Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cucumber Salad Recipe

Cucumber salad is so simple yet so wonderful. I have been eating it like crazy this summer. With abundant fresh cucumbers available at all the farmers markets they are easy to find and cheap.

You can have it creamy or traditional; skin on or off. I have been leaving the skin on for extra fiber and nutrition plus it gives the dish more visual depth. I think the traditional style offers more of a chance to taste the freshness of the cucumbers.

Here is a quick and easy recipe for you to try. It's so good I almost want to drink the liquid when done!

Andy's Cucumber Salad
4 large cucumbers or equivalent
1 medium onion
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp dried dill weed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fine ground pepper

Thinly slice cucumbers and place in a large bowl.
(If cucumbers are fat you may want to cut in half length wise before slicing.)
Cut onion in half; then thinly slice and add to the bowl.
Stir in salt and pepper.
In a small saucepan add vinegar, water, sugar, and dill.
Bring to a boil stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and add to the cucumber/onion mixture.
Stir, cover, then refrigerate.
Should be ready to eat in about 1-1/2 hours.

My experience is this salad will get better the longer it marinates. I think it really comes together after about two days. The cucumbers start to soften a bit and the onions tend to mellow after they soak up the goodness of the marinade. ENJOY!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Los Gables Mexican Restaurant - Fountain, MN - Review

Los Gables Mexican Restaurant
HWY 52 and HWY 80
Fountain, MN, 55935

Rating - 8 out of 10

Peggy and I stopped at Los Gables Mexican Restaurant in Fountain, MN this past weekend. We were driving past on Highway 52 on our way back from our Niece's wedding in Iowa.

After parking the car the first thing I noticed was the nice setting. Behind the building next to the gravel parking lot is a lush yard with thick grass, large trees and picnic benches scattered around. Lined with woods on one side and a corn field on the other it was the perfect setting to walk my dog after our long trip. There are also horseshoe pits with horseshoes waiting for whomever wants to play.

Inside we were greeted with a smile and quickly seated. The employees were all very friendly and the decor was very cute and quaint with brightly colored tables and chairs, fun decorations, and many other niceties hanging from the walls or displayed on shelves.

The menu had a good amount of traditional Mexican dishes as well as some interesting combination platters. There was also a section that explained some Spanish phrases in English. We had fun practicing during our visit. We were interested to see a traditional "soda shoppe" type menu behind the front counter as well. It was reminiscent of places I used to visit during my childhood offering malts, soft serve ice cream, fries, onion rings, etc.

Chips and mild salsa were immediately brought to the table. The chips were warm and the salsa fresh but a bit bland for my taste. I asked for some hot sauce and was presented with two homemade choices; red or green. The red sauce was excellent with great roasted flavor and had a good bit of heat but the green was the bomb! Made with habanero peppers it packed some serious fire.

For our meal Peggy chose the Mexican sandwich. This large sandwich consisted of warm soft artisan bread with refried beans, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, cheese, and shredded lamb meat. Very nice consistency and flavor. I had two spicy chicken enchiladas with a spicy chicken soft shell taco. While the quantity and quality were good, the chicken was not spicy at all. This did not bother me because I had their great hot sauces to help with that. Our meals were accompanied with tasty refried beans and a very moist, tender and delicate Mexican rice.

All things considered we really enjoyed our visit and will be back again. If you are ever traveling through Southeastern MN or live in the area it would definitely be worth a visit. I even opted to buy a t-shirt with their logo albeit too small. More reason for me to continue my efforts at the gym and to cut back on the margaritas.

CLICK HERE to check out Los Gables on Facebook or visit

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Kip's Authentic Irish Pub and Restaurant - St. Louis Park, MN - Review

9970 Wayzata Boulevard
St. Louis Park, MN 55426
Located near the intersection of 394 & 169
Adjacent to the Marriott Minneapolis Hotel

Rating - 8 out of 10

As a lot of our friends know Peggy and I have been frequenting Kip’s Authentic Irish Pub & Restaurant in St. Louis Park, MN since it opened several years back. I must admit one of the main reasons we were excited about Kip's was it's close proximity to our home. The nice part is that Kip's delivers the goods with great food and drink selections, friendly staff, cozy decor, and large patio. Over the years Kip's has grown to include the $10 lunch menu (includes tax and tip), a romantic Valentine's dinner special, great St. Patrick's Day celebration, live music, beer of the month, and recently has upped the ante with a patio menu that adds new and exciting items.

One of our favorite days to visit Kip's is Sunday. As one would expect the crowd is a bit smaller which lends itself to more individualized service but there are also deals to be had like a free pint of the beer of the month. Yes, that was not a typo...FREE BEER! Just sign up for the Friends of Kip's newsletter and each month you will receive an email coupon good for one free pint of the beer of the month. June was Goose Island Summertime (loved it) and July is Newcastle Summer Ale (loved it even more). Your beer could be served by Jessie, one of our personal favorite bartenders. Always a smile on her face and ready to make our experience a pleasant one.

Our last visit was on the healthy side and included a cup of the Potato and Leek soup, Steamed Blue Mussels appetizer, "Spinach, Apple and Candied Pecan" salad, and Salad Nicoise. The Potato and Leek soup was full of hearty yet delicate goodness and was oh so creamy. We both could have done without the mussels which were on the smallish side, a bit dry, and did not have much liquid/sauce. The spinach salad hit the spot with a lovely house made vinaigrette and earthy blue cheese complimented by apples, craisins and candied pecans. The Salad Nicoise was off the charts with spectacular presentation and super fresh goodness. A perfect medium rare tuna fillet, delicately shaved red onions, chopped hard boiled eggs, haricot vert (green beans), and red potatoes. Missing were the imported olives and house made vinaigrette listed on the menu. None the less the Salad Nicoise was the stand out dish of the night.

You can check out Kip's Authentic Irish Pub and Restaurant online at or look for them on twitter at

After a long hiatus...

After a long hiatus (almost a year) I have decided to give Invisible Diner another shot. Last year after much contemplation I came to the conclusion that if I was not inspired enough to post quality content then why bother posting anything at all. It was not worth it to me to dilute content in an effort to just post something on the blog.

Another reason for the lapse in updating Invisible Diner is the downturn in the economy. Peggy and I do not eat out as much as we used to and the restaurants we have been going to have not exactly been inspirational.

With that being said we will be updating the look of Invisible Diner and reinventing the way we post content. After using Twitter for some time now the thought of 140 characters or less came to mind. Instead of a few larger posts perhaps we will have more frequent smaller ones. As always your comments or suggestions are welcome.