20.21 Treats the Rich Poorly

Epicurious.com is reporting (via CityPages) that a diner at the 20.21 restaurant in the Walker was charged a $1.50 surcharge for his single malt sans-ice:

My friend John just wrote me an irate note from Minneapolis. He’d met a friend at the Walker Art Center and after the performance ordered a single malt scotch at the restaurant 20-21. When the bill came, it listed $18 for the shot of booze and $1.50 as a “neat charge.” He was outraged. “They’re asking me to pay a fee for not having to put ice in single malt?” he raged.

Paying a surcharge on an $18 drink goes to show that the terrorists are winning.

I discussed this one with a few expert drinking friends who came to the conclusion that 20.21 probably served the “neat” drink in a low-ball, thus felt the need to charge extra for the extra liquor needed to fill the glass. If that’s the case, they should have been serving the scotch in a snifter, which would have prevented “John” from becoming “irate” over paying $19.50 rather than $18 for his drink.

Who wants to join me at 20.21 to find out how many olives it takes to generate a garnish surcharge on a martini?

Car Insurance Rates and Restaurants

Location Intelligence has a blog post talking about how lame zip codes can be for measuring auto-insurance risk. For example, I live in 55406, which is a considerably different zip code if you happen to live along the East of West side of the zip.

“Factors that affect risk can include the street types, the presence of mass transit, the population density, commuter patterns, the adjacent businesses and even the weather. The table below shows the effect of different traffic generators on risk.”

They included this pretty table from ISO Innovative Analytics that shows correlations with other things:

Auto Insurance Risks

When I look at that table, I realize that anywhere that’s worth living (aka, places within walking distance of the things on the list outside of a racetrack or airport), is going to have higher insurance rates. I guess that’s the cost of convenience.

Top-7 Minneapolis Restaurant Blogs

If you’re looking or ideas on Minneapolis restaurants to check out, here are seven blogs that may offer some good tips for ya:

  • Chef Andrew Zimmern – generally focuses on top restaurants, chefs, and Minneapolis restaurant politics. Great place to find places when someone else is paying.
  • MNBeer.com – If beer is the main course, or something that has to be considered in your dining choice, look no further than MNBeer, who offers up to date news on what beers have been released to the public at local brew pubs.
  • The Bloated Belly – TBB covers a large variety of local restaurants. Or, as TBB puts it, offers, “Comments on Consumption”
  • Aaron Landry – Aaron photo blogs visits to local restaurants using his Hiptop at s4xton.com. If you want to see arm wrestling at the Town Talk or the view from the Clicquot Club, Aaron’s your guy.
  • Girl Friday – Girl Friday covers local watering holes and a whole lot more. Check out the drinking category for her latest takes on . . . um . . . drinking.
  • Doodledee.com – The most extensive published research on Jucy Lucy’s to date. Definitely worth a visit before heading out for your next Lucy.
  • Gin & Phonics – A little lean on the restaurant scene to date, but I had to include them solely on their coverage of Jucy Lucy’s at the NE Palace. I hope that post is the sign of more great research to come.

And while not a blog, it’s worth mentioning Thrifty Hipster, where you can find happy hour deals for any hour of the day.

What am I missing?

Non-Chain Non-Good Restaurants

I received a notice today from my good friends at AAdvantage Dining. It’s a rewards program offered by American Airlines’ miles program where I earn miles for dining at restaurants in their network. Apparently, I haven’t been picking the right restaurants so I got a slap on the wrist and warning that I would lose my premium status if I didn’t dine at 10 AAdvantage approved restaurants between now and the end of the year.

Being a restaurant junkie who rarely eats at home, the challenge of eating out ten times in 33 days at appropriate restaurants didn’t phase me. However, after taking a look at the qualifying restaurants in the Minneapolis area, I realized there is absolutely no way I’ll meet the required goal.

The problem really comes down to the quality of the restaurants. I think the best way to describe them would be non-chain restaurants with uninspired offers. The food offers are similar to what I’d expect to find in an Applebee’s, TGI Friday’s, Ruby Tuesday’s. Nothing particularly interesting. I’m a HUGE fan of non-chain restaurants. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons I’m a city guy rather than a suburb guy. But I’m not going to hit a restaurant simply because it’s not a chain.
Of course, I’m generalizing and there are a few gems but not enough to add up to ten meals in 33 days. Take a look if you want to see what I’m sayin’: http://www.aa.rewardsnetwork.com/

My zip is 55406. What restaurants do you see on the list worth hitting?

In case you find the program interesting, I believe it pays 10 miles for every dollar spent. At least until you don’t live up to their expectations. I believe the same program is available through other airlines, including Northwest Airlines as the iDine program. On the plus side, the beauty of this program is you don’t have to carry a special card like the Entertainment Book has. You just register your credit card numbers with the service and reap the bennies when you happen to eat at a qualifying restaurant. Painless.