Tag Archives: Devil’s Advocate

Drunken Dunkers {Closed} & Taking Flight

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Happy Thirsty Thursday!

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I’ve written about Devil’s Advocate before… but it certainly needs an update. It’s one of our favorite places to go on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon when there are no in-town sporting events and crowds are scarce.

That is… until we discovered BRUNCH!

Rob has done a 180 on brunch. He used to hate going out to brunch on a Sunday morning. In fact, we would never dine out until after Sunday brunch was over, unless he knew that a restaurant would offer up their lunch menu during brunch hours.

So what has changed? He has finally realized that Brunch does not = Buffet. Many restaurants offer menus with lots of breakfast-y items as well as lunch fare. The brunch menu at Devil’s Advocate {offered Saturday AND Sunday from 10a to 2p} is nothing short of spectacular!

During these hours, we can still order our favorites: the Holy Grail made with pork meatballs, mushroom, sunday gravy {on a pretzel bun!} and the Philly Cheesesteak which is considered the best and most authentic in all of the Twin Cities.

And while I find it quite annoying that Devil’s Advocate does not display their menu on their website, I did find the brunch menu in their Twitter feed. You can find that tweet here.

As you can see, there’s a good mix of breakfast and brunch optinons! But let’s zoom in on something in particular…

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Ahhh, yes! For one, I am a sucker for a good grilled cheese and tomato soup. And although we usually go to DA because they have one of the best tap selections in the Twin Cities, the basil-infused vodka intrigued both of us!

While you are waiting for your Drunken Dunkers to be prepared, the bartender pours you a shot of their house-infused basil vodka. I am not really a vodka fan. I generally only consume it in Bloody Marys. But this basil-infused vodka has such a wonderful aroma that I could sit and smell it all day.

When your celery-salted rim bowl {Yes!} of tomato-y goodness arrives, you get to pour that boozy liquid basil right into your soup!

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Drunken Dunkers: Bloody Mary Breakfast3-cheese grilled cheese and tomato soup with a shot of house-infused basil vodka.

And boy is it boozy! It’s warm and comforting and maybe a little bit too boozy for your liking. I’d suggest pouring in a little at the time and keeping the remainder at bay for aromatherapy purposes. 🙂 In fact, the two times that Rob and I have each order this, we’ve said, “Whoa! That is some boozy soup!”, after pouring the entire shot into the soup and not at all learning from our previous indulgence. Neither of us could finish our bowls on either occasion.

But don’t be fooled by that simple-looking Grilled Cheese! It is packed with ooey-gooey cheesy goodness. I’m talking the amount of cheese that would content a girl from Wisconsin. It’s seared to perfection, too. There’s nothing fancy here; but it just goes to show that a simple grilled cheese doesn’t have to be boring and can still make me swoon!

Rob and I decided that if we come back for the Drunken Dunkers again, we’d aim to order one to split, but request an additional grilled cheese. There is just not enough to sop up that soup!

And if you like Bloody Marys, but grilled cheese and tomato soup is not your bag, they make some over-the-top bloodies:

  • The Devil’s Fork can rival any basic bloody with fixings including, but not limited to, deep fried somethings, a bacon wrapped wienie, shrimp, olives and a deviled egg {haha!}.
  • But then there is the Beer Bucket Bloody served in a plastic pitcher and topped with all those goodies that adorn the Devil’s Fork plus a cheesburger, a grilled cheese and more! I can’t remember the exact price, but it’s spendy. Still, it’s a meal in itself. So if you want to share with a friend and you are on a pilgrimmage to discover the best or most outrageous bloody mary, this is definitely worth a stop. Check out a photo here.

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Winter is one of the best times of year for Rob and I to find beer on tap because that’s when we’ll find the bulk of the specialty porters, stouts and bourbon barrel beers. On our last visit to Devil’s Advocate, I did what I imagine most bartenders hate

I ordered a flight.

Truthfully, I knew it was okay for a few reasons:

  • They expressly state on their menu that they will serve five 4-ounce pours of any beer on tap for $15. {Make it count!}
  • It wasn’t crazy busy or packed – they had the time.
  • I actually asked, “Can I be a pain and order a flight?” {I know, who would say, “no?”!}

Normally, I can narrow my choices down to one or two beers on their extensive menu. But on this day, not only could I not decide, I was very unsure if I’d like any of the beers I was considering if I ordered an entire glass.

Here is the flight I built:

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And here is what they built for me.

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Those of you who know me, might be surprised by this flight. Sure, it’s mostly darker beers; but there a lot Belgian-styles in this flight as well as a – say, what? – a Dopplebock. {And, yes, they had me at barrel-aged.}

And here is the most interesting part…

I loved all of them!

In fact, despite Rob’s disdaine for Belgian beers, he loved them all, too!

If I had to put them in order, they’d go like this:

#1) Brassserie D’Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru and #2) Val-Dieu Grand Cru, both listed under “Secessionists”, despite their high alcohol content!

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#3) Hinterland Bourbon Barrel Aged Dopplebock – Hinterland, I’m so proud of you!

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#4) Unibroue La Resolution – Québec, here we come! {Did I tell you that’s where we are traveling internationally this year?}

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#5) Bauhaus Brew Labs Winterloper – Yes, I had to give a little local love!

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I am so happy that I did this flight. It’s one of the best I can ever remember having! I know now that if I would have ordered any one of these beers by the glass, I would have loved them.

Speaking of flights, Devil’s Advocate might even be home of the flight. They do Mimosa Flights during brunch! I wonder what other kinds of flights they do?

What’s the best flight you’ve ever had?

 

Cheers~
Carrie

Devil’s Advocate {Closed}

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This one is long overdue.

We first heard about Devil’s Advocate via a Groupon about a year ago. We’ve been back probably a half of a dozen times since and we don’t live anywhere near downtown Minneapolis. What impressed us first was their rotating tap selection. It’s one of the best in the Twin Cities. On our first visit, the bartender told us that they only get one keg of each beer. So once it’s gone, they switch it up. It’s constantly changing.

Devil's Advocate is the first place where I've had a lambic (frit beer) on tap.

Devil’s Advocate – the 1st place where I’ve had a lambic fruit beer on tap.

We’ve returned on a few occasions, like when we had company in town and wanted to walk around Nicollet Mall {DA is located just a block off Nicollet on 10th Street} and for a late lunch/early dinner reward after our LOST 15k walk. We love to go on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon when there aren’t any big events going on downtown, like a Twins game.

The thing is, I didn’t post on this gem before they changed their menu!

It used to be a nearly all-meatball menu, where you’d choose the protein source of your balls and then the sauce:

Balls & SauceThen you’d choose the number of balls. You could opt for a bowl of balls or ball(s) on a bun.

Number of BallsIt’s one of the few restaurants in the Twin Cities that I know of where you can find my beloved pretzel bun!

That is why I always find myself ordering triple balls:

Pork Balls on a Pretzel BunAfter determining the pork balls were my favorite on the first visit, I continued to order them each time. They are well-seasoned with a nice little kick of spice on the finish. However, my in-laws found them a tad spicy. While I didn’t consider them spicy the first time I had them, I see what they mean. A word of caution for those of you who don’t like too much spice: These meatballs may be considered a bit spicy for Minnesotans. I think that it’s the mushroom sauce that I liked best, too. The sandwich is finished with melted mozzarella. I can’t tell you how satisfying this is. And I never order meatball sandwiches. In fact, it’s not something I ever think of ordering and I probably never would have if they wouldn’t have started out as a meatball joint.

And if you couldn’t make up your mind, they also gave some combo suggestions for their balls:

CombosAnd if you weren’t particularly in the mood for meatballs, there were always appetizers and daily specials:

C-Appetizers

We’ve tried the poutine and mac and cheese

…neither of which were particularly impressive. However, the meat covering the fries is the same meat that is used for their pork balls. That’s a plus.

Rob has also ordered the burger, which he described as “average.”

Burger~

But then, earlier this month, I received an email in my inbox with a link to an article entitled:

“Devil’s Advocate:

This is the Best Philly Cheesesteak in all the Twin Cities”

I didn’t even remember seeing a Philly Cheesesteak on their menu. Then I read the article and learned that their menu had changed. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I liked those meatballs! I sent the article to Rob. He was excited about the new menu and was determined to be the judge of the Philly Cheesesteak himself.

So we did the research…

On a couple of occasions, we had thought that maybe the beer selection at Devil’s Advocate was going downhill. But on this visit, we realized it was our palates that didn’t match the selection on those occasions. Because on this visit, we fell back in love…

Here's one side of the ever-changing beer mendu

This is just the front side of the ever-changing beer menu…

Beers are listed in alpha order by brewery. Let’s zoom in.

Glass SizeYou’ll find the beer listed this way:

Brewer, Name and type and/or style of beerorigin price

Then you get a nice description, which we’ve found, while subjective, is generally pretty accurate. The % ABV is the percentage of Alcohol By Volume. Then they list the style or size of glass in which the beer is served.

Hint: Higher alcohol beers are often served in smaller glasses.

Tip: If you aren’t sure if you are going to like a beer, ask for a taste before you order.

There were so many beers that suited us this time around!

Here’s Rob’s first choice:

Jubilation

Avery, Old Jubilation (Strong Ale) – Boulder, CO

I started with:

Slop Bucket

McNeill’s, Slop Bucket (Double Brown Ale) – Brattleboro, VT

We ordered those before we had a chance to peruse the entire beer menu. And before we even took our first sips, we spotted something on tap that we completely missed!

Then we PumKing

Southern Tier, Pumking (Imperial Pumpkin Ale) – Lakewood, NY

By now, you should know how much we adore this beer. The funny thing is that we aren’t huge into pumpkin-flavored things normally. In fact, I get a little pumpkin-ed out in the blogosphere by winter.

And while there are still meatballs incorporated into the menu, they are no longer the focus:

DAnew1I was looking at ordering the Meatball Hero, but the descriptions are pretty vague. So I asked about the pork balls I loved and if they still had the pretzel bun.

“Yes!” the bartended exclaimed. “That’s our Holy Grail!” I hadn’t even noticed that on the menu. Somehow, I overlooked it. And there is no way I would have known it was on a pretzel bun by that description.

It was heaven.

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HOLY GRAIL – pork meatballs, mushroom, sunday gravy {on a pretzel bun!}

I’m not sure how many meatball sandwiches there are in the Twin Cities, nor do I think I’ve ever ordered one anywhere else. But I’d still have to say this is the best. I was so completely satisfied after this meal. It was near perfection. And that side salad up there? One of the best I’ve had. I subbed it for the fries, which are currently on Rob’s Top 10 Fries List, but I think he may be changing that soon.

And now, what you’ve really been waiting for…

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Philly Cheesesteak – “South Street Real Deal”

Rob actually let me have a couple of bites of this Philly Cheesesteak, which he agrees is the Best in All the Twin Cities. I concur myself. The bread is crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside and it seems that some of the cheese sauce is poured down on the bread before the meat is laid upon it. Then the meat is topped with the cheese sauce. Even if that isn’t how it’s done, the cheese is so well-distributed that that’s how it tastes like it’s done.

Rob loved the Cheesesteak at the Bulldog in St. Paul just the week before, but this one is even better. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it’s perfection.

It was either Groupon or another deal site that introduced us to Devil’s Advocate; but it’s the satisfying food and excellent beer selection that keep us coming back.

What meal do you find comforting and satisfying?

Cheers~
Carrie

Best Twin Cities Restaurants to Take Out-of-Town Guests

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This post was inspired by a friend who has family in town this weekend. She wanted ideas for where to take them. And while she came up with her own answer, it did get us to thinking where we’ve taken our out-of-town guests.

I feel a little guilty writing this one.

Why? Because I know that there will be some opinions out there. I may sound like I’m dogging some Mpls-St. Paul institutions. Let’s just say that these are not necessarily the best restaurants in the Twin Cities to take your out-of-town guests. Of course, that all depends on you and your guests. Your tastes might be completely different from ours.

So, instead, let’s label this list as our favorite places to take guests who come in from out of town. We want them to experience restaurants that we not only love, but that are also either unique, capture a piece of Minnesota or offer a bit of fun. They are listed in no particular order. At the time of this writing, Restaurant Impressions might not be written on all restaurants listed yet. But you can always hop over there to check!

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Cossetta’s – St. Paul

I have to admit that Rob has never been to Cossetta’s {the original eatery} and I haven’t eaten there in years. However, after a trip to the newly renovated/expanded Alimentari, including the eatery/pizzeria, Pasticceria, Italian grocery and restaurant with my parents this past May, it’s worth a trip… if only for the pastry/gelato/supermarket experience. Most would notice how grand the paticceria and rest of the building looks. But instead, my dad noticed what kind of light bulbs were used. He’s cute like that.

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Buffalo Tap – Savage

Forget Matt’s.

Forget the 5-8 Club.

Get your Juicy Lucy here – the Parmesan Patty Melt to be exact. Matt’s Lucy is a good dive bar burger that is worth trying, but our burgers at the 5-8 Club were absolutely horrible. On the other hand, the Parmesan Patty Melt Juicy Lucy at the Buffalo Tap is heaven. For those of you who don’t know what a Juicy Lucy is, think of an inside-out burger. It’s one with the yummy, gooey cheese right in the middle. This one is served on Parmesan Encrusted Bread. Need I say more? You just need a little patience because you don’t want to bite into it right away, that cheese will squirt out and burn you. Give it some time to set. Then cut it in half. Drag the chips through any melty cheese that oozes out.

This photo doesn't do this perfect Juicy Lucy justice!

This photo doesn’t do this perfect Juicy Lucy justice!

If that’s not enough of a reason, the bar has a rustic, Minnesota northwoods cabin feel that makes the perfect setting for out-of-town guests. The menu is large with something for everyone. They also serve buffalo, hence the name. And fried cheese curds. As a cheesehead myself, I like to show guests from back home where I watch Packer games when they aren’t on regular TV here in Viking Country. Yep, it’s right here at “The Tap.”

A plus: There are some excellent beers on tap!
A minus: Said beers are often way overpriced.
A plus: You can still get a bottle of Mondavi Cab for $11.95. Not kidding. As my husband would say, “Cheap at the price.”
A plus: They make some of the best Bloody Marys – perfect for game day.

Three pluses over one minus? We’ll take it.

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The Happy Gnome – St. Paul

This is an easy pick for your guests who may have an affinity for beer like we do. Rob stole my brother away on one visit, leaving his other half behind with the kids. They sipped fresh brews and devoured poutine. Oh yeah, this was all just a few days after my back surgery. Maybe he needed to get out, too. 😉

If you’ve had a late night, I’d say get the delectable breakfast sammy the next morning. Best in the Twin Cities! But the folks at this gourmet gastropub change the menu often, so who knows if it’ll be available when you read this. No matter what you order, you should always wash it down with a beer or two that you’ve never had and perhaps may never have again.

Jared's Beer Flight

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Forepaugh’s – St. Paul

Rob likes to describe this experience as “taking someone to your rich uncle’s house.Forepaugh’s is housed in a 19th century Victorian Mansion. You can make it an expensive, fancy evening out, if you’d like. {A lot of special occasion events are held here.} Or you can do what we do: Drop by during happy hour in the bar area and let Joey or Victor wait on you. The bar menu is less expensive and quite good. In fact, we voted them as having best “Toast” in the Twin Cities. You’ll just need to go to find out what that means. And The Double Double Bacon Cheeseburger is on Rob’s Top 10 list. Furthermore, the Deconstructed Banana Cream Pie is a dessert for which you’ll return. It’s an impressive place. Have your guests take a walk around the mansion and check out all levels. Ask the staff about the ghosts.

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Sul Lago – Prior Lake

Perron’s Sul Lago is a no brainer for us, being one of our favorite restaurants and all. Forget Manny’s. Forget Murray’s. {And, yes, we’ve had both.} If you want a steak, come here instead. That being said, let me preface that statement with this: I like filet mignons. The best I’ve ever had in Minnesota is here. My mom said it was the best steak of her life. But I tried a friend’s sirloin and wasn’t as pleased. Maybe that’s because I know how much more I love the filet. Still, the steak sandwich gives Murray’s a run for its money.

It’s a place where the service is great because they leave you alone to linger for hours if you wish, just like they would in Italy. Rob’s favorite pasta – the Sausage and White Truffle Oil – is back on the menu! The food is fantastic, as is the ambiance. And, you’ll find our favorite Bartender, Billy, there, too. He makes the best French Pear.

French Pear Martini: Elderflower liqueur, pear vodka, sparkling wine, lime juice

French Pear Martini: Elderflower liqueur, pear vodka, sparkling wine, lime juice

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Nicollet Mall – Minneapolis

While this technically isn’t a restaurant, it’s a great area in downtown Minneapolis where you can stroll and hop from place to place to try a little bits of what Minneapolis has to offer. We recommend going on a Saturday afternoon when it’s not crazy-busy. Just be sure that there isn’t a Twins game or a big event when you go or that whole lazy-Saturday-afternoon plan will be blown out of the water. We do this because we aim to get a seat for our guests.

Our favorite stops? The Local Irish Pub (duh!), the News Room (especially for the brie cheese curds), Devil’s Advocate (tap beer selection) and Brit’s Pub (rooftop lawn bowling). My husband also found this great map of the Mall and printed out menus for each location for his parents when they were in town. In the evening, The Dakota Jazz Club is recommended for something swanky. We often pop in when they open for a cocktail and some frites before venturing somewhere else down The Mall. Other evening faves include Vincent (French) and Zelo (Italian).

BRIE CURDS DEEP FRIED BRIE, HOMEMADE BLUEBERRY KETCHUP 11.95

Brie Curds – The News Room

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So those are our current picks. And after yesterday’s post, I realize that I should be taking peeps to The Bulldog NE more often. I think we’ve only done that once. Whether they are beer and burger lovers or just like sweets, I’m sure they’ll love it as much as we do.

What are your favorite places to take out-of-town guests where you live?

Cheers~
Carrie