Tag Archives: salad

An Irish Pub Calls for Chicken

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This post is meant to show you some photos of the funny things I only TOLD you about O’Sullivan’s Pub last year

Over the past ten years that I’ve been going with Rob to Michigan, we first discovered O’Sullivan’s Pub just last year. We really did enjoy it; so we had to go back. First, I need to post some silly photos of the menu for those of you who are looking, since they don’t post theirs online. You can click to enlarge.

And again, just as I did last year, I wondered if they bought their furniture from an old Buffalo Wild Wings.

Carved into our booth.

Carved into our booth.

Rob’s mom was smart and ordered the Reuben Sliders that we all so adored last year. Knowing how good the corned beef, was, Rob and his dad opted for another take on the Reuben, which they each really enjoyed:

Nathan's Special - Corned Beef, Pastrami, Swiss cheese, 1000 island dressing served on rye bread

Nathan’s Special – Corned Beef, Pastrami, Swiss cheese, 1000 island dressing served on rye bread with onion rings

And although we were in a self-proclaimed Irish Pub, I didn’t order any fish and chips nor corned beef. Instead, I did what worked for me in Ireland. I ordered CHICKEN!

Chicken Finger Salad - chicken fingers, lettuce, onion, tomato, cucumbers, black olives & shredded cheese

Chicken Finger Salad – chicken fingers, lettuce, onion, tomato, cucumbers, black olives & shredded cheese

It may look like your basic salad. But it was sooooo good and hit the spot for me that day. And I splurged with that perfectly cooked, fried chicken with just the right crunch to make it worth it!

And now, for the bathroom I was telling you about last year:

Finally, the women’s bathroom was just strange to me. It was just the one-person restroom, not the kind with stalls. It was very narrow, but had two toilets! I guess, ladies, if you are out at the pub drinking with friends, this is just plain efficient.

Really?

Two toilets in one women’s restroom…

We still love this place. And because I like to get a fried chicken salad about once every year or two, I just have to remember that this is the place to get one where I’ll be satisfied.

What’s the strangest restroom you’ve been in?

Cheers~
Carrie

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Pig & Fiddle – Minneapolis {Closed}

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Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve written a local Restaurant Impression. Crap. I’ve dined so many places I’ve wanted to tell you about in hopes that if you are in the Twin Cities, you’ll visit. And if you aren’t, you’ll be inspired to make similar dishes!

And since it’s American Craft Beer Week, I thought I’d tell you about a place known for beer that we’ve been to a few times… Oh, Crap… Last fall and winter. Yeah, it’s been that long.

Although, winter didn’t end here until a couple of weeks ago this year… Do I get a pass? Pretty please?

The first time we went to Pig & Fiddle, we were invited by our friends Wendy and Tracy:

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Was this really last fall? It couldn’t have been. I was wearing short sleeves and I’m a FREEZE BABY!

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More importantly, check out that chalkboard behind me. That is the constantly changing beer list! They have a wide array of taps. Here is a shot from our second visit to Pig & Fiddle when we sat at the bar:

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Yes! You see Steel Toe Dissent on that list! That is where we discovered it. Steel Toe describes it as a Dark Ale, but we thought it was more like a Stout. {We learned on our Beer Trolley Tour, that that has something to do with rights and trademarks.} Yeah, now just count those taps of craft brews!

But back to our first visit with Wendy and Tracy. That night, Wendy and I opted for a bottle of wine. I KNOW! Pig & Fiddle is known for its beer, and we got wine. But it was soooo good. I love me a good, big, bold Zinfandel and that is exactly what we got:

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Who knew that a restaurant with an emphasis placed so heavily on beer, would have a decent wine list as well? As for the food, the description of this establish on the Pig & Fiddle website reads:

Located at 50th and France Ave. in Minneapolis, Pig & Fiddle is the gastro-pub younger sibling of the Muddy Pig. The beer list is worthy and hefty with 36 taps along with a rural Euro-inspired menu.

Wendy and I both ordered:

GRILLED CHEESE asparagus, chevre, smoked gouda and caramelized onion on sourdough 12

Grilled Cheese
asparagus, chevre, smoked gouda and caramelized onion
on sourdough – 12

I love asparagus, so I liked that addition; but the sandwich didn’t really taste like a grilled cheese. I think I would have called this sandwich something else. It tasted like springtime! But the real star of my plate was the side salad! Sandwiches are served with “a choice of frites, a tossed salad or mashed potatoes.” I read what was in the Main Dish Tossed Salad and knew immediately that it was what I wanted as my side.

TOSSED SALAD aged cheddar, radish, toasted sourdough and shallot vinaigrette

Tossed Salad
aged cheddar, radish, toasted sourdough
and shallot vinaigrette

Can you believe that I loved this salad so much that the grilled cheese was an afterthought for me? I loved the chunks of aged cheddar, the crunch of the roasted sourdough croutons, the perfect blend of mixed greens and the tangy vinaigrette. It’s not very often I have radishes either. Did I mention that I kind of liked this salad? Yup. You’ll find it on our Best of the Twin Cities page!

The boys ordered the burgers:

burger

They didn’t realize it until after digging into their burgers that they weren’t cooked correctly. Rob tends to eat all of his fries first. So, while Tracy made his way through his burger, he just thought it was undercooked. However, when Rob got to his burger and found that his was overdone, we knew what had happened. They placed the burgers in front of the wrong people. Don’t worry! The server and manager made it right for them!

The boys tried a few different brews that night, but the favorite was:

Great Lakes Erie Monster - Imperial IPA

Great Lakes Erie Monster – Imperial IPA

If you don’t like ales that are too hoppy, just give an Imperial or Double IPA a try. It sounds just wrong, but I feel like the imperials and doubles often taste smoother! Yes, there is still hoppiness, but in my opinion, it’s more well-balanced, despite the high percentage of alcohol.

On our second visit, I got the tossed salad as an entree and was happy, happy, happy. Plus that was the night we discovered Steel Toe Dissent.

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Tossed Salad
aged cheddar, radish, toasted sourdough
and shallot vinaigrette
small 6 | large 10

Rob ordered something different as well and was also happy, happy, happy!

POLISH-STYLE PIEROGI mushrooms and sour cream 12

Polish-Style Pierogi
mushrooms and sour cream – 12

Our most recent visit was in January, when we decided to order and do a battle of Imperial Stouts! We wondered if the local Fulton Worthy Adversary would hold up to Michigan-based Founders Imperial Stout. Founders has a tough time making a bad beer.

I honestly don't eve know which one is which now...

I honestly don’t even know which one is which now… {Funny how they were served on Left Hand Milk Stout Coasters!}

The winner? Founders by .0000000001 %. Seriously. They were both that good. If you ever see one of these on tap, order a pint. They are hard to find and once they empty the keg, it’s usually gone!

That night, for food, we switched things up again:

salad

I was debating between this and a British Chicken Kebab. This pita sandwich doesn’t seem to be on their menu anymore. I believe it was chicken curry, but I remember it being pretty light on the chicken. And there is that salad again!

Rob ordered this:

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This was a pasty stuffed with beef and gorgonzola. Rob loved it, but I’m not finding it on their menu anymore either. Some items could be seasonal.

Still, looking at their current menu, I’m thinking I need to try this next:

Guajillo Chile Rubbed Rib Tips with rhubarb glaze and Belgian endive. Looks like another trip to Pig & Fiddle is in order!

Happy American Craft Beer Week!

What is your favorite pub fare?

Cheers~
Carrie

Protein for Salads

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About six months ago, we started Salad Mondays at our house. It came about because I wanted my husband to eat more vegetables. Sure, I can also make vegetable side dishes from time to time, but I wanted to have a quick and easy way to do salads without having to do too much thinking on a Monday.

However, due to my husband’s allergies and a few other reasons (to be listed shortly), it’s very hard for me to get protein in these salads for dear hubby. I can top mine with chicken or turkey any time!

Until yesterday.

Because I made him a Big Mac Salad.

That’s right. I found *this recipe* for a Cheeseburger Salad with Big Mac Dressing. And, yes, it does taste just like the sauce on a Big Mac!

At first, I was a little leery about putting ground beef on a salad. That just sounded weird. But after thinking about it, we eat taco salads topped with ground meat with taco seasoning all the time!

And when I was taking our bowls back to the sink, it sort of smelled like McDonald’s in there! It was a combination of the cooked ground beef smell and the dressing from the bowl in which I made it.

I completely forgot to take a photo, but this is a salad that will be going into our rotation.

The only things I changed from Andie’s recipe:

  • I halved it because leftover salad just doesn’t sound good!
  • I used non-fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream because it’s what I had on hand (It added a little extra protein, too!)
  • I used white wine vinegar instead of white vinegar.
  • I finely chopped a dill pickle instead of buying relish. (We never use it, so why buy it!?)

I don’t think these minor changes affected the flavor of the salad in any way.

I cut my tomatoes in wedges and arranged them around the outside edges of the bowl, just in case Rob didn’t want them. He normally doesn’t eat raw tomatoes. I also cut a couple of small dill pickles in half and put them around the bowl for the same purpose.

Success!

Now I’m in search of more novel ideas to make Rob’s salad nights more protein-filled for him. Normally, the salads I made him included veggies, shredded cheese or blue cheese crumbles, some bacon bits (the real ones, not the soy ones), and a few croutons. I him put on his own dressing.

Here are ideas that I know will be suggested that I can’t do:

  • Flank steak – He doesn’t like this cut of meat.
  • Poultry, fish or shellfish – He’s allergic.
  • Beans – He’s allergic to some and doesn’t fancy others.
  • Chickpeas – He’d probably eat a salad with these if I put it in front of him, but would say that he wouldn’t want it again.
  • Eggs – While he likes yolks in fried or scrambled eggs, he doesn’t like the yolks when their hard-boiled. I can add hard-boiled whites, though!
  • Nuts – I’m going to try this one, but when I’ve asked if he’s wanted them in a salad in the past, he always says “No.”
  • Cheese – I already add this, but it doesn’t offer a lot of protein and if I added more, that’s just adding more fat, too.
  • Tofu – Neither of us are fans. I don’t mind it because it takes on the flavor of whatever you put with it. But I just don’t get the whole processed soy thing. If I’m going to eat something processed, I want it to be something I really enjoy!

Ideas I came up with while writing this post:

  • Barbecued Pork Salad – I don’t like BBQ sauce, so I’d be making this for just him. Does anyone have a recipe that I can use to know what else to add?
  • Taco Salad

So my question for you today is:

What protein ideas do you have for salads?

Recipe sharing encouraged!

Cheers~
Carrie

Mr M.’s Pizza & Lounge – Gladwin, MI

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If you aren’t from Michigan or don’t intend on traveling there anytime soon, please stay with me!

You just may learn a thing or two about travel and dining. Or you may be inspired to create a dish…

Our Michigan trip each year tends to be an inexpensive one. Everything seems to be so much cheaper there. For me, it’s been this way since I started traveling there in 2004. The state’s economy wasn’t doing well even before the nation’s economy tanked. For this reason, I’ve always had trouble when I’ve heard Minnesotans complain about the economy. While it’s not to say that there aren’t people struggling in our neck of the woods, the impact is more widespread in Michigan. And while Rob and I have known that Gladwin County is one of the poorest in the state, we learned this year that all but two counties in Michigan are considered below the poverty line.

When we visit family and friends in Michigan, we try to stimulate the economy as much as possible. And since we love to dine out, it’s our way to do so. In the small town of Gladwin {population just under 3000}, we’ve seen restaurants come and go. I think it’s difficult for restaurants to make it when there aren’t many people with the disposable income to support them. Still, one of Rob’s parents’ favorites and one we frequent every year is Mr. M.’s Pizza & Lounge.

I apologize that I did not take any photos at this restaurant on this trip. Sometimes, I just get caught up on vacation. However, I went online to look for a menu, but Mr. M’s doesn’t have a website other than their Facebook Page. And since Mr. M’s menu is absolutely huge, I spent about an hour in search of it online hoping to find it someplace else. I was not successful. It makes me wish even more that I had taken pictures of not only the food we enjoyed, but also the menu!

Décor

This place is in need of a makeover. The décor is not only dated, but worn. And the bar side of the establishment still reeks of smoke although smoking was banned in Michigan restaurants in 2010. If you’ve ever watched Restaurant: Impossible with Robert Irvine on the Food Network, Mr M.’s seems like a good candidate for an overhaul. However, I’m not sure how feasible this would be for the owners. While the prices of the food are pretty low, I can’t imagine an increase would be a great idea in this community. Perhaps it’s just not a priority right now.

And while Robert Irvine would also frown upon the overwhelming number of menu items, somehow Mr. M.’s makes it work.

Included on the menu are:

  • Pizzas – many different styles with a wide variety of topping options
  • Burgers and Sandwiches
  • Burritos and Nachos
  • Salads
  • Fried Fish and Chicken meals
  • And much more than I can even remember… {I seem to recall calzones and hoagies, for example, but I can’t be quoted on that!}

And here are some of the items we enjoyed:

Pizza

  • You can’t go wrong here. The pizza is excellent.
  • Don’t expect gourmet ingredients, but you can order one of their creations or build your own.
  • The mini pizzas are the perfect size for one person. {If I’m being calorie-conscious, I can even eat half and bring the rest home without feeling hungry.} They remind me of the Book-it Personal Pan pizzas we’d get from Pizza Hut as a kid for reading books. Remember those?
  • However, all of the other pizzas {even a small} are HUGE! So consider that when placing your order.
  • While one of my favorite pizza combos is sausage and mushroom, I opt for sausage and fresh tomatoes here. The mushrooms at Mr. M.’s are canned. Blech. There’s no way I’m eating rubber mushrooms.

Sidebar: I once asked for fresh mushrooms on a pizza at a local pizza place here in Minnesota. The server said to me: “We most certainly can do that for you!” When the pizza came out, she was so proud. “Here you go! I made sure that they didn’t put the mushrooms on until after the pizza was cooked!” By fresh mushrooms, she thought I meant raw, uncooked mushrooms. Tee hee. I didn’t have the heart to explain to her what I meant. From now on I just asked if they use canned mushrooms. 😉

Chicken Salad

  • If you’re looking for something a little healthier, try the chicken salad. I’m not sure if there is a specific name for this salad because I didn’t write it down, expecting I’d find it online later.
  • In addition, since I have no notes nor photos, I can’t even tell you all the ingredients in this salad! I do know that there was a juicy chicken breast that made me so happy! To my recollection, I believe there were greens, dried cherries or some other fruit, a little cheese, tomatoes, and poppyseed dressing perhaps? It’s sad when I know that I loved this dish, but can’t even remember what was all in it.
  • I can vouch that this is the best salad I’ve had in Gladwin. {Note to self next time I am looking for a salad or something healthy when we’re in Gladwin!}

Other Items

There are too many items on this menu to try everything and I know we have in years prior. However, we stuck to the pizzas and my salad this time around. Rob’s mom suggested that we split a plate of fried green beans with a side of ranch dressing as an appetizer one night. Great alternative to your typical bar food!

And while alcohol is served at this establishment, it’s not a great place for beer or drinks. Why? Your best choice for a “unique” beer on tap would be LaBatt’s Blue. Yep. In addition, Rob ordered gin and tonics on a couple of occasions. Each time, they were weak and took quite a while to come to the table.

But this place isn’t about the drinks. It’s good, casual food at incredible prices. It’s a perfect place to bring your kids or a group of people!

Where have been your favorite inexpensive eat-in food joints?

Cheers~
Carrie