Burgers and Bottles: A Quick Review


There are a lot of criteria you probably use to judge a dining establishment before you even take the first bite. One that I’ve learned to not put a lot of weight on is the location.

Traveling around the world there have been plenty of locales that I could have easily overlooked and missed out on some amazing food. The sandwich shop inside a gas station in Switzerland, the ice cream shop literally in the middle of nowhere in Tasmania, or the Jamaican dive in the middle of a cornfield in Kansas. Recently, I found another one of those spots closer to home. The all to familiar strip mall that is often filled with chain stores and below par food sometimes holds tasty surprises.

Tucked in a strip mall next to a gas station in the nearby town of Eagan, MN we recently had the pleasure of trying a new establishment that I’m hoping will not be overlooked. Burgers and Bottles might be a narrow and rather non-descript restaurant from the outside, but you step inside and instantly see the energy and care that the owners have put into their dining dream.

The owners did the demo themselves to turn the space into a cool bar with light wood and stone running throughout. The lights made of old glass soda bottles were fun to look at and the wall of colorful bottles kept Olivia entertained. The service was friendly and you can tell that the owners and staff are working to build a local following. This funky little space is a community gem – a cool place to hang out with great food and friendly locals.

Cheer Wine light

Speaking of the food, the menu is always changing, but it is full of handcrafted burgers, tasty sides, and killer desserts. The drink menu held our attention even without any mixed drinks on it; especially since there were a few regional sodas from back home that I don’t see here often. The soda list is extensive and a rundown of nostalgic pops made only with natural sugar. This throwback to a different time in restaurant food is really the overall theme. Burgers and Bottles prides itself on hand crafted burgers, fries made from real potatoes (did you hear McDonald’s fries have 18 ingredients!), sodas without high fructose corn syrup, and craft beers from family owned Minnesota breweries.

The hand crafted burgers were delicious! The juicy patties were perfectly seared on the outside and tucked in a soft fresh bun. We had a hard time deciding since all the unique combinations sounded delicious. We’ve been back twice now and tried the grilled mushroom & swiss burger, the guacamole burger, the chorizo burger, the bacon brisket burger, and the fried pickle burger. All amazing!

Guac burgerChorizo burgerPickle burgerReal potatoes

The fries were good, but what we really got addicted to were the battered green beans. The whole petite green bean is coated in a slightly spicy batter and quickly fried so the whole thing comes out crisp and delicious. Dip it in the chipotle ranch sauce and you could have a whole basket of them as a meal.

Good thing they offer carry out with online ordering because this might be our new go to on busy nights. Enjoy!

P.S. Share some of your favorite places to dine and I’ll add them to my wish list 🙂


Medical travel charades


         It turns warm outside and of course I get sick. It seems like illness always strikes at an inopportune time although let’s admit it . . . there is NEVER a good time to be sick. All the tissues and blankets got me thinking about all of the times I’ve faced illness while traveling and how I’ve never let it keep me from enjoying (or at least seeing) a destination. Being sick while traveling can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be the end of a good time and sometimes it adds a little memorable moment to a vacation that you can joke about. Of course, you should wait until enough time has passed for all involved parties!

         The first time I faced something more serious than a gurgly tummy while far from home was a trip to Spain during college. On our way there I started feeling a little congest, but shrugged it off as altitude issues. By the time we landed I couldn’t hear out of my right ear and thought maybe something a little stronger than chewing gum was needed. So after a fun game of charades the lovely pharmacist was able to give me an over the counter remedy. I still have no idea what I took, but whatever it was it worked.

          Looking back I probably should have taken note of what I was taking. But here are a few tips and things I have done correctly as we have faced flu, full body poison ivy, diaper rash, and a slew of other ailments while on the road. So if you ever find yourself feeling under the weather and facing language barriers and more here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Ask at the hotel concierge. Most front desk staff are fluent enough in English, your broken attempt at their language, or the fall back game of charades to point you to a good source for help.

2. Go to a reputable pharmacy if you can find one. This is especially important in a place where you are unfamiliar with the language. Symbols for medical professionals are pretty universal.


Pharmacy sign in China


Pharmacy sign in Italy

3. Make sure you understand the dosage. I had the pharmacists write down exact times I should take my medicine so there was no confusion.

4. Make your traveling companions aware of what you are taking and where to find the medicine in case you have an adverse reaction. If something happens medical personnel need to be able to look at the medicine you are taking.

5. Travel with a mini kit of basics – pain reliever, antibiotic, rash cream, antibacterial – for minor issues.

6. Keep your doctor’s number with you. If you think it is something you need medicine for you can start with a call to your doctor for some advice on what you can take and what to look for. I have done this on domestic trips with great success, but a little less success on international excursions.

Most ailments you face at home or on the road are minor and soon pass so don’t let a little sniffle keep you from enjoying what could be your only visit to someplace.