Weather: 24Â°F (-4Â°C)
Road Conditions: Salty, with slush in shaded areas.
The sun came out this afternoon, after a long absence. It was a welcome surprise, like an old friend dropping in for a visit. The Windsock and Crystal Ball Guild predicted clouds and snow flurries for most of the day, but we all know how accurate they have been lately.
I was energized by the warmth and light, so much that I hastily sketched out a new Ramble Plan to explore after work. Ramble Plan Foxtrot is really a modified R-P Bravo; there are only so many main routes I can take on the way home, at least until the good weather comes and I can ramble long distance.
Foxtrot diverges from Bravo at West 7th Street and Wabasha in downtown Saint Paul. Here I take a right and head across the river on the newish Wabasha Bridge. Just before the first stoplight, there is an entrance off to the left, into the parking lot of Joseph’s Grill.
I was a regular at Joseph’s, back when they occupied their old location at Concorde and State Streets, barely a mile down the hill from my house, “Ton-Up Manor”.
Working third shift at the time, I would ride my old Ducati 900SS home around seven a.m. and stop in for breakfast… er, just before going home to sleep. Yeah, third shift is a weird way to live. I often accompanied my Fajita Omelet with a Bloody Mary, the better to relax before bedtime.
Later, when I got a normal day-job, I stopped going to Joseph’s. Things had changed, my daughter was born, and the next time I went looking for the place, it was gone! Well, not completely gone, as in no longer existing. But they had moved, and were certainly changed at their new location. Bigger, better (according to some definitions of the word), certainly more profitable, the new Joseph’s fits right in with Saint Paul’s “Riverside Rennaissance”.
But I had grown attached to the old Joseph’s, and hesitated to try the new version, until tonight.
The new facility is huge inside, with lots of varnished woodwork, and plasma-screen televisions enough to rival any sports-bar in the area. The clientele trends toward overcoats and suits, and I began to feel a little self-conscious in my Aerostich. But then my waiter Tyler arrived, and I got down to this business of another Rush Hour Restaurant Review.
I seem to remember the old Joseph’s had a Fajita Special night. You got enough grilled beef or chicken with onions and peppers, to fill three tortillas for around seven bucks. That was enough to satisfy most appetites, but it was nothing like the feast pictured above.
The Beef Fajitas I ordered tonight still came with three tortillas, but now the mass of fajitas has almost doubled, with only a modest increase in price. The salsa was fresh, though perhaps a tad milder than I remember, but still delicious. I could taste the chopped garlic and citrus in the marinade, and the vegetables were crisp perfection.
Tyler had to bring me a to-go box so I could take the sizable remainder home. This will make for a fine lunch at work tomorrow…
My only complaint was that the tortillas seemed to have been waiting awhile for me to show up. They were a little hard around the edges, and stuck together in the middle when I tried to separate them. This sometimes happens when you arrive for dinner at four-thirty in the evening.
Overall, it was a meal worthy of my memories of the old Joseph’s, and one that I shall return for again in the future. The rest of the menu looks intriguing, and if you live in the area, Joseph’s is definitely worth a visit. Their blend of Lebanese and Mexican heritage has always made for interesting dining.
The ride home was a familiar ritual: negotiating our city traffic in darkness with nobody seeing, much less looking-for, the maniac riding the scooter. With caution and quick reflexes, Scarlet and I made it home, safe and sound.
I’m feeling a bit reminiscent during these dark Winter days, and someone has requested another Cafe Racer Retrospective. If I get enough interest in the comments section, I’ll see what I can come up with this weekend.