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mongo_jones

Member Since 01 Aug 2004
Offline Last Active Today, 05:04 AM
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Topics I've Started

popol vuh, high-end mexican in minneapolis

14 May 2019 - 06:13 PM

here is my review of a recent dinner at popol vuh, one of a couple of high-end mexican places that have opened in the twin cities in the last year (colita is the other--not been yet). popol vuh shares a large converted warehouse space with its more casual sibling, centro (a taqueria). we quite liked the meal (though not everything we ate, especially not the desserts). as a bonus there's some complaining included about the use of the term "elevated" to describe mexican or other "ethnic" cuisines in these contexts.

 

popol-vuh-chuleta.jpg


new york airbnb/hotel, mid-august

22 April 2019 - 10:15 PM

we are in the early stages of planning a trip to dc/nyc with the kids in mid-august. yes, i know it's a terrible time to visit, but it's the only time we've got. the primary and secondary purposes of the trip are to take the boys to the big museums and sights. i'm trying to figure out airbnb vs. hotel in nyc. a tiny apartment will cost the same, seemingly, as a decent hotel room (which will be more cramped) but it would also seem to mean staying further out from manhattan, which seems like it will be the center of our activities. though i don't know how much of a hassle it will be to subway it in from brooklyn if we go that route.

 

do people have any airbnb recommendations? any suggestions for under the radar hotels that are good for families? anyone want to let our kids destroy your luxurious penthouse suite while you're out of town?


grand cafe, minneapolis

16 April 2019 - 06:37 PM

until 2016, grand cafe in s. minneapolis was a solid neighbourhood spot. i ate there one time with friends, liked my meal but mostly liked that the restaurant was not charging outrageous prices for food that was decent but nothing very special. a little after that there were big changes at the restaurant. new chefs moved in: jamie malone and erik anderson, a pair of local darlings who had been rumoured to be opening their own restaurant for years. the menu moved in a far more haute direction and prices went up. eventually anderson left to helm coi in san francisco, leaving malone in charge. the restaurant has continued to receive plaudits, and malone was recently nominated for a james beard award (for the little that's worth). and so we finally decided to check it out. we ate dinner there this past saturday and thought it was the best fine dining meal we'd had in the cities for a while. herewith the details.

 

grand-cafe-chicken.jpg


how to roast a duck?

10 April 2019 - 02:44 AM

i have a duck in the freezer. i would like to defrost and then roast it such that it has crispy skin and tender flesh. how do i achieve this?


europcar shenanigans: (non-binding) legal advice needed

09 April 2019 - 03:13 PM

so, when we were in scotland last summer we rented a car from europcar in edinburgh. at the end of the uneventful trip we returned it, after hours on a saturday. a couple of days later i called from london and confirmed all charges etc. this is mid-june. more than a month later i then noticed a new charge for $300+ on my credit card for europcar. i sent them an email asking about this and while waiting for a response googled around and discovered that europcar has a long history of shady charges and has even been investigated for it in the u.k. i alerted my credit card company and they said to wait to see if i heard back from europcar.

 

a few days later i did. they claimed the car had been returned with scratches on the bumper. however, in the paperwork (which was also in the attachments they sent me in their response) scratches on the bumper are clearly marked as existing damage. i pointed this out to them. they then said, "oh, the existing damage was on one side, you brought it back with scratches on the other as well". now, this is clearly bullshit--we did not return it with any scratches that weren't already there--but in any case i would have thought the lack of specificity in their original documentation would have been the end of it. i called my credit card company again, they agreed it was bogus and reversed the charges and told me i didn't need to worry about it. this was october and i thought the matter was done.

 

then a few days ago we received a letter in the mail from some collection agency/debt recovery company in the uk threatening legal action if i do not pay the original amount as an outstanding debt and referencing some earlier letter which we did not receive (this is an echo of their original email in response to me in which they claimed to have sent me a mailed notice of the charge before applying it to my credit card). i'm inclined to ignore this as it seems likely to me to be an attempt to intimidate/strong-arm me into payment of a clearly bogus charge which i have already contested (via email).

 

but i'm also not sure what their reach as a company in the u.k is over me as a resident of the u.s. is this something i need to worry about or respond to? has anyone else run into anything like this before? and either way, what would you do?