Sunday, June 30, 2013

Rockwood Restaurant and Lounge in Ely, MN

Rockwood reflects what living on the Northland is all about, from the warm cabin feel to the decor of old memorabilia of fishing, skiing, mining, and hunting to menu items that gives the taste of Northern Minnesota with walleye and wild rice.

They offer other items on their menu as well: pasta dishes, burgers, hand cut steaks, sandwiches, soups, salads, and some Mexican dishes. With a wide variety of dishes, you are sure to find your taste at Rockwood. As a tip, they do offer gluten free options as well. You would just need to ask their knowledgable staff. 

Rockwood offers a Daily Drink Special from 3:00pm to 5:00pm every day: 2 for 1′s on all beer/wine/drinks in the lounge only. They have a full bar with a TV to sit back and enjoy a cold one. 

Also, they have the Rockwood Birthday Special. It must be on your actual birthday. You will get your age as a percentage off your meal.  So, if you are 21 on that day you get 21% off or if you are 75 you get 75% off. And, if you turn 100, you deserve a free meal. 

On Thursday nights, they have live music on the patio starting at 6:00pm. They will place a sign stating that there is live music. 

You start out having a basket of bread and breadsticks that is served with hummus, maple butter, and garlic butter, which were all very tasty, and will make you want more. 

Rockwood offers a kids menu with choices of a cheeseburger, noodles, chicken strips, quesadilla, and even a walleye sandwich. The portions were good for what they charge for $3.95 to $7.95, but the kid's drink is not free. It's $1.50 more. That is disappointing. Either add it in the price or have it free; it's more of a visual thing. 

Jodi had the Prime Rib with Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Sauteed Vegetables. She thought it was ok. It was fattier than she is used to, and parts of it were raw even though she ordered medium well. She really liked the garlic mashed potatoes. She thought they were delicious with just the right amount of garlic to make it stand out. The vegetables were good as well, a nice little variety. With the entree,  it had the choice of salad or soup, and Jodi chose her favorite: Wild Rice Soup. 

Jodi used to order the Slider Sampler. It had pulled pork, chicken, and beef. They do not offer this item on their menu any longer, and Jodi was disappointed to see it go. 


KayMarie had the Rockwood Burger, that has a thick slice of prime rib, Swiss cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato, and garlic mayo. She thought it was done well, but was really messy. Even though it was seasoned fairly well, it just wasn't her taste, but others may like and enjoy it more. It also came with fries, that were too overdone. She could not eat them all. 

Brian had the Rockwood End of the Road Flat Iron Steak, made Black and Blue. I ordered the garlic mashed potatoes as well, and the sautéed vegetables. I like my steak medium rare, and it was done to my liking. My meal was very good. Also, with the meal came the choice of salad or soup. I chose the Wild Rice Soup. This soup is my favorite and is the best I have eaten. I always look forward to having a bowl every visit. 

Christopher ordered the Stuffed Meatloaf which has ground beef and Italian sausage stuffed with mozzarella, ham, basil and sun dried tomatoes served with garlic mashed potatoes and topped with bechamel sauce, a white sauce made with milk and herbs. The entree had a choice of a salad or soup, Christopher ordered the Tomato Basil Soup, we all had a taste of his soup and it was very tasty. The soup tasted like a melted pizza. We will have this soup again. Christopher liked his meal.

Jonathan ordered the Cajun Pasta. It had zucchini and fresh tomato, then was sauteed in a Cajun bechamel sauce tossed with penne pasta. You can choose either shrimp or smoked chicken. Jonathan chose the chicken, and he really liked this dish. It was spicy, but not overpowering. 

As for handicapped accessibility, a standard 32" chair will fit fine. One thing I liked the most was the handicapped bars in the bathroom. They weren't ones I am used to: they were all one piece that curve at the beginning, and they were on each side.

If you are looking for a local favorite experience, then Rockwood would be the place to go. As for our family, we may try Rockwood another time to try to find that taste that keeps us coming back. So, we suggest to Stop In, enjoy the Northern decor, and find what you like to order. 

Check out their Facebook page at Rockwood Bar & Grill!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Stand in Chisholm, MN

The Stand is a hidden gem in Chisholm, MN. When you drive past during the winter, it's closed, but, during the summer, it's a hoppin' place to be. You can sit in your car, and the waitress comes up to take your order. And, just like the 50's joints, they put your food on a tray on your window. Or, you can sit in their picnic area, where they have picnic tables. Wherever you choose to sit and eat, they have oldies tunes playing in the background to sing along with that may bring back memories or create new ones. Their menu boards seem endless, including burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, subs, salads, pizzas, and buckets of broasted chicken. They offer many kinds of beverages and ice cream from malts, shakes, and floats to cones and sundaes.

The menu makes you want to keep coming back throughout the summer to try the other menu items. The Stand also has a history that makes it stand out. It opened in 1964, founded by Bob and Fran Bizal as an A&W Stand. Then, in 1982, it was purchased by Raymond Potami and Lorna Elhardt, when it became The Stand. The Giant Touch Of The Past, also known as The Ting Town, a famous local favorite sandwich has been passed down since the 50's. You can choose either beef, pork, or ham served with hot sauce, a sweet sauce, or you can have both.
Cheese Curds
Jodi's favorite is the Gyro with Onion Rings. 

KayMarie's favorite is the Mushroom & Swiss Burger with  Deep Fried Mushrooms. 

Christopher's favorite is ordering the Little Ranger Chicken Bits, Fries, Beverage, and a Toy. 

Jonathan's favorite is also the Little Ranger, but he orders the Cheeseburger. 

Brian's favorite is the Grilled Pork Sandwich made California Style (with lettuce, tomato, and mayo) with an order of Cheese Curds. 

Grilled Pork Sandwich
Onion Rings
And, don't forget to try their Homemade Root Beer, in a frosted ice cold mug. It only comes in regular. If you order diet, it is an A&W can. Being a diabetic, I wish the homemade root beer came in diet. You can also bring a jug of Homemade Root Beer home with you, if you pay 50¢ for the plastic jug. 

The Stand is a must Stop In. They close at night, when the sun goes down, and make your visit before summer is over. Labor Day is usually the end of summer for us on the Northland, so hurry!

Check out the Facebook page at The Stand!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bellisio's Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar in Duluth, MN

I took Jodi here for our monthly date night, Saturday, 5/25/2013, around five thirty. She didn't know where I was taking her, but she was driving. The online directions we used from Mapquest made it easy to find. We pulled up in front of the restaurant and saw an opened handicapped spot on the street. There was also a bus stop in front of us well, so we were little confused about parking. We also saw a parking lot where you would have to pay, but the restaurant will validate your parking. We went inside and were greeted warmly. We had a reservation, but they couldn't find it at first. They asked me my name a few times until they found it as only my first name. Either the guy that took our reservation was busy or didn't think to ask how to spell my last name. But, I do remember spelling it for him, because it's different. We, then, asked about parking, whether where we were now was fine. So, Jodi and someone we believe was the manager went outside to check and make sure. Even though we were fine, it was nice that the manager went out with her to check. She did not just stand there and say, "I am not sure." She went the extra mile.

We got to our table, and it was at the front with plenty of room for my wheelchair. The look of the restaurant sure was about Italy with wine bottles everywhere you looked, Italian music playing softly. The dim lighting made it intimate. It gave it authenticity. The tables were a nice white, with a candle in the middle of the table, making it a really nice romantic setting. I wouldn't say it is too kid friendly. You're surrounded by bottles, and the staff are very busy moving throughout the restaurant. 

Tiramisu Martini

 Our waitress, Tracy, brought out a basket of   fresh focaccia bread that they make there at the restaurant. They were also featuring Rosemary Olive Oil from The Rustic Olive, Duluth's first olive oil and balsamic vinegar store. The Rustic Olive brings a featured oil to Bellisios to have customers try, a great way to see businesses support one another. The Rustic Olive is located down the street from Bellisio's. 

To start out, I had an appetizer, which I was most excited about, escargot. It was buttery and garlicy, and the snails were very good. It also came with a side of bread, which I dipped into the leftover sauce from the escargot. Also, with the escargot, I had a glass of Merlot, I asked for more of a fruity wine, and it was a great choice. I also enjoyed a delicious Tiramisu Martini.
Shrimp Asparagus Risotto

For our entrees, Jodi had the Shrimp Asparagus Risotto. This was her first time having risotto, so she was excited to try it.  She said it was delicious, creamy, and the shrimp and rice were done properly. The portion size was fair for the price and we enjoyed the intimate romantic setting together.  

Mussels w/Linguine
I had the Mussels with Liguine in Marinara Sauce. It was a nice portion size for the price. The sauce wasn't too heavy and acidy, and it had a good amount of mussels that were cooked perfectly. I would order this dish again and would like to try more of the drinks they have to offer. I liked the romantic atmosphere of Bellisio's. It really made our date night feel special. We hope it would feel the same way for you and your loved one. This was definitely a place to Stop On In!

Check out their website at Bellisios!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Boathouse Pub and Restaurant in Ely, MN

We went to Boathouse Pub and Restaurant in Ely, MN. Overall, we all give it a B-. Some good, some bad.

Jodi had Nachos Grande that looked like a school science fair project...very greasy, and the lettuce was all wilted.

KayMarie had the "Motorboat" burger that she said was very good.

Jonathan had kids mini tacos..he says "It was burnt and gross." They did look like hockey pucks cut in half.

Christopher had fish sticks, about which he says, "These are the best fish sticks I ever had."

I had the ribeye steak which was really good. Along with it, I had cheesy broccoli, which was stone cold, and a side of chipotle rice ("WHERE'S THE RICE?") It was like 2 tablespoons. I'm not asking for a heaping mound, but throw some more on!

Also, now this is funny...this place is a micro brewery, and the waitress was not knowledgeable of the beers they brew. And, she asked if I wanted more water. Why not ask if I wanted another beer. I would have had another.

And, not until we were leaving did the waitress ask the rest of the family if they wanted refills...(sigh) we may give it one more try.

See for yourself at The Boathouse Pub and Restaurant

Country Kitchen Virginia, MN

We went to Country Kitchen in Virginia, MN. They have decent food at decent prices. Our waitress was funny and did a great job. It's a family restaurant... that had Nickleback "I wanna be a rockstar" with lyrics, "The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap" and "Everybody's got a drug dealer on speed dial" WTH? NICE!!! Real nice family atmosphere with that playing loudly throughout the restaurant. Don't get me wrong, we listen to today's music, but other people could be offended, and I wouldn't disagree. It's a family restaurant, so you should be more careful what you play.

Brian had the Ragin' Cajun Burger with endless fries.
Jodi had the Double-Up Skillet.
Christopher had the peanut butter and jelly pancakes.
Jonathan had Mr. Chippy pancakes. The food was all great with good portion sizes.

Overall, we give it an A: stop on in!

Check it out at!