La Grolla on Saturday

What a lovely weekend.  Minnesota is so funny - weird weather on Wednesday and summer returns on Sunday.  But despite nature's fickle nature, Whitney and I uncovered a secret treasure that we hope stays around longer than the September sunshine will.

With two hours to spend, Whit and I hopped into "Tomas" (my rattling old Honda Civic) and took a drive down Lexington Parkway to Selby Avenue.  On a mission to make it to Nina's, we ended up taking a walk to the Cathedral (stunning) instead of snacking on coffee shop sandwiches.  Though we were in the mood for fresh fare, our path afforded no new eateries and our grumbling tummies demanded we turn around - and I'm glad we did.  If going East was a bust, then traveling West of Nina's was the opposite - across from the coffee shop was the tempting Costello's but still not quite right for our light afternoon.  But...another block down Selby hidden in the lineup of shoppes and past the parking for Blair Arcade, was La Grolla and a little Italian chef beckoning us to peek around his shoulder to savor the garlic within.  Actually, our first instinct was to press on, shallow wallets will have that effect, but with no other food in sight (and a sideways glance at the patio of ivy and umbrellas), Whit and I strolled in for a look-see at the menu. 

As long as I could get lunch for under $12 it was worth a lovely detour from cheap mac & cheese and we were shown to a table outside.  A breeze, a glass of wine I actually enjoyed and a few funny stories later and Whit and I were loving this comfortable late garden lunch in the middle of Saint Paul.  Have I told you how much I love Saint Paul lately? Well, I do.

To be honest, I don't typically enjoy restaurant dining - pretentious waiters and fellow patrons secretly make me nervous - I feel like a twelve-year-old who showed up to her to big brother's high school party. Not to mention that for some strange reason the majority of restaurant dining I've done has been in Europe and I get flashbacks to language-barrier induced tipping disasters, butchered Latvian, and a really bad ravioli in Paris.  But La Grolla's was wonderful - for one, I was in my own country where speaking English isn't a sign of your American arrogance (which made ordering a bit easier) and two, the staff was generously warm and obliging - if I hadn't know better I would have thought we'd walked into our own neighborhood trattoria.  

We had such a nice time that Whit was late for babysitting and we had to take our chicken mozzarella for a ride in a Styrofoam box - sorry 'bout that buddy. In summary of this Saturday soiree: the food was delicious, the atmosphere delightful and if you have $10 - $15 for lunch, take an afternoon break and enjoy La Grolla with your best mate.

Image via here