Friday, September 30, 2011

Nestle charge – from Brazil

M.Giant scored me some delicious candy from Brazil while he was there. And by “there”, I mean at a Brazilian steakhouse in Hopkins, MN for his anniversary dinner. He got a bunch of candy that came straight from Brazil. I’m going to review a bunch of the stuff he gave me. This is only the first of a handful I swiped from the foreign-language-candy-box.
The Nestle charge bar (yes, it is lower case) is described as “bombom de chocolate recheado com amendoim caramelizado” – yeah, Bombom. I, of course, translated it so I knew what it meant (because I’m a nerd). It translates as “bonbon of chocolate stuffed with caramelized peanuts”. Sounds delicious to me!

First bite…. Ewwwwwwwwwwwww. The nougat (maybe the bonbon part) is really bitter. And gross. The chocolate is pretty waxy stuff, which is odd for me to say, since I love cheap chocolate. I could taste the caramel, but honestly, I’m not even sure I got more than one peanut in this thing. It didn’t make me want to charge at all.

Falha dos doces. This means “Candy Fail” in Portuguese.

It’s a good thing Brazil has soccer. Their chocolate candy isn’t going to put them on a world stage or anything.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Icons Martini Bar – Rock Island, IL

Since I don’t get back to my hometown very often, when I do, I usually have half a trillion people asking me to pop by for a visit. I’ve found a cure for letting down almost all of these half a trillion people. I’ll just pick a place to go and hang out and people can come find me. That’s what I did. HotGirlsBrother and I have gone to Icons a number of times when we’ve both been home for Christmas, so after a brief conference call with my little brother on the drive down to the Quad Cities, I decided I’d meet people here. Icons has fantastic girly drinks, and that’s what I was looking for.

I was in town for my class reunion which was being held at the Blue Cat Brew Pub across the street from Icons. So basically, I was doing a little pre-drinking before I showed up and met people I haven’t seen in hundreds of years. Thankfully, a small horde of people showed up to hang out at Icons with me while I primed my liver for a long evening with classmates.

I started with a Sgt. Diego martini – a horchata martini with Rumchata, vodka, and “surprises”. I never found out what the surprises were, but I probably drank it too fast to figure it out. One of the best martinis I’ve ever had, honestly. Simply amazing.

I moved on to the Muhammad Ali – a chocolate covered cherry martini. Amaretto, Bailey’s, some chocolate syrup on the glass, and a cherry in the bottom. Stellar drink. I like them sweet, and this nailed it.

I finished our little happy hour with a Fab Four – the greatest chocolate martini ever (so Icons claims). Guinness, Godiva Original Chocolate liqueur, Bailey’s, and Amaretto (and some chocolate syrup in the glass for this one, as well). This was a great finisher. I couldn’t taste the beer, which worked out well, but I had a yummy chocolate taste in my mouth the whole walk across the street to the reunion. … where I promptly jettisoned the chocolate flavor by drinking 8 glasses of Glenmorangie Single-Malt Scotch.

Icons is one of the best martini bars I’ve ever been to and I sometimes forget to go there when I’m in town. I’ll need to make a special point to put it on my calendar so I remember the next time. Delicious.

Finally, I can’t express enough thanks to my amazing friends that came to Icons to meet me. I miss all of you way more than I even express and wish I could bring all of you back home with me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rudy’s Tacos – Moline, IL

I can do a pretty quick review of Rudy’s Tacos, since I did one in 2009 and I don’t think I’d change much of it. I met Coach there since I was back in the Quad Cities for our class reunion. Coach and I used to eat at Rudy’s at least once or twice a week, back in our college days. It’s not a place we’d recommend to outsiders, but for Quad City natives, it’s a staple.

I went into the way back machine and ordered something I almost always got when I was growing up. A cheese crisp as an appetizer and then a large combo. I was ready for a cheese overdose!!!

The cheese crisp came out first. It is simply a fried flour shell with an enormous amount of shredded cheddar cheese melted on top of it. Absolutely awesome.

Then for the large combo. It’s hard to get a perspective on the size of this platter, but it’s at least twice as big as the plate the cheese crisp came on. You can kind of tell based on the size of the soda glass I put next to it. These combinations are serious. It has enough cheese on it to kill someone from Wisconsin. It’s a hardshell taco, a tostada (which is being covered by the taco and the cheese on top of that), a beef enchilada, a beef and cheese burrito, a sancho (like a burrito type thing), and a bowl of beans and rice (also covered with shredded cheese). All with a nice blanket of melted shredded cheddar cheese.

It’s glorious. I wasn’t able to finish the entire thing, but I did an incredible amount of damage to this dish. Like I said in my previous review, I’m too biased to really give a fair top and bottom 5, but I’ll keep going back to Rudy’s. It’s in my blood (probably in the form of cholesterol).

...And then, a little later, I had to go to Whitey's Ice cream for a strawberry pineapple milkskake! Sooooooooo delicious. I love being back home sometimes.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cora’s Best Chicken Wings – St. Paul, MN

Since I was working from home, it opened up a whole new bag of options for me when lunch time rolled around. I had driven past Cora’s a number of times and mentioned I should eat there. D.Rough reminded me I wanted to go there, so I headed down to the Cesar Chavez area of St. Paul.

The inside of the restaurant is nicer than I expected. There are a handful of tables to eat at, and there were even people in line in front of me. That’s always a good sign.
The first thing you’ll notice about the menu is it isn’t distinctly a cuisine that lines up with what you might consider traditional chicken wings. In fact, not at all. It’s filled with fried rice, egg rolls, and cream cheese puffs. Not that I’m complaining. And, since there aren’t any good photos online as to what the menu contains, I snapped as many photos as I could tactfully do, while the person working the counter was in back preparing people’s plates. Like I said, there are some weird things going on here.

Pay attention to the serious family specials. There are a few hand drawn signs up around the interior like this, so be sure to look at them all. This way you won't miss out on the perfect combination because you were in a rush!

I wanted a few different things, so I tried to figure out how best to order what I wanted without getting three different meals. I ended up getting a 9-piece nugget (hot) meal with fried rice and a #3 lunch special: two cream cheese puffs, an egg roll, two wings, fried rice and a soda (grape). That sounded like it would fill me up.

The counter guy grabbed a couple things out of the warming case in front of me and headed into the back to load on various sauces and such. I’m not even sure what happened back there, but it doesn’t matter. Whatever magic happens in the kitchen is no concern of mine. I just thought it was weird that he brought things to the back and then returned with the same things he just had, and then scooped them into my Styrofoam containers. I got my food and headed home to eat.

I started with the egg roll, since sometimes they’re not good when they cool off a bit. It was decent, actually. Plenty of cabbage and good stuff on the inside. The normal amount of cinnamon (for Minnesota palettes) is inside, which is too much for me, but I’m guessing people up here will think it’s fine. It did taste a little like chicken though. I Was wondering if they had a separate fryer for the egg rolls - maybe not.

The cream cheese puffs were also decent. Nothing stellar, but not awful. They were a little soft, but I don’t think it was from being too greasy, maybe they had just sat too long. They didn’t crunch at all when I bit into them. The flavor was fine, though – which is to say, it tasted like chicken. I don’t think they have a separate fryer back in back.

I took a couple bites of the fried rice. I think it might be the first time I’ve seen corn niblets in fried rice. I’m used to seeing peas and carrots, but whatever bag of frozen veggies they bought to put in the fried rice, had pieces of corn in it, as well. Weird, but not bad tasting. The fried rice was seasoned a-plenty with black pepper, but it wasn’t too much – just enough to make you notice and say they were generous with the black pepper.

Up until this point, my head is entirely in Chinese-food-mode. At this new transitional point, I’ve busted open the Grape Shasta that I bought and immediately, my head went into rib mode. And it was in for a shock, because it was chicken time. Sorry brain.

The chicken wings were… interesting. They were the Chinese restaurant sort of wings, not the BWW sort of wings. If you don’t know what I mean, I’ll do my best to explain. Chinese food wings are super ultra crispy, like they overcook it intentionally and shrink the meat down to where it’s mega tough to chew. In fact, some of it is so crispy you can’t tell if you’re eating chicken meat or a chicken bone. Sadly, I found that out the hard way with these wings. Ouch – that’s the last time I try to “power through” a tough bit of wing. The sauce isn’t very prevalent on these, as it’s kind of cooked into the wings. I should have paid the $.50 and bought a container of sauce to dip these things into. I think it would have helped. That being said, the flavor of the wings wasn’t that bad, it was just tough to get the meat off the bones in a lot of cases.

I moved on to the nuggets. I was a little alarmed these looked like the chicken nuggets I poured out of a freezer bag for a snack the other night. A LOT like them. But whatever – they were covered in a tasty-looking red-ish sauce and I was looking forward to them.
I was a little confused at first when I bit into them. I had been eating the fried rice, so my head had switched back into Chinese food mode again. Which really made my head spin around when I realized the nuggets I was eating was distinctly Chinese-tasting. I’ve had this somewhere before.

Now I know!. It tasted like general Tso’s chicken sauce put on frozen-in-a-bag pre-formed chicken nuggets… and by that, I mean they were delicious. I wanted to REALLY not like these, because it’s pretty obvious what they are. But the sauce gives them a little bit of zing that they need. This seriously is what a suburban housewife would have tried to pass off as Chinese food when I Was a kid. Luckily for me, my mother is one hell of a cook, and she never did this. But if one of my friends’ mom’s had done this for dinner, I would have raved about it. I will absolutely consider going to grab a bunch of these nuggets sometime when I’m at home chillin in front of the television.

I realized they ONLY have fried food there. Shrimp, chicken, rice, cheese puffs, egg rolls, etc. All fried. All the time. (That could be their new slogan – you’re welcome, Cora.) I wouldn’t quite say I’m a fan of this place, but there do happen to be things there that I’m interested in eating again. It’s an odd little place and I don’t think I’d talk anyone OUT of going. It’s just not going to be a go-to place for me.

Top 5 things about Cora’s Best Chicken Wings
1. General Tso’s Chicken Nuggets
2. They have orange and grape Shasta. Wurd.
3. It’s fairly affordable
4. The guy behind the counter was really nice
5. Lots of varieties of specials, so it’s easier to mix and match

Bottom 5 things
1. The wings were, surprisingly, not the “best” I’ve had
2. Everything tasted like chicken
3. The cream cheese puffs were a little soft
4. Everything is fried (likely in the same grease – see #2)
5. The nuggets were frozen, but reheated (although I still think the sauce made them fantastic)

Cora’s Best Chicken Wings
168 Cesar Chavez Street
Saint Paul, MN 55107-2227
(651) 221-0020

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ali Baba’s: King of Gyros – West St. Paul, MN

D.Rough and I were having a lazy day watching the Eastern Regional Championships of Roller Derby online like nerds. D.Rough is watching as many games as possible so when the Minnesota Roller Girls go to Nationals, she’ll have some insight into the other teams’ strategies. Yes, it’s that serious, people. We thought we’d grab something and eat it at home so we didn’t have to move far form the computer screen. Ali Baba’s is right up the street, so I headed over to grab us some food.

She told me what she wanted before I left, and I thought I knew what I wanted until I saw the menu once I got inside. There are a ton of things on there that I’m dying to try now. But since I had a hankering for gyro meat, I went with that. Regular gyro with an order of fries.
I didn’t wait long inside, since the most time-consuming part is waiting for the fries to get cooked. So within a couple of minutes, I was on my way back to roller derby.

I got home and took a couple of photos before I dug into everything.
The fries were quite tasty. They have that magic dust the some places put on them to make them extra addictive. It certainly has to be crack. It’s a tiny bit of spice and salt that makes you not able to stop shoveling them into your mouth. And the fries were pretty thick cut and crispy – just the way I like them.

The gyro was packed full of meat, lettuce, tomatoes, and tzatziki sauce. I had to eat a couple pieces of the meat out of the inside to even get the thing to roll in half so I could eat it properly. The meat is cut VERY thick at Ali Baba’s. I’m personally a thin-slice guy (and then throw it on the flat top and crisp up the edges – but then again, I’m apparently a high-maintenance gyro-eater…), but the meat was the good stuff and exactly what I had a craving for. I ate a couple of the meat slices and then picked up the sandwich to finish off. The pita stayed together, which is usually a sign of quality and fresh pitas, so I was thrilled with that. There was plenty of tzatziki sauce on this thing, which I love, and the toppings all seemed fresh.

Overall, this was a really good gyro. Not life changing, but definitely hit the spot and made me happy to go back and try the other things on the menu that I decided against this day. Nothing bad about this place at all, I assure you. Looking forward to my next trip there.

Ali Baba’s
1264 S. Robert Street
West St Paul MN 55118
(651) 552-9660

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fort Snelling Disc Golf Course – Minneapolis, MN

I recently found out they installed a disc golf course on the Fort Snelling Ball Golf Course right there on the Army base. I’ve driven by the golf course, but not recently, so D.Rough and I went to check it out one Sunday afternoon and ask some questions at the club house. What I found out was worth reporting back to the guys I play disc golf with on Saturday mornings. We decided to play it since our original plan fell through anyway.

The first issue is finding the course. It is set back behind the ball diamonds and soccer fields just off of 62 (near Historic Fort Snelling, obviously). Once you get behind the soccer fields, you turn south towards the airport, and drive by all these creepy abandoned military buildings, then you turn right into what looks like the middle of the ball golf course and wind your way back to the “club house”.
And by club house, I mean it looks like it was built to be a little kids' club house. It isn’t all high-brow like a country club. It’s functional and it’s wood (TWSS). I wasn’t even sure which door to use to get inside the two times I went there. NOTE: It’s the one on the east side of the building, near the golf carts.

The 18-hole disc golf course is actually on the 18-hole ball golf course. Only a few of the holes share the same fairways, which usually sounds like a good idea, right? Well, when you hear that, that could also mean disc golfers are cutting across bal golf fairways and popping out of trees near the greens and it could end up being a distraction for both sets of players. But the ranger working the club house said they hadn’t had any problems to date – knock on wood.

It is $5.36 to play a round (taxes and such) or $2.50 +tax is you’re a senior or 17 and under. You can rent a golf cart (yes seriously) if you’d like for around $16. The holes range from 57 yards to 311 yards. This means it’s long. Really long. REALLY LONG. Disc golfer measure things in feet, so multiply by three. This means 177-933 feet. I’ve heard disc golfers complain when there are more than one or two holes longer than 450 feet, so you KNOW people are going to whine about this course having multiple holes longer than 900 feet. But, I’ll get to that.

There are red (recreational), blue (amateur), and gold (pro) tees for each hole and they’re marked very well with stakes near the sunken tee markers. The tees are grass, so don’t go expecting concrete tees at this course. The baskets are VERY clearly marked with giant numbers and on each basket, there are indicators which direction to walk for the next tee – each color of tee is indicated separately. VERY smart! The course is open sunrise to sunset (I’m going to figure out how long into the season they’re open – I would love to see it open all through the winter, as it WOULD get played.

Ball golfers always have the right of way (their course, their rules). Also, you get penalized for throwing onto any ball golf green, onto any concrete path (standard disc golf rule), and into any water hazard (standard disc golf rule). The one rule some of us had issue with was you can’t throw across/over a ball golf green. Fortunately, the course is laid out in such a way that you ALMOST never have to do that, but on a few holes (including the finishing holes, it is VERY much a challenge to avoid the green. Your group will have to use its discretion when penalizing a player in your group. Just letting you know in advance.

There are five mandatories on this course. This means there are obstacles you are required to throw to the left or right of. This is usually done to maintain a safe distance from ball golfers or some other hazard. If you go the wrong direction around the indicated tree, you take a penalty stroke, or have to wind back around the proper direction. Fortunately, the mandatory trees are very well indicated, both on the scorecard and at the base of the tree itself.

While there isn’t a lot of elevation change (it’s on a pretty flat course), they make use of it when they can. As it stands, the challenge factor comes from the length of the holes themselves. There are some really well placed tree obstacles in your way, as well as a few low ceiling shots. But, in general, there are clear fairways to navigate, and mostly wide open fairways.

None of us were rich enough to get carts, but it’s an option if we really wanted to. We braved the cold and the wind (and the noise of the airport – it is RIGHT next to the runway) and played a really fun round. There were some incredible shots made (not by me, as usual), both driving and putting. The ground is flat enough to throw incredible rollers, but with the wind, you have to decide if it’s worth the risk. Only one hole has water, so you’re not likely to lose any plastic.Note: That's the fence next to the runway on our left!

The tees showed some people have been playing this course, so that’s a good sign. However, it wasn’t a TON of traffic that leaves giant mud pits or burn spots from all the twisting feet on the tees (maybe there is on the blue or red tees, but not the gold tees).

Most of the group liked the course. I am probably more of a fan than the others because I have a longer drive than them, so it plays to my strength (keep in mind, I can’t putt for crap, which is the big leveler in this game). But, by having some pretty open fairways, it keeps the frustration down from hitting a ton of trees. This again is countered by the wind if it’s a windy day.

All in all, I think this is a really good course. Aside from the distance on the holes, I wouldn’t put it in the “championship” caliber arena, but it’s extremely challenging. It isn’t likely they’ll run a bunch of tournaments out here either, especially with the ball golf happening, but I don’t think the ball golf course gets crowded enough that there are going to be fist fights on the course with disc golfers.

I’ve blabbed enough about this course. If you’re in the area, it is definitely worth checking out. How often do you get to play a couple of 900+ foot holes in the same round? Not often enough, *I* say.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Chicken Bacon Ranch Chicken Flatbread Sandwich at Taco Bell – Eden Prairie, MN

I like to try new things that Taco Bell launches and I’ve seen the ridiculous cooking-show-inspired commercial for the new chicken flatbread sandwiches they have. I was out and about for lunch, so I thought I’d pick one up.

The nice thing is they come in those $5 boxes Taco Bell has, which really are a good deal. Sometimes I don’t want to think about ordering and I just grab a box since there’s a variety of stuff in there. I ordered the Bacon Ranch Chicken Flatbread $5 Box – ordering this reminds me of those people that have a 25-word order at Starbucks for their special coffee. Hahahaha.

I started in on it and sadly was a little underwhelmed. It’s basically a square taco, but it’s in a pita shell. The flavors all sort of mixed together into what I like to call a meh-sauce. You could tell you were chewing something, but you really couldn’t decipher anything. I was about halfway through the thing before I noticed the severe lack of bacon. I opened it back up and checked the remaining innards for bacon. Nuthin. Angrily, I hopped on the Taco Bell website to find out what the deal was. As it turns out, the ranch is actually a “bacon ranch”, so NOT two separate ingredients as one might suspect. This was a serious let down. Sadly, I ate an entirely bacon-less lunch.

I wouldn’t order the chicken flatbread sandwich again, especially not the bacon ranch one. Maybe the plain version is more straight forward with its flavor and is less covered up by the meh-sauce. But someone else will have to check for me. I’m too jaded by missing out on bacon. You might say it left a bad taste in my mouth – I can’t believe I haven’t used that line yet on this site. Weird.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Roat Osha – Minneapolis, MN

D.Rough called me up to do lunch, and I absolutely love it when she does this! She was in my neck of the woods, so we decided to do sushi. However, when we got to one of our favorite places, it was closed for lunch and not opening up until 3. We went down the street to Roat Osha – it’s a decent Thai place that I’ve had good luck at, in the past.

The inside of this place is pretty nice. Modern, clean lines, pretty decorations and sculptures. Don’t let that alarm you, though. They do have some pretty decent lunch specials, including a handful of appetizers (all of which are fried).

We got an order of Basil Shrimp Rolls to start with. They sounded delicious. D.Rough ordered the Egg Noodle Curry (after serious deliberation on about three things). And I got the Sweet Cashew Delight. We ordered both of our entrees a level three out of five for spice. Just to be safe.

The food takes a little longer than a “quick” lunch allows, but I didn’t stress about it. Not THAT much, anyway. The appetizer came out first. It looked really good. The rolls were fried crispy rice paper skins around a piece of shrimp and some Thai basil. Then it has three delicious dipping sauces for you – honey lime peanut sauce, a spicy sweet and sour sauce with sri racha on top, and a sweet garlic sauce. You grab the shrimp by the tail and dig into the sauces. They were all delicious. The fried rolls were greasier than we even expected, but the dipping sauce masked the grease flavor and made these things really quite good. We finished the Basil Shrimp Rolls off without any problems. And then we sat and argued over which sauce was better.

Then, the entrees came out. D.Rough’s Egg Noodle Curry arrived with all kinds of fried egg noodles on the top – hence the name. The egg noodles made the dish difficult to eat, so you really have to crush these things up with a spoon or fork until they’re more bite-sized. Flavor-wise, this was a really excellent curry. There wasn’t much heat (should have gone with a level-four), but the flavor and the vegetables were great. The great part about this dish is it comes with potatoes and yams – I’ve never had yams in Thai food before, but I’m a huge fan now. Excellent dish, once you break up the crispy parts so you can eat it.

The Sweet Cashew Delight was also much better than I expected it to be. It is a large platter of stir fried chicken with Thai chilies, basil, green beans, red peppers, onions, zucchini, all mixed in with a delicious spicy sweet curry. I picked out all the onions first, and dug into the chicken. Very high-quality meat that went really well with the spicy sweet curry (again, not spicy enough – I’m thinking you really need to start at level-four here). The vegetables were cooked well and not floppy. And once I was done with most of the food, I dumped the remainder of my rice onto the curry sauce-filled plate and soaked up all the flavor into the rice. That’s how you do it.

This was one of my better meals here. Great flavor, if you don’t mind the longer lunch wait. The place does good business at lunch, but it wasn’t packed or anything. This just isn’t a fast turnaround kind of place. Maybe I was more sensitive to it since we missed out on our sushi and I was headed back to Eden Prairie after lunch.

Top 5 things about Roat Osha
1. Sweet Cashew Delight (and not just because it sounds dirty)
2. Egg Noodle Curry
3. Shrimp Basil Rolls
4. The d├ęcor is really nice - honestly
5. Really nice server

Bottom 5 thing
1. A little slow for the lunch hour
2. Spice level seemed Minnesota-biased (meaning very mild)
3. All of the lunch special appetizers are fried – this might be an issue if you’re watching what you eat
4. I’m always too damn full after I eat here to go to Sebastian Joe’s Ice Cream shop on the way home!
5. The ass-clowns that drive in uptown during the lunch hours are going to kill someone. My blood pressure was sky high by the time I got to the parking lot

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hot Wok – Edina, MN

TheDoctor had just returned from his European travels, which means I needed to get caught up on his adventures. We decided to meet at Hot Wok to hash it out. He’d been here before, but I hadn’t, so I was looking forward to it.

The inside is much smaller than I anticipated - maybe like 10 tables. It’s Chinese food, cafeteria style, where you tell the person behind the counter what you’d like and they hand you a plate. I went with the sesame chicken and the hot and spicy pork. I also got an egg roll, since they suggested it. It would be rude not to. Hahahaha.

Since there was no waiting, we grabbed our seats and dug in. The egg roll wasn’t bad, it was just more greasy than some I’ve had. Not bad flavor though. I’d order one of these again, without question. The sesame chicken was good – about average. No real complaints, but the flavors weren’t all that strong nor vibrant. Just sort of middle of the road. The hot and spicy pork was much better. Not really all that hot nor spicy, but the flavor was better than I expected after the sesame chicken. The fried rice was fine, so not much to report there.

Overall, not a bad experience. Not one I’d rave about, either. I’ll likely be back, especially if TheDoctor invites me again (hint, hint). He’s irresistible.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mel-O-Glaze Bakery – Minneapolis, MN

It was another disc golf morning where I woke up on time. Waking up on time means I have a shot at grabbing some donuts before I go meet the guys for an early morning round of embarrassment. I was headed across the Twin Cities and Mel-O-Glaze had been calling my name for weeks now. It was time.

I walked into the place and was impressed with the amount of goodies in the cases. There also seemed to be a lot of dads here this morning with their kids. I wonder if mom really knew where they were. Everything here looks fantastic, even the pastry type things that I don’t eat. It was a tough call, but I went with the old stand-by: a cinnamon twist and a chocolate raised donut. I also saw they had chocolate milk shake drinks in the drink cooler, so I picked up one of those, as well.

I headed out to the car to take some photos, wolf down these donuts, and make it to the course on time. The cinnamon twist was one of the best I’ve had. VERY glazed and extremely soft. This thing basically came untwisted while you were eating it. And the donuts were warm – this doesn’t seem like much, but it exponentially increases the flavor of these things. I’m not sure why and I don’t care to find out. The cinnamon flavor was excellent in this twist as well, not tons, but just the right amount to keep it out of the cinnamon roll realm and firmly in the donut arena. Fantastic.

The chocolate raised donut is more than that. It’s actually a glazed raised donut and then the chocolate is put on top of that. I’ve never had this before, but it was excellent. Again, the donut was soft and really moist. Very sugary – in fact, almost butting right up against the edge of too much sugar. I said ALMOST, people. Not over the line. Really quality chocolate glaze on the top of this thing. When I arrived at the course, I had to get out of the car to scrape all the donut glaze crumbs off my shirt and lap.

I am impressed. Mel-O-Glaze is one of the best donut shops in the Twin Cities, hands down. I’m very hard pressed to say it beats out Granny Donuts in West St. Paul, but it’s as close as I’ve found to Granny’s level of softness, glaze, and warm presentation. I will rave about this place to anyone who will listen to me on this one. I don’t necessarily see why one has to be better than another. I’m just happy I’ve got a place to go whether I’m only willing to drive 5 blocks (Granny), or if I’m driving to the western suburbs of Minneapolis (Mel-O-Glaze).

You should check them out, especially if you’re a single lady who wants to find a single guy who isn’t afraid to sugar up the kids. Hahahahaha. Sixela, I’m looking at you, here…

Friday, September 9, 2011

Five Guys Burgers and Fries – Edina, MN

I got the message from Killsbury Doughboy that we were going to do lunch at Five Guys. He and a coworker of his are regulars here on Fridays, so I was happy to get the invite. If you haven’t been to Five Guys, do it – it’s where President Obama goes when he has burger cravings. In fact, the only Five Guys I have gone to was in Washington DC. I was really happy when they opened up a location here down the street from me.

The inside looks like a stripped down old fashioned diner. Lots of red and white checkerboard patterns. There are large boxes of peanuts available for snacking on while you’re waiting in line to order or even after you order while you’re waiting for your food to get called. So while I waited for the guys to join me, I had a little snack.

The menu is on a board above the area where you order. It’s a pretty straight forward menu. Burgers (little or regular) with cheese and/or bacon and hot dogs with cheese and/or bacon. They also have a grilled cheese sandwich, which I haven’t tried yet. Sides are fries – regular or Cajun. And fountain soda pop. That’s it – very simple and straight forward. You get to add any sides you can imagine on your burgers or hot dogs at no additional cost, so you can get pretty inventive.

I ordered a regular bacon cheese burger (regular means two beef patties) with lettuce, ketchup, jalapenos, and A-1 sauce. I skipped the fries since the other two guys usually order a large and split it amongst them – they offered to let me partake.

I headed to the waiting area and watched them make the burgers and fries and such. I realized why the last time I came here, I couldn’t finish the fries. When they make up a batch, they put the cup of fries into your bag, and then they literally dump ANOTHER cup of fries into the bag on top of it. That’s they’re schtick, I guess. The whole bag is filled with fries. So much so, that you can begin to see through the bag before you even make it to your table or out to your car. That means it’s going to be awesome. And you really don’t wait that long for your food to come up, which is nice.
I grabbed a handful of the Cajun fries and was really happy these guys were willing to share. These fries are really quite delicious. Yeah, they’re a little greasy, but that’s part of the awesome. It’s also part of what makes the Cajun seasoning stick. The flavor of the seasoning is top-notch.

The burger itself isn’t anything to trifle with. It’s a serious burger, especially with insane amounts of toppings on it. My burger was even tame compared to Killsbury – he’s basically got a meal as a topping on his burger. Well played, friend. Well played.
The flavor is quite good on these burgers. Even though the fries are greasy and delicious, the burgers aren’t greasy at all. They’re just quality meat patties cooked on a flat top and retain tons of flavor without dripping all over the place. Unless of course, your toppings tend to do that, then you’re on your own. The A-1 was the perfect amount to not overpower, and the jalapenos were the same proportion. Just a well put-together burger, eaten with hilarious gentlemen.

We compared some notes on bad movies and I’m hoping both of these guys will make it to the next bad movie night. I’ll see what I can round up for the October/November Halloween/Thanksgiving theme.

No top 5 for this place, as there aren’t enough option to pick apart. Suffice it to say the food here is delicious.