Archive for the ‘South Metro’

Pimento Jamaican Kitchen: Burnsville, MN

On Monday night we hit up Food Court Wars winner, Pimento Kitchen in Burnsville Center Mall for dinner. Based on user reviews from the various rating sites as well as the restaurant’s own website and its beautiful food photos, this looked like a perfect place to hit up for some fresh and bright food, turning the typical food court style entree on its head.

We arrived at around 6 PM, premier dinner time and looked over the Chipotle-style menu board. With limited options, Pimento has a real opportunity to concentrate on their Jamaican dishes and put out stellar meals which stand out against the usual fare presented in food courts and mall restaurants in general. All of their entrees are $8 or less and they offer sides of Coconut Rice and Beans ($3) as well as Sweet Fried Plantains ($3). We chose their non-vegetarian options of Boneless Chicken Bowl ($7), Slow-roasted Pork Wrap ($8) and their One Love (Chicken and Chopped Pork) for $8. We attempted to order a side of Coconut Rice and Beans as well as their Sweet Fried Plantains but they pushed back saying they were running low on both and that they would include them with our food instead.

Please compare the picture of the One Love wrap above to this picture on their website of the same item. Note what we were served did not actually contain any pork (a possible oversight to be sure), the vegetables/peppers, herbs, or really anything we would have come to expect based on previous reviews or what their website suggests as what you should receive. Now, to be fair, their menu doesn’t claim to include any of these things, however, one would expect more from a sandwich than simply beans, rice, and meat unless of course they were dealing with the quickly defunct Pita Plus Grill previously located on MN-13.

The food itself was fine but certainly with a lot of room to grow. The chicken and pork were tender, the jerk spicy and flavorful, and the provided sauces named “Minnesota Nice” (mild) and “Kingston Kick” (hot) followed the same trend although the difference in heat between the two sauces was negligible at best. For $26 I would have expected a little more, especially considering their likeness in design, menu, price, and serving style (warming trays, rather than freshly made) to Chipotle.

While the lack of vegetables surprised me, I was mostly shocked by the lack of sides available as well as the fact that they were using boring mass-produced tortillas for their wraps. There were 10 to 15 plantains, almost black, sitting on the counter towards the back of the restaurant in clear view of patrons, yet we were told they didn’t have enough for service. We were provided a total of 8 *SLICES* of Sweet Fried Plantain mixed in with our entrees. Yes you read that right; they gave us eight tiny slices of fried plantain pulled from a warming tray that had maybe 35 slices total right at the height of dinner service and they didn’t seem interested at all in preparing anymore than that. Their website shows some wraps done with tortillas and some done with flatbread and filled with avocado and sitting next to some mango slices. While I am no dummy and don’t expect picture-perfect prepared foods to match their PR photos in style, I do expect at least the ingredients to be available. I’m not even going to get into great detail on the small paper boat of rice/beans, chicken, and dry slaw which was presented as their ‘bowl’ and how it compared to what I would have expected that to be based on the website’s photo because, well, that would be beating a black plantain.

We purchased the episode on Amazon and watched it Monday night after our dinner. I was surprised that none of the individuals on the show, who purportedly live in Minnesota, were on-site on Monday evening. While the individuals working the counter looked the part and spoke with Jamaican accents and urged us to visit their nation for vacation, something I admitted I was unwilling to do as caravans outside of resorts are usually protected under armed guard, I would think that their brand is at least partially tied to the show and those individuals should be on hand to sell their wares.

The most striking point from the show that sticks out in my mind is that they ran out of plantains during the middle of their final challenge and one of the owners said that, if they won, they would never run out again in the future. Well, they definitely know how to keep the plantains from running out by only doling (no pun intended) out a handful of slices at a time.

There is a lot of potential here with Food Court Wars winner Pimento Kitchen; however, if they continue to push out high quality meats and sub-mediocre everything else, their year of free rent is not going to get them very far especially if Sbarro continues to have a longer line during Burnsville Center’s 20 patron ‘dinner rush’.

Have you eaten at Pimento Kitchen at Burnsville Center Mall? If so what did you think? Do you expect food shown on a restaurant’s website to at least somewhat match what you get on your plate when you order? Would you pay $8 for meat, tortilla, and rice/beans only? Have you watched Food Court Wars on the Food Network? If so what do you think about it? Whatever you have to say, go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Pimento Jamaican Kitchen
1178 Burnsville Center Food Ct
Burnsville, MN 55306

(952) 435-5552

Pimento Jamaican Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Burnsville Bar Hopping Dad Leaves Kid at Home

According to this PIoneer Press article, a Burnsville father is accused of leaving his four year old daughter at home alone while he went out to a local bar with a woman who was not his wife.

From the article:

According to the criminal complaint:

The neighbor contacted Burnsville police 12:20 a.m. Thursday and said the girl had been there for about an hour.

He first thought Moore had left briefly to take home a babysitter or run an errand, but couldn’t find him at home and called police as time wore on.


Police got Moore’s license plate number and searched parking lots of local bars for his vehicle. They found him on the patio of a bar with a woman who was not the child’s mother.

The woman said Moore picked her up around 10 or 10:30 p.m. that night. She said she didn’t know Moore’s daughter was home alone.

That timeline, combined with receipts from the bar, meant the girl was home alone for at least two hours and possibly 3-1/2 hours.

What would you do in this instance? Would you have waited an hour to call the police? Do you think it’s ever appropriate to leave your child alone at home sleeping while you go out somewhere? If you do, what distance from your home is acceptable? What timeframe? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Paragon Odyssey 15: Burnsville, MN

Special Edition: Movie Theater Reviews by Mikeh

Mikeh has offered to post the reviews he’s been writing on local theaters on the site over the remainder of the summer. This is the last one he will review. Enjoy!

Burnsville Odyssey 15 by mike8675309, on Flickr

After visiting quite a few south metro theaters did I end up saving the best till last? Today I am reviewing the Paragon Odyssey 15.

So far I have reviewed: Lakevile 21 Theater, Regal Eagan Stadium 16, Carmike 15 – Apple Valley, and the Marcus Rosemount Cinema.

On Saturday July 20th I visited the Paragon Odyssey 15 theater with my son to see the 12:10 showing of the movie R.I.P.D. This theater is one of the 3 I visited that has a massive screen, though that is not the screen I saw this movie on. Each time I checked they had a 3D movie playing on it and 3D movies don’t work for me. But this theater does have a unique feature others in the area do not: reserved seating in a VIP seating area for a couple of their screens. So I ordered online for the VIP showing, picked my seats (reserved seating for VIP area) through the web interface and was ready to go.

Ticket Purchase and Lobby – Matinee ticket price was $7.00 plus a $1.00 VIP area charge, and a $1.00 handling surcharge for the online ordering. In the evening the VIP are charge is $3 but for shows before 3pm, it is only $1.00. As with the other theaters, pricing varies and you should call to confirm any specials they have, especially during the week. Parking for the theater is essentially in the Burnsville Center mall parking lot. You will have to walk across one of the roads inside the mall parking area so use care. They do have a drop off road in front of the theater to allow you to drop off people if you want them to avoid a walk.

We walked in the door of the theater at about 11:55 and right away I noticed it was dark in there. The ticket booths go across the front of the lobby and are pretty close to the doors you enter at. This makes it challenging to see all the booths and at an early show, to find the one that is actually staffed. My son spotted the young woman working in a booth far to the right. We presented the credit card used to buy the tickets, she ran it through a machine and out popped our tickets. Entering the lobby it was a little brighter but still pretty dark. They have a lot of glass to let light in but it is blocked by a overhead mezzanine they have erected which houses the VIP area with the bistro and the big bar. Concessions are a single counter positioned right in front of you as you enter from the ticket booth area. A smaller counter than say at Lakeville or Carmike, I wonder how busy it might get during a big feature night? For us it was fine and while they have those animated signs again, these did not animate all at once so there was always one visible with pricing info. Pepsi products are the beverages here and the pop is self serve (free refills), the first self serve theater and only the second Pepsi one. A large popcorn comes in a bag and is really about 2/3 the size of the large tub of popcorn at some other theaters and no free refills indicated. VIP ticket holders can go up into the mezzanine to enter the theater and in the evening eat food from the bistro up there as well as get some drinks. This was not running while I was there. Stairway is on the left as you enter the building in the middle of the lobby and they also have an elevator.

Theater Impressions – We arrived in the theater at 11.55 for a 12:10 movie and were in our seats by 12:05. After having our ticket ripped, our theater was immediately to our right so we headed right in. I noted in the hallway for the screens they had LED signs showing the movie and the status (i.e. now seating) which should make it pretty easy to find the screen you are looking for. Since we did not pick the large screen (called PepsiMax Extreme Screen) I did not know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised when I entered and saw how big the screen really was. Definitely larger than the Marcus or the Regal but smaller than the big screens I had seen so far, this standard screen was a good size. Walking in like a non vip, I could see the VIP area up above so we walked up the stairs and then went through a marked gate to enter our VIP area. Lighting in the theater even so close to start time was really good and we could easily walk around and even see the numbers on the seats.

The VIP area is positioned at the top dozen or so rows of seats in the theater. Seats are set in pairs with wide spacing beside the pairs. Each pair of seats are separate seats and the are numbered as you pick your seats when you order the tickets. The seat pairs are split by a center armrest that can be lifted out of the way if you wish. Cup holders are in the seat arms on the outside of the pair of seats. The cup holders on the seats have a flat area that appears to be used to hold a plate from the bistro if you bring it in. Apparently during the movie someone would come and take drink and food orders on nights when the bistro and bar are open. VIP seats are leather like covered material with high backs and they rock/recline. They appear slightly wider than the general seats. The general seats are fabric covered with high backs and also appear to rock recline. For our show there were a handful of folks in the general seats and 2 other pairs in the VIP seats with us. During the movie I found the seats comfortable enough that I wouldn’t try and avoid them in the future.

One thing stood out when entering the theater and that was that there was no sound. The show that plays before the movie starts usually has some sound but there was none. At about 2 minutes before showtime a young woman in a theater uniform with a big flashlight came in to the VIP area and started asking to see tickets from those seated there. We as well as the other 2 pairs of people showed their tickets to the gal, a process that appeared standard for the VIP area. One of the pairs of people asked if they were going to fix the sound and the staff person said sometimes the sound was out before the feature but it will work once the feature starts. And like clockwork, at 12:10 the main feature started and we had sound. They started with previews, as well as telling us they are using a Sony Digital 4k projection system (DLP). And without delay at 12:17 the previews were over and we were on to the main feature. During the trailers I did notice that the sound system wasn’t as loud as I experienced at Lakeville the prior week, but during the movie the sound was clear and certainly audible, and the image was nice and bright.

About 5 minutes into the movie a pair of Burnsville police officers walked into the theater and came up and talked to a pair of guys sitting in the VIP area. I don’t know why, maybe they didn’t have tickets for the VIP area and that young woman didn’t want to deal with them? All I know is the two guys got up and left with the police officers and then about 20 minutes later the two guys came back in. Then about 15 minutes later they left. I have no idea what was going on. But maybe it would be a good idea to make sure you have tickets for the VIP area if you sit there in case they decide to call the cops on you.


    Nice sized genera cinema screen.
    Optional VIP area.


    Police visit during the show.
    Large popcorn size kinda small.
    Dark lobby, making it hard to see where to go, especially for first time visitors.

The follow is a list of prices I noted

    Matinee Ticket – $7.00
    VIP matinee Surcharge – $1.00
    Large Popcorn – $6.50
    Large Pop – $5.50
    Candy – $4.50, $4.00, $3.50
    2 Medium Pop and a Large Popcorn – $15.00

Have you been to Paragon Odyssey 15? If so what did you think about it? Would you pay extra for VIP seating at a theater? Do you think you should have to pay a surcharge to buy tickets (regardless of venue) online when there is no human interaction required? Would you be spooked by police officers entering the theater while you were there? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as we’d love to hear what you have to say.

Trailer for a City Council Meeting is a Waste?

Here is the trailer that the City of Whitehorse in Yukon, Canada’s community cable station manager created to promote their televised city council meetings. While this has gotten some press as everything from pointless to riveting, one has to wonder whether or not it is really anything more useful than a silly viral video.

Yes, cities in the US fund community cable stations through the taxes paid by residents who choose to pay for cable TV and they need something to do with these dollars but are professional-ish videos promoting council meetings really what they should be spending their taxpayers’ money on?

What would you think if Burnsville or Eagan did something like this? Do you want your fees going to this sort of highlight reel? Would it make you more likely to watch an upcoming city council meeting? Do you think this would increase viewing of local council meetings if you or others in your community were to see it?

Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.