• twitter_icon
  • facbook_icon
  • social-icon
  • social-icon2

Category : Eats

Home/Archive by Category "Eats"
Phatphood MN State Fair Food Review SM

2017 Minnesota State Fair New Food Review

Phatphood MN State Fair Food Review

2017 Minnesota State Fair New Food Review – The great Minnesota Eat-together is upon us once again. Before the new food list was announced I started telling everyone that I was going to try all the new food items this year, all on the first day…then they announced 30+ items. Ouch. With some much appreciated help of some friends to get the food faster to my face, I accomplished this gluttonous task. Not only trying the items, but taking photos with my iPhone 6 and posting live reviews on Instagram of each item I conquered. Here is how my day went:

Bacon Fluffernutter MN State Fair

Bacon Fluffernutter:  Grilled cinnamon bun sandwich with a bacon, peanut butter and marshmallow cream filling.  LOCATION:  The Sandwich Stop  REVIEW:  9/10 $9 – Wow…everything I love in one sandwich. Only thing keeping it from a 10 is the bacon needs to be crispier and thicker, but just crispier would suffice. Damn good!

Bacon Up Pup MN State Fair

Bacon Up Pup:  Belgian waffle served on-a-stick with bacon in the batter, dipped in chocolate, drizzled with maple syrup, and topped with whipped cream and bacon.  LOCATION:  Granny’s Kitchen Fudge Puppies.  REVIEW:  7/10 $7 – It’s surprisingly not overly sweet with everything involved, then again, it’s not as amazing as I wanted it to be…still really good though! Be careful lifting this off the paper, that maple syrup strings and goes everywhere.  I got it everywhere.

Bowl O' Dough Minnesota State Fair

Bowl O’ Dough:  Scoops of straight-up raw cookie dough that is safe to eat and available in four flavors:  Brownie Batter Swirl (a chocolate chip cookie dough and brownie batter mash-up).   Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (gluten -free) (a mix of classic cookie dough and chocolate chips).  European Cookie Butter, made with Biscoff (European spiced cookies).  Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake with Blueberries (lemons, fresh curd ricotta cheesecake and blueberries blended into a sugar cookie dough).  All are served with a side of sea salt-flavored ice milk.  LOCATION:  Blue Moon Dine-In Theater.  REVIEW:  7/10 $8 for the flight…Which seems to be the only offering.  Nice flavor profiles here…could be more generous with the portions. When I mixed them all together, I got carrot cake for some reason. I feel like a lot is missing. Wtf?!  Looks at description again.

Breakfast Buddy Bowl

Breakfast Buddy Bowl:  Waffle bowl filled with hash browns, maple syrup, scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese and bacon, topped with a biscuit, country sausage gravy and green onions.  LOCATION:  LuLu’s Public House.  REVIEW:  5/10 $8 – Had potential, was very dry all around. The waffle bowl will get stale and soggy if not eaten quickly. Sausage gravy was good, the maple syrup might throw some people off.  I think LuLu’s preps their food too early so the execution doesn’t come off how it should.

Brown Ale and Onion Tipsy Pie

Brown Ale and Onion-Gouda Tipsy Pie:  Onions caramelized in Lift Bridge Brewery’s Chestnut Hill Brown Ale with smoked Gouda cheese, baked in a pie crust, topped with an onion sugar and drizzled with a sweet beer glaze.  LOCATION:  Sara’s Tipsy Pies.  REVIEW:  2/10 $10 (for two) – Maybe it’s just me, but I am not really into these, like at all. The crust is cool. Beer and onions in a pie? Didn’t work, for me. The chocolate had a weird taste to it as well. Someone next to me demolished theirs. Not me. Nope.

Cheesy Nacho Corn on the Cob MN State Fair

Cheesy Nacho Corn on the Cob:  Roasted corn on the cob lightly coated with crushed Doritos corn chips and nacho cheese.  LOCATION:  Texas Steak Out.  REVIEW:  9/10 $6 – I loved the deep-fried Nachos here last year, and this meets right up there with them. Grab napkins fo yo face!

Cherry Bombs MN State Fair

Cherry Bombs:  Red licorice dipped in batter, deep-fried and dusted with powdered sugar.  LOCATION:  Veggie Fries.  REVIEW:  7/10 $5 – Weird crap.  At first I was like, NO…but then after a couple, it is what it is, and it’s a cool treat. Impressed myself.

Chocolate Popover with Peanut Butter MN State Fair

Chocolate Popover with Peanut Butter Spread:  Hot out-of-the-oven chocolate popover with a side of peanut butter spread.  LOCATION:  LuLu’s Public House.  REVIEW:  3.5/10 $6 – Dry meets dry. The popover by itself is just nothing, add the thick dry PB spread and it gets a tad bit better, but not enough to get this at all.  Pass.

Cranberry Wild Rice Meatballs MN State Fair

Cranberry Wild Rice Meatballs:  Swedish-style meatballs with cranberries and wild rice blend covered with Lingonberry sauce.  LOCATION:  Hamline Church Dining Hall.  REVIEW:  5.5/10 $12.88 – Meatballs were dense and a bit sticky, like they seem to have bread in them?  Maybe it’s the cranberries? I don’t know, but I don’t like the texture.   These are tightly packed balls. Uh oh, here we go again.  Definitely no my style on how these were prepared. Coleslaw, potatoes and cornbread beat out the meatballs.

Deep Fried Avocado MN State Fair

Deep-Fried Avocado:  Avocado slices dipped in a lightly seasoned batter, deep-fried and served with chipotle ranch dipping sauce.  LOCATION:  O’Gara’s.  REVIEW:  9/10 $8 – What I like is the hint of lime either in the batter or on the avocado itself. Nice sized package of chipotle ranch.  These made me happy.

Deviation Stout Steak Taco MN State Fair

Deviation Stout Steak Taco Naan:  Steak marinated in Modist Deviation 004 – Mexican Dark Chocolate Stout beer, grilled and topped with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, queso fresco, cilantro lime and jalapeño ranch sauces, and wrapped in warm naan flatbread.  LOCATION:  San Felipe Tacos.  REVIEW:  5.5/10 $10 – The steak alone isn’t flavored very much, with it all together, decent, but there’s more naan than anything.  Steak was a bit stringy, as well.

Double Dose Pork Belly MN State Fair

Double Dose of Pork Belly:  100% ground pork belly burger topped with crisp smoked pork belly, pepper jack cheese, coleslaw and pickled onions, served on a toasted bun.  LOCATION:  RC’s BBQ.  REVIEW:  10/10 $6 – We got another one folks! We’ll call it a $6 Slider, but it’s well worth it. Nice amount of heat on here. According to the description, the only thing spicy would be the pepper jack, but I’m going to go with the BBQ sauce they added that wasn’t mentioned in the description.   Let me know when you try it if you thought the same.

Duck Bacon Wontons MN State Fair

Duck Bacon Wontons:  Duck bacon, grilled sweet corn and cream cheese combined inside deep-fried crescent-shaped wontons and served with dipping sauce.  LOCATION:  Giggles’ Campfire Grill.  REVIEW:  8.5/10 $8.50 (each) – Both are damn good, even with the beer.  Wontons were filled plump with all elements in each individual wonton, not some in this one, some in that want…evenly portioned.  Great flavors.  You’ll love these!  Don’t let the word “duck” scare you.  The pickle Ale had a bit more than a slight taste of Pickle, which was perfect…but it lingers around on the palate for a while, and I dig it!

Fall Guy Breakfast Panini MN State Fair

Fall Guy Breakfast Panini:  Capicola and scrambled egg topped with white cheddar on ciabatta.  LOCATION:  The Hideaway Speakeasy.  REVIEW:  4.5/10 $8 – nothing special here, lacking on all levels. Meh.

Hill Country Beef Pocket MN State Fair

Hill Country Beef Pocket: Black pepper mushroom cream and seasoned dipping sauce. LOCATION: The Blue Barn. RATING: 5/10 $8.75 – It’s savory, not bad, not a stand out either.  Definitely not worth it for the steep price for one.

Honey Puffs MN State Fair

Honey Puffs (Loukamades):  Deep-fried dough balls crispy outside and sweet inside, tossed in a sweet syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.  LOCATION:  Dino’s Gyros.  REVIEW:  7.5/10 $6 – Sticky and sweet…just as you’d expect. Tasty balls of joy…wait. Never mind.  Get these.

Italian Bomba Sandwich MN State Fair

Italian Bomba Sandwich:  Beer-braised pork shoulder with prosciutto cotto ham, fontina cheese, giardiniera (Italian relish) and aioli on a grilled ciabatta roll.  LOCATION:  Mancini’s al Fresco.  REVIEW:  10/10 $8.25 – This is like a Cuban sandwich and Italian beef hybrid (minus the actual beef) that melts in your mouth, portion is perfect for the price. Fiya/Flame.  Probably my number one of the year.

Memphis Totchos MN State Fair

Memphis Totchos:  Sliced bananas and sautéed bacon over tater tots, topped with peanut sauce.  LOCATION:  Snack House.  REVIEW:  1/10 $9 – These will change your life…for the worse. All separated, it has a chance. All together, death.

Mini Sconuts MN State Fair

Mini Sconuts:  Buttermilk scone holes filled with chocolate, marshmallow and Nutella®, deep-fried and topped with a dusting of powdered sugar (Gluten-free).  LOCATION: French Meadow Bakery & Cafe.  REVIEW:  9/10 $5 – These are scrumptious and are pretty similar to the deep-fried cookie dough in the food building. Go to the left ordering station where it’s not on the menu.  Very confusing place with the wrong price as well.

Mobster's Caviar MN State Fair

Mobster’s Caviar:  Cream cheese dip with crab meat, green onions, fresh red pepper and water chestnuts, served with whole wheat flatbread crackers.  LOCATION:  The Hideaway Speakeasy.  REVIEW:  7.5/10 $11 – Good portion, perfect for sharing, wish the bread was buttered and toasted along with more of a wedge of lemon. A bit of a cluster being a brand new restaurant here, where do you stand after your owrder? You’ve been warned.  Also trying the Cotton Candy Bubble Trouble: Real, fresh-spun State Fair cotton candy in a champagne flute, doused with Cannon River Winery’s Sparkle Edelweiss. REVIEW: 9/10 $9 – The magic and taste work! This was sweet and refreshing.

Pie in the Sky Malt & Sundae MN State Fair

Pie’n the Sky Malt & Sundae:  A sweet and tart mix of crunchy, spiced “airplane” cookies and lemon curd, topped with dark chocolate drizzle and served with vanilla ice cream as a sundae or malt.  LOCATION:  Dairy Goodness Bar.  REVIEW:  6.5/10 $5 – It’s no peanut buster parfait, but it’s a nice little concoction. I didn’t really care for the lemon curd, but that’s just me.

Pizzarito MN State Fair

Pizzarito:  Flour tortilla filled with pepperoni, Italian sausage, risotto, mozzarella and marinara, coated with garlic butter, parmesan and Italian spices, baked and served with a side of marinara.  LOCATION:  Green Mill.  REVIEW:  9.5/10 $5 – This tastes amazing, with rice even!  Excuse me, risotto?!  It just works. Good size, good price…I’m a fan.

Raspberry Hard Cider Mn State Fair

Raspberry Hard Cider (which is new) – and a boat load of Perch (not new). LOCATION: Giggles’ Campfire Grill. REVIEW: 1/10 $8.50 (da beer) – yuk. Waaaay to fruity for my liking of a brew.

Slow Roasted Pork Mole Tamale Mn State Fair

Slow-Roasted Pork Mole Tamale:  Fresh corn tamale with slow-roasted pork, mole coloradito sauce and black bean and pineapple relish.  LOCATION:  Tejas Express.  REVIEW:  7.5/10 $10 – More of a deconstructed tamale. A good one at that, bit steep on the price for this.  I’d probably pass if I were you, but good flavor  profile.

S'moresas MN State Fair

S’moresas: Marshmallow and chocolate fried in a crisp shell with chai dipping sauce. LOCATION: Hot Indian. REVIEW: 8/10 $6 – I’m diggin’ these. Wasn’t on the new item list that the Fair offered,  why??  Hey,  they are new this year.  Basic, but yummy.  Didn’t care much for the dipping sauce and rather of had another s’moresas! Everything on their menu is $6 and you only have until 8/29, because 8/30 they switch over to Rabbit Hole, which also has a new food item, guess I’ll be back.

Sonoran Sausage MN State Fair

Sonoran Sausage:  ONE.BAD.DOG:  Tex-Mex sausage stuffed with pepper jack cheese, wrapped in bacon, baked and served on a cornmeal-dusted bun with fresh corn salsa and a drizzle of avocado ranch sauce.  LOCATION:  Sausage Sister & Me.  REVIEW:  7/10 $7 – It’s a damn good dog with some damn good toppings…that bun though, overwhelming, and there’s a whole lot of it.

Spicy Thai Noodles MN State Fair

Spicy Thai Noodles:  Rice noodles and red curry with coconut milk served with kaffir lime, basil leaves, bell peppers, galangal, onions and tomatoes (Gluten-free).  LOCATION:  Oodles of Noodles.  REVIEW:  8/10 $10 (with chicken) – Nice freshly tossed bowl of Thai spiciness (also an 8/10), only complaint is that I wish they had used different noodles.

Sweet Corn Blueberry Eclair MN State Fair

Sweet Corn Blueberry Eclair:  Kernza® flour éclair filled with sweet corn pastry cream and topped with blueberry glaze.  LOCATION:  Farmers Union Coffee Shop.  REVIEW:  5.5/10 $6.50 – blueberry is fresh and packs a punch. The sweet corn you get right away and then it dissipates. Not bad, not good either…so in between.  On the fence with this one.

Sweety's Churros MN State Fair

Sweety’s Churros:  Sweet potato, cinnamon and nutmeg kneaded into a traditional churro dough, deep-fried and served with a side of chocolate or maple-brown sugar sauce or whipped cream.  LOCATION:  Potato Man and Sweety.  REVIEW:  3.5/10 $5 – Nothing special here, basic churros. At least you can get both sauces, which are both needed with these crunchy dry sticks.

Swine and Spuds MN State Fair

Swine & Spuds:  Bacon-wrapped pork belly and mashed potato croquettes served on a skewer and topped with a choice of homestyle gravy, Korean Bulgogi barbecue sauce or sweet chili sauce.  LOCATION:  Swine & Spuds.  REVIEW:  3/10 $8 (each) – Uneven portions. Non-photogenic. Sauces are very sweet, mix that with the very salty duo of pork and it’s pretty rough to like. Just doesn’t work very well. I got the sweet chili and the bulgogi sauces.  Nothing special here, move along.

Swing Dancer Sandwich MN State Fair

Swing Dancer Sandwich:  Honey smoked salmon, cucumbers, capers and cream cheese with fresh dill on pumpernickel, served with sliced lemon garnish.  LOCATION:  The Hideaway Speakeasy.  REVIEW:  8/10 $12 – I really like this sandwich, everything balances out and I would call this their star dish here…add kettle chips and it would’ve been a solid 9.

Triple Truffle Trotters MN State Fair

Triple Truffle Trotters:  Sliced peppers and bacon with black diamond truffle oil mayo on top of waffle fries.  LOCATION:  The Blue Barn.  REVIEW:  Sliced peppers and bacon with black diamond truffle oil mayo on top of waffle fries.  LOCATION:  The Blue Barn.  REVIEW:  9/10 $7.50 – The truffle profile is there, everything works, making it a near perfect dish.  More waffle fries, please!

Wild Bill's Breakfast Bake MN State Fair

Wild Bill’s Breakfast Bake:  Scrambled eggs, roasted chicken and chorizo sausage baked and topped with salsa and a mix of lettuce, pickled red onions and cilantro.  LOCATION:  The Blue Barn.  REVIEW:  Scrambled eggs, roasted chicken and chorizo sausage baked and topped with salsa and a mix of lettuce, pickled red onions and cilantro.  LOCATION:  The Blue Barn.  REVIEW:  6/10 $8.75 – It’s decent, It’s filling, has mild spice.  It comes off very dense since it’s packed inside of a tortilla, basically. A Mexican egg-bake, if you will.  On the fence with this one, let me know your thoughts if you end up trying this.

Follow @Phatphood on Instagram to see where his next food adventure takes him!

Banana Cream Pie Recipe

Banana Cream Pudding Pie Recipe

Banana Cream Pudding Pie

Banana Cream Pudding Pie Recipe – I grew up having the best homemade banana cream pie. My grandmother made it with love and I have been thinking about it lately. While this banana cream pudding pie isn’t anything even close to what she made, it was absolutely delicious.

Banana Dessert Ingredients

It was so yummy that my family ate the whole pie on the first night. Next time I will make two. I found this recipe on The Country Cook blog. So let’s get started.

Ingredients

For the crust:

2 cups Nilla Wafers crumbs measured after crushing

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter (1 stick) melted

For the filling:

1 8 oz package cream cheese softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 8 oz carton frozen whipped topping Cool Whip thawed

1-2 bananas sliced

1 3/4 cups cold milk

1 3.4 oz package instant banana cream pudding mix

Instructions

Start off by spraying a 9-inch pie pan with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Nilla Wafer Crumbs

Nilla Wafer Pie Crust

Fill a ziplock bag with Nilla Wafers and crush. You will need 2 full cups of crushed wafers. In a small bowl, combine Nilla Wafer crumbs and sugar; then stir in melted butter. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of prepared baking dish. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes and let cool.

Banana Pudding

In a small bowl, whisk cold milk and pudding mix until combined. Let stand for 2 minutes until slightly thickened.

Cream Cheese

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with mixer until smooth. Fold in half of the Cool Whip and the prepared pudding.

Pudding and Cool Whip

Pudding Mix Blend

Arrange the banana slices into the bottom of the wafer crust and then top with the banana cream filling.

Sliced Bananas

Spread the rest of the whipped topping on top. You can then decorate with mini wafers, shaved almonds or bananas. Get creative – clearly I’m not that creative since I only used the mini wafters.

Banana Pie

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. I made mine in the morning and served it with dinner.  I would have to imagine that you could replace the banana pudding with any other flavor to make your favorite creamy pie.

Creamy Banana Pie

Do you have a recipe that you think that we should try? Leave us a comment below.

McDonald's Sauce

McDelivery? Sriracha Mac Sauce? Oh My!

McDonalds 1

McDelivery? Sriracha Mac Sauce? Oh My! Ok you fast food freaks, McDonald’s just raised the bar with not one, but TWO new promotions this week.  Let’s get right down to what is pictured – Sriracha Mac Sauce™ is available tomorrow on their Signature Crafted Recipes sandwiches (you pick the meat, the bun, the sauce), as a McNugget dipping sauce, or as a spicy Big Mac Sauce (shown here).  I’m in love with this sauce!

McDonald's 4

I was already a fan of Big Mac Sauce, which I’m sure I’ve made obvious in previous Instagram posts (@phatphood), but they really did an exceptional job with this creation and I’m so happy the packaged it up in some form one way or another.  The Sriracha Mac Sauce still has the same taste, tanginess and pickle bits (aka relish) as the original Sauce, but it also has a great amount of heat that really works well combined, impressive if you ask me.  Probably the spiciest thing I’ve ever had from McDonald’s (bring back the jalapeño burger!)

McDonald's 2

Okay, the other deal rolling out tomorrow is their McDelivery on Uber Eats. So now you can get McDonald’s Big Macs and Fries delivered to your door (20 stores in the metro are offering this delivery service, so look at app to find one). Oh, and tomorrow only (Wednesday 7/26/2017 – Global McDelivery Day) you can get some free swag from McDonald’s from their McDelivery Collection just for ordering from Uber Eats. Take note however, the only two locations in Minnesota that is giving you this McSwag is the Uptown and Dinkytown locations.  Take advantage for this one day event. Also, I win for most parenthesis!

McDonalds Giveaway

McDonald's 3

This here is the new Signature Crafted Recipes sandwich at McDonald’s – I picked the buttermilk crispy chicken, artisan roll and my new favorite…Sriracha Mac Sauce.  You should definitely start seeing the sauce popping up at locations near you this week.

McNuggets Sriracha Mac Sauce

You get two Sriracha Mac Sauces with each 10-piece McNugget order, and I gotta tell ya, this stuff works well with the nuggets.  It basically works with just about anything, trust me, I took some home and had it with dinner.

If you’re not following Phatphood on Instagram, you should!

Hudson Food Walk 6

Hudson Food Walk Guided Tours

Hudson Food Walk 5

Looking for something to do on the weekends? If you are in or near the St. Croix Valley we recommend going on Hudson Food Walk guided tours. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom for the We’ve Tried It followers special pricing.

Hudson Food Walk 7

Local family Brian and Katie Elwood started the Hudson Food Walk – a three-hour guided tour where guests learn about the town’s rich history and sample a variety of dishes at five popular eateries.

“We have lived in Hudson for 17 years and can honestly say this town just keeps getting better,” said Katie Elwood. “The thriving food scene, eclectic shops, abundant cultural attractions, scenic St. Croix River and distinctive energy make downtown Hudson a destination enjoyed by visitors and locals alike.”

Hudson Food Walk 1

Meeting with five popular local restaurants – San Pedro Cafe’, Barker’s Bar & Grill, Pier 500, Winzer Stube and Knoke’s Chocolates and Nuts each was enthusiastic about being a part of the tour. From authentic German food to Caribbean-inspired cuisine, the combination of restaurants ensures that guests enjoy a wide variety of food selections. And with the tour concluding at Knoke’s, guests end on a sweet note as they sample a truffle, toffee, caramel and ice cream of their choosing.

Hudson Food Walk 2

“Each of the guides grew up in Hudson and will share some Hudson history along with some of their favorite stories,” said Brian Elwood.

With a strong desire to give back to the community, the Hudson Food Walk will be donating a portion of the proceeds from each ticket sold to the United Way’s John Coughlin Food & Resource Center which distributes food to 13 area pantries and shelters in St. Croix and Pierce County, Wisconsin.

For We’ve Tried It followers, when booking tickets for the remainder of the summer, use the promo code “WEVETRIEDIT” and receive 20% off all tours. The last tour date is Sept. 17.

Tickets for the tours are $45, which includes tastings at the five restaurants. The three-hour tours begin at 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Each tour group can accommodate up to 12 people. Private groups or parties are encouraged and can be booked together if a date is available. For more information, please visit www.hudsonfoodwalk.com or follow Hudson Food Walk on Facebook.

weve tried it, piada, street food, phatphood

Phatphood Reviews Piada Italian Street Food Eagan

Piada, Phatphood, foodie

Phatphood checked out the new Piada Italian Street Food in Eagan, MN. The new location officially opened on Tuesday May 16th. This is the fourth location with the fifth coming to Edina very soon. His first visit here, and it is love at first bite.

Piada

The Piada Story:

            “PIADA ITALIAN STREET FOOD STARTED AS AN IDEA scribbled on a napkin during a visit to Rimini, Italy. Our Chefs found distinct charm in the family operated food carts and corner markets scattered throughout the streets of the city where the aroma of fresh basil, hand crafted cured meats and homemade cheeses saturated the air. This trip began our obsession…our inspiration…our mission to bring this experience back to the United States.

We opened our first Piada restaurant in 2010 with a mission to create fresh, modern Italian food focused on the preparation of high quality ingredients and attention to simplistic cooking. Today’s consumers are looking for healthier, better quality food with convenient, fast delivery to accommodate their hectic lifestyles. Piada was created with the belief that you don’t have to sacrifice quality and flavor for speed and value.”

Phatphood Dives In:

Piada Italian Street Food Phatphood

Phatphood got the Summer Avocado Piada. Hand-rolled Piada filled with roasted sweet corn & tomatoes, fresh avocado, arugula, mozzarella, pancetta, basil aioli.

Piada We've Tried It Phatphood

Also, the CrispyChicken BLT Tasca. Layered sandwich with crispy buttermilk fried chicken, creamy parmesan, spicy balsamic aioli, bruschetta tomatoes, pancetta, arugula & spicy pickles.

He had a few samples of their Blackberry Hibiscus Lemonade, Roasted Corn Salad and Cannoli Chips. Phat said that he would get everything he had again, because it so good. These are featured seasonal items, so try them now before they are gone!

Eagan Location:

3380 Central Park Village Drive, Eagan, MN 55121

P: 651-340-4166

WEBSITE

McDonalds Sandwiches 2

McDonalds Signature Crafted Recipes Review

McDonalds Sandwiches

McDonalds Signature Crafted Recipes Review: A friend on Facebook asked me to review three new Signature Crafted Recipe Sandwiches. So here I am at the fast food staple. Coincidently, I happened to like them in the order they are shown in my picture.

McDonalds

From left to right:

McDonald 3

1) Pico Guacamole with Grilled Chicken – The best out of the three, also the messiest, because the non textured chicken is between two sauces basically, I’m sure you can imagine (but I have pics if you want). This is a great sandwich for fast food, almost tricks my mind that I’m actually eating something healthy. Lime wedge is a nice touch McDonalds!

McDonalds 1

2) Sweet BBQ Bacon with Crispy Fried Chicken – Now this one is tasty with the fried onions and I wanted it to be my favorite until I tried the guac one, just fell short and seemed like I’ve had it before.

McDonalds 2

3) Maple Bacon Dijon with 1/4 lb Beef Patty – It was the Dijon mustard that set this one behind, if it were a honey mustard it would have been much better. At least the new bacon is a good upgrade.

You can switch out any of the meats on these new sandwiches, I went for how they were advertised for this round. Have you tried any of these? Thoughts?

Let it be known that each sandwich is $5.39 before tax, the special through the 8th of May is a free medium fry and drink with purchase of a new sandwich.

Don’t forget to follow @phatphood on Instagram to see where he ends up next.

Ninja Foods Papaya Salad Sauce

Ninja Foods Papaya Salad Sauce Review

Ninja Foods Papaya Salad Sauce Review

Someone has made it a lot easier to make papaya salad; that someone is Ninja Foods. They sell three different spice levels from mild too hot for $5 each and you just add the papaya and tomatoes.

Ninja Foods Papaya Salad Sauce

My We’ve Tried It team just tasted all three, and we must admit, Ninja Foods did a perfect job on executing all the ingredients into a few easy steps: shred papaya, cut tomatoes, add to mortar, pour in mix, pestle the hell out of it and serve.

Ninja Foods Papaya Salad Sauce Hot

The flavor is dead on, I just personally believe the hot could be a couple levels hotter, it is more like a medium that I’m used to having from the Asian stores or homemade. Basically, if you don’t have all the ingredients or just don’t know what all goes into papaya salad, this makes it quick, easy and perfect for traveling.

Follow @phatphood on Instagram and see what or where I am eating next.

Red's Savoy Pizza

Red’s Savoy Uptown Minneapolis Review

Red's Savoy Pizza Uptown

Red's Savoy Uptown Outside

Red’s Savoy Uptown Minneapolis Review: The first Red’s Savoy pizza opened in the east side of St. Paul, MN in 1965 and is pretty much known for the best thin crust pizza in the city.  Fast forward to 2009 and Red finally made his mark in the hip culture of Uptown Minneapolis.  That’s where I am and I can honestly say that this is the first time I’ve ever sat down in a Savoy Pizza. I usually pick-up or get delivery, and didn’t even know that this location had a dining area, well, I do now.  It’s small and a little dark with six booths for a quick dine-in experience, but it still has character, like this full wall mural of a pizza offering.

Red's Savoy Uptown Mural

Red's Savoy Uptown Inside

Food is what I came for and food is what I’m getting; so first up is a specialty pizza they have on their menu and it’s known as their White Pizza – olive oil, garlic, Italian seasoning and chicken. Thin, soft-crust and gooey cheese…you literally can’t go wrong with any of their creations, and I felt a little adventurous and had to try an alternative to their famous spicy red sauce, and I’m impressed.

Savoy Pizza Uptown White Pizza

All hands in – Family and some good ‘za, that’s all that matters, right?

Savoy Pizza Uptown Pizzas

Okay Red’s Savoy Pizza, I see you…you offer a pretty stellar cheese-pull for a thin crust.  This is their Bacon Cheeseburger pizza and it is still one of my favorites they offer here besides my typical sausage and pepperoni with shrooms.

Savoy Pizza Uptown Cheese Pull

Okay, on to something new for me.  I was told that I MUST try some of Red’s sandwiches. 1) Since I’ve only had their pizza, I guess apparently I’ve been missing out.  2) They are allegedly badass.  This one is the Kracker’s Steak & Egg – grilled Steak, jalapeno bacon, red onion, mushrooms, pepper jack cheese and a fried egg with chipotle aioli on a ciabatta roll. Yup, badass.  Thanks for the suggestion, everyone.

Savoy Pizza Uptown menu

Yes, the egg leaked upon topping the sandwich. I already want to order another one of these but I have their infamous Philly coming up.

Savoy Pizza Uptown Kracker's Steak and Eggs

I must admit and I’m sure some might disagree, but Red’s Savoy Pizza is a contender for a top five Philly Steak and Cheese in the Twin Cities.  It has some finely grilled steak, sautéed onions, banana peppers, pepper relish, lettuce, tomato and mayo with your choice of provolone or cheese whiz…naturally I got both, duh.

Savoy Pizza Uptown Philly Steak and Cheese

In short, Savoy has the thin-crust pizza and hot sandwich game on lock.  With 14 locations in the metro area, I’m sure everyone has had a slice in the past four decades of their existence, if for some odd reason you know of someone that hasn’t, be a true friend and introduce them to this greatness.

Savoy Pizza Uptown Beer

Stop by Red’s Savoy 2329 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, and tell them Phatphood sent you!

Pedro's del Este Hudson WI

Pedro’s del Este Opens in Hudson, WI

Pedro's del Este Hudson WI

Pedro’s del Este Opens in Hudson, WI – As of March 22nd, 2017 Pedro’s del Este in historic Downtown Hudson, WI has officially opened.  Think Havana Nights | with Spanish, Cuban and Latin influenced cuisine, desserts, and craft cocktails complimented with lounge amenities.  Prepare yourself to be captivated by the hand painted ceilings and Latin character in a very social atmosphere.

Pedro's Lounge

The vibe is unparalleled to its sister restaurant, San Pedro Café, that has been a popular success since 2000.   Pete Foster, who also owns long standing Barker’s Bar & Grill (1988) decided to add this new restaurant just east of his last, hence the name; Pedro’s del Este.  Some may be scratching their heads asking; why directly next-door?  Well, Foster says that the Café is always full during peak dinner hours and he doesn’t like to see customers waiting for any amount of time, so why not give them an alternative.  You can literally never have too much of good thing, and if you have already dined at San Pedro Café, you already understand its popularity.

Latin Manhattan Pedro's del Este

I was lucky enough to score a spot at the Chef’s bar, a five-seated stainless steel bar with a view of the chef’s doing their thing, it really is a culinary experience.  These chef’s interact with you and don’t mind you staring at their craft and asking question, they are happy to engage. There are thirteen craft cocktails and seventeen small plates on their menu and typing of cocktails, let’s dip into what they have to offer here starting with a Latin Manhattan – flor de cana grain reserva 7-year rum, carpano anfica sweet vermouth, orange bitters, paired with some complimentary fried chickpeas.   This is straight up good, keep’em coming!

Saffron Fried Cauliflower Pedro's del Este

Saffron Fried Cauliflower – preserved lemon aioli, pistachio, cilantro. I feel so healthy right now, stop me!

Sopes Rancheros Pedro's del Este

Sopes Rancheros – crispy masa, barbacoa, roasted tomato, avocado, cilantro crema. The perfect small plate, nicely seasoned and oh-so-tender.

Semanal Pedro's del Este

After-all, it is Tuesday…so Tacos it is!  Semanal – Fried Shrimp, house made corn tortillas, mojo pocon, salsa verde. Light, flavorful…these did their job, I’m satisfied off of only two.  Not to mention that serving them with the two different sauces on the plate is just a dope concept, and it keeps track of who steals the sauces.

Pedro del Este Menu

Pollo Rojo – citrus, fresh herbs, cucumber, jicama, mezcal, chili sauce.  Destination skewers of love, yep, that’s what I’m calling them.  More please!

Platanos de Canarias Fritos Pedro's del Este

Plátanos de Canarias Fritos – fried plantains, mojo picon. That sauce won me over. I need a jar of this to take home.  Oh, Mr. Foster…

Grilled Ahi Ceviche Pedro's del Este

Grilled Ahi Ceviche – ancho, grapefruit, cilantro, mint, avocado, tortillas. Probably one of my top 5 ceviches.  This dish is just so well balanced, it has the same sauce as on their barbacoa dish…amazing.

Gambas al Ajo Pedro's del Este

Gambas al Ajo – grilled prawns, citrus, charmoula, ramesco.  Outstanding flavor on these, if you dine/lounge here, do yourself a favor and double order these.

Fried Chorizo Stuffed Olives

Fried Chorizo Stuffed Olives – preserved lemon aioli, Spanish olive oil.  These taste a lot like olives, not much masking going on here. I don’t like olives, so you’ll have to get your opinion from someone who does or just come try them for yourself.

Platano Custard Pedro's del Este

Plataño Custard – roasted banana, key lime caramel, brown cake. Something I’m not use to, different, but in a unique, yet, good way.

Pedro del Este Torts De Coco

Torts De Coco – coconut cake, key lime frosting, toasted coconut, roasted pineapple. They really know how to craft some desserts here and at their other two restaurants in town.  I still can’t get enough of the Tres Leches and Habanero Torte next door.  The just keep surprising me with their sweets.

With its appealing location, unique cuisine and ambiance, and history of its family’s successes, Pedro’s del Este will be a valuable addition to Hudson.

Hours of Operation

Wednesday & Thursday: 4pm to 12am Friday: 4pm to 1am
Saturday: 12pm to 1am
Sunday: 12pm to 12am

The Lotus Uptown

Lotus Returns to Uptown Minneapolis

The Lotus Uptown Minneapolis

Lotus returns to Uptown Minneapolis! The beloved Nguyen family that has graced us with their family tradition since 1983 is expanding their Vietnamese fare to Uptown Minneapolis (opening date to be announced). With their already established downtown favorite, will Lotus returning to the area from which they originated possibly be the end of the long running curse that has plagued this particular location? You may remember some of the past tenants; Old Chicago, Boneyard or the most recent yet short lived, GĀME. The Ngyuens are well aware of the ever-changing demographics and energy of Uptown, but they hope to restore an “old-school Uptown” vibe with the new location.  With Mama Lotus’ creative influence on the food and the execution from her husband and sons, this just might be the family vibe that Uptown has been yearning.

Lotus MN Opening

If you are familiar with the downtown location, then you probably have been greeted by the eldest son, Yoom Nguyen; with his well-known, warm, comedic, yet humble demeanor.  He will now be serving as front of house and business operations manager at the new location.  He sure will have his work cut out for him with a much larger space, a full bar and a few additional features including –availability of their signature “stacked bahn mi” sandwich as a quick to-go pick up during lunch hour, a to-go bubble tea stand, fresh rice bowls, fresh salad bowls and a late night food menu after 10pm.

Lotus Pho Uptown

Taking a seat next to the many garage door bays that will soon open to their patio in the coming weeks, my son and I decided to try a few of their signature favorite dishes and perhaps some new ones, if we can talk Mama Lotus into doing so.  For now, I’m eyeing the five specialty cocktails they now have that I must try, starting with the Café Da Lat – Hennessy VS, Kahlua & Vietnamese Coffee – $9 Now this is my kind of brunch starter right here. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this idea, I’m an instant fan!

Lotus Uptown MN

They still serve up some delicious fresh made spring rolls that I no longer have to travel a greater distance for.  I’m guessing these will be available at their late-night walk-up only window for the coming seasons.

Lotus Uptown Spring Roll

The decor is simple and shows the progression made with a telling tale of family photos covering a wall in the comfy waiting area.  Other poster-sized pictures throughout the restaurant show the Vietnamese culture in black and white, with a capture of everyday residents going about their day in their homeland.

Lotus Family Photo

Much like the one in this background of yet another one of their specialty cocktails.  Vung Tau Paradise – Rumhaven Coconut Rum, Banana Liqueur, Blue Curaco, Peach Schnapps, Strawberry Schnapps, Heavy Cream, Sprite, and Orange Juice. Tasted like sherbet, and definitely tropical -$8.

Lotus MN Drinks

Mmmmm the new Uptown location has Shrimp Egg Rolls. Finger size. My finger, not yours.

Lotus Uptown appetizer

Lotus Minnesota

Mr. Nguyen and one of his sons are running the kitchen during the soft opening.

Lotus Review

Bartenders Midian and Vikky model with some of the favorable top shelf cognacs at Lotus Uptown.

Lotus Uptown Staff

Hanoi Mule – Stoli Vodka, Fresh Lime Juice & Ginger Beer – $8.  a decent price for the area, lots of bubbles and spirit with a good ice to cocktail ratio (I really dislike when you only get one sip along with a cup of ice like some establishments, not here).

Lotus Uptown Drink

You no longer have to travel down eat street for a giant bowl of pho.  Lotus serves up their House Pho with 4-Meats – chicken, beef, meatball and seafood, to fulfill all your protein needs.   I think their bowls may have gotten bigger during transition, but I’m not complaining.

Lotus Uptown Pho

As the exterior is a solid jet black that vibrantly makes their logo pop, the interior is mainly dressed up in olive green with many high-tops and booths divided by bamboo style windows.  The bar has a modern vibe to it; housing violet neon with 10 flatscreens and 15 beers on tap.  For now, I’ll stick to that specialty cocktail menu, this one is named Nha Trang Da Chanh – Stoli Vodka, Fresh Lime Juice, Sugar & Water – $8.  Refreshing, but not for me. If you’re not a big drinker, and you’re looking for a light tasting drink, then this one is probably for you.

Lotus Uptown Drinks

Well, hey there you badass bowl of sexy Vietnamese love…where have you been all my life? New menu item at their Uptown location, and I guarantee it definitely will be a crowd pleaser. Nem Nuong Salad – It’s the latest creation from Mama Lotus, she took the Vietnamese Nem Nuong and made it into a salad using seasoned ground pork, shrimp egg rolls, and their homemade Nem sauce. Crazy good portion right here, this bowl is huge.   Mama Lotus, I only have one small request, two sunny side-up eggs on top for me, please!

Lotus Uptown Dinner

The restaurant has a respectable sized outdoor patio that walks off to their own parking lot, which may be a form of entertainment in itself , with some of the parking spot placements multiple maneuvers with close-calls are a thrill to watch, for some.   If people watching isn’t your thing, don’t fret, there are also flat-screens on the patio for your viewing pleasure.   With the already established relationships and following the Nguyens have built during their journey in the surrounding communities, I’d imagine this will be a quite lively patio during the Spring and Summer seasons. After all, it is a celebration.  Oh, the drink…it’s a Saigon Connect – Hennessy & Amaretto – $9.   My kind of drink. Cheers! – Phatphood

Lotus Uptown Review

Lotus Uptown

2841 Hennepin Ave South, Minneapolis, MN  55408

Sunday – Wednesday:  11am-10pm

Thursday – Saturday:  11am-1am/2am