Tag Archives: burger

The Best Burger in New Orleans

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While we were in New Orleans, I got an email from Thrillist titled:

The Best Burger in Every State.

Naturally, I looked up Louisiana {and Minnesota, for our return.}

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The thing is, I had read about this restaurant before. 

I suggested we have lunch at The Company Burger one day, eager to please Rob after his not-so-great burger experience. In fact, the couple that we met at R’evolution highly recommended it as well. They raved not only about the burger, but also about the onion rings. Then they stressed that if there was any place we go while we were in New Orleans, it should be there.

Granted, I normally wouldn’t be going to NOLA for a burger. But we can’t expect New Orleanians to eat jamblaya, gumbo and red beans and rice every day of the week as much as you can’t expect someone from Minnesota to eat wild rice soup, tater tot hot dish and lefse every day of the week.

So off we went to the Freret Street neighborhood of New Orleans. You can get there by bus, taxi or taking the St. Charles Streetcar and then walking several blocks. We arrived just before opening and a few other people were waiting outside.

The restaurant was not anything like I expected.

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It’s more of a fast-casual kind of place, where you place your order at the counter, give them your name and take a seat. When your name is called, you go up and get your tray. The way it worked was so slick that I’m surprised that The Company Burger hasn’t become the Chipotle of the burger world.

Rye Mint Julep & Company Bloody Mary

Rye Mint Julep & Company Bloody Mary

 This is the mayo bar the Thrillist article mentioned:IMG_1857

I know it sounds so simple and silly, but that basil mayo blew me away. They do make their own mayo and pickles.

Our friend Javad and I split a Company Burger and an order of fries.

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The Company Burger – Two 3.25 oz patties, two slices of American cheese, thinly sliced onions, and house-made bread and butter pickles

Quality is number one here at The Company Burger. They source only all-natural, hormone-free and antibiotic-free beef. Then they butcher, grind and hand patty the burgers themselves.

I normally don’t like onion rings. But these were phenom. I stole a couple from Rob’s plate here; but these are onion rings I would actually order for myself.

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The Single – American cheese, housemade b&b pickles, and red onions with Onion Rings – Thick cut red onions, buttermilk hand-battered

They hand-cut their French fries and double fry them as well as batter their onion rings to-order. Here’s the proof:

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The Company Burger is going places. I will not be surprised if they do literally, meaning that they end up as a franchise one day. These burgers are damn good. And they’ve got their system down to a science.

What restaurant do you know that would make a great franchise?

New Orleans 2015 Trip Posts:

Cheers~
Carrie

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Thirsty Thursday – Tongue in Cheek

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As part of our Thanksgiving Staycation, we had a lazy day that Sunday. We had breakfast, sipped coffee and hung out in our pjs catching up on the DVR. {Well, that’s pretty much every Sunday morning for us.} 

We never did eat lunch, so we opted for an early dinner. There was only one problem: The Packer game was on at 3:25pm.

That just would not work. I didn’t want to go to a Sports Bar to watch the game for three hours when it was on local television and could watch it in the comfort of my own home.

But I had an idea. I scanned through our Groupons and looked up each restaurant. Finally, I chose one that did not look like it had an TVs:

Tongue in Cheek – in St. Paul

We would DVR the game and watch it afterward, sans commercials. This also meant Rob couldn’t be on his smartphone during dinner to check scores. Win for me!

The bar at Tongue in Cheek opens at 4pm. Since our tummies were empty, we took full advantage of that! We also took advantage of their Happy Hour.

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We started by splitting the flight of Cock(tail) Teasers. I don’t believe you can order these teasers outside of Happy Hour. I didn’t see them on the regular menu. Rob said that he couldn’t imagine having to create these miniature cocktails for just $2 each. He thought, “How annoying for the bartender!” But they’ve thought of everything here. They make the teasers ahead of time, so that they are ready-to-serve with only a garnish needed.

Flight of Cock(tail) Teasers - $12

Flight of Cock(tail) Teasers – $12

The cocktails are pictured in order as they are on the menu, only from right to left. And that’s how we tasted them. Then we ranked them. Surprisingly, both Rob and I ranked them in the exact same order!

  1. Jack’s Pool – This one surprised me because I’m not a huge rum fan!
  2. Mother of Dragons – Another surprise for both of us. The jalapeno was subtle and the flavors were well-balanced. Who knew I’d like a Jim Beam cocktail?
  3. Cross Eyed Mary – Oh yeah. I love me a good bloody and I actually prefer gin to vodka.
  4. Tickle My Tiny Pickle – What you’d expect by the menu description.
  5. When in Rome – I thought this would be my fave. It wasn’t. But I didn’t not like it! Bottoms up!
  6. Why Not Minot? – Not memorable because, you know, I don’t even remember this one.

Each of these cocktail teasers came from each of their six sensory categories of all of the craft cocktails that they offer. Check them out on the main menu:

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Looking back at that menu, it does look like you can get a flight of cocktails, if you’d like, outside of during Happy Hour. It’s just more expensive. I’m not sure if you get to choose which drinks come in your flight though.

We arrived in our Packer gear and the bartender commented. Rob told him that we were taping the game, so dining here was perfect because we wouldn’t have access to the score. We come to find out that Mike The Bartender is from Milwaukee and it was killing him not to keep us updated!

Mike gave us a ton of menu recommendations, including items that I wouldn’t have tried otherwise. Like this, for example:

Goldi-Lox - gravlox, horseradish, dill, salmon roe - $2

Goldi-Lox – gravlox, horseradish, dill, salmon roe – $2

All of the teasers on the menu are meant to be one or two bites. This one was much more! The teeny, tiny spoon probably helped with that. And for just $2, this teaser packed a ton of flavor! Not listed on the menu is the avocado puree on top, along with some crispy fried shallots that add a little extra crunch. {Mike did an excellent job describing each dish as he delivered them to our table.} I thought that this taste was perfection!

At this point Rob checked out the beers on tap. I found it to be a nice varied selection of mostly Midwestern origin:

  • New Holland Dragon’s Milk (MI)
  • Summit Winter Warmer (MN)
  • Indeed Sweet Yamma Jamma (MN)
  • Rush River Double Bubble IPA (WI)
  • Cuvée des Jacobins (Belgium)

While Mike poured him a Dragon’s Milk, I sipped on a $3-Happy-Hour Sangria.

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I thought it was pretty good; but the more I drank it, the less I liked it. Not sure if that was because of the oncoming cold or because it needed to be stirred before I started drinking it.

We also ordered a cheese plate:

Artisan Cheese Trifecta - $9

Artisan Cheese Trifecta – $9

There was a blue, a semi-soft goat {which Rob loved until I told him it was goat cheese} and the Wisconsin Pleasant Ridge Reserve. Those little dollops are of apple puree, mango puree and balsamic. It was divine to drag a little cheese through it, despite the fact that purees like this always make me think of baby food! {In a good way.}

But the plain crackers to accompany the cheeses left a bit to be desired – like some fresh bread. Yes, I desired that.

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 Rob ordered us another $2 Teaser:

Charred Feta - strawberry & black pepper jam - $2

Charred Feta – strawberry & black pepper jam – $2

If you think that looks huge, it was really only about two to three bites. Here’s a photo with a fork to give you some perspective.

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But the bites were tasty! The salty… with the char… with the sweet… This was perfect for a taste! Any more than that would probably be too much.

I was originally planning to just order some more teasers for my dinner because a Heavy Table article I read suggested that was the best way to go. But Mike suggested the salmon. And who could argue with Mike?

Wild Salmon - goat cheese risotto, zucchini, tomato-gin consommé - $25

Wild Salmon – goat cheese risotto, zucchini, tomato-gin consommé – $25

Mike was right to recommend this. It’s probably some of the best salmon I’ve had! It was well-seasoned, the goat cheese wasn’t too overpowering and the zucchini ribbons had the perfect texture. My only gripe is that the salmon was just a tad under-cooked for my liking. But I still sopped up every bite!

And you know already that Rob got the burger.

The Cheeseburger - Cheddar, House Pickles, Arugla, Aioli - $12

The Cheeseburger – cheddar, house pickles, arugla, aioli – $12

 This burger will move to Rob’s Top 10!

{Which reminds me, he still needs to update that.}

I think there are three things that generally make Rob burger- happy:

  1. The quality of the meat.
  2. Seasoning the meat.
  3. The quality and use of the bun and toppings.

It’s places like this, where quality rules. Tongue in Cheek’s Mission:

We are devoted to only using animal products that are raised or caught in a humane and sustainable manner. This is something we are passionate about and it will never be compromised. We believe living a good life tastes better.

Amen! Oh and for the record, Rob thought the fries were just fine at first, but later said that they kept getting better with every bite!

 ~

We loved Tongue in Cheek so much that we bought another voucher when we got home. The East Side of St. Paul is an up-and-coming culinary hot spot. When I walked in to Tongue in Cheek, it reminded me a bit of Ward 6, also located in the area. Then the quality craft cocktails reminded me of Ward 6, too. However, these two restaurants are different enough that you need to experience both.

I love the concept of the Teasers on the menu at Tongue in Cheek. It gives people a chance to step out of their comfort zones to sample some things they maybe normally wouldn’t, without the worry of wasting money or a meal. I’d come here just to try all of the little different bites they have to offer!

Have you dined at a restaurant that offers small bites or teasers on the menu?

If so, what were your favorites or what did you try that you maybe would not have otherwise?

Cheers~
Carrie

A Perfect Meal

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Have I ever mentioned how much I love Girls’ Dinner Night Out?! It’s the perfect opportunity not only to try restaurants with girlfriends, but we often end up at places that Rob would have no interest in a;sdjlfalksdjdining.

Enter Mill Valley Kitchen

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Located in St. Louis Park, Mill Valley Kitchen is a restaurant I had not heard of yet! When we asked Kim how she found it, she said, “Open Table,” which is an online restaurant reservation service. I always forget to look there. It’s a unique and innovative place if you ask me!

From MVK’s website:

Mill Valley Kitchen is a restaurant and bar featuring Northern California inspired cuisine served in a comfortable and refined setting. We use fresh, local and sustainably sourced ingredients to create our menu, and we include nutritional information for each menu item. Our light and flavorful cuisine is designed to enhance the healthy lifestyles of our guests.

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Items on the menu are listed with nutrition facts: calories | fat | carbs | fiber | protein. Vegan (v) and gluten-free (gf) dishes are also noted.

I ordered a glass of bubbly rosé because it is not often that you find one from France’s Loire Valley on a menu by-the-glass, much less for $7.

Carousel Rosé, Loire Valley - $7

Carousel Rosé – Loire Valley, France – $7

By the suggestion of our server, both Jen and I started with the Orange Salad:

Orange Salad - baby greens, pomegranate, pistachio, feta

Orange Salad – baby greens, pomegranate, pistachio, feta

I absolutely adored this salad. It was so refreshing and the perfect way to start a meal. Alas, as I look at their menu right now, the Orange Salad is no where to be seen. Farm-to-table restaurants are both a blessing and a curse. 😉

Kim also ordered a salad:

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Baby Kale Salad – manchego, pine nuts, lemon-chili vinaigrette

Let me stress that I think these salads appear bigger in the photos than they actually are. They were the perfect portion sizes pre-entree. Speaking of entrees, the menu item that I found online that I was considering was not available. But something else caught my eye…

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I am a huge scallop fan, especially if it isn’t prepared with bacon. And they were offering one prepared with lavender? Sign me up!

Seared Scallops - sweet potato, fennel, edamame, lavender

Seared Scallops – sweet potato, fennel, edamame, lavender

This dish just sang to me! The scallops were perfectly seared and the combination of flavors was thrilling. And yes, that is popcorn on the plate! It added a little bit of crunch.

Jen nibbled on a Spinach, Chevre & Sweet Onion Flatbread to which she added Shrimp. Kim chose the Sea Bass, which I believe is the miso-glazed one on the menu at the time of this writing.

And because we saw some miniature desserts being brought to other tables, we knew that this was a place where we absolutely had room for dessert and coffee!

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Each miniature dessert was served in something slightly larger than a shot glass – the perfect size! I went with the Triple Chocolate – duh! And of course, I loved the mousse-y goodness. However, they also had a Carrot Cake miniature that night. Since that is one of Jen’s favorites, it was an easy choice for her. That one was topped with a bit of candied ginger.

Kim chose the gluten-free Chocolate Brownie, which was actually two brownies. They were dense, so good thing it came with a side of milk!

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~

For me, this was the perfect meal.

Because it was so busy the night we dined there, our only complaints were about where we were seated – in the bar area. We had reservations and arrived a bit late, but we called ahead. Normally, I don’t mind sitting in the bar area at all. But the chairs were uncomfortable. And because the place was so busy, there were people standing up between the tables sipping drinks, almost on top of us. Some were so loud that we couldn’t hear our own conversation.

What I did like is that they had their one TV tuned to The Cooking Channel, rather than sports. Although it was changed to hockey later. Hey, we live in Minnesota!

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I sat back and thought about if I’d ever take Rob to Mill Valley Kitchen. Normally, it wouldn’t really be his sort of thing. I mean, because there are no fryers in the joint, burgers are even served with greens. {<–My kind of thing!} But the beef would be grass-fed and high quality.

My thought would be to take him on a Monday during Happy Hour. From 3p – 6p and 9p – close, all burgers are $5. That’s a steal because that even includes their $14 Bison Burgers. And Mondays are half-price bottle of wine night!

When and where have you had a perfect meal?

Cheers~
Carrie

Gold Nugget Tavern and Grille

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Our “Man’s Best Friend” Painting Class through Art and Elixir brought us to the Gold Nugget in Minnetonka. We went early so that we could have a bite to eat before class. You can order food during class. People often do. But I find that there is not much room for the food. It’s just not ideal for me to be eating and painting at the same time.

Something I thought would really please Rob is that this little neightborhood restaurant and bar, located in a strip mall, has a burger battle! There are 52 different burgers to try every year! Each week, a new burger goes up against the burger from the week before. The winner moves on to the following week. One burger could reign for several weeks, but there will still be a new burger up against it each week.

I love this concept!

Another thing I knew he’d love is the beer selection – about twenty or so brewery offerings with almost half from Minnesota. In fact, we got to try something new…

Bent Brewstillery's Dark Fatha - American Emperial Stout

Bent Brewstillery’s Dark Fatha – American Emperial Stout

This was our first beer from Bent Brewstillery, which is out of Roseville, Minnesota. The company gets it’s name

because most of the beers are not made strictly to style: they’re “bent” a little bit away from the norm. This sometimes comes from combining the best parts of two different styles.

This is probably why the Dark Fatha doesn’t show such great ratings on Beer Advocate. But we liked it and would order it again. It’s got a lot of the qualities of a nice Imperial Stout, but with an unexpected slight hoppiness.

There is a pretty sweet happy hour, too, at the Gold Nugget. But we opted for some signature items instead. I mean, how could you go to a place called the Gold Nugget and not order the Gold Nugget Tots!?

 Cheddar filled homemade tater tots served piping hot with a side of bacon-chive dipping sauce. 7.95

Gold Nugget Tots
Cheddar filled homemade tater tots served with a side of bacon-chive dipping sauce. $7.95

To be honest, we were a little disappointed. We like ourselves some good crispy tots and we were expecting those kind, but with a cheesy center. These were bigger, browner and softer. I liked them a little better than Rob just because I love potatoes in general. But one was enough for him.

Then we opted to split the Weekly Burger Special. We wanted to try the burger that was battling! They were kind enough to split it in back and bring it out on separate plates for us.

Quattro Formaggi Burger
Four cheeses – American, provolone, Swiss and feta cheese on a grilled burger patty topped with a lemon chive mayo, served on a brioche bun

The burger was cooked perfectly medium-rare to our liking and had an excellent flavor. I wouldn’t say it was Top 10 Burger worthy, but it was good enough that we’d get it again! Splitting the burger was the perfect amount of food that I was satisfied, but not stuffed. And Rob enjoyed the fries {we chose the truffle salt ones} a little more than I did, so I didn’t eat many.

If we lived in this neighborhood, I have a feeling that this is a bar where we’d be regulars. Rob would have to come back to try all of the new burgers and the ever-changing taps. We loved the ambiance as well. It’s no wonder it was hard trying to find a parking spot. It’s a popular place!

Have you ever been to a restaurant with a weekly battle with a reigning champion every week?

Cheers~
Carrie

In a Gutter in Green Bay… {Closed}

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So, the Townline isn’t the only eating and drinking establishment that has shown up in my parents’ neighborhood since my move to Minnesota…

We have been to The Gutter a few times…

Okay, so it’s a bowling alley with a bar and restaurant. And it has changed hands a few times. I believe it was called the ProBowl when it first opened. They served food, mostly pizza. As The Gutter, they used to outsource their food to Cranky Pat’s. However, Pat has moved on since {too cranky, perhaps?}; and now the Gutter is serving up delights from its own newly-established menu.

Rob and I like this place because they serve local beers. It was the first time that we had O’So Night Train ON TAP, the beer that my dad. It was no longer available on this past visit, but just look at these draft prices!

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{P.S. I’m making no apologies for my horrible photos in this post. We are in a Gutter, after all.}

We often order the Stone Arch Tilted Kilt Scottish Ale (Appleton, WI) at Townline. But it was at The Gutter that I first discovered the Titletown Green 19 IPA (Green Bay, WI) this past year! As far as I remember, Titletown Brewing Company was the first brewpub in Green Bay. I didn’t even know that they were now producing beer for consumption off premises. I especially like the name of this beer: Any Packer fan can recognize Green 19 as a play call Rodgers yells on Sundays!

But because this visit was over the Christmas holiday and I had never had it before, I tried the Hinterland Winterland (Green Bay, WI). It’s a nice winter ale with just a hint of juniper. Very enjoyable.

Their Winter Warmer drinks and Daily Specials were nothing to scoff at either:

And the descriptions on the new menu were very impressive. So much so, that I had no idea what I wanted! I finally settled on something.

Black Oak Sausage & Gourmet Mac N Cheese Pan Seared Black Oak Sausage with Roasted Pepper an d Onion Cheesy Cheddar Mac 10.99

Black Oak Sausage & Gourmet Mac N Cheese
Pan seared Black Oak Sausage with roasted pepper and Onion Cheesy Cheddar Mac – $10.99

I didn’t love the dish. I think it was the kind of sausage that didn’t suit me. But I liked it enough to eat the leftovers the next day. My favorite part were the added onions for texture and flavor.

But it was way too much food. This huge portion of pasta came with not only a salad, but also the choice of a side. I chose these to share with my husband and dad:

Truffle Fries Fresh Cut Fries Tossed in Truffle Oil, Parmesan Che ese, Parsley, and Served with a Side of our Homemade Alfredo Sauce. P erfect for Dipping! 5.99

Truffle Fries
Fresh cut fries tossed in truffle oil, parmesan cheese, parsley and served with a side of their homemade Alfredo sauce

They weren’t bad, but I didn’t get much truffle flavor as I did the aroma. Plus, it was just too much to eat! The boys each opted for a specialty burger.

The Gutter Burger Brulee Juicy Course Ground USDA Choice Beef. Caramelized w ith our Gutter Spice, Chipotle Bacon Rashers & Smot hered with our Homemade Alfredo. Brulee’d then Topped with Crispy Parmesan 8.99

The Gutter Burger Brulee
Juicy course ground USDA choice beef, caramelized with Gutter Spice, chipotle bacon rashers and smothered with their homemade Alfredo. Brulee’d and then topped with crispy parmesan – $8.99 

Both Rob and my dad loved the flavor of their burgers. It was a unique preparation and combination of toppings that I’d never seen before! Rob said that it was just a pre-formed patty, probably out of the freezer, but that it was seasoned very well. So he wouldn’t have any problem ordering it again, nor the side of tots he got with it.

Moral of the story? Don’t judge. You can get some fancy food in The Gutter.

What kind of gourmet food have you found at a bowling alley?

Cheers~
Carrie

Townline – Green Bay

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Although we had a Green Bay address growing up, we lived on the outskirts, near the villages of Howard and Suamico. There wasn’t much nearby. We couldn’t even get pizza delivered. But the area has grown and expanded, so there’s now even a gas station less than four miles from my parents’ home.

You’ll also find a little pub and grill nearby called Townline. It was erected not long after I moved to Minnesota. What’s fun is that while the building is new, the tavern isn’t. You can read about the history here.

Because it’s so close, it’s a place we can easily get some grub and a pint when we are in town. I wasn’t intending to ever talk about it on the blog. But why not talk about an old (or newish, depending on how you look it) standby?

Our experience on our trip over the holidays was actually what prompted me to write this one…

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What completely surprised us is that Townline is open 7am until midnight every day. {But somehow I think that just means food. My guess is that they stay open until the usual 2am bar time for drinks.} And they have free Wi-Fi. The Monday morning before Christmas Eve was the perfect time for Rob to log in to work and put in a few hours. And we could order some breakfast! That’s something we hadn’t done at Townline yet. Mostly, because we had no idea that they served it!

Since I wasn’t the one working, I ordered a Bloody Mary. I was asked if I wanted the Breakfast Mary. Can you believe I ordered it after I was told it was made with bacon-infused vodka?

Breakfast Mary with bacon-infused vodka, cheese, beef stick, pickle, two slices of bacon, hard boiled egg and a beer chaser

Breakfast Mary with bacon-infused vodka, cheese, beef stick, pickle, two slices of bacon, hard boiled egg and a beer chaser

I usually don’t like bacon in things. I only like it by itself because in dishes and on foods, I feel it tends to overpower the other flavors. But this bacon flavor was subtle and well-balanced in the Mary! I would highly recommend it. Rob took my brother there the next morning and JR said it was the best Bloody Mary he’s ever had. I loved that a hard-boiled was part of the garnish. However, they must be either pickled or preserved somehow, because the egg had a strong vinegar flavor. Not my style.

I love eggs and omelets, so I couldn’t go wrong with my breakfast:

Omelet with sausage, onion, mushroom, tomato and cheddar served with hashbrowns and wheat toast

Omelet with sausage, onion, mushroom, tomato and cheddar served with hash browns and wheat toast

Rob went out on a limb and tried something he’d never had before – a Monte Cristo:

Breakfast Monte Cristo made with sausage and served with strawberry sauce

Breakfast Monte Cristo made with sausage and served with strawberry sauce

It was rich and so much food that he only ate about a quarter of it!

~

But enough about breakfast. There are over 50 beers on tap here; but we don’t get too excited about that anymore. There’s rarely something new and interesting to us. That sounds completely snobby, but we’ve just had most of the selections available and know our tastes. But hey, we come from an up-and-coming craft brew mecca. And we understand that Townline needs to offer what suits their clientele. But, if there’s a local brew that is new to us that we can’t find in MN, we give it a try.

The menu at Townline is huge, but I’ve learned what I like to make a quick decision.

My two favorite things to order are:

~ Cajun Chicken Salad with Cajun Ranch Dressing

~ Friday Fish Fry {if we are in town on a Friday!}

Rob’s favorites are:

~ Lonely Guy Burger – fried onions, pepperjack cheese and enough garlic to clear the room on marble rye
*They also make a Lonely Guy Pizza and a Lonely Guy Omelet for breakfast!

~ Howard-Pulaski Burger – burger topped with a slice of kielbasa!
*Rob is saddened that they no longer have this burger. He thinks because kielbasa is no longer on their menu. He may just have to try the Howard-Suamico next time which is made with a brat patty!

~

If you are in town for a Packer game, the Townline is a bit out of the way. I’d hop over to Kroll’s for burgers and fried-anything for a side. It’s across the street from Lambeau and you can’t miss it. It’s kind of an institution that you just shouldn’t miss!

Northeastern Wisconsin

I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk a little about the culture that is Northeastern Wisconsin, while I’m at it. It’s funny that it took me moving out of the area to realize that these things were uniquely part of the culture there. To me, while living there, it was just normal!

~GO PACK GO! Nearly everyone supports the Packers. On game day, everyone breaks out their Packer gear. Solidarity. No matter if we are sucking or not. Whether there’s a home or away game, the mall will be dead. Many streets will be, too. While there are some diehard Viking fans in Minnesota that I highly respect, most are fair weather fans, if at all!

~German and Polish influence – That’s why you see us on TV cooking up brats and kielbasa while tailgating at Packer games! Don’t forget the sauerkraut.

~Friday Fish Fry – You’ll find this at nearly every restaurant that isn’t a chain – every Friday. Not just during Lent. And it’s almost always is perch. I’ve never seen a fish fry made with perch in Minnesota. {Though I’ve had some of the better fish and chips in Minnesota than I’ve had elsewhere!}

~Chili with noodles – Really, it wasn’t until college that I realized chili was ever made without noodles. My mom always made it with spaghetti, right in the pot! I see that Townline offers it on their menu with or without.

~Double Bubble – This is the term for Happy Hour. It technically means that you can buy two-for-one cocktails, but is often used synonymously with Happy Hour now.

~The Old Fashioned – My mom has ordered Whiskey Old Fashioned Sours for as long as I can remember. It’s only been recently that she’d be able to order one in the Twin Cities and get someone who can make one that she deems worthy!

~Bubbler and Tyme Machine = Water Fountain & ATM. I once asked for a Tyme Machine at a movie theater in MN. (Before you could use a credit card to buy a movie ticket!) Yes, they looked at me like I was crazy. Especially because I kept saying it louder because I thought they couldn’t hear me behind the glass… I’m more careful about that one now. 😉

What are some parts of your local culture that you didn’t realize until you traveled or moved elsewhere?

Cheers~
Carrie

The Post Fulton Diaries

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After our venture to Fulton Brewery, we sought out a bite to eat. We decided to drive around until we found something. We had nothing planned, so it would be spontaneous! This sometimes backfires when we I can’t may up our my minds.

We drove around and less than a mile away we passed the Smack Shack. Do you know how many times we’ve seen this place online and in local magazines?! We’ve heard rave reviews about their food truck and particularly their Lobster Roll.

As we passed it, we went in search for a place to park. {Note: Just because you can park, doesn’t mean it’s free. It cost us only $1.75 to park not far from Fulton for 3 hours. But it cost us $42 to park near Smack Shack. Why? We didn’t feed the electronic meter! DOH! I won’t be making that mistake again.}

We got out of the car and made our way over the block and a half to the Smack Shack. On our way, we walked passed Cuzzy’s. Oh no. Decisions, decisions. I made Rob choose. It was, after all, almost his birthday.

He said we’d start at Smack Shack. Maybe we’d hit Cuzzy’s, too. He wanted to check both boxes.

Smack Shack

I thought this place was named for the fact that you’d be smacking your lips because the food was so good. Silly girl. There is a another meaning to the word…

Smack: (Eastern U.S.) : fishing vessel, especially one having a well for keeping catch alive.

Okay. That totally makes sense now. No wonder they are known for their lobster rolls. The funny thing? I wasn’t in the mood for seafood. I have no idea why. Maybe it was because it was 7pm and I last ate at 11am and felt like I was just famished. I was also indecisive. I can’t tell you how long we looked at that bar menu.

They had a small handful of beers on tap, including the local Fulton we had just visited a few blocks down. I do love that in Minneapolis, restaurants are great about serving the beers from their local community! But at that point, I chose a Sparkling Sake instead.

Why? Because I saw it on the menu and I had never had one before.

I liked it.

It was low in alcohol.

And I like sake.

And I like bubbly.

Win-Win-Win.

Then we ordered a couple of small plates.

BRAISED BEEF SHORT RIB with Pickled Fresno & Ancho Garlic Mayo 6.95

Braised Beef Shortrib Taco with Pickled Fresno & Ancho Garlic Mayo – $6.95

There are no words to describe how good these are! The beef is tender and the flavors are so well integrated and balanced. When we raved about them, our bartender said that the smoked pork tacos were even better. We couldn’t even imagine that was possible!

Seasoned Fries 4

Seasoned Fries – $4

The fries were pretty good, but nothing to completely rave about. We didn’t finish them, especially since this was the point when Rob admitted that he wanted to go to Cuzzy’s, too.

We agreed that we’d go back to the Smack Shack, especially if we have people in town who love seafood!

Cuzzy’s

We walked into Cuzzy’s knowing it was going to feel more like a bar than a restaurant. And with that comes bar food. There were dollar bills all over the walls and ceiling, but nothing like McGuire’s in Pensacola, where we hosted dinner after our beach wedding.

It was the first time I realized why Fulton named their blonde ale the Lonely Blonde. A guy walked in, sat down at the bar and said, “I’d like a Lonely Blonde, please.” People are ordering Lonely Blondes all over Minneapolis! Clever. And I hadn’t even realized it until I heard someone order it.

We opted for a burger and tots to split. I never expect this when we mention that we are going to split something, but they split it in the back for us. Never, ever expected, but always appreciated!

 Black and Bleu Burger With portobello mushrooms, bleu cheese and Cajun seasoning 8.99

Black and Bleu Burger with portobello mushrooms, bleu cheese and Cajun seasoning – $8.99

This burger was excellent and hit the spot! I can’t even begin to explain how perfect those portobello mushrooms were. The flavor was well balanced with just the right amount of seasoning and blue cheese.

And although I was no longer hungry after we polished off our burger, when the gal next to us ordered a Mexican dish, I turned to look at it because it smelled so good! It looked fresh and yummy, too, not just slopped on a plate like you find some version of Mexican food.

Looking for bar food in the Warehouse District of Minneapolis or close to the Twins’ Target Field? I think you’ll be satisfied here. Maybe even impressed. We were.

The cuisine at Smack Shack and Cuzzy’s is completely different. Some would say that Smack Shack’s food is a bit more elevated; but for bar food, I’d probably say the same about Cuzzy’s.

In my opinion, while different, they are equally enjoyable. We’ll be back to both! The problem will be choosing which one. Maybe it will be depend on our food mood. But if we can’t decide, we just might have to flip a coin.

What are your favorite types of small plates?

What kind of food do you like to split?

Cheers~
Carrie