Traffic at KSTP

I love our local stations, always have. But…the addition of Josie Smith as the KSTP traffic person is leaving me confused. She talks about  the horrible traffic and back-ups with a pretty creepy smile on her face…what?? I think Josie has a beautifully calming voice, but when reporting ugly traffic, she could perhaps show a little distress and/or discomfort for the listeners who are soon to be stuck in it. There should  be just a little tweaking in the presentation — identify with your audience, Josie. (BTW, you could totally be a commercial voice-over person, soooo soothing.)

Dr. Jennifer Eisenhuth, Orthodontist

photo

 

doctorjennifer.com

My son is currently going through his second phase of braces with Dr. Eisenhuth’s practice. First of all, kudos to the doctor’s marketing team — geniuses! She has many “perks” to help the process of braces seem much less traumatizing than in the olden days. There are customer appreciation events, various contests, and a wonderful waiting area with free wifi, fresh-baked cookies, bottled water, coffee, and smoothies. The kids are given a token for wearing their Dr. Jennifer t-shirts to appointments, a token for being on time, and tokens for a variety of other reasons. Tokens can then be traded in for gift cards, etc.

I’m pretty sure there are many orthodontists who offer more affordable braces (we paid around $6,000 for this latest round), but the overall experience at this office is always positive, including the friendly staff. FYI, they do offer a payment plan.

I highly recommend Dr. Eisenhuth’s services.

Twin Cities Premium Outlets

Twin Cities Premium Outlets

premiumoutlets.com

I took my son school shopping at this beautiful new center the week after it opened (August 2014) in Eagan. It is mostly open-air with some covered walkways. I found the prices to be comparable to the regular retail stores; although, we only went into a few shops. At Famous Footwear, I had a coupon for BOGO 50% off with an added 20% off. They would not honor the BOGO (due to their “outlet” status), but they did take 20% off the final cost.

The restrooms are plentiful, and the food court area is indoors. We ate at the Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen and enjoyed the pasta and salad (cost was average for “fast food,” but quality was much better).

Tips: Go online before you shop and join the VIP Club. Then stop at the Information Center (in the food court building), and they will give you a coupon book with many specials. For parking, the surface lots were completely full (on a Friday afternoon!), but there was plenty of parking in the ramp.

The Hundred-Foot Journey

HFJ-Header

I have a feeling Manish Dayal (Hassan Kadam) and Charlotte LeBon (Marguerite) are going to be big stars as a result of this movie. Our book club saw this after reading the book of the same name. This movie is worth seeing just for the beautiful landscape alone, but it also holds up in the acting and writing departments. It deviates somewhat from the book, but that is to be expected. I like a movie that puts me in a good mood, and this one certainly accomplished that.

Bonfire, Eagan, MN

Bonfire

http://bonfirewoodfirecooking.com/blog/location/eagan/

Our book club at ate Bonfire on 8/14/2014 after seeing the movie The Hundred-Foot Journey (see my movie review). Bonfire has wonderful happy hour offerings: half-price appetizers, $2 off drinks, beer specials. Happy hour is daily from 3-6 p.m. and 9-12 p.m. We were all very pleased with our selections (my buffalo chicken flatbread was excellent). There were two very minor issues: A glass of wine was served with lipstick on the rim (quickly remedied by our server) and there was a spider on the move in the light fixture above our table (we didn’t mention it). The ambiance was nice and service was excellent. I highly recommend this restaurant.

Inver Grove Toyota, Inver Grove Heights, MN

We bought a used car over the weekend (8/14) and had an excellent experience with our salesperson, Dameon. We were not impressed, however, with the woman who works in the finance department. She used the term “shaggin’ wagon” twice in front of our 12-year-old son (she was referring to our older son’s trade-in) — very unprofessional and borderline crude. Five stars for Dameon, one star for the finance person.

www.invergrovetoyota.com

Discount Tire Store, Eagan, MN

discount tire

www.discounttire.com/storelocations/Eagan-MN.html 

My husband was out of town, and his car needed (what he thought were) three new tires. I made an appointment at Discount Tire. When I arrived, the tech took down the information, at which time I mentioned that the car probably needed three new tires. He went out and inspected the tires and came back saying that we only needed ONE new tire. What? Honesty and integrity at a car place? I bought the tire at a fair price, waited about an hour, and was on my way. I will definitely return to this store for future tire purchases. Way to go, Discount Tire!

 

Hardware Hank, Duckwood Drive, Eagan, MN

eaganhardwarehank001016

www.eaganhardwarehank.com

We bought a lawn mower at Hardware Hank on a Saturday in July (2014). Our salesperson was one of the most patient, knowledgeable, and helpful people we’ve dealt with in a long time. (I didn’t get his name, but he works part time on the weekends.) My husband had many questions, and all of them were answered in a very clear, professional, and friendly manner. We will definitely return to this Hardware Hank for future needs.

Granite City, Eagan, MN

granite-city-interior

www.gcfb.net/menu

We ate at Granite City on a Wednesday night in August, expecting a slow business night, but it was packed. The restaurant was clearly understaffed, but they made the best of the situation. I ordered the buffalo chicken wrap and fries. The chicken was lukewarm (probably sat in the window for a little while) but was otherwise very good. My husband had the fish and (lukewarm) chips, which he liked, and my son had the fish taco trio (said it was good). The very best thing I had was one of their beers, The Bennie — medium-bodied, very flavorful. (This beer rivaled anything I tasted in Ireland! I would return to Granite City for this beer alone.) Our server apologized a couple of times for the slow service. We tipped 20% anyway, and he returned within seconds of taking our payment (literally, seconds) with a coupon for a complimentary appetizer. I would recommend this restaurant.

Culver’s, Apple Valley, MN

culvers

www.culvers.com/menu-and-nutrition/

We ate at Culver’s on Sunday evening, August 3rd, 2014. It was not busy at all when we arrived. We were given our “number” to put on our table. After 10 minutes or so, half of our order was brought out. We thought maybe someone else was bringing the rest, but after a few minutes of waiting, no other food came out. My husband then went back to the counter and addressed the oversight. After a few more minutes, the rest of our order was delivered. A manager then brought us a “We’re Sorry” coupon for a free meal on our next visit (very good customer service). The restaurant was getting busier by that time, and my husband went up to order dessert. He was given another number for the Concrete Mixer. It was at least 15 minutes, if not longer, before the dessert was delivered – way too long for a “fast food” restaurant. We probably will not return to this Culver’s. On the plus side, the restaurant was very clean, and the staff was friendly.