Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wally’s Roast Beef – Bloomington, MN

I got to work this morning and had two e-mails from DawgMan. Both of them were potential lunch suggestions. There’s nothing like being hungry for lunch at 8am on a workday. Both places sounded fantastic, but we decided to go to Wally’s first. Wally’s has been in this small strip mall in Bloomington long enough that the window reads “air-conditioned kitchenette.” That’s a phrase from long before I was born, so I’m assuming it’s been there a while.

DawgMan, PageantLady, and I piled in the car and headed a long way down I-494 to Bloomington. I LOVE lunch-time road trips. The menu, for being small, has a decent variety of diner-type foods. Hamburgers, meatloaf, fried things, milkshakes, etc. They have a blue plate special, as well as a red plate and a green plate. I asked what they were and found out the red plate special is meatloaf with mashed potatoes covered with gravy, the green plate is a turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes covered with gravy, and the blue plate special was a roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes covered with gravy. Seriously? Why didn’t I know about this place last year – 2008 was the Year of Gravy.

I went with the Blue Plate Special, but only a half sandwich, so I could also get the special of the day – a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. My friend Coach gets very angry with me when I go someplace and don’t order whatever food is clearly listed in the title – I HAD to get roast beef or listen to him yell at how I was flying in the face of years of tradition which led the restaurant to incorporate roast beef in their actual name. I also noticed they had sodas in a cooler behind the counter, so I got a strawberry soda. It was a Buddy’s soda from the New Ulm Brewing and Beverage Company and was REALLY tasty. I had to use the old timey coca-cola bottle opener on the side of the counter to open it. Old school.

The girl brought my food out to me and it looked really good. The Blue Plate Special (which was actually on a blue plate) more so than the tin foil wrapped ham and cheese sandwich.

The roast beef sandwich was REALLY good, especially with the mashed potatoes and gravy mixed in there in each bite. Seriously, this might be better than grandma used to make. The mashed potatoes has skins in them, which I love (some people don’t like what’s referred to as “bugs in a snowstorm” – those people are morons), and were really tasty with the beef gravy all over. The meat was very juicy and tender with just a little bit of fat in it. There was a small cup of corn niblets on the plate too, which were very buttery and tasty. I resisted the urge to dump everything into one big tasty slop pile because I was with grown-ups, but the more flavors I got on the fork, the better the bite. Awesome dish.

The grilled ham and cheese was just ok. It appeared PageantLady also felt the same way about it. It was on a hamburger bun and was decent, but honestly, the American cheese had some weird consistency and just wasn’t what I thought I was getting. I thought I was getting a grilled cheese sandwich with some ham on it. So naturally, it’s probably my own fault for thinking I was getting something else. Oh well, you can’t win them all.

Over all, the blue plate special made up for any lacking in the grilled ham and cheese department. In fact, I saw a lot of people in the restaurant eating this, so I’m guessing this is the dish that keeps this place on the map. And both PageantLady and I thought we should get milkshakes, but we decided that too late when we were full. Next time, for sure though. Go ahead, try Wally’s. It’s good rib-stickin food.

Top 5 things about Wally’s Roast Beef
1. Blue Plate Special – Roast Beef really IS their specialty
2. Buddy’s strawberry soda
3. It was really fast
4. Not expensive for lunch
5. It’s a WIDE variety of people eating here. Suits to tattoos to construction guys to golfers.

Bottom 5 things
1. DawgMan picked another winner and Gerd isn’t here to appreciate it. DawgMan was like a Angel of Culinary Mercy in Gerd’s eyes.
2. Grilled ham and cheese sandwich was just meh
3. Forgot to order a shake and NOW I’m craving one
4. Parking can be a pain, especially if someone pulls a giant construction rig behind your car when you’re leaving
5. Now I’m thinking about what ELSE I could get there and have them put gravy on it. It’s going to be a long afternoon at work…

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