitation, they said they would be happy to help and ask them to move. Even though she told the wrong row, it was nice to be at a place with the willingness to accommodate. 

The family said they were comfortable in the seats, and I was able to see the movie just fine. For me, I am glad I had good brakes on my wheelchair. It seemed like I was at a slant, so I didn't want to move around too much. The sound and video quality was loud and crisp and gave that theater sound.

We have not been to a movie theater in years, but it seemed that they were in the price range of other concession stands. It would have been nice if they could offer free refills on drinks. 

We really enjoyed ourselves at Lake 10 theater. The staff was friendly when we arrived and when we were leaving. Lake 10 offers a free rewards program. When you visit, you gain points for rewards. We will definitely be back and suggest that you STOP IN for your next movie night out.

Research your visit at Lakes 10 Hermantown!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Five Guys in Duluth, MN

We have seen shows about the history on Five Guys, and a lot of people we know have tried Five Guys. On July 13, 2013, our family went to try Five Guys. I did not call ahead to ask about handicapped accessibility, or if was kid friendly, but we were excited to try it.

We brought both wheelchairs because we were going to see a movie afterwards. I went in with the 32" chair just to be on the safe side. The first set of doors were double but no bar in the middle, which then made me hopeful that the 36" chair would fit inside. Nope, the second set of doors only the 32" would fit, unless I would have pivoted. 

Once inside, we noticed other patrons getting salted peanuts in the shell to eat. We didn't see a sign saying free peanuts. but assumed it was ok. The peanuts were a nice added snack while we waited for our food. 

On the walls, for their decor, were awards and news articles they had been in. I remember from the show I watched that the five squares on the wall represents the five brothers. Colors were white and red, with a decent size dining area. It worked fine for the 32" chair, but not for the bigger one. 

We got up to the menu, and the cashier asked what we would like to order. I told her that we are first timers at Five Guys. She was very friendly and helpful explaining the menu. The Little Burgers are single patties, the others are double. It was amazing to see the toppings were free, and the fries you can order Five Guy style or Cajun style. We asked if the Cajun seasoning was really spicy, and she said it has some kick to it. She offered to put some of the Cajun seasoning in a container on the side, so that we could try it. 

After paying, they give you a number that they will call out when food is ready. We sat at the table listening to the upbeat music and watching the cooks work in unison while waiting for our number to be called. 

One thing we ask is why use canned mushrooms on good quality restaurant food? You have fresh tomatoes, lettuce, you even post where you got your potatoes. So why serve processed, spongy, canned mushrooms when fresh would taste so much better? Hope to see this changed on our next visit. 

Jodi ordered a Bacon Cheeseburger with onions, mayo, and mushrooms. She really liked the burger. She said it tasted really good and liked the simpleness of the wrappers. It let the food be the star. 

KayMarie ordered a Bacon Cheeseburger with pickles, tomatoes, mushrooms, and A1 Sauce.

Brian ordered a Bacon Cheeseburger as well, but all the way. I asked how much would it cost to add jalapeños, and the cashier said it costs nothing. I really liked the burger a lot. It tasted so good, but it needed fresh mushrooms. 

Christopher and Jonathan had a Little Bacon Cheeseburger with pickles, tomatoes, onions, ketchup, mustard, and mushrooms. They liked their burgers a lot. They got so full. 

We liked the fries a lot. They seemed like the old-fashioned fries you get at a carnival. They were in a cup in a brown paper bag, with a side cup of Cajun seasoning. Next time, we would like to try the seasoning cooked with the fries. Brian really enjoyed that they offered malt vinegar. He says it brought back memories as a child at the fair. 

Five Guys in Duluth, MN, is a STOP IN, kick back, enjoy the music, and the burgers, you will not be disappointed. 

Check it out at Five Guys!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pizza Lucé in Duluth, MN

When we write a post, we like to visit the place to get the full experience. But, this post will be a little different. We had Pizza Lucé delivered to our hotel room at The Edge. The food was so good that we have to share about it.

The first thing we liked about Pizza Lucé was the unique pizza flavors. The second was the late hours that they still delivered. It allowed us to enjoy the waterpark longer and eat later. And, the third was that they delivered promptly and the food was done well. We didn't want to just order a pie that we can get back at home. 

Garlic Cheese Toast
Tangy BBQ Wings
We ordered Garlic Cheese Toast, served with sprinkled oregano and a side of red sauce. You can also order it dairy free with their vegan cheese or Rinotta* which contains nuts. 
We also ordered Luce's Chicken Wings they are a  21 time winner at the Minneapolis Wing-Capades. We ordered Tangy BBQ that is served with blue cheese dressing, but we believe we got an order of the Spicy Buffalo. They were so spicy that the family did not like them. Now, I like spicy foods, but I can say they were hot. You can order the wings Gluten Free upon request as an option as well. 

For our pizzas, we ordered the Greek Athena with fresh spinach, tomato, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, red onions, Greek oregano and toasted garlic with light mozzarella on Bianca sauce (white pizza). This is our new favorite pizza. We were not sure at first if we would like it, but all the flavors worked well together and tasted great, too. You can order Vegan and Gluten Free as well, upon request. 
Pizza Athena
The other pizza we ordered was the Pizza Lup'e, the flavors of Mexico, with black bean salsa, fresh pico de gallo, black olives, cheddar cheese, green onion, and seasoned beef. It is also served with shredded lettuce and a side of sour cream. We liked this pizza as well. It was stacked with ingredients, and the taste of fresh ingredients made a great Mexican pizza. You can order this pizza Gluten Free as well. 
Pizza Lup'e
So, if you are looking for a great pizza or other great menu choices, whether by delivery, take out, or dining in, Pizza Lucé is the place to get it. I know we will like to try dining in next time we are in Duluth. Pizza Lucé is a STOP IN or, in this case, a great choice for delivery. 

Check out their website at Pizza Luce!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Duluth Huskies At The Wade Stadium In Duluth, MN

We went to see the Duluth Huskies, as a start of our summer outings. I called the main number and left a message to get information about how accessible the park was. The Head Coach Daniel Hersey of the Huskies called me back and was very informative on how to get tickets, the handicapped accessibility, and how I would be able to sit together with my family.

We went on a Sunday June 2nd, 2013 for the Family Pack, you get 4 hot dogs, 4 small sodas, and 2 popcorns for $30.00 on home games. But, we needed an extra ticket for KayMarie with the food options, as well. Head Coach Daniel Hersey said they would charge $10.00 extra for the ticket and food. When we got to the gate to purchase our tickets and mentioned that we needed an extra ticket with the food, it took them awhile to completely understand what we needed. I even told them that the head coach called me and that is the price he said. They charged us the extra $10.00, and we were in. 

Huskies Dugout
The gate entrance was easily handicapped accessible, I was in my large chair which is bigger than the standard 32" chair. We didn't know where to go for the handicapped seating. The staff were kind, but they would just point directions. It would have been nice to have been ushered, since this was our
first time here. 

We got to the handicapped seating, and there were steps that I had a hard time getting passed. A standard chair would fit just fine, but my chair had to be angled just right to get through. People had to wait for me to get through. They were kind, but I got a bent wheel out of it. The handicapped seating was right next to the teams dugout, which brought an added bonus for Christopher's and Jonathan's first experience at a baseball game. My family was able to sit with me in the handicapped seating area which was great. 

#3 Kyle Teaf
Harley D. Huskie
The Sunday we went, it was a Double Header, and staff had said there was going to be fireworks. But, there was not, which was a little disappointing. That's why we stayed for second game, but, in the long run, it was a long day.
Another suggestion we have is having someone at the gate entrance directing visitors with kids to the information booth to sign up for the kids activity contests. Both Christopher and Jonathan asked where they could enter to try to win, we had to tell them that we were not sure. 

#6 Aaron Hernandez
We did have a lot of fun watching the Huskies play and buying a baseball for the meet and greet at the end of the game. Jonathan got to meet the players, and had them sign the baseball. He was really excited to be that close to the players for his first time. It was hard to get the wheelchair through the grass to get to the players, because it was wet and muddy, but it was worth it. 

#7 Garrett LaRosa and #22 Josh Alexander

For a reasonable, fun time at the ballpark and to support our local team this is a STOP IN.

Check it out at Duluth Huskies!