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Author: Phatphood

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The Pint 14 a

Phatphood Eating Twin Cities: The Pint Public House

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Phatphood Eating Twin Cities: The Pint Public House – Newly opened in downtown Minneapolis (3 weeks old) center stage on 1st Ave, The Pint Public House is where we are at. #FOODPORN is why we are here, and under the wing of Canadian Chef Len LeBlanc, Sous Chef Edward is serving up some good-good 40-ways, which seems to be a theme here. With 40 draft beers, 40 different ways to order the wings as well as the rice bowls, you should have no problem finding a favorite here.  With having five locations already in Canada, this is the first one to pop up in the states.  The first location out of the six to have this many draft beers as well.  We Minnesotans like our variety of beer.  It’s a very large space with ample room providing different dining areas, so they also have DJ’s providing the soundtrack every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, so come and get your dance on.

Kicking it off (literally) with some boot cocktails.

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I had the Rocket Pop and @tonyflizzle went ahead with the Pint Punch.  Both tasty cocktails with snow cone-like ice served in a mini boot.  Let Minneabrolis date night commence…NOW!

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Bring on the heat!! Death Wish Wings pictured here. This is just one of their 40-way flavors; only 39 other ways to go.  These definitely had a slight burn with a dry crushed habanero involved, along with a sweet BBQ.  They leave you chasing the heat with an addicting flavor.  I am a huge fan of these already.  Move over BWW, there’s a new wing joint in town with options galore.

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Pint Perogies – 8 deep fried perogies topped with cheese, bacon bits, green onion and a side of sour cream.  Different than I am use to, and I think we’ve already established that I dig different. I grew up eating pierogies (how we spell it) and I’m used to them being more in a pasta/dough form lathered in butter. Canadians have a different take that I don’t mind, and the potato filling was familiar.  Good bar apps!

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Prairie Panko Pickles – Breaded, deep-fried and unforgettable.  Served with tzatziki on the side.
Great seasoned breading with a crunchy pickle spear, and the tzatziki is a nice addition that I’m not use to having with these; typically ranch dressing. I would order a burger and put a minimum of two of these on it if I were you.

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Rocky Mountain Club – Grilled chicken, bacon, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, lettuce and maple mayo on fresh pretzel bread.   This is great for lunch, not hearty enough for a dinner in my opinion, but it is great with a side of poutine as shown here.  Really digging the soft pretzel bread loaf, and the maple mayo was a nice touch.  I’d like a side of that just to try alone with some fries.

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Pint Poutine – Pint fries topped with cheese curds and Pint gravy.

Finally, a true Canadian Poutine right here in Minnesota.  Not your typical deep-fried cheese curds that most places here think that they are part of this dish, and a very great tasting and hearty gravy over some crisp golden fries.  Finally 🙌 someone is doing it right.  🍁 Thanks!

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Just like the wings, you can get their Rice Bowls 40 ways here.  This way is Tandoori, one of thirteen dry rubs they offer.  Get your choice of chicken, beef or prawns with stir-fry vegetables and topped with green onions and sesame seeds.

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I want to try so many creations!!  Guess I will be a resident here until I’ve tried all possibilities.  Great flavors in this dish with the Tandoori.

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With only one dessert on the entire menu, you really can’t go wrong. Deep-fried Oreos.  It’s like The Minnesota State Fair year-round up in here!  All I know is that I was told that there was Not Your Fathers Root Beer involved and sweet beer batter, hell yeah!  A grand-finale at its finest, and definitely leaving with a smile on my face.

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We came, we ate, we conquered.  Unfortunately we did not have their burgers this time around.  They use Hereford beef in all of them and even go a step above with the Hereford 1881 in their sliders.  It took place of the old Rosen’s Bar & Grill, and I really love what they did with the place and the see-through drop ceilings are stylish.  A great, fun welcoming staff is always good to see as well.  I’ll probably see you here from time to time, so wave, why dontcha!

The Pint Public House, 430 1st Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401

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Phatphood Eating Twin Cities: Taste of Thailand

Taste of Thailand MN

Phatphood Eating Twin Cities: Taste of Thailand – With many strip malls along the stretch of University Avenue in Fridley, there is a stand-alone restaurant that has been around for 15-years now, but only owned by the Thanane family for the past five years.  Taste of Thailand Fridley serves authentic Thai cuisine in the most delicious manner.  It may not look like the fanciest place to dine at, but I’m not here to eat the décor, and lets face it, some of the best places to get amazing food are hole-in-the-wall gems.  Throw in the fact that a family is back in the kitchen preparing some secret recipes of their own for us to devour and you have that gem right here at ToT.  Let’s eat!

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No alcohol served here so we are starting off with some cool-cool refreshing beverages. Thai Ice Coffee and Thai Ice Tea with condensed milk, that’s a sugar rush for sure, and who doesn’t like a good tasting sugar rush?  Cheers!

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Fresh Spring Rolls – The best Spring Roll in the Twin Cities! Fresh vegetables, noodles, shrimp and pork, wrapped in rice paper and served with a delicious tangy sauce.

You can taste how fresh these are in every bite.  Along with the fresh shrimp and pork, this is a perfect refreshing appetizer that is just a step above the others.  Huge!

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Goong Hom Pha (Shrimp Rolls) – Marinated shrimp wrapped in egg roll skin and deep-fried until golden brown. Served with a spicy sauce and fresh vegetables.

Firecrackers of shrimp.  Boom!  Can’t go wrong with these, so get a double order.

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Stuffed Chicken Wings – Deep-fried chicken wings stuffed with ground pork, silver noodles, shiitake mushrooms, onions and water chestnuts.

Magically deboned deliciousness!  @tonyflizzle said these were a first for him.  I love introducing people to new food and this crossbreed of an egg roll and chicken wing was the perfect introduction.  You’ll love these!

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Tom Yum Goong – A favorite with Twin Citians, this delicious lemon-flavored soup has shrimp, straw mushrooms, lemon grass galanga, kaffir lime leaves, and Thai chili peppers, served with white rice.

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A big bowl of Thai inspired comfort right here. Better known as a sour cure-all concoction filled with ample amounts of shrimp and secret torpedoes of Thai chili peppers. You’ve been warned.

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Chicken Pad Thai – Another Twin Cities favorite. Stir-fried rice noodles with egg, bean sprouts and green onions, served with roasted peanuts and lemon wedge.

Their number one selling dish and I know why; because it is cooked and tossed perfectly. No clumps of clingy noodles, another fresh hit here with spice levels to your liking.

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Roast Duck Curry – Skinless roast duck sliced and simmered in coconut milk with red curry paste, peas, tomato and sweet basil leaves.

If you know me personally, you know I’m the first one to invite myself over if your parents are cooking curry.  Mussel, chicken, pork, tofu, I don’t care, I simply love curry. This is the first time I’ve had duck curry. It is thinly sliced evenly so it is consistent throughout the dish.  Another Thai comfort dish at its finest.  Another bowl please!

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Whole Fried Tilapia – smothered with stir-fried sweet basil sauce (basil, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and fresh Thai chili peppers), served with white rice.

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Look at that smile! I’m feeling the same way about this perfectly bathed whole fish.  That’s if you don’t mind it mean muggin’ ya while you chomp away at its torso.  Sweet and tender with a nice char crisp skin. Something new here so it’s not on the menu.  Ask for this special and make it a permanent addition, it’s that good.  With how it is prepared, it is very easy to eat both sides of the entire fish without even having to flip it.  What a perfect dish to end this evening of authentic Thai food.

They also serve a daily lunch buffet Monday – Friday for $8.75 from 11am until the last customer leaves, typically around 1pm.  They are only closed on Sundays and you can always get anything on their menu to go, which seems to be the popular route for most patrons.  Notable mention; they have my absolute favorite cream cheese wontons.

Taste of Thailand 7890 University Ave NE, Fridley, MN 55432 (763) 571-1188

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Phatphood Eating Twin Cities: Dark Horse

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Phatphood Eating Twin Cities: Dark Horse – We walked into this awesome open structure with dimmed globes of lights hanging from the high ceiling surrounded by brick walls accompanied by about 90 bottles of whiskey. International food is what we are about to consume over here at Dark Horse in Lowertown St. Paul, MN. #FOODPORN is what we are doing it for. Check out the details below along with the official segment on Mr. @tonyflizzle‘s show ‘On The Fly’ next week. Stay hungry my friends!

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I, myself, started this evening of adventure-of-foods off with a breakfast stout recommended by my wonderful server, Annie. This beer really goes with the name of the place, loving the vibe as I sit next to the open kitchen window watching each dish get presented as I salivate. Okay, I’m hungry, are you ready for some scrumptious #FOODPORN? Coming right up…

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Turkish Fig Balls – A vegan dish, as well as gluten free, surprisingly delicious. Black mission figs fried into ‘meat balls’, served on a slightly spiced ezme (a reduced tomato stew) and topped with a vegan coconut/cucumber sauce.

By all means, I am not the least bit vegan, but if I were, this would be my go to dish. I found it pleasantly tasteful, with a terrific tzatziki sauce. Visually appealing isn’t it?

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Baozi – Steamed dumpling with braised pork belly, kimchi, yellow pepper and coconut emulsion, ponzu and sprinkled sesame and bulls blood micro beet greens.

Generous portions of pork belly completely fill these tender cooked dumplings. Combined with all of the elements on the plate make for an appetizer that is needed on every visit here. Do these in one-bite, like me, if you can.

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Dark Horse Burger – Ground bacon & smoked Gouda patty, house made thousand island, muenster, pickle and onion. Basically it’s the Dark Horse version of the Big Mac, and a damn good one at that. Served on a house made pretzel bun, this seems to be a crowd favorite, as it is always seen up in the kitchen window. I love this burger.

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JOJO’s – Yukon potatoes and garlic/onion/dill with house roasted garlic ranch. Now you know I couldn’t have had that burger without some fries. Well, I’ve been hearing this rumor around town that Dark Horse has the best Jojo’s around. Guess what? They do. Crisp, flavorful and served with a dipping sauce you’ll want bottled up to take home.

Ready for another drink, and I’m already seeing double.

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Brooklyn – While the Manhattan gets all the love, we are all in favor of the scrappy underdog. This drink is still steeped in tradition, but does it its own way. Bulleit Rye Whiskey with dry vermouth, Luxardo maraschino cherry liqueur, and a dash of Angostura bitters. Good and strong, Brooklyn strong.

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Sweet Corn Gnocchi – Corn and potato dumplings with veal ragu. I knew I brought Tony along for a reason, language lessons. Yes, I know how to pronounce YaNoKey! These were pan fried, adding a crisp outside with the unforgettable soft pillow inside. Great bed of sauce they laid on as well. Yummy stuff!

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Devil In White – Corona beans (giant sweet runner beans), calabrian chile, smoked mozzarella and provolone cheese mix and smoked cream sauce.

Why of course Dark Horse does pizza, its international comfort food remember! They do pizza well. Great crust and ingredients with wow factors. Don’t skip out on the pizza. I may even have to get another style of theirs to take home.

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Red Dragon Rice – Thai red curry, seasonal vegetables, cashews and black sesame sprinkled with lime wedge and cilantro, on top of jasmine rice with optional shrimp.

Definitely added that shrimp, what a good choice that was! Cannot tell you enough about the level of comfort food here, amazing options to choose from and this one is hitting the spot for the local season. It is bursting with rich flavors leaving your tummy warm with just the right spice level.

I had to order another one of their handcrafted cocktails since I’m almost finishing up this food adventure.

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The Last Word – An homage to the prohibition era history of our capital city, this one is old school. Bombay Sapphire Gin shaken and served up with lime, Luxardo maraschino cherry liqueur, and green chartreuse. Clean, citrusy, and slightly herbaceous.

Reminds me of Christmas, word.

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Hangar Steak – Cooked to temp (medium rare), seasonal roasted vegetable medley tossed in a vinegar rosemary pan sauce.

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Perfect portions that were precut (the correct way), made this easy to eat and it was well above par. That buttery pan sauce was killer. What a nice delicate and chewable hangar steak this is.

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Raspberry Jalapeño Cheesecake – with house vanilla bean whipped cream.

I’m not an ‘erry’ fan (anything ending with ‘erry’, at all), but this was a perfect serving for me with just the right amount of ‘erry.’ Not overbearing at all. Their house made whipped cream is oh-so-buttery. Can’t get enough of it!

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Cast Iron Apple Pie – With sharp cheddar cheese and vanilla bean whipped cream.

This is different. If you know me, then you know that I think different is good. More comfort in every which way. The cheese addition is brilliant! That whipped cream again, yes!

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After all of that comfort food, along with crafty cocktails, I need myself a pick-me-up. An espresso should do just that. Ending my night here at Dark Horse, going home to dream about the brunch menu I was just handed.

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Two hours later…

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The Dark Horse – Italian sausage, roasted wild mushrooms, roasted peppers and fresh herbs.

I told you I was going to bring home a pizza, and I did. I lean towards this one as my favorite over their Devil in White. The Italian sausage and roasted mushrooms did it for me. I just can’t stop eating it! Are you on your way to Dark Horse yet?

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A couple of things you may or may not know about Dark Horse: The business partners also own Muddy Waters in Minneapolis. They serve brunch on the weekends, and although I have yet to attend, I am only hearing amazing things about the dishes as well as some of the portions.  Also, they have an in-house baker by the name of Hans that has no experience what-so-ever, and you would never be able to tell from his wonderful creations such as the pretzel roll bun on the Dark Horse Burger and the desserts both mentioned above. Can’t wait to come and try what he serves up for the weekend brunch. Looking ahead; come March next year they will have a stunning patio with iron gates, more than a few dozen tap beers and fire pits to mingle around. Hurry up springtime!

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Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Sister Act

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Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Sister Act – Hallelujah! Director Michael Brindisi found some of the best in the Twin Cities and brought them together for a disco turned gospel musical production on stage at the nation’s largest professional dinner theatre company, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres.

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It was a 4-hour evening of good laughs with the best of company over dinner, followed by an amazing adaption of this blockbuster hit made into a Broadway sensation. If you have never eaten at CDT, do not skip dessert. That is all.

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Regina Marie Williams did an outstanding performance as Deloris Van Cartier, a hopeful diva in witness protection at a convent under the alias Sister Mary Clarence hiding from her beau Curtis and his trio of thugs. Regina hits you with not only disco style musical ballads and clap-a-long gospel choir inspirations, but also whimsical comedy with short text lines like “These are my FM boots.” The likeness of the movie tribute did not stop there. Three nuns did an indistinguishable performance as Sister Mary Patrick (Therese Walth), Sister Mary Lazrus (Seri Johnson) and Sister Mary Robert (Britta Ollmann). These three ladies had me to believe I was front row to the movie itself. Superb job!

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Although the entire cast was amazing and entertaining, there was one that stood out above the rest for me. Sweaty Eddie. That’s right Lieutenant Eddie Souther played by Reginald D. Haney. A somewhat goofy looking character with an oversized mustache that had a surprising voice that had all of them women in attendance swooning for him by shows end. Reginald is a member of Sounds of Blackness making his debut to the stage here at CDT, and I’m hoping he will be back for many more performances.

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The storyline was quick and to the point without skipping a beat, literally. It was also obviously filled with contagious musical performances created originally by Alan Menken that are different from what you may remember from the big screen performance.   I actually preferred the stage story to the movie version in whole; it shared a little more background to the nun on the run. Perfectly done!

Sister Act will be at Chanhassen Dinner Theatre until February 27, 2016. Buy your tickets here.

Photo Credit: Heidi Bohnenkamp, 2015

5 burgers 1 night

2015 Hudson WI Burger Battle We’ve Tried It

5 burgers

Hudson Burger Battle

2015 Hudson WI Burger Battle We’ve Tried It: This is the 5th year of the Hudson Burger Battle. For a donation of $25, participants receive a Burger Battle Punch Card and visit each of the five restaurants with this card during regular lunch or dinner hours between Nov. 1st and Dec. 31st to receive a free Burger Battle featured burger. After participants have enjoyed all five burgers, they simply visit the Burger Battle voting site (click here to vote) and choose your favorite burger. You do realize that you have two months to eat five burgers, but why not make it exciting and have them all in one evening? Let’s go!

Big Guys BBQ Burger

Big Guys Burger

First up is Big Guys BBQ Roadhouse with their Smokin Blues Burger – 8oz CAB burger patty, blackening spice, lettuce, tomato, breaded onion strings, jalapeño chips, bacon and warm blue cheese cream dressing. 
First thoughts: That seasoning on their CAB (Certified Angus Beef) burger really highlights this featured 8-napkin beauty. I love blue cheese and this sauce was awesome! After thoughts: This was the biggest bite of all the burgers, with the most add-ons. Was offered how I liked it cooked, medium.

Season's Tavern Burger

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Second stop down the road on this Hudson Burger Battle is Seasons Tavern with The Frenchie – A 1/2 pound patty stuffed with sautéed onions and Swiss cheese, topped with sautéed mushrooms and Swiss cheese. Served with a side of au-jus. 
 First thoughts: A French onion soup burger or a French Dip basically. There is a perfect char on both sides of the patty. After thoughts: It didn’t leave me craving for another one. Swiss isn’t much of an oozer when it comes to a Juicy Lucy style burger. No option given as to how I wanted it cooked.

Stone Tap Burger 2

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Third spot, feeling a little slow, a bit heavier in my walk, but must keep up the momentum. Luckily I can walk to all the remaining burger spots after this. But for now, I am at Stone Tap and giving something with a simple name a try. The Burger – House ground brisket, short rib and sirloin, 10oz double stacked with 3 slices of melted American cheese. 
First thoughts: Lovely, juicy, bloody, simple. Perfectly seasoned leaning more to the peppery side, which I like. After thoughts: Need to mention buttery, as well as my crave for another one. Was offered how I liked it cooked, medium.

Postmark Grille Burger 2

Postmark Grill

Okay, onto the fourth location on this Hudson Burger Battle. I walked up the street to the Postmark Grille to have their Chili Cheddar Cheese Burger – Topped with a cilantro cream sauce. 
 First thoughts: Although it’s not mentioned in the description, it definitely has horseradish in the cream sauce. Different. Another messy one so keep the napkins close. After thoughts: The cilantro was lost and masked by the horseradish. The chili was lacking something. Came well done by default.

Dick's Bar and Grill Burger

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Woo! Finally made it to the fifth and final burger. Finishing all five in 3.5 hours. Dessert?? Maybe. Last spot is Dick’s Bar & Grill and they are serving up the Sicilian Burger – 1/3 lb. burger with chopped jalapeños and bacon, marinara, mozzarella and cheddar cheese. 
 First thoughts: A little bit of everything that works. I’ll just call it a pizza burger served on a crisp toasted bun. I’m full now. After thoughts: The jalapeños and bacon got lost in the marinara. Love the two cheesy melt combo. A garlic butter sauce on that perfectly toasted bun would have been a nice touch. Ordered mine medium, but had to ask.

The winning restaurant and burger will be officially announced in early January. But you can get my winner right here, right now. Final thoughts: Although all burgers had their own uniqueness, it came down to two burgers for me to choose from. The Smokin Blues Burger from Big Guys BBQ Roadhouse and The Burger from Stone Tap, two outstanding burgers that were both cooked perfectly medium. I am a sauce type of guy that loves a burger with flare. That’s why I really love the Smokin Blues Burger. I love a burger that is seasoned perfectly and stands on it’s own as far as flavor.  That’s why I love The Burger, and a winner for me in this Burger Battle for that purpose alone. Also had the best bun out of all of the nominees. Congratulations, that’s a good burger!

Punch Cards are available for purchase at each of the 5 participating restaurants or from BRIDGE. However, the punch cards are already sold out for the Burger Battle.

One hundred percent of the punch card purchase will go to BRIDGE, supporting programs that allow youth and young 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.

A special thank you to all the restaurants and Craig Hofland for getting We’ve Tried It all set up.

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Phatphood Eating Twin Cities: Big Guys BBQ Roadhouse

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Phatphood Eating Twin Cities: Big Guys BBQ Roadhouse – Not sure where to go for some good kick ass BBQ? We’ve got you covered. A little trip over the river to Hudson, WI is where you can find this four-month-old Double Duece inspired Roadhouse that sits on seven acres of land for endless possibilities.  A top notch sound system is in place for events and concerts to come with ample room to get your groove on, while coin operated pool tables, foosball and a handful of video games occupy an area off to the side. They serve amazingly strong drinks along with meat that is slow-smoked for 16 hours on (using virgin cherry wood), 4 hours off, then is freshly delivered to your face. Oh, and I hope you like bacon!

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As usual, we always start out with some mouth-watering alcoholic beverages before we jump into our #FOODPORN. Here we have a Southern Suiter (Jesse James Bourbon, Triple Sec, Sour, splash of Sprite, Muddle Orange, lime, lemon, simple syrup) – a nice southern cooler with a sour twist. 
Also had a Kentucky Bourbon Ale from Lexington Brewing and Distillery – easy to drink, light, rare hop. Supporting local, it always a good thing.

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Basket O’ Bacon – Thick cut, slow smoked & rubbed with Big Guys BBQ Roadhouse signature house rub. 
Its not crispy like you would think upon delivery, but tender and oh-so flavorful, almost jerky-like but easy to chew. It is also referred to as candied bacon and I’m like a kid in a candy store. Good stuff.   I need the Bucket O’ Bacon please!

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Bacon Wrapped Satay – Chicken breasts wrapped with bacon, seasoned with Big Guys BBQ House rub and basted with their house BBQ sauce. served on a bed of their signature smokey slaw. Moooooore bacon? Yes! Tender, juicy chunks of chicken with that awesome smoked bacon and the perfect glaze of BBQ sauce. The slaw is yogurt based with some jalapeño and bacon as well. Good appetizer on a stick right here.

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Chicken & Waffle Sliders – Buttermilk breaded chicken breast, candied bacon, provolone cheese, sandwiched between two waffles and served with a side of pure maple syrup. Okay, these are something for your foodie bucket list. I have to admit, it didn’t look like much at first until I got it in my hand up close and personal. Love at first bite. Provolone is my favorite cheese. Have I mentioned bacon yet? It’s here again. The chicken is a perfect mix of herbs and spices (14 I believe?). Definitely used all of that syrup by pouring and dipping. This is a breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner…anytime sandwich. Food truck these to my neighborhood please.

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Time to cleanse the palate with some more alcoholic beverages. Left to Right: Big Guys Ginger – Fresh orange slice, bitters, Jesse James Bourbon, Ginger beer, Grand Marnier Float. I could use a cigar with this one; strong, manly, dig it. Texas Tea – Muddle Orange and mint, simple syrup, peach whiskey, sweet tea vodka, lemonade and a splash of Sprite. Brisk and refreshing. Great to pair with their dry rubbed meats. You’ll order a second because they go down so easily.

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Cubano – Slow-smoked pit ham, house pulled pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and creamy mustard sauce served Panini style on ciabatta bread. What a great tasting cubano. Didn’t want to stop eating it, and I have been looking for one of this caliber and to my liking for a while now. Found it. Pack me one in my lunch box daily please.

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Roadhouse Platter – Half Rack of Big Guys house rubbed ribs, half-pound of smoked slow cooked brisket, half of signature sauce glazed chicken, half-pound of pulled pork, candied bacon, and boneless loin chops.

 The meat God plate. Something for everyone, or everything for one. Either way, it’s a feast! Now, they do have a few sauces at the table, but suggest that you just enjoy eating their ribs as is. Ribs are smokey, not your boiled fall-off-the-bone type, you will have to earn to see these bones. Everything here is well cooked with bar-none flavors.

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Sides!! Top to bottom: Secret House Recipe Potato Salad. I only like a couple of potato salads, add this to that list. Creamy, smooth, light, perfect. Mac N’ Cheese – Fusilli pasta in a creamy blend of three cheeses (sharp cheddar, Gouda and fontina) topped with crispy cheddar crust. Yes! Yes! Yes! Gooey yuminess! Smokey Slaw – Smoked red & green cabbage, mixed with jalapeños, bacon and blue cheese…unforgettable! And lastly, Roadhouse Beans – Baked beans blended with house seasoning and Big Guys signature pulled pork. Meaty, tasty, hearty goodness. No complaints with these sides. Keep’em coming.

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No, seriously, that mac n cheese though. Can we have a moment?

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Big Guys Signature BBQ Glazed Salmon with fries. I love a good char lately on my fish. Damn that’s a good char with a nice sweet BBQ glaze. There’s that awesome slaw underneath again, which means more bacon!

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Finally, #dessertporn. Whiskey Apple Bread Pudding – Granny Smith apples baked into the bread pudding and topped with whipped cream and house made praline sauce. Their praline sauce, yea I’m an instant fan. If you love bread pudding, you’ll love this. C’mon, trust me already.

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Ooooh, and yet, another Key Lime Pie – It upholds to all the rest we’ve had on @tonyflizzle and I #foodporn journey. Effortless, petite and hits the spot with a buttery crust. Minor tartness I might add.

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Brandied Caramel Pear Trifle – Layers of Bartlett pears, caramel sauce, ginger snap cookies and cheese cake topped with whipped cream. 
This is a cup o’ love with my name written all over it. I’m in Phatboy heaven, and I don’t even like pears! You’re coming to get this, I already know. Still licking my spoon and fingers.

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Yee-Haw, that about wraps that up. Make the simple drive. Remember, Hudson is basically a part of the Twin Cities. They will start having a DJ on Friday nights and I plan on going there in February for a couple of shows myself. They just got some new equipment out back that, once installed, will increase productivity of their slow-cooked meats, also making room for some whole pigs when needed. There will always be fresh and ready beef and pork here, come and get it, because dinner is ready!

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Tinto Cocina + Cantina Weve Tried It

Phatphood Eating Twin Cities: Tinto Cocino + Cantina

Tinto Cocina + Cantina Weve Tried It

Phatphood Eating Twin Cities: Tinto Cocino + Cantina: We were in search of a food fiesta, and we certainly found that off of Lake Street in Minneapolis at Tinto Cocino + Cantina, which is a corner restaurant with a spacious floor plan and gnarly wall murals on the inside and street-side patio or more private seating on the outside.  If you haven’t been here, what is taking you so long to do so? If you have, you’re making great life decisions. Time to get wow’d by some hand crafted cocktails and of course, some Latin American-inspired fare from Executive Chef Carlos Garza.

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Alright, @tonyflizzle and I always like to start out with a couple of specialty cocktails.  First up is Tinto’s famous Primiero Impacto Margarita ~ Don Julio Reposada, Cointreau, Gran Marnier, agave nectar, fresh lime and grapefruit juice.  What can I say, that’s a damn good margarita! Kudos!

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Now this was more my style, Mexican Coffee Martini ~ Patron XO, Kahula, Bailey’s, fresh brewed coffee.  Slightly thick (but just right), and creamy with two different buzzes. Me likey!  It’s a sexy drink that will have people asking “what is that?”

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Feeling good, time to grub.  Now, I may come off a little biased, but I absolutely love every single item on Tinto’s Starters Menu, but these, these right here, these are my favorite. Try not to eat this without saying WOW! Ropa Vieja ~ Braised beef, spicy aioli, queso fresco, sweet plantains and pickled onions. WOW! These flavors together are amazing. Four to a plate. Get them.  I did not get their flautas on this visit, but typically that is my favorite go-to item here.

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We visited on Taco Tuesday, so let’s get on to that.  Shrimp Tacos ~ Green peppers, red peppers, yellow onion, habanero aioli, queso fresco and cilantro. They make their own corn tortillas with rice flour, so it’s even gluten free and you can really taste the freshness.  Served three to a plate.  I recommend ordering four different versions at minimum, so make it a 12-pack.  These shrimp tacos are just simply refreshing.  Drooling yet?

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Keeping the #TacoTuesday tradition going with some Fish Tacos ~ White fish (Tilapia), habanero aioli, pickled cabbage, avocado.  Light and crisp batter with a good fourth of an avocado, yea, these are some tasty two-bite tacos –  enjoyable any day of the week.  I’m seriously a fan of their habanero aioli; it’s sweet, yet hot with a faint mustard taste.

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Tinto Cocina + Cantina only serves four entrees, so they put a lot of love into each of them and highlight each in their own unique way. Pollo Con Mole ~ Chicken breast, white rice, sesame seeds, pickled onion with traditional mole sauce from Oaxaca. Let me tell ya, that mole sauce is like a sweet bean gravy that I’ve never tasted before.  Nice juicy bone-in chicken breast evenly flattened for a perfect cook.  Definitely unique and delicious.

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Here is another spectacular entree out of the four they have.  Atlantic Salmon ~ Grilled salmon, squash purée and seasonal veggies.  The salmon had a perfect char on it, so much that I really want to duplicate it at home.  I typically just foil-bake salmon or use my Himalayan salt block, but I am really diggin’ this crisp char.  Going to also start introducing this squash purée to my house.  Very health conscious option right here, and another unique plate I might add.

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I should’ve had this first.  My all time favorite dessert, Tres Leches.  Tinto’s changes it up a bit with their Pinneapple Coconut Tres Leches ~ Pineapple sponge cake, coconut whipped cream and vanilla pineapple compote.  I’m not really even into pineapples, but damn I love me some of this.  Tres Leches will always be devoured no matter what fruits are involved that I’m not fond of.  Perfecto!

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Okay, so you’re not going to believe this.  All that hype I just told you about the Tres Leches, well, this trumps that.  Coconut Lemongrass Flan ~ With cinnamon crunch and whipped cream.  Soooooo amazing.  At Tinto, this is my new favorite dessert.  It literally is perfect in every aspect.  The cinnamon crunch is just like a toffee.  Don’t share this with anyone.  Have them order the Tres Leches and make them share with you, but make sure you get all of this.

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Tony Fly and I sat at the half moon bar that seats directly in front of the kitchen, definitely recommend this on one of your visits.  Every single day of the week they have happy hour from 3-6pm and those flautas are on it!  They also have a hot dog called the Spicy Latino; I had it once, it was great with a Dos Equis (also on HH).   Get both for 10 bucks!   Rumor has it that a special person was flown in to show the bartenders how to craft some top notch drinks here.  Filled with flavors and spice, definitely above average.  Watch for seasonal menu changes, which is a good thing in my opinion.  Waiting on that new Tres Leches I keep seeing pictures of on their FaceBook page.

Davanni's Pizza

Phatphood Eating Twin Cities: Davanni’s

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Phatphood Eating Twin Cities: Davanni’s – What a coincidence, DAVANNI’S and myself both turned 40 this year, so why not celebrate this born day anniversary together?

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DAVANNI’S is a family-owned company based in Minnesota with 22 locations in the Twin Cities. The first of which opened on Cleveland and Grand as Pontillo’s on October 1, 1975.

Ever since my mom introduced it to me, I have always frequented the Brooklyn Center location and even had my 14th birthday party there since it is such a favorite of mine.

They were the first restaurants to offer hot hoagies, and I fell in love with the ham hoagie at first bite.  It is actually the only place that I eat ham from.  On the exact day of their Anniversary, DAVANNI’S opened their Chanhassen location as well as their newly remodeled Edina location.  Now living in Savage, I figured I’d go check out the new Chanhassen location to celebrate with them.

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I started off with a Southwestern Salad with chicken – lettuce mix, black bean and sweet corn salsa, chicken, cheddar cheese, red onions, fajita seasoning, crunch tortilla strips and topped with chipotle salsa ranch dressing.  I typically don’t order salads much when I go out, but this is one of those salads that makes you crave it on each visit, just a good mix of flavors and zest!

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Now, I’ve never had the Boneless Wings from DAVANNI’S because that is simply not what they are known for, but they offer them as a sharable side and it is never too late to try something new.  Had the BBQ sauce option.  That is some tasty BBQ sauce!  Something you may want to order for a group or if there are kids in your party.

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DAVANNI’S garlic cheese bread – different, in the best way. They use their hoagie buns and smother it with a garlic butter spread, add some mozzarella cheese and BAM!  Simple and Instant gratification.  Available on white, whole grain, or ciabatta and served with a red dipping sauce.  Legendary!

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Hot hoagies…yum!  These little bad boys can be order as halves or whole.  I recommend going for the whole or getting two different halves such as I did this evening.  On one half, I had Turkey Bacon Chipotle or if you like using short text, TBC – Turkey and bacon topped with garlic butter and cheddar cheese, then broiled.  Dressed with tomatoes, lettuce, chipotle mayo, onions and their very own secret dressing.  I recommend getting extra secret dressing, but I’m a sauce freak, and this sauce is awesome sauce!  Great hoagie; you can never go wrong with anything that has bacon.  I had the Club for my second half, which has Turkey, Canadian bacon and pepperoni.  It also has the same fixings as the TBC and tastes just as good.  Again, get extra dressing and high five me when you see me.

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Pizza, can’t forget about pizza, especially at DAVANNI’S since they have some delicious crusts no matter the thickness.  First up was Ironically their first and most popular pizza, the Works – pepperoni, sausage, hamburger, mushrooms and red onions.  When I was a kid, I hated deep-dish pizza.  I always discarded the crust; thought it was a waste of belly room.  I love the deep-dish crust here.  It has just the right amount of crunch and consistency.  In fact, when I order pizza from DAVANNI’S, I always order it deep-dish style.  That, however, didn’t stop me from trying a good ‘ol Traditional Pepperoni Pizza.  A chewier crust, a little bit of bite followed by a little bit of pull and tear.  Another good consistent ‘za if I do say so myself. They now have a gluten-free crust (also wheat free) available at all locations but one (25th & Riverside in Minneapolis).

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They offer three simple desserts – Fabulous Brownies, Rice Crispy Treats and Chocolate Chunk Cookies.  The brownies really are fabulous; addictingly good.  Oh, and they sell them by the tray if needed.  Needed!

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I am enjoying a lot of food as you can see, but after all, it is a celebration.  Being at this new location, I also got to experience something new that they have added – local craft beer options (at all locations except Riverside) with tap beer available at Edina and Chanhassen, as well as wine to six locations (Edina, Eden Prairie, Arden Hills, Minnetonka, Eagan, and Chanhassen).  I am a wine drinker, so naturally I had wine.  They have a few options for both red and white, but the Charles & Charles Cabernet Blend is a perfect choice.

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I love what they’ve done with the place.  A vibrant new modern look with a spacious layout and now, a bar.  I was also amazed to see that they sell frozen lasagna and pizza in a display case by the ordering counter. I never even knew they had this option of easy take n’ bake.  Video menus at the counter, flat screens viewable from all tables, and a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine is what to expect when dining at DAVANNI’S.  Can we do this again when we both turn 50?

Phat and Fly Sakana Plymouth MN

Phatphood Eating Twin Cities: Sakana

Phat and Fly Sakana Plymouth

Phatphood Eating Twin Cities: Sakana – Sakana Sushi and Asian bistro has three locations in the Twin Cities, we decided to visit the Plymouth restaurant because of the newly renovated feature they have, Japanese BBQ. They took out all of the Hibachi grills and replaced them with fourteen do-it-yourself centerpiece style grills, the first Japanese restaurant to do so in Minnesota. Sakana is a Japanese term referring to food eaten as an accompaniment to alcohol. That is exactly what we are here to do, eat and drink, so lets get on with it already!

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Rock Shrimp Tempura ~ Battered and flash fried, then tossed in a spicy aioli.

Light, crisp, simple, just how I like it. I’m a sauce guy, so you know I’m dippin! Refreshing appetizers start now!

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Rainbow Trio ~ Yellow Tail, Salmon and tuna. All wrapped around kani, cucumber, kaiwari, jalapeño and a side of chili oil ponzu.

Mini-plants of sashimi is what went through my mind as this was placed in front of me. Awesome presentation and fresh food is what I’m here for, and Sakana has it. There’s a plant that glows on my plate! Yeah yeah yeah, they say if it isn’t edible then it has no business being on the plate…well I appreciate the decor on my plate this evening so to hell with that theory. That sauce was tasty, so for the first time I didn’t douse my sashimi with spicy mayo and then dip in soy sauce.

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Sweet Shrimp Martini + Yellowtail Sashimi + Naruto (tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado, asparagus and snow crab wrapped in a cucumber) + The ‘On The Fly’ Roll (spicy scallop tartar and asparagus wrapped with big eye tuna).

Tell me this isn’t beautiful? Flowers and all! I actually like the healthy option of no rice on this entire plate. The yellowtail was so fresh and smooth like butter on the tongue. The ‘On The Fly’ Roll was just that, made-up last minute just for us. Who doesn’t like a sushi chef that improvises? Every element in the dish was exhilarating, and the freshness level was on 10. Amazing plating. Amazing dish.

This full dish was on a lengthy plate, so for my #foodporn picture sake, I broke it down into two parts.

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Part 1: Land and Sca ~ Beef tenderloin stir fried with veggies in a black pepper soy ginger reduction.

 Great little bowl of stir fry right here. Broccoli is my favorite in any stir fry dish because it holds the sauce the best. This dish had the broccoli along with an awesome sauce, winner.

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Part 2: Land and Sca ~ Marinated then pan seared scallops on lemon slices. Not exactly a crisp sear on either side, yet a perfect cook all the way through with a flavorful marinade is what made these taste excellent. Great flavors throughout that will leave you craving for more. This dish also lights up in a disco ball of noodles. Blinkity blink.

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Japanese BBQ ~ Truffle oil rib eye, marinated short ribs, garlic shrimp, miso pork belly, garlic buttered lobster, basil pesto chicken and spicy marinated tenderloin. With multiple vegetables, sides and sauces to make lettuce wraps. I see you kimchi!

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This is fun. Perfect for a first date or just gathering amongst wanna-be-chefs. Plan for a couple hours of entertainment all within your own company. You can either make lettuce wraps or just mix-and-match any combination you like, you’re doing the cooking and eating. If by chance you need help or are not sure how to cook something to its safe temperature, any server is available to assist you. You also can have any of the meats and seafood marinated to your liking or not at all.

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Once you’re done, you have the option of having them remove the grill and you can grill/roast some marshmallows and make your own s’mores. I’m going to stop right here…This may or may not have ended well. You will have to tune-in to ‘On The Fly‘ 11/4/2015 at 11pm (or it replays the following day at 8am) on MY29.  Video will also be posted here sometime after it airs.

Now there may be some debate as to this being Korean BBQ, even though there are some striking similarities, this is a Japanese restaurant, and for that purpose, it is Japanese BBQ. I don’t care what it is called, it is fun and is great accompanied with sushi and other Japanese fare. Plenty of options for anyone in your party, so there is something for everyone. There is a beautiful bar right as you walk in pass the hostess stand. We had some really refreshing drinks on this visit, try the cucumber martini and thank me later. There is a sushi bar, a regular dining area, and then in the back is where you will find the BBQ tables. Grab a date or a group, you really can’t go wrong here.

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Phatphood Eating Twin Cities: The Pointe

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Phatphood Eating Twin Cities: The Pointe – Oh oh…we went and did it again. This time bar food at its finest. The Pointe in Prior Lake, MN is where we are taking this next episode of Eating Twin Cities or aka a little segment we like to call #FOODPORN that will air next week 10/28/15 on MY29 on ‘On The Fly’ with my co-eater Tony Fly. When you pull up to The Pointe you think to yourself, “this place is huge!” When you walk inside you get the same vibe, with multiple dining areas and a 200-inch screen showing life-sized sport players taking action. Let’s see if the food holds up to all of this bigness.

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The staff has a “we get up at the same time you do on the weekends” mentality, so we decided to try a few hangover items here first. Ultimate Bloody Mary ~ House infused pepper vodka and Bloody Mary mix, bacon swizzle stick with brown sugar and bourbon, a skewer with summer sausage, cheddar, pepper jack, pepperoni, green olive, pepperoncini, shrimp and a pickle.

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Great flavored Bloody, with a medium spice and good skewer choices. The bacon swizzle stick, now that’s the ‘twist’ on this Bloody to make it stand out from others. Brilliant! 10am-2pm is when they serve breakfast, and it’s definitely not an after church function. It is more like, come pick up your car from the night before cure. So you will mostly see everyone from the night before.

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Breakfast Chimi ~ House prepared cheesy hash browns, scrambled eggs, ham, bacon, mushrooms, onions and cheddar jack cheese, all wrapped in a tortilla, deep-fried and covered with queso. Served with tots, sour cream, tomatoes, red onions, their house made guacamole and salsa. 
Okay, if I had a hangover, it would easily be cured by their Ultimate Bloody Mary and this smothered goodness. Grease is the remedy and they have it here. Their guac is pretty impressive as well!

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Chicken & Beef Giant Nachos ~ House made tortilla chips, Colby jack, queso, chicken, beef, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, black olives, jalapeños, cilantro, sour cream and house made salsa and guacamole (fresh everyday).

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When you order nachos at any restaurant, this is what you envision. Not a flat plate of chips and cheese, but a mound of gloriousness that challenges your appetite ego. Tony Fly branded this “The Nacho Eclipse.” Pretty righteous. I will get this often and I will finish it.

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Jalapeño Cheese Burger ~ Hand-patted ground beef, pepper jack cheese, jalapeños, bacon, Thai chili sauce a jalapeño and cream cheese roll, served on a brioche bun. With house made potato chips.

I found yet another local favorite. Thank you for only being 10-minutes down the road. When this was presented to us, we both were shocked to see what we assumed was an egg roll on a burger, and with Thai chili sauce!? Pretty insane, and different…and I love it! It works! It amazingly works!

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Burkey Turger ~ House ground turkey burger (bacon, carrots, onions and special seasonings) topped with Bacon Sriracha aioli, Swiss cheese, bacon, avocado and a fried egg. Served on a brioche bun with waffle fries.

This is the unhealthiest, healthiest meal I’ve encountered here thus far, but I dig it. They’ve managed to make the turkey not only taste wonderful, but to keep it extremely juicy. No dry tuger here. Plus they had me at bacon and eggs. Doesn’t that avocado look vibrant? I guess you could get it with out all of the good stuff on it and make it a more healthier option, but nah!

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Brat Burger ~ House ground sausage patty, Swiss cheese, bacon and Thai chili kraut served on a pretzel brat. Of course, with some tots.

It’s different that’s for sure. That’s what I’m into. It won’t be my go to burger, not with that jalapeño cream cheese one I just devoured here, that’s for sure. This is unique with the kraut and I love the brat patty. A super-fresh soft pretzel bun makes this a favorite for locals I’m told.

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Dagwood ~ Four slices of sourdough, warm ham, bacon, salami, pepperoni, turkey, roast beef, Swiss, white American, pepper jack, lettuce, tomato, onion and Dijon mayo.

 Gluten free? Not here. That’s damn near a loaf of bread right there.

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Just your typical Dagwood here, kind of…Only a bigger, and more impressive version. Was served with their “famous, yet not famous” cheese curds. Light, crisp and delightful they were.

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Needed a break. I am getting stretch marks as I type. Time for a refreshing Caramel Appletini, you know, to soothe this gluttony. Yup, they do these here too. This was actually really good. I feel fancy.

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Mixed Grill ~ Skewers of scallops, bacon wrapped shrimp, Szechwan chicken, garlic herb steak, pork belly and vegetables served on cilantro rice.

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Truly the healthiest dish of the night. The Pointe, on-a-stick. That pork belly was scrumptious. Generous portions once again. Scallops had a perfect sear. The two different aioli’s were terrific and paired nicely with the battered mahi mahi and the pork belly. This is a great mixed dish perfect for sharing. But just that you know the pork belly and scallops are mine.

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The Pork Skyscraper ~ two beef patties, one house made brat patty, house smoked pulled pork with Carolina BBQ sauce, bacon, Canadian bacon, bacon Sriracha aioli, Swiss, coleslaw, fried onion strings and a fried pickle. 
 This little piggy was a beast!! I’m in my zone.

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The waffle fries are literally the foundation to hold this leaning tower of meats. Ridiculous, yet proper at the same damn time. The mothership has landed right here at The Pointe in Prior Lake. I triple dog dare ya!

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Mocha Cheesecake ~ House made cheesecake with coffee grounds, coffee liqueur, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. They make a new house made cheesecake every week here. This one is pretty badass. This week is nearly half over, do the right thing. A great little slice of heaven, with a slight caffeine buzz. Yum.

So after all, the portions of the dishes served here do in fact hold up to the size of this grill/bar/venue. You can come watch your favorite sports team (this place is known as Wild central) or you can come one of the few nights a week that they have a band playing on stage. Oh, they also have pretty decent Deejays a couple times out of the month as well. All while indulging on some mighty tasty, and let’s be honest, picture worthy dishes, that are sure to impress your friends once they get a glimpse of them online. Bar food with generous portions and restaurant quality, this is a place I will frequent often. By the way, it’s family friendly, so bring the kids (free kids meal with purchase of adult entrée Sunday – Wednesday). Just get them out of there by 9pm so we can party. See you Saturday morning, after I see you Friday night.

The Pointe: 16691 South Hwy 13 West, Prior Lake, MN.