Tag Archives: savage restaurant

Buffalo Tap – Savage


There’s a lot that’s led me up to this post:

  1. I was able to knock a beer off my IPA Wishlist recently here.
  2. I recently talked about the best places to take out-of-town guests, partially due to this establishment’s Juicy Lucy.
  3. I experienced the most recent Packer win at this fave Packer bar.

So there you go. It’s time.

The Beer

I was really surprised when my husband told me that he wanted to go to the Buffalo Tap recently because he said he’d read on Facebook that they were were carrying bombers of the Stone R&R Coconut IPA.

“What?” I asked. “Do you remember my IPA Day post? That beer’s on my wishlist to try!”

Naturally, we went.

And let me just tell you, if you want updates on new beers, wines, dishes, specials or happy hours, it’s a great idea to follow your favorite bars and restaurants on Facebook or Twitter. I personally don’t do that. Well, I do some, but I don’t see every post. But that’s only because my husband does. I make him in charge of that! And it’s a great tip he’s given you!

615Our verdict? The beer was a good IPA in its own right. However, we were disappointed because we couldn’t find even the slightest hint of coconut in the aromas or the flavors. It seems a little much that Stone took the time to bottle and market this beer that way. And we love Stone!

But unbeknownst to us, Buffalo Tap had a beer we adore on tap that day. Only, we’ve only had it in the bottle before!

Creme Brulee STout

Do you see the Crème Brûlée Stout?

It is undeniably incredible in the bottle, but even better on tap. That keg went fast because we didn’t get back to “The Tap” again before it was gone. In fact, it can even be difficult to find this beer in the bottle. So if you do… You. Must. Try. It. Nom Nom. It’s made by Southern Tier, the same brewery that brings us the infamous Pumpking Ale, which is another one You. Must. Have. if you find it on tap like we did here last year and here this year.

In general, the beer here is ridiculously overpriced, especially if you want a specialty beer. For example, on Game Day a couple of years ago, I remember seeing a tall Guinness or tall Surly for $10. Your domestics aren’t too bad, but sometimes I feel like you need to take out a mortgage to get something special…


Sample Beer Prices

But let us count all the other reasons Buffalo Tap is a hit, whether or not you bring out-of-town guests.

The Northwoods Feel

This isn’t important to me when dining out, but the décor is a nice touch when you are bringing out-of-town guests. To go with this theme, you’ll also find that they serve buffalo (hence the name) and elk. While I don’t generally eat either of those, it’s a nice option for others.

Minnesota and Wisconsin Food

The menu here is HUGE. Robert Irvine wouldn’t approve. But somehow, they make it work. The variety is also perfect when you have out-of-town guests with different tastes or just picky friends. Here are some things we recommend:

  • Cheese Curds – They have some of Rob’s favorite here. Choose original or spicy.
  • Bloody Mary – Technically a beverage, but it comes with a nice skewer of sides and a beefstick. Alongside you get a beer chaser {aka beerback}.
  • Juicy Lucy – As I stated in my post about where in the Twin Cities to take Out-of-Town Guests:

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, or 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 Parmesan Patty Melt Juicy Lucy any justice!

I’d also just stick with the chips. The fries are nothing to write home a blog post about.

My go-to healthy choice on this menu is the Cela Grilled Chicken Pita. {I substitute cottage cheese for the chips on this one.}

Grilled chicken diced and wrapped in pita bread with lettuce, tomato, cheese blend and cucumber sauce. Raw onion on request. Make it Buffalo Style by adding Buffalo Sauce and substituting ranch or blue cheese for cucumber sauce.

Tip: If you are looking for cheaper items on the menu, you can always go for the hot dogs or soup. They are still quite filling! Then, there’s the wine…

Packer Game Day

I love Packer Game Day at the tap! We get there early before the game starts because the downstairs area with televisions devoted solely to the Packer game fills every seat before kickoff. It’s like sitting in a roomful of friends!

There is a requirement to watch the game here, though…

BT-packTo be honest, I don’t blame them. If we are going to hold tables that could otherwise be turned during the lunch hour, it’s only fair. And $15 for at least 3 hours is nothing. In fact, Rob and I have known to drop way too much money here. Sometimes we’ll start with a coffee and Bailey’s (me) and a coffee and Rumple Minze (Rob). Then I’ll have a Bloody Mary since they are my favorite here. {Although, it’s been a while and they looked a little different when I saw others ordering them the last time I was there.} Then Rob’ll order a couple of beers and before we know it and have even had anything to eat, we’re up to almost $50.

One way to keep it more affordable when we are there for a game is to order wine instead. Seriously, you can get a bottle of Mondavi Cab for $12.95/bottle.

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While affordable, I had a harder time choking that stuff down this weekend than I have in the past. Maybe it’s because I was also drinking Diet Coke. {For some reason, I don’t like their tap water there; so I don’t drink it.}

Or you can take your chances and hope for a Packer Touchdown. Every time they score {a touchdown anyway, I’m not sure that field goals count}, you can get a Miller Lite for a $1. Our table was very lucky last weekend!

Packer Touchdown Beers

Packer Touchdown Beers!

You know me, I don’t tend to drink light beer, but if I’m needing a water or another Bloody Mary Chaser, I’ll take it. Or I’ll share. Remember, we’re all friends here!


Where do you go to see your favorite sports team when it’s not televised on the main network stations?


Spice – Savage


We had been meaning to get to Spice for ages. But it took us a Groupon with an expiration date to actually get us there. It’s not very far from us, but it’s not very convenient either. It’s not a place where we’d just stop because it’s kind of out of the way. There would have to be a specific occasion or reason to go there. In fact, many other restaurants have failed in its location.

Now I’ve been meaning to post about Spice for ages because, when I check my calendar, it looks like that first visit was in back in August!

Spice is a Thai restaurant, a cuisine I’ve found that whatever you order, you pretty much can never go wrong. We arrived and ordered our beverages. I was surprised that there was no Riesling on the wine menu. There were mostly dry whites. A sweet white wine is preferred with spicy Thai and other ethnic foods because the sweetness counteracts the spice. The wine glasses were small without correct pours, but I wasn’t expecting them to be. At Thai restaurants, my only expectation is a low-end, but enjoyable, quaffing wine.


We asked for recommendations on the menu, too. I really wanted to try something other than my usual Thai standybs of Green Curry and Pad Thai. Our server recommended the Basil Noodle, Pad Thai and the Curries.

Go figure. Rob had been eyeing the Basil Noodle and already knew he was going to get it. In fact, he usually orders some sort of noodle dish with basil when he eats Thai food. Maybe those are safe recommendations when you don’t really know what your customers like.

While waiting for our dinners, I noticed this:


Can you explain this to me?

It’s some sort of shrine setup, but there is a plate with a banana in front of it. I really know very little about Thai culture, so I’m quite curious what this is all about. If you know, please do share!

Rob’s dish:

Basil NoodleThai rice noodle stirfried with basil, onion and chillies

Basil Noodle
Thai rice noodle stirfried with basil, onion and chillies

It was a Monday after work and I had just run four miles because I was training for my first ever 5-mile race in October. I had only run four miles a couple of times, so I wasn’t feeling all that great. I was a bit nauseous and not exactly in the mind frame to think nor even to eat anything spicy. However, I knew whatever I didn’t eat could come home with me and would reheat well. So I didn’t step outside the box.

My dish:

Gaeng Keow Wan (green) with shrimp

Sweet green curry, coconut milk, bamboo shoots, basil, and peapods

This restaurant’s spice levels range from 1 to 5:

  • 1 – Mild
  • 2 – Medium – This is what I went with this time. If I chose a higher spice level, I knew I’d eat too much rice to mellow it out. I decided to try to see if I could cut back on the rice by choosing a lower spice level than I usual order.
  • 3 – Hot – This is my usual preference and what I tend to order when we get any sort of Asian take-out.
  • 4 – Thai Spicy – This is the level that Rob ordered. He likes just about the same amount of spice as I do, maybe just a bit more. His verdict on this level? TOO HOT for him! He said he needs to go down to a 3 next time. The heat didn’t keep him from enjoying his meal, though!
  • 5 – Challenging – I love that this is the way this level is described! There was a couple who was seated next to us who both ordered Pad Thai. The woman ordered it mild and the guy ordered it challenging. I would have loved to have stayed to see his reaction!

So our thoughts on this place? We loved it! Rob has gone back (out of his way) to get take out several times since! I know some people aren’t fond of Groupons because they feel that they take advantage of the company and can cause them to lose money. While that could quite possibly happen, it’s really just another way to spend advertising dollars. And this is one instance that proves that the Groupon got a customer into their restaurant and brought them back again and again!

Spice is thriving in a location where other restaurants have not. So much so, that they have opened up another location on the Apple Valley/Lakeville border. It’s another location where I’ve seen many restaurants come and go! My guess is that they’ll be around a while.

What is your favorite Thai dish and why?


McHugh’s Public House – Savage


Despite the fact that I recently pled for help on how to be more concise in my blog posts, I’ve decided to write a post that is going to be anything but that.

You see, I’ve been waiting to post about McHugh’s Public House in Savage until we had gone just enough times to get photos of all of our favorite menu items there.

Then something happened on Tuesday.

They changed their menu.


At first I was excited. I love trying new dishes. But then I realized that many of my favorites are no longer offered. For example, they no longer serve one of my favorite salads:

Crispy Chicken Salad (Old Menu)

However, this is how I’d order it:

Crispy Grilled Chicken Salad with ranch dressing on the side, add buffalo sauce on the side

I normally am not a huge fan of salads with iceberg lettuce; however, I loved the combination of cheese, tomatoes and onions in this one. The chicken was always juicy and the buffalo sauce gave it a nice kick. Bye-bye, Chicken Salad. 😦

They also no longer serve:

The Petite Sirloin (Old Menu)

nor the:

Merlot Sirloin (Appetizer off the Old Menu)

While the Petite Sirloin was a steal of a meal at $10.99 for six ounces of great steak, a potato and some excellent garlic sautéed veggies, I would often order the Merlot Sirloin appetizer instead because it was also a tender, well-seasoned steak at the right portion size:

Merlot Sirloin (Old Menu)

Replacing these steaks on the new menu, are the:

6 oz Petite Sirloin with Jameson Teriyaki Sauce

and the:

Jameson Sirloin with Jameson Teriyaki Sauce  (Appetizer)

Okay, so I get it. It’s an Irish Pub. Flavoring the steaks with a Jameson sauce makes sense. However, I’ve never been keen on whiskey or bourbon sauces on meat. They have always been too sweet for me. So bye-bye,  Merlot Sirloin. 😦

Still, on this night of the new menu, Rob decided to order the Jameson Sirloin Appetizer:

Jameson Sirloin

It was still a great cut of meat at an incredible price. And the sauce wasn’t as sweet as I expected. Still, it wasn’t my Merlot Sirloin! {Poor Carrie, right?}

The Quesadillas at McHugh’s have been some of the best, in my mind. While there aren’t any frilly fillings like cilantro or black beans that I often tend to like, they are chock full of lots of chicken, cheese and onions:

McHugh’s Quesadilla

perfect, toasty, cheesy goodness

While I rarely order them since I’ve been losing weight {it’s just too tempting for this Wisconsin girl to eat all of that cheese in one sitting}, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that they remained on the menu! Then, we saw something new we wanted to try:

Mini Reuben Sliders?

I never really ate Reubens until I met Rob. I don’t mind them; but for me, it takes a lot to make a decent one. However, when we saw these on the new menu, we knew we had to try them:

Reuben Mini Sliders: soft pretzel buns toasted and stuffed with corned beef, sauerkraut & thousand island dressing

Yummy!  The pretzel bun really made these. And while I’m always one to prefer a well-balanced sandwich
{the proper ratio of meat to cheese to sauce}, I know I am in the minority here. These have more meat than cheese or toppings.  However, if you are at McHugh’s, they are definitely something you have to try! {Now that I think about it, isn’t Mini Sliders a little redundant? It doesn’t matter. Doesn’t make them any less tasty.}

And while he didn’t on new-menu-opening-night, Rob nearly always orders this:

McCheeseburger Pizza

And because he orders it, I always get to steal a couple of squares! It really does taste like a cheeseburger. It appears that it remains on the new menu as the Cheeseburger Pizza. {Why drop the Mc? That was kinda cute!} But we have yet to determine if it’s the same thing.

McCheeseburger Pizza

And as I’ve mentioned before, we always like to enjoy a good cider in any Irish Pub. Our go-to at McHugh’s:

Strongbow dry English cider

Seriously, McHugh’s is only one of two places that serve Strongbow “south of the river”. Other places are starting to serve that Crispin crap… but you know how we feel about that.

Sometimes, Rob will add a shot of whiskey and make his own Johnny Jump Up.

While I’m sad that some my favorites are no longer on the menu, I realize that change is inevitable. No matter what, we always get great service there when we sit at the bar. Just know before you go that this is a sports bar, really, more than a traditional Irish Pub.

Has something you liked ever been eliminated from a menu?

If so, what? And has it ever kept you from coming back?