Thoughts about downtown Rochester Minnesota and surrounding area

I think I promised that I would write something about my experiences in Rochester while at the Mayo Clinic.  Let me start with the food.  There are a lot of great restaurants to choose from.  Here are a few highlights.

Chester’s Kitchen and Bar

Chester’s is in the shopping area just across from the Kahler Grand Hotel and the clinic.  It can be reached by going outside and crossing the street (closest and easiest) or by using the skyway (if it’s raining).  We ate here 3 times on our last visit.  It is one of our favorite places.  The first night Cindy and I wanted to get the Walleye because it’s a fish you don’t get at home.  I had it as part of a seafood trip of fish entrees (kind of a tasting) that was really very good.  The sides and the dessert at this restaurant are also very good.

The Seafood Trip 24

Crispy beer-battered cod fillet, signature Parmesan crusted walleye, sauteed herb blended walleye cake and cod broiled straight up…”supper club style.” Served with Minnesota canoe thrashed wild rice, seasoned fries and scratch tartar sauce

We also went there on Fathers’ Day where they had one of the best buffets I have had the privilege to try.  It had prime rib, baked ham, smoked salmon (whole fish), eggs benedict, fresh fruit, bakery items, sides and a variety of desserts to try.  If their regular Sunday brunch is only half as good, I would heartily recommend it.

On our last night, we came back to Chester’s.   Cindy and I had a prime rib dinner with the trimmings.  A very delicious meal.  I should mention that our daughter Rachel is not one to like a lot of entrees at restaurants.  So she orders a lot of appetizers and sides.  She did this at Chester’s and I think she was also pretty happy with the selection.

Roasted Prime Rib

Black Angus rib seared and slowly roasted over rock salt, mashed potatoes and pan beef juice – creamy horseradish available upon request

11 oz cut 27 Chester’s 16 oz cut 32

Prices are a little bit upscale but the quality of the food and service is outstanding.  Very friendly and accommodating.

Mac’s Greek Restaurant

I have to say that Mac’s is our overall favorite place to go when we are in Rochester.  It advertises itself as a place for Greek comfort food and I must agree.  For me, breakfast is my favorite meal and there are two choices that I just can not pass up.  First is the Baked Oatmeal.  I can hear the groans.  But this is the most fantastic oatmeal dish that I have ever had.  It is seasoned just right and comes however you want it.

MA’ DONNA’S OATMEAL CAKE Heart healthy hot oatmeal blended with golden plump raisin, sugar and spices baked as a cake accompanied with a side of milk and maple syrup. Please ask your server, if you want add fruit on the side or on top of the oatmeal.

I take mine with fresh fruit and some milk and a little maple syrup.

The other breakfast dish that is oh so good and unique is the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes.  You can also add some fresh blueberries or strawberries along with maple syrup.  Fabulous one of a kind flavor.

LEMON RICOTTA CAKES Two tasty pancakes made with lemon zest and Ricotta cheese, garnished with fresh strawberries and blueberries, and choice of two Farm Fresh Eggs any style, ham, bacon or sausage.

Cindy goes for eggs and gyro meat – a Greek breakfast for sure.  The coffee is also good and the cup is forever bottomless.  And there are times when that is the most important thing.

GREEK SPECIAL Two Farm Fresh Eggs any style you desire with gyro slices accompanied with hash browns, and toast.

We took Clair (my 5th cousin that I met while in Rochester) and his wife to Mac’s for lunch.  Most had gyros but some had the shrimp and quinoa with couscous.

GRILLED SHRIMP WITH QUINOA & COUSCOUS Quinoa is a low-glycemic super food that offers high quality protein and iron which we blend with a wheat Couscous grain cooked with olive oil and topped with grilled shrimp and a healthy blend of vegetables.

Victoria’s Ristorante

For those who love Italian food,  Rochester has a great one!  It’s also very close to the Mayo Clinic and surrounding hotels.  It too can be accessed by the skyways and elevators in case of rain, but it’s a little tricky to navigate.  But once you know the way, it’s really pretty easy.

This restaurant has lots of traditional favorites and some special dishes as well.  I had chicken rosa verde on my last visit and, let me tell you, it was out of this world.  The sauce was to die for.

ROSA VERDE Chicken or pork sautéed in a butter,
garlic, pesto & cream sauce with prosciutto, portabella
mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, red onions, balsamic
vinaigrette & topped with mozzarella, served over
cheese fiorentine ravioli……………………………….17.95

It also has a number of salads and is a great place to go for either lunch or dinner.  As a side note, Victoria’s is the first place we saw the Dahlia Lama and his entourage on our second visit to the Mayo Clinic in 2011.  Looked like he enjoyed some of Victoria’s many dishes.  They told us that they cut down the menu, but it is one that contains lots and lots of great choices making it hard to narrow it down.  Plan on studying the menu when you visit.

Now let’s review some favorite shops:

First is Barnes and Noble.  They have a large store in the downtown shopping mall across from the Kahler Grand and Marriott hotels.  It includes a Starbucks and books and accessories on two levels!

Second is a special store on the second level of the shopping mall called The Nordic Shop.

The Nordic Shop started in 1974 with a mission to carry the Finest that Scandinavia had to offer. Almost 40 years later it is recognized as the largest retailer and resource for all of your Scandinavian dinnerware, collectibles, gifts, and wearables. The Nordic Shop is the only Full Line Dealer for both Dale of Norway and Oleana. Royal Copenhagen, and Bing & Grondahl have designated The Nordic Shop as a Full Service Dealer for all Collectibles, Giftware, and Dinnerware including direct import items. Both Orrefors Crystal and Kosta Boda have recognized The Nordic Shop as a Premier Account. The Nordic Shop has the experience to assist you with any and all of your Scandinavian needs whether a treat for yourself or that Special Gift.

Also on the second floor are shops for men’s and women’s clothing, games and a wonderful little candy store that also sells delicious Italian gelato.  Great place to sit and savor some wonderful flavor combinations.  There is also a spa where you can get a great massage to help relieve some of the pain and stiffness that you suffer from.

I think downtown Rochester is a great place to visit.  During the Summer on Thursdays they also have a fantastic street fair that features wonderful homemade crafts as well as delicious food from a variety of vendors as well as the many restaurants that surround the area.

So, when you go to the Mayo Clinic, there are great places to stay, great places to shop and great restaurants to try.  I have just touched the surface of what is there.

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About mcreyscope

Retired / disabled survivor of Stage IV melanoma and paraneoplastic syndrome.
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