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Author: Phatphood

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The Bodyguard Review

Review ‘The Bodyguard’ Orpheum Theatre

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If you can get past all the gasps and pacemaker alarms after the opening scene, you will be sure to enjoy Deborah Cox performing, as well as delivering hit after hit made famous by Whitney Houston in this musical adaption of The Bodyguard.  This tale of a bodyguard hired to protect a superstar and eventually fall in love is easily stage worthy and leaves you with a full experience of a story and a concert.

Judson Mills (whom you may have seen in a variety of TV shows) plays Frank Farmer- the calm, and at times, somewhat robotic, protector of a pop mega star.  When he spoke, it just didn’t feel natural.  During a karaoke scene, you cannot help from breaking into laughter as he attempts to sing, or actually talk his way through “I Will Always Love You.”

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Deborah Cox as Rachel Marron is nothing short of spectacular.  From the rebellious attitude, to filling the shoes of the late Houston, with each scene featuring one of her famous jams, it is easy to say that the right choice was made for the role. However, she was nearly upstaged vocally by Jasmin Richardson, who plays Rachel’s sister Nicki Marron.  Jasmin had everyone’s undivided attention as they adjusted in their seats in amazement while she sang “Saving All My Love” with ease and grace.

Another head nod with an eyebrow raise notable mention goes to the future star, Douglas Baldeo, who plays Rachel’s son, Fletcher.  He wasn’t just an adorable stand in, this kid could really sing and dance.  Speaking of dancing, this cast had some wonderful choreography and wardrobe that will bring you back to the 90’s.

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The Bodyguard recently wrapped up production in the U.K. with 16 months of sell-out shows; now add Deborah Cox, a talented ensemble and a U.S. launch, and what you have is a breathtaking show an audience will enjoy whether they watched the movie or not.

The Bodyguard runs January 10-15 at the Orpheum Theatre, in person is the best option with no service fee at the State Theatre Box Office, or you can call 800-982-2787.  Also online at Hennepintheatretrust.org

6/10 – Cliche characters/acting with a beautiful soundtrack.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Hudson Burger Battle

2016 Hudson WI Burger Battle Review

2016 Hudson Burger Battle

2016 Hudson WI Burger Battle Review – Back again for the second year in a row to give my vote for the #HudsonBurgerBattle2016.  Now you have from the 1st of November until the end of December to try five selected burgers at five local restaurants in Hudson, WI with the purchase of  a punch card for $25.00. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to BRIDGE, supporting programs that allow youth and adults with disabilities in the St. Croix River Valley to attend year-round day service programs, attain meaningful employment, participate in ongoing recreational activities, and socialize with friends.

It just wouldn’t be in We’ve Tried It fashion if I didn’t go and eat all five burgers in one evening.  So, let the meat sweats begin.

Right now I’m here at Dicks Bar & Grill for the first of five burgers in this burger battle.  Ricky Style – Topped with their special homemade sauce, lettuce, tomato, raw onion, American cheese and pickles. Kinda like a junior Mac, if you will.   Prepared nice and served open-faced.  Tasty and very fresh bun, lovely burger here with an excellent homemade sauce I might add!

Dick's Bar and Grill Burger

Moving down the street to Stone Tap for the second burger in this battle of meat.  What we have here is the C3BO – C3 is for the 3 cheeses involved; Queso, American and Wisconsin cheese curds. BO is for the bacon and onions mashed into the patty.  Stone Tap was my 1st place last year as well as the overall winner from all participants.  Does this one do justice this year with a new chef involved? Hell yes! Try this burger! It’s petite, but packs a delicious punch.

Stone Tap Burger

On to the third burger at Postmark Grille, which happens to be very unique.  The Peanut Butter Cup Juicy Lucy – a peanut butter cup (from local candy shop Knokes just across the street) stuffed burger, with crisp bacon and fried jalapeños. This actually works, there is no cheese to take away from the peanut butter cup, it oozes like a true juicy Lucy, it was just missing one major ingredient; seasoning.  However, I’m a fan.

Postmark Grille Burger

Unbuttoning the pants for this short drive to the outskirts of town to Seasons Tavern where I am chowing down on my fourth burger in this challenge which happens to be the return of a monthly special they had this summer know as their Empire Burger – 7oz burger patty, thin sliced apple, caramelized onions and bacon cream cheese on a pretzel bun.  I was a bit concerned about apples on my burger, but they really are thinly sliced and they mainly are added texture with a faint taste of apple that gets lost in the caramelized onions. Cream cheese was a nice touch with the pretzel bun.  Their caramelized onions are definitely the star in this burger.

Seasons Tavern Burger

The fifth and final burger tonight is served up at Big Guys BBQ Roadhouse, and is ironically named The Winner (aka The Trump) – 8oz blended patty of sirloin, chuck and short rib with pork Belly, Vermont cheddar, smoked chanterelle mushroom, chive horseradish sauce and arugula on a brioche bun.   Another petite burger served with all the right toppings, without the mess.  We have a serious battle going on here.

Big Guy BBQ Burger

In short, not one of the restaurants asked how I would like my burger prepared, but all served up some wonderful creations.  Who is on top of this burger battle?  I think they are all winners this year, they really stepped it up a notch with their creativity and execution.  Unfortunately, you will have to wait until the end of the year to see who brings home the title of this annual fun and delicious burger battle.

We regret to announce that the tickets have been sold out for the 2016 battle. The winners will be announced in January 2017. If you purchased your tickets already be sure to comment and let us know your favorite.

Be sure to follow @Phatphood on Instagram .

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Camelot

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Camelot – A simple, yet efficient set with very little change of elements was the backdrop to this deeply moving, whimsical at times, timeless classic. That’s right; Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot is back on the main stage at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres for the season. From an arranged marriage, to chivalry, to a borderline adulterous scandal, this is still one of the best romantic tales of all time.

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The performances were stellar!   My most favorable moment of the evening would have to be during the first act when Guenevere, played by Helen Anker (a first at Chanhassen) along with ensemble gave way to ever-so-popular “The Lusty Month of May” which they did so, effortlessly.  Another honorable mention was the lovely ballad performed by Aleks Knezevich, playing the part of Lancelot in the second act with “If I Ever Would Leave You.”   If you recently frequented CDT this past season you may remember him as the bronzy, corny, yet confident Gaston in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  

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Main character, Keith Rice as King Arthur and his mythic mentor David Anthony Brinkley as Merlyn were phenomenal together and brought complexity and humor to the stage. Arthur had moments of a confused expression at times that were laughable, but perhaps not intentional. More than once during the performance, Guenevere and Arthur broke character and gave way to small giggles during the evening, this for me was surreal and life-affirming.  

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Overall, it was a splendid theatre classic that you should definitely see during this Fall/Winter season in Minnesota while taking in a dinner while you are at it, the CDT never disappoints in either category. Run of engagement is until February 25th, 2017. You can purchase your tickets here.

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We highly recommend spending an evening at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Take a look at the 2016-2017 CDT calendar here.

Photo Credit: Heidi Bohnenkamp

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Phatphood 2016 Minnesota State Fair Food Review

Phatphood MN State Fair 2016

Phatphood 2016 Minnesota State Fair Food Review: Well, it’s Summer ’16 and I’m back at the great Minnesota foodie get together to bring you a review of the new edible items they have to offer this year.  I took a different strategy this year by not reading any descriptions or list of the new foods before going on the first day of the State Fair.  Yea, I heard people mention items and I had seen a few pictures here and there on social media, but I stayed clear of the hype and went in blind to give an unbiased review.  With that typed; I’m giving you the description that was available on the Minnesota State Fair website first, followed by my review with a 1/5 scale, so I may have some similar descriptions as I was posting live via my Instagram account while I was eating each item in my 12-hours at the fair.  Here they are in the order that I ate them: 

Rustic Beef Pastry: Moroccan-spiced, grass-fed beef and baby spinach topped with creamy goat cheese and nestled in a flakey butter crust.

MN State Fair Rustic Beef Pastry

Located at: French Meadow Bakery & Café on the north side of Carnes Avenue between Nelson and Underwood streets.

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Dry, dry, dry. Pre-cooked and under heat lamps waiting for what I guess was an eternity.  The dry crumbles of beef reminded me of Tontio’s party pizzas when I was a kid.  This would probably work at a gas station next to the Taquitos.  1/5

Spicy Pork Bowl: A mix of adobo pulled pork, rice, black beans, spinach, charred salsa and fried onion strings.

MN State Fair Spicy Pork Bowl

Located at: The Blue Barn at West End Market, south of the History & Heritage Center.

It’s a lovely portion, and basically a burrito bowl. I’m a fan.  The pork could be much spicier for me, it was missing that heat I expected.  3/5

Candied Bacon BLT: Crispy, thick candied bacon, rancher’s slaw and green tomato spread on a sweet egg bun.

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Located at: The Blue Barn at West End Market, south of the History & Heritage Center.

My favorite new item thus far! Perfection. I want this BLT daily.  Blue Barn nailed the candied bacon and it has just the right amount of sweetness.  Sooooo good!  Bun and quality of every ingredient is top notch. 5/5

Candied Bacon Donut Sliders: Sliced glazed donut holes with thick candied bacon and a chocolate red wine ganache.

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Located at: Minnesota Wine Country on the west side of Underwood Street between Carnes and Judson avenues.

Cold. Not as fresh as I’d imagine. Bacon had a mild spice to it, yet cold as well.  This is the one that was brought up the most in the last few weeks leading up to opening day here at the fair so I was actually excited about trying it, not anymore.   It just could have been executed better, bummer.  1/5

Minnesota Corn Dog: Custom ground sausage on-a-stick made with blueberries, apples, wild rice, maple syrup and cayenne dipped in a homemade corn dog batter and deep-fried.

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Located at: Gass Station Grill on the west side of Cooper Street between Dan Patch and Judson avenues, outside the southeast corner of the Food Building.

Mn State Fair Minnesota Corn Dog

Actually, a pretty good tasting breakfast corn dog with a decent hint of spice.  Small, but covered an excellent tasting batter. Biggest complaint is that the sausage will come right out of the casing when biting, so you pretty much have to bite hard down onto the stick or eat it from the side and hope for the best.  For taste and the reasonable fair price of $5 it gets a 3/5.

Saucy Shrimp & Slaw: Breaded shrimp tossed in your choice of parmesan garlic, sweet chili or buffalo sauce on a bed of fresh coleslaw.

Mn State Fair Saucy Shrimp & Slaw

Located at: Fish & Chips Seafood Shoppe at two locations: In the Food Building, northwest section, and on the west side of Liggett Street just south of Mighty Midway.

Good ol typical battered shrimp tossed in buffalo sauce. Another item that has a decent amount of heat to it, duh, buffalo sauce, and the slaw is better than at most restaurants. Basic, but good. Was never given the option for the Parmesan Garlic, ugh I hate that here and it happens every year at most vendors. 3/5

Beer Brat Buddies: Oktoberfest beer brat in a German pretzel bun with sauerkraut, chopped onions and a choice of mustards — a serving for two!

Mn State Fair Beer Brat Buddies

Located at: Sausage Sister & Me in the Food Building, east wall.

Good little buddies here, sister!  Fresh, and made to order, unlike a few other items here at the fair just sitting around waiting to be bought. I put the special sister Sriracha sauce on one and their spicy brown mustard along with raspberry jam on the other.  The pretzel buns were very fresh. No complaints here.  3.5/5

Macaroni & Cheese Curds: Rich macaroni & cheese blended with fresh cheese curds.

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Located at: Oodles of Noodles in the Food Building, east wall.

Mn State Fair Macaroni & Cheese Curds

This a hefty dish! Excellent curds (not breaded), tons of thick melted cheese, and mixed with the macaroni noodles. Carbs on carbs!  The breadstick is blah, but who in the hell cares?  Comes in a to go box, kudos on that!  4.5/5

Sheep Dog: Lamb dog served hot in a bun with garlic sautéed kale, raw fermented sauerkraut, quinoa and honey mustard drizzle. (Gluten-free option without the bun.)

MN State Fair Sheep Dog

Located at: Lamb Shoppe in the Food Building, east wall.

This is a good solid dog. The honey mustard goes great with the fermented kraut. Messy, so make sure to lick your entire hand when finished. All the ingredients worked in harmony.  4/5

Carpe Diem: A Taiyaki (fish-shaped) buttermilk miso waffle cone filled with balsamic-roasted strawberry compote and topped with vanilla ice cream, graham cracker crumble and a fresh strawberry.

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Located at: The Rabbit Hole at the Midtown Global Market booth at the International Bazaar, east wall. Available Aug. 25-30 only!

MN State Fair Carpe Diem

Oh my damn this is gooooood.  The waffle cone is crisp and amazing, especially when the balsamic compote bleeds into the cone it tastes like PB&J.  Great dessert here; Don’t take a long photo session with it, this here melts FAST! Don’t just go biting into it either, scoop it out and enjoy it or the cone will explode at the seams…I know this!  Grab the wet wipes they offer. Thomas is a stand-up dude, so make sure you say hi to him. 5/5

Cheesy French Onion Monkey Bread: Savory, pull-apart artisan bread loaf filled with caramelized onions, cheese and beef broth, then baked in a wood-fired oven.

MN State Fair Cheesy French Onion Monkey Bread

Located at: Blue Moon Dine-In Theater on the northeast corner of Carnes Avenue and Chambers Street.

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French Onion Soup pored over some dinner rolls, literally. Simple, savory, deliciousness.  3/5

Bang Bang Fresh Chicken Tenders: Lightly breaded, fresh, never-frozen fried chicken tenderloins served with Bang Bang sweet and tangy chili sauce.

MN State Fair Bang Bang Fresh Chicken Tenders

Located at: LuLu’s Public House at West End Market, south of Schilling Amphitheater.

Definitely crisp and fresh.  Great with or without the sauce since the breading is seasoned well, a little on the salty side.  The sauce is a wonderful addition, so dip away. Pair it with a beer.  4/5

Minnesnowii Shave Ice: Maple flavor with bacon crumbles. A new flavor this year at the fair. These guys are at every carnival, fair and event here in Minnesota. Definitely at the top in their category.   The maple works of the shave ice, the bacon gets a bit soggy and chewy, but it all works together.

MN State Fair Minnesnowii Shave Ice

Located at entrance of the West End Market. 4/5

Burnt Butt Ends: Premium cuts of pork, seasoned with a BBQ rub, then smoked over oak and served with onions and jalapeños.

MN State Fair Burnt Butt Ends

Located at: RC’s BBQ on the north side of West Dan Patch Avenue between Liggett and Chambers streets (former site of Famous Dave’s).

Dry, burnt ends is right.  I’ve had much better.  Bring Famous Dave’s back!  Mmmm jalapeños. Good flavor in the sauce, on the salty side, but pretty basic.  1/5

SPAM® Curds: Cheese-flavored SPAM® that has been cubed, battered and deep-fried, served with a side of ranch dressing.

MN State Fair SPAM® Curds

Located at: SPAM® east of Chambers Street, just south of the Grandstand.

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Now you already know these are salty, but it’s a Minnesota food staple, and some us of grew up eating SPAM® and still love it.  Better with the ranch!  Not a single hint of cheese at all and not worth the $7 price tag.  Decent bar snack with a beer.  2/5

Gumbo Frites: A bed of crispy french fries topped with Ragin’s traditional New Orleans gumbo made with andouille sausage, chicken, bell peppers, onions, celery and a rich roux-based sauce, then finished off with cheese and green onions.

MN State Fair Gumbo Frites

Located at: Ragin Cajun in The Garden, west wall.

I’m turned-off when it comes to pale looking fries, but they are going to be soggy regardless and the gumbo is a wonderful reminiscence of Popeye’s gravy with nice chunks of sausage and chicken, hell yeah!  Good job on this!  3.5/5

Barbecued Shrimp Taco: Sweet, smoky, slightly spicy barbecued shrimp and cool, fresh jicama slaw in a warm flour tortilla.

MN State Fair Barbecued Shrimp Taco

Located at: Tejas Express in The Garden, north wall.

Not impressed, at all.  You would expect this at Taco Bell for $2.50, but $10 for two here with the most basic ingredients, or lack thereof.  Maybe try the macho taco if you come here.  0/5

Italian Taco: A flour tortilla baked with butter and shredded parmesan, filled with Italian sausage and mozzarella, topped with roasted bruschetta, romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, pesto, pizza sauce and parmesan cheese, and then drizzled with a balsamic glaze.

MN State Fair Italian Taco

Located at: Green Mill on the east side of Cooper Street, between Randall and Wright avenues, at Family Fair at Baldwin Park.

I didn’t expect much when I read about this one prior to locating it, but after two bites I was amazed on how good it is.  For $5 this a decent sized meal, and a tasty one at that! 4/5

Reuben Pickle Dog: A dill pickle spear with sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing wrapped in a slice of pastrami.

MN State Fair Reuben Pickle Dog

Located at: Pickle Dog on the south side of Carnes Avenue between Liggett and Chambers streets.

Good little street food snack. Perfect amount of cream cheese to kraut ratio. Can’t go wrong with this one. 4/5

Deep Fried Nachos Supreme: Pepper jack cheese cubes coated with a mixture of crushed seasoned tortilla chips and nacho cheese, then deep-fried, covered with taco meat, guacamole, more nacho cheese and sour cream, and served with jalapeños on the side. Also available traditional-style without the supreme toppings.

MN State Fair Deep Fried Nachos Supreme 2

Located at: Texas Steak Out on the west side of Underwood Street between Lee and Randall avenues.

MN State Fair Deep Fried Nachos Supreme

Wow!! I am blown away by this one. I haven’t been very fond of the items sold in the last few years from Texas Steak Out, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Damn, I can’t get over how impressed I am, wonderful. Tastes like a mozzarella cheese stick wrapped in a ball of crushed Doritos deep-fried. Love. 5/5

MN State Fair Phatphood

Unfortunately I had a few bad items that I heard later in the day had improved, that is just the way it goes here at the fair.  They always have a new, young staff helping them each year and executing a new item at the same time.  So although these are my opinions of the items I had, they may be different for you when you try them.  It can be a hit or miss situation, and that is just how it is.  Had a great fulfilling time, thanks for following along and I hope you enjoyed!  Til next year.

Orpheum Lion King

Disney’s The Lion King Orpheum Theatre Review

9 Aaron Nelson (Simba) and Nia Holloway (Nala). ©Disney. Photo by Matthew Murphy_

Disney’s The Lion King Orpheum Theatre Review: Imagine only seeing in black and white your entire life, and then suddenly you can see in color for the first time. This was that first time! The Orpheum Theater has brought the pride land of Africa to the city of Minneapolis with Disney’s The Lion King, along with its vibrant living art and beautiful music on stage. There is no argument that this is indeed the World’s best musical. I admit however, I did at first have my doubts with the actors not being in full costumes playing the roles of animals of the wild. It was the costume designs that brought this master of puppetries to life on stage, and it worked marvelously. It is to no surprise that Julie Taymor (director, costumer designer and mask co-designer) won a Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical.

7 Mukelisiwe Goba (Rafiki) 3 ©Disney. Photo by Matthew Murphy_

The entire show lasted a little over 2 hours with a 15-minute intermission between acts, the first act being longer than the two. There was a musician on each side of the stage beating on drums, congas, chimes and other various instruments bringing the soundtrack to life. There were a few South African inspired songs added that were not taken from the movie to help during the growth of Simba. The cast took to the isles and balcony more than once throughout the performance adding a wow factor to the element of surprise. Humorous dialogs were also added to the stage that played off of some of the other Disney favorites that will give way to laughter. The on stage set is just simply captivating, there is no other way to describe it; just something you have to witness for yourself. It is pure seamless magic happening right before your eyes.

8 Gareth Saxe (Scar) and Gerald Ramsey (Mufasa). ©Disney. Photo by Matthew Murphy_

If I were to pick out a single character or actor that mesmerized me throughout the performance, I cannot. The entire cast and crew brought this to life, as a whole, they all deserve as much credit as anyone involved on or off the stage. Truly a unified team that works unparallel together.

5 Gerald Ramsey (Mufasa) ©Disney. Photo by Matthew Murphy_

The only disappoint is within myself, for waiting so long to see and hear this beautiful magic take place right in front of me on stage. This is the fifth time this touring show has been to Minneapolis now in its 19 years of existence. Hopefully you haven’t passed up as many opportunities as myself, but if you have, do yourself a favor and go see this show while it is in your city…you still have time!

The Lion King is now playing through August 7 at the Orpheum Theatre. Get your tickets here.

Photo by Matthew Murphy

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Phatphood Review: Truce Cleanse Part 2

Truce Cleanse

Phatphood Review: Truce Cleanse Part 2 – It’s a new season, and that means time for an all new seasonal 100% organic, raw, vegan and gluten free cleanse from Minnesota’s very own, TRUCE. As you may recall, during the Winter season I did their newly offered soup cleanse, you can find that review here.

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This time around I wanted to cleanse myself after a recent vacation and give their new Complete Cleanse a go. Now, I was told that I can consume my 5 daily products in any order, but I went by the order that they had basically laid out and typed-up for me and attached to each of my daily supplies.

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I started my mornings slamming a bottle of room temperature water as I always do, and continued drinking another 8 to10 bottles of water throughout the day.   I then enjoyed the remainder of my morning routines with my first juice, Morning Greens; Kale, cucumber, spinach, romaine, apple, lemon and ginger. This is your typical green drink that you may have read about (mean green), or may have had with most green juice cleanses that are out there. It’s good and refreshing and gave me a good amount of energy to start the day out.

Truce Morning Greens

I felt like it was a long stretch before I could enjoy lunch, so I had a small handful or two of raw nuts. Figured since this is an all raw cleanse that this wouldn’t do any harm at altering this three day diet I put myself on. Plus I was hungry!   Only on the first day though, the ingredients in each is designed to hinge your appetite as well as be a sufficient amount of daily requirements. So the next two days my appetite was balanced.

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Lunch time, woo-hoo! For the three-days, TRUCE gave me two different salads; The Isles Salad, which consisted of kale, carrot, beet, avocado, pistachio and hemp seed. Also included a Tahini-ginger dressing; extra-virgin olive oil, sesame seed, apple cider vinegar, ginger, salt and black pepper. Now normally I could consume a salad in 5-minutes-or-less. Not today, this mostly kale salad took me a good half hour. I’m pretty sure this was my first time eating raw kale. I’ve had it baked, sautéed and juiced before. This was a lot of work to chew. The beets, carrots and dressing added a good amount of moisture, but I didn’t give it much time to absorb. I plan on doing that when I eat the second one of this creation they gave me. It was still very good tasting, just time consuming and not all the fun. Also, I don’t recall having any avocado, especially like the picture shown on their website. So this was missing in two salads. The second salad that I had on the next day was the New Classic Caesar; Kale, cabbage, cucumber and capers with curried chickpeas. The dressing was made from cashews, grape seed oil, white wine vinegar, vegan Worcestershire, dulse flakes, garlic lemon, mustard seed, salt and pepper. This salad was much better and easier to eat since there wasn’t a large amount of kale.

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My midday snack was another juice called Glowing Greens; Grapefruit, pear, cucumber, dandelion greens, romaine, parsley and orange. Now this was a tasty refreshing concoction, a little more pleasing than the morning greens. I was told my skin had a nice glowing complexion throughout this cleanse, I give credit to this juice right here.

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My dinner every night was their Spicy Greens Soup; Avocado, kale, spinach, water, pepita, lemon, ginger, black pepper, salt and cayenne. Now even though this is a soup, it was recommended not to heat it. This is one of the same soups that I had with the previous cleanse I had from TRUCE and I treated it the same way, by letting it get to room temperature and then enjoying it while getting some work done. It is spicy like its name, mainly black pepper spicy, nothing that lingers, overall good tasting and obviously a bit thicker than the juices.

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This last one I considered a dessert that I looked forward to having every night. It was so smooth and delicious as well as a perfect way to end my evening, Cashew Milk; Cashews, dates, sea salt, maple syrup, water. I rarely drink milk these days, so I was a bit skeptical on this one, but it really won me over. It felt rewarding having this.

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Overall this is a great cleanse offered by TRUCE for approximately $50.00 a day. I had more energy than I did while eating my normal diet. Give it a go and try something new while shedding a few pounds while doing so, you will feel wonderful!

This Saturday, April 30th marks their 3rd year in business. So it would be a good day to go celebrate with them from 9am-5pm while enjoying some special giveaways and the chance to win a one day cleanse.

Truce is located at: 1428 W. 32nd Street, Minneapolis, MN

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Bizzy Cold Brew Coffee Review

Bizzy Coffee 1

Bizzy Cold Brew Coffee Review: When I received my mini crate of Bizzy Cold Brew Coffee I was ecstatic to try it in different varieties and concoctions. Each bottle contains six-servings of sugar and calorie free, fresh organic cold brew coffee. It will cost you roughly $38 for a four pack, or you can save 10% by signing up on there website www.bizzycoffee.com.

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I first tried a sip straight from the bottle; “Whew, that is some strong brew right there!” It is meant to be diluted or added to another substance or beverage, but I wanted to taste it in its pureness, and this I can tell you is some great tasting coffee.

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Next up was adding it to my protein shakes. I added 1-serving of Bizzy – 3-Tbsp PB2 – 2-scoops Nature’s Best Isopure Dutch Chocolate Protein 1-frozen banana and 1-serving of purified water (to offset the coffee). This definitely took my protein shake to a whole new level. The taste was perfect and it gave me the perfect amount of energy to last me throughout the day. I will be having this exact formula every single morning from now on. I do typically add blueberries to my shake, but I wanted to try it without them for this first trial run.

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I tried it with unsweetened coconut milk, but with both of these being unsweetened it felt quite boring, was missing something…probably something sweet! On to the next one.

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This protein shake pictured that I had every morning during the duration of 4-bottles of Bizzy, I used ice when I forgot to freeze my banana. Seriously, try this!

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Time to get a little more dangerous and creative with this local Minnesota cold brew! No longer boring with the coconut milk now that I poured my Bizzy coffee over ice in a mason jar and added Hershey’s chocolate syrup, Trader Joe’s Sugar, Coffee Bean and Chocolate sprinkles, along with whipped topping. Okay, now we are talking, This was a delicious ice coffee that needs to be served everywhere.

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Taking it a step further with a Bizzy Coffee Float. Two large scoops of Edy’s Latte Love Espresso Chip Grand Ice Cream, pour a serving and a half of Bizzy Cold Brew Coffee over and top with whipped cream. Dessert is served! Just don’t have this too late in the evening unless you want to clean your entire house with energy to spare.

If you haven’t yet, give this Minnesota born crafty beverage a try. Get creative and hashtag it with #BizzyMoments, the possibilities are endless and I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with.

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Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Disney Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast Chanhassen

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Disney Beauty and the Beast: It’s been over a decade since the tale as old as time has hit the stage at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, but now through Fall of 2016 you can catch this enchanted full-length musical production of Disney Beauty and the Beast take stage as you sit in a moment of nostalgia.

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Performing to a sold out crowd on opening night the cast gave brilliant big production numbers with mesmerizing choreography, beautiful ballads and seamless set changes.

BB Objects

The story moved along quite perfectly from beginning to end leaving you entertained throughout, especially with eye catching costume designs along with subtle scenic designs.

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Ruthanne Heyward did an amazing job as Belle, with solo performances such as “Is This Home?” and “A Change in Me” with her crisp and captivating voice.

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One of my favorite performances was a sing-and-dance number done creatively in a saloon-like environment of clinking mugs together that was put on by a large amount of the cast and focused on the ultra sexy ego of “Gaston” which of course the musical number was titled the same. Aleks Knezevich had the look to go with his character and was comically entertaining with his overzealous Derek Zoolander facial expressions.

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Keeping it elegant and seamless, Gargoyle stone figures would come to life and perfectly execute set changes in a soft ballet dance.

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Costume and wardrobe designs were true to the story and brought objects to life in a very unique and fun way. Mark King (Lumière) was a delight to watch as sound effects went in unison every time he lit up.

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Even though Robert O. Berdahl (Beast) didn’t have the brawn I would’ve like to have seen, he had the swagger that carried this newly defined character in his own unique way.

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For me, there was nothing better and more heartfelt then when Susan Hofflander (Mrs. Potts) owned everyone in the audience as she sang the self-titled number “Beauty and the Beast” and it was clearly a breath taking moment.

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Beauty and the Beast will be at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres through September 24th. You can buy your tickets here.

Photo Credit: Heidi Bohnenkamp, 2016

Truce MN

Phatphood Review: Truce Soup Cleanse

Truce Minneapolis

Phatphood Review: Truce Soup Cleanse – I was stumbling around Instagram last week and came across a comment mentioning, “soup cleanse.” Intrigued I was; so I did a quick local Google search and to my amazement, Truce – Minnesota’s first 100% organic fresh-pressed juice shop located in Uptown Minneapolis had a soup cleanse package they have been offering since November of 2015. An alternative to a juice cleanse offered for the wintery months. They state on their website that “Unlike juices, soups contain much of the fiber found in the ingredients, which will help satisfy your appetite for longer and provide that much-needed fuel.” For no apparent reason, I acted immediately upon reading this info and ordered a three-day supply.   Why? To give this new cleanse alternative a review, and to give my digestive organs a reboot and some much needed rest. I started on a Friday morning (Dumb, crazy me, I know!) and ended on Sunday evening. Here is how it went down:

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For $45.48 you get a single day supply of five different soups:

  1. Carrot Ginger: carrot juice, cashews, ginger, salt, cayenne.
  2. Souper Greens: Truce juice ‘greens pulp’, celery juice, lemon juice, miso paste, thyme, shallot, olive oil, black pepper
  3. Curried Squash: kabocha squash, carrot juice, olive oil, scallion, curry powder
  4. Spicy Greens: avocado, kale, spinach, h2o, pepitas, lemon, ginger, black pepper, salt, cayenne.
  5. Tomato: roma tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, cashews, h2o, red onion, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, black pepper

They recommend doing a 1-3 day soup cleanse, so naturally I went for the 3-day challenge. They need a 48-hour notice to make these 100% organic, vegan, raw, and gluten free concoctions that can be picked up on Mondays and Fridays only. I ordered the soups above in the recommended order of consumption. They also explained to me to gently warm the soups on the stovetop, or just have them cold or room temp. I was told to not warm either of the green soups, so I obliged.

Day 1 – Friday:

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I had to work on this day and I wasn’t hungry first thing in the morning since I basically ate my weight in fast food that I knew I wouldn’t be having for a while. I just had 32-ounces of fresh lemon water before heading into work. About two hours in I decided I better get this thing started.

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  1. Carrot Ginger: carrot juice, cashews, ginger, salt, cayenne. I do not have access to a stove at work so I just slightly warmed it up (35 seconds) in a microwave. The first thing I noticed was the burn down my throat from the cayenne, perhaps the ginger too. It wasn’t bad, just surprising. Carrot soup with a burn and a decent texture, I can handle this one.

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  1. Souper Greens: Truce juice ‘greens pulp’, celery juice, lemon juice, miso paste, thyme, shallot, olive oil, black pepper. Since I only brought three of these soups to work, I decided to have this one during my lunch break. I let it get to room temperature and then drank it straight out of the bottle. This was like drinking pesto, almost exactly. The olive oil was prominent and it was nicely seasoned with the black pepper. I just convinced myself that I had this poured over a bowl of pasta. Okay, I can do this.

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  1. Curried Squash: kabocha squash, carrot juice, olive oil, scallion, curry powder. Still at work and getting toward the end of the day. I didn’t particularly like the smell of this one once I cracked open the bottle. It reminded me of a week long juice cleanse I did a few years back, and I really don’t know why since it didn’t have any of the same ingredients. I did the 35-second microwave warm-up again and sipped away out of my soup mug. The first sip wasn’t that bad; I sensed the slight distinction of the curry powder and this one definitely had the most texture to it. I kept thinking about my juice cleanse and this soup just became overwhelming for me so I quickly choked it down and hoped the next two days it would grow on me. I think I can do this.

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  1. Spicy Greens: avocado, kale, spinach, h2o, pepitas, lemon, ginger, black pepper, salt, cayenne. Home now and ready for a snack. Took this green bottle out of the fridge and sat on the couch and shook it for about 10-minutes as it arrived to room temperature. Slowly sipped this one as I watched some TV and my son enjoyed Taco Bell per his request. Torture! This soup tasted like a medium-spiced smooth textured salsa. Wasn’t bad, wasn’t great, very much doable. I got this!

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  1. Tomato: roma tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, cashews, h2o, red onion, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, black pepper. Finally, the first one I get to try gently heated on the stovetop. Put the burner at LOW and stirred it frequently until it reached slightly higher than lukewarm. This soup was something familiar to my taste buds, like a great tasting restaurant quality tomato soup. I was impressed with the garlic and the fresh tasting tomatoes. I found a favorite. Can I just have this one five times a day?

Day 2 & 3 – Saturday & Sunday:

The next two days went surprisingly well. Utilizing the stovetop and getting the three non-green soups to the perfect temperature was key for my liking. Even the Curried Squash developed a more tolerable taste. All in all it wasn’t that bad of a weekend. Keep in mind that I was basically detoxing as well. I usually have at a glass of wine every night and coffee every day, so yes I had a headache on the first night that was still lingering around the next morning. After that it was a walk in the park. I only had hunger pains two times over the entire three days; that was mainly because I was out running errands and there was a three-hour gap between soups; I did however feel much more tired on the second day, much more than I typically do, but that could’ve been the lack of coffee, carbs, sugar, you know, food. Would I do this again? Sure, why not. While it is a bit spendy, it was totally worth it and much easier than doing the juice cleanse at home considering both the taste and the preparation. I feel great and ready to slowly start introducing solids. By the way, I am down 10 pounds in three days…how ya like them apples?

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Truce 1428 W 32nd Street, Minneapolis, MN – Website Here

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Phatphood Eating Twin Cities: Danny’s Bar & Grill

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Phatphood Eating Twin Cities: Danny’s Bar & Grill – Joining me on this adventure to find the perfect food pic is We’ve Tried It’s very own Missy G and we are dining at Danny’s Bar & Grill located at StoneRidge Golf Club in Stillwater, MN. Chef Ron is a multi-medal winner in American Culinary Federation Competitions dishing out some of his amazing creations using locally sourced and naturally raised foods.  Let me start by typing – I need to start dining at more golf clubs if they are all this amazing. Nothing but awesomeness coming up…

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First thing given to me upon my arrival is this foo-foo drink. Yup, one of those but this one does taste pretty damn good, actually.  It is called a Georgiapolitan ~ Ciroc peach vodka, Cointreau, limejuice and cranberry juice, served with a lime wedge. I wouldn’t be mad if another one was accidentally ordered for me.

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Macadamia Nut Encrusted Goat Cheese ~ warm Stickney Hills Farm creamy goat cheese, mango chutney and flatbread crackers. The goat cheese was indeed warm, and it spread like butter. I’ve always been a fan of goat cheese and I’m really enjoy what the chef has done with this. I could smell the mango chutney once it hit the table. This is a lovely medley here combining the three.

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A special that is currently being served as an appetizer, Salt and Pepper Seared Ahi Tuna ~ sauteed Asian slaw, wasabi aioli, with a soy ginger glaze. This is a very, very refreshing appetizer that won’t overfill you. That aioli was on point. Hurry up and get here to try this before the next special takes over.

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You know, I’m not super big into salads, but if it is unique or has this much bacon in it, I’m an instant lover of salads. Iceberg Wedge ~ crumbled black river bleu, crispy bacon, tomato and bleu cheese dressing.

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American Kobe Waygu Burger ~ half pound, lettuce, house pickles, 5-seed bun, thick cut bacon, cheddar cheese.  Local grass fed beef…awwww so savory and fresh. I love how it moo’s with every bite. I’m in burger heaven. It’s served with house cut fries with partial skin on, yup!  Thanks Chef Ron!

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New York Steak & Garlic Parmesan Spaghetti ~ 7oz grilled strip steak with olive oil and charred lemon. I’ve actually been craving white sauce spaghetti for quite some time. Great touch with the NY strip!  Also, I never would have thought to squeeze the lemon over this dish, but sure glad it was recommended, what a delicious citrus splash on this already perfect combo.

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Finally, the dish I’ve been reading about and the gold medal winning best seller here at Danny’s Bar & Grill, Chef Ron’s very own Pecan Walleye ~ dried cherry maple bacon pecan butter sauce (yea, read that again and fall in love with it), wild rice pilaf and roasted seasonal vegetables. Feed her this and she is yours.

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16oz Bone-in Rib Eye ~ with a loaded baked potato and fresh vegetables.  Butter love. This steak melted in my mouth like the butter that puddles upon it; perfectly cooked steak with a tasty potato to accompany it.

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CHOCOLATE TURTLE MOUSSE CAKE ~ rich chocolate cake layered with double chocolate mousse, topped with fudge sauce, caramel and candied pecans. I typed the title of this dessert in all capital letters for a reason. OMYUM!

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Chef Ron wanted me to have a chocolate martini to pair with my slice of chocolate cake. Who am I to say no to a multi-medal winning chef? Pour it up! Chocolate Martini ~ Stoli vodka, Bailey’s and Godiva.  Rimmed with hot cocoa I believe. Perhaps another foo-foo drink, but if you follow me on Instagram (Phatphood), you will see that I am really starting to fall for these.

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Tableside Baked Alaska by Chef Ron. What a wonderful finale to many outstanding dishes, and when the alcohol burns and the flame goes out, it is still…nothing but love.

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Missy and I had a great time not only enjoying the wonderful food presented to us, but also the conversations that we had with Chef Ron. He is well known here because he comes out and talks with the patrons and interacts with them, great guy in and out of the kitchen. I recommend coming during the off-season of golf, this place really has a warm cozy vibe that really fits in with the current season. Everyone that I talked to about Danny’s asked if I had eaten their brunch; unfortunately I haven’t…yet.

Danny’s Bar & Grill 13600 N Hudson Boulevard, Stillwater, MN 55082