My girlfriend Libby and I had a fabulous girl’s weekend last weekend. Our guys were doing their own thing all weekend (horse races, beer, poker and more beer) and we did ours (happy hour, pedicures, shopping, cooking).

Friday evening started out with a much anticipated happy hour at Barrio in St. Paul. I was super excited to check out Barrio in lowertown St. Paul becaused it is a close 3 mile drive or bus ride from my home in South Saint Paul and I like to support businesses going in downtown St. Paul because it is known to be quite a ghost town in terms of any nightlight.

Unfortunately, Barrio was not a good experience. Here are the details:

Barrio’s website hours said Friday was open from 11am – 2pm and that happy hour was M-F 4pm-6pm. Libby and I got there promptly at 4pm only to have a woman inform us that they didn’t open until 5pm. That wasn’t a huge deal, but seemed odd to me that they wouldn’t have some information on their website about different hours for their St. Paul location or perhaps it was special hours for the opening week?

The highlight of the evening was heading over to Bulldog to kill time while we waited for Barrio to open. That place is awesome, they had great happy hour specials and great service. I will definitely be going back to Bulldog.

5pm came quickly so we paid our Bulldog tab and headed back to Barrio (next door). The hostess asked us if we would like a table, I said “sure, we’re here for happy hour” to which she (very rudely) replied, “we don’t have happy hour until Monday”. Is it just me or do you agree that it’s weird to not have specials available until the week after you open? I thought so and I thought it was annoying that their website (again) had incorrect information. Libby and I were not the only ones who came for happy hour because the couple behind us also asked about happy hour.

I hope I don’t sound like a cheapo here but I have had enough bad experience trying out a new restaurant that now I like to check them out during happy hour when drinks and appetizers are discounted rather than dropping $100 on a meal that is disappointing.

Anyway, back to the details:

- Waitress was awesome, no complaints there

- Libby ordered a $9 blackberry mojito, it was not good, way too sweet!

- I ordered a chelada beer cocktail called a bloody chipotle beer and didn’t like it. It basically tasted like watered down beer with a tiny bit of tomato juice and way over-spiced.

- Enchiladas and tacos can be ordered a la carte so I ordered a chorizo potato (I think the potato part convined me) and Libby ordered a chicken enchilada. Both good, but a bit over-priced.

- We also shared a “small plate” of mushroom quesadillas. They were horrible! They were so salty that neither of us could finish more than one slice. Ew.
The total for all the above was $40, which doesn’t break the bank but also wasn’t worth it. I think I was mostly disappointed in the lack of correct information on their website. There has been a bunch of local press about Barrio opening in St. Paul and buzz on Twitter and it just really surprises me that there wasn’t a special section on their site calling our different St. Paul hours and specials.
A couple good things I’ll say about Barrio is that the decor and atmosphere is cool as hell. It has this semi-dark, romantic, almost goth feel with sexy candelabras and cool Mexican masks on the wall. The second thing is that the presentation of the food was really lovely.

If I was convinced by someone who had a really good experience then maybe I would give Barrio a second chance. So if that person is you (who had a good experience) shoot me an email at eatdrinkpretty@gmail.com and let me know!

If you are still reading this post, thanks, you’re a trooper for keeping with me this long!

Some pics from our Barrio experience, as I mentined above, no complaints about the presentation.

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I am a cat person myself thanks to my an adorable cat, Kody whom I am slightly obsessed with (I know I probably shouldn’t be admitting that). If I had a dog it would probably be the same but as of now, neither my husband or I are around enough to care for a dog.

If you do have a dog, check out this lovely, precious, awesome dog dish/fountain that can be found at Lucia’s patio in Uptown, Minneapolis. If you remember an older post, Lucia’s in one of my absolutely favorite restaurants. Local, organic food in a gorgeous, quaint setting.

This photo is from the Star Tribune article, The Taste 50, where people, places and products are highlighted in the Twin Cities. The dog fountain was one of the 50.

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I am a cat person myself thanks to my an adorable cat, Kody whom I am slightly obsessed with (I know I probably shouldn’t be admitting that). If I had a dog it would probably be the same but as of now, neither my husband or I are around enough to care for a dog.

If you do have a dog, check out this lovely, precious, awesome dog dish/fountain that can be found at Lucia’s patio in Uptown, Minneapolis. If you remember an older post, Lucia’s in one of my absolutely favorite restaurants. Local, organic food in a gorgeous, quaint setting.

This photo is from the Star Tribune article, The Taste 50, where people, places and products are highlighted in the Twin Cities. The dog fountain was one of the 50.

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Erik and I had our first date night in a long time last Friday evening. We have a lot of great dinners at home, but there is something really special about going out. We used to do it all the time, probably too much, when we first started dating about four and a half years ago, but we’d go to places like Old Chicago and Champps, casual dinners where we’d drink beer and always order nachos as an appetizer. Did I mention I gained about 10 pounds those first six months?

Fast forward a few years and we became a bit more sophisticated and began going out to eat less and when we did, it would generally be for special occasions. Some of favorite restaurants over the years are Lucias in Uptown (both of us), Cafe Lurcat (me), Manny’s (Erik), El Meson (both) and Cafe Ena (both). We’ve actually only been to Cafe Ena twice but it holds very special meaning because it is the restaurant we ate at the night we got engaged in September 07. We had a great meal on the patio and afterwards took a walk and Erik proposed on a sidewalk on a street in South Minneapolis. It was proposal perfection.

Our date on Friday began with drinks at Figlio in Uptown and then we had an amazing meal at Cafe Ena. Cafe Ena is an adorable, small restaurant on 46th and Grand in Minneapolis. It serves latin fusion food that is delicious and bursts with flavor. I started with split pea soup with proscuitto (this might sound weird, but I LOVE split pea soup, it has a bad reputation, but in reality is velvety and delicious) and then I had proscuitto wrapped grouper. Erik had a caesar salad and jambalaya. We shared a bottle of Riesling. I’m actually not a huge fan of sweet white wine, but anytime Erik is willing to have wine with me I let him choose and he can only handle sweet whites. I have hope he will come around.

Me, a bottle of wine deep…

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Erik and I had our first date night in a long time last Friday evening. We have a lot of great dinners at home, but there is something really special about going out. We used to do it all the time, probably too much, when we first started dating about four and a half years ago, but we’d go to places like Old Chicago and Champps, casual dinners where we’d drink beer and always order nachos as an appetizer. Did I mention I gained about 10 pounds those first six months?

Fast forward a few years and we became a bit more sophisticated and began going out to eat less and when we did, it would generally be for special occasions. Some of favorite restaurants over the years are Lucias in Uptown (both of us), Cafe Lurcat (me), Manny’s (Erik), El Meson (both) and Cafe Ena (both). We’ve actually only been to Cafe Ena twice but it holds very special meaning because it is the restaurant we ate at the night we got engaged in September 07. We had a great meal on the patio and afterwards took a walk and Erik proposed on a sidewalk on a street in South Minneapolis. It was proposal perfection.

Our date on Friday began with drinks at Figlio in Uptown and then we had an amazing meal at Cafe Ena. Cafe Ena is an adorable, small restaurant on 46th and Grand in Minneapolis. It serves latin fusion food that is delicious and bursts with flavor. I started with split pea soup with proscuitto (this might sound weird, but I LOVE split pea soup, it has a bad reputation, but in reality is velvety and delicious) and then I had proscuitto wrapped grouper. Erik had a caesar salad and jambalaya. We shared a bottle of Riesling. I’m actually not a huge fan of sweet white wine, but anytime Erik is willing to have wine with me I let him choose and he can only handle sweet whites. I have hope he will come around.

Me, a bottle of wine deep…

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Besides being married to potatoes, sushi is one of my favorite foods (if you are wondering what the hell I’m talking about, click here to read this blog post and you’ll get it). A couple girlfriends and I met in the ‘burbs for sushi at Little Sushi on the Prairie, in Eden Prairie.

I ate a lot, not good for a gal on Weight Watchers (that’s another post, another day…) but it was worth it and delicious. Started dinner off with a glass of pinot grigio, edamame and miso soup. Then moved onto a caterpillar roll and number nine roll. Check out their menu for descriptions.

My favorite sushi joint is Fuji Ya, there are two locations, one in Minneapolis and one downtown St. Paul. For those of us that are budget conscious, they have a really great happy hour.

Crappy photo credit: my blackberry

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