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Category : Phatphood

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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!

Matilda the Musical FB

Matilda The Musical Orpheum Theatre Review

Matilda the Musical. Roald Dahl, Orpheum Theatre

Matilda The Musical Orpheum Theatre Review – I want to give this production the biggest hug in the world!  Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical was brilliant and just a whole lot of fun; I was thoroughly amazed from beginning to end.  With just enough mature content to keep the attention of the adult theatergoers, but unobtrusive to the kids, this is definitely a musical for the entire family.

Matilda, Orpheum Theatre

All of the children involved in this production were absolutely adorable.  The evening I attended, Matilda was played by Gabrielle Gutierrez; she was breathtaking, and I look forward to seeing her in many more musicals and blockbuster hits to come.  She took that stage so effortlessly and did so with grace, plan on her stealing your heart as well.  By the way, Matilda is the smallest leading lady on Broadway, and Gabrielle reprises her role, which she originated in the First National Tour.

Matllda

The set design was fascinating, it was always moving from front to back or side to side with amazing depth and dimension. Rob Howell did a stellar job and should probably win another Tony Award as he did in 2013.  Oh…the swings, you’ll love the swings! Along with the set designs, Paul Kieve added unbelievable illusions that will have you highly impressed and guessing how they accomplished such magic on stage.  The chalkboard still has me scratching my head. Peter Darling was in charge of Choreography, and once the cast performed “School Song” in the first act, it was perceptible they had gotten an expert on board.

Matilda, theatre, orpheum theatre

Matilda the Musical, orpheum theatre, Minnesota arts

All of the supporting characters were memorable and had very strong roles.  Miss Trunchbull (Dan Chameroy) was evil and hilarious and could belt out a few good notes.  Who cannot forget the chubby little cake-eater Bruce? Soren Thayne Miller did a marvelous job (for his first National Tour Debut) eating the entire cake and finishing it off, as well as the first act with the rest children for “Bruce.”   He comes out and does another number as if he was a superstar.  There was an incomparable sweetness between the characters that you will get throughout the show and in a way; it kind of overshadowed how awful the parents were to Matilda.

Matilda the Musical 6

The brilliance is apparent when Matilda is narrating her tragic story in every other scene throughout the musical, with every line in perfect sync to the actors in the story she discloses to Mrs. Phelps (Keisha T. Fraser).  As Matilda takes front stage, the story was the far back of the stage, portrayed perfectly as a backdrop; as if in a movie or in your imagination while reading a book.  There are so many attributes to mention, and they are so well done in this production, that it would be a spoiler to tell you them all.  There are many must-sees in life, this is one of them, and you only have a short time to do so.

Matilda the Musical 8

You still have a chance to see Matilda The Musical at the Orpheum Theatre until April 2nd. Purchase tickets here.

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

CDT Grease

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Grease Review

Phatphood Grease

The 1950s hip-thrusting, hand-jiving, Rock ‘n’ Roll pop culture is back, and it isn’t going anywhere for at least the next several months.  Grease has finally returned to the main stage at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres after a 10-year hiatus. This time around, resident Artistic Director Michael Brindisi, who played Kenickie in the second national tour of Grease in 1978 (the same year the film version was released), gives you a more emphasized version of social commentary during this era of teen rebels and coolness. What he did was brilliant, with less attention on only two characters and more focus of high school cliques and the dawn of sexual connotation.  Brindisi has this production made in the shade.

DannySandy3

MagicChanges

All the classic hits made popular from the 1978 film were all included along with a few other addicting additions from the original Broadway production like “Those Magic Changes” which is the quirky play on musical notes sung to an up-tempo tune of “Stand By Me.”  Another instant favorite was the comical “Mooning” performed by Evan Tyler Wilson (Roger) and Therese Walth (Jan), who were the perfect duo for this doo-wop inspired song of the human posterior. Now in the second act when Kasano Mwanza took spotlight in the crowd as Teen Angel for “Beauty School Dropout” I got chills, and they were definitely multiplying!  Kasano literally had the voice of an angel and had the entire theatre under his wings.  I could watch this scene over and over, it was that captivating.

TeenAngel1

BeautySchoolDropout

This production felt a bit fast paced, almost rushed into each musical number to fit them all in.  Enjoyable, but I wouldn’t have minded sitting longer to have it spread out.  The entire first act scene changes were the build up to the dance competition in the second act with the voice of Vince Fontaine (Keith Rice) coming across as a radio broadcaster, making for groovy transitions. Goosebumps gave way as Sandy (Caroline Innebichler) twirled an umbrella forefront to the house band as she performed “Hopelessly Devoted To You” ending the scene prior to the productions longest scene of the evening as the dance competition took place at the school gym.  The set decorations were minimal, with the coolest prop being an actual mini-mobile convertible, but it made room for the large dance numbers and the simplicity didn’t take anything away from the heart of the show, it’s characters.

Sandy

WeGoTogether1

Keep in mind this is a PG-13 type of production with a few flips of the bird, a couple of SOB’s and other sexual references.  However, it is an experience I believe we all should be entertained by, and lucky for us it has performances every night of the week excluding Mondays with matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays all the way thru October 28th, 2017.  Oh, and to satisfy your cravings as well as mine, our favorite Teen Angel flies back on stage to join the entire cast to perform “Grease Is The Word” for the finale that will be sure to bring you to your feet.

GreasedLightning

Purchase your ‘Grease’ tickets here.

Photo Credit: Dan Norman, 2017

Barkers Bar and Grill Hudson

Barker’s Bar and Grill Hudson, WI Review

Barkers Bar and Grill Hudson

Bar food at its finest; There is some seriously good grub over the river in Hudson, WI – along with some fantastic people that greet you with genuine enthusiasm.  Marty at Barkers Bar & Grill took me under his wing from the moment I walked in until my departure. For a bar, I had some damn good service and some wonderful food to go along with it, check it out.

Barker's Bar and Grill Hudson WI

Going off of the suggestions from the general public that frequent this joint, so definitely giving these a go! Garlic-Creole Wings – The locals know these as “Beer Wings.” Sautéed with sweet butter, fresh garlic and a combination of Creole spices. These are fresh and crisp, just how I like my wangs! Now you would think upon seeing this much garlic, that is all you would taste, nope! Not over powering at all, and the taste is phenomenal. No overwhelming garlic breath lingering either. Date night approved.

Barkers Garlic Wings

Next up is their Patty Melt – Charbroiled burger, caramelized onions, cheddar and Swiss cheeses, atop grilled rye bread. I went ahead and made this a double, it made me feel more in control of things. Now I don’t like my beef more than medium, so this was bit overdone for my liking, but still a good tasting Patty Melt.

Barkers Patty Melt

Bullseye Burger – topped with Barker’s smokehouse BBQ sauce, smoked cheddar cheese and crisp, hickory-smoked bacon, and locally sourced lettuce, tomato and red onion. Yummy smoky stuff right here.

Barkers Bullseye Burger

Now we are eating! This has my name written all over it. Barker’s Smoked Green Chile-Bacon Mac & Cheese – smoked green chiles, hickory smoked bacon and cavatappi pasta topped with their house-made queso. I really love the smoked flavors along with the zestiness of their queso. I’m ordering this atop a burger next time!

Barkers Macaroni and Cheese

There just happens to be a unique featured item here at Barker’s and guess what? Yup, I ordered it! Crunchy Ramen Ahi Tuna – 6oz center-cut Ahi Yellow Fin Tuna Steak breaded with crunchy ramen noodles, flash-fried to a perfect medium-rare and glazed with their house teriyaki sauce. Served with a side of togarashi spiced potatoes (chili flakes, orange zest, sesame seeds and seaweed powder) and curried green and wax beans.

So as I was preparing to feast on this Asian-creation I immediately thought I was going to break a tooth. It felt like it was made out of legos in my hand. However, that wasn’t the case, it had the normal crispness of like- something coated with panko deep-fried or even a crispy fried chicken…and it actually worked. I just wish it had a spicy mayo dipping sauce. It’s a special, so get it soon. By the way, these were the most flavorful green beans I’ve ever had.

Barkers Special

Now I was told I couldn’t leave this place without trying their tuna melt, who am I to turn down some more grub? Bring it on! Dan’s Yellow Fin Tuna Melt – 6oz center-cut Pacific-fresh Ahi Tuna steak, seasoned and char-broiled medium (or to your liking). Topped with melted sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack and caramelized onions, served atop grilled sourdough. This is a fantastic tuna melt, and I made the mistake of not ordering it Tucson style, with their scratch pesto and oven roasted tomatoes, because I was thinking it was your typical green processed pesto, but it’s not. I got a side of it, and it drastically changed this Melt for the better. It was actually red and had a depth of flavor. Even got a side of it to take home.

Barkers Ahi Tuna

Barker’s hand cut fries in their home-made queso, dipping just one fry does no justice. Does anyone just eat one fry at a time?

Barkers French Fries

Just like the locals that frequent here and have been telling me that I must try, I’m telling you to come pay this place a visit and hopefully you won’t get ridiculed for waiting so long.

You can find Barker’s Bar and Grill at 413 2nd Street, Hudson, WI or visit their website. You can also check Barker’s Facebook page for daily specials.

Follow @phatphood on Instagram to see what I eat next.

FB The King and I Orpheum

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I

The King and I Orpheum

If you can guess how many times “et cetera” is said during the 2.5 hour seating of Rodgers & Hammerstien’s The King and I at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, you win…well, nothing.  I have nothing to offer, what you will win is a marvelously witty and charming stage performance that you will want to share with everyone you know.  Kind of like I am doing now, this is definitely a must see and not to make you rush out to go get your tickets or anything, but you only have until March 5th before this ship sets sail out of town.

Laura Michelle Kelly, Baylen Thomas and Graham Montgomery in Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I. Photo by Matthew Murphy

On opening night, as a huge ship on center stage glides towards the audience, Laura Michelle Kelly (Anna Leonowens) steps to the bow as the audience erupts in cheer.  After all, she is a big deal.  She is praised for her work starring on Broadway in Mary Poppins and most recently Finding Neverland.  She is opposite of Jose Llana (King of Siam), who is also no stranger to the stage or the big screen, I actually remember him from a little role in the movie Hitch.

Laura Michelle Kelly as Anna and the Royal Children of Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I. Photo by Matthew Murphy

The first act had the whimsical comedy and playful nature as the teacher and the King culturally clashed during the late 1800s of Bangkok as Anna, a British widowed schoolteacher, arrives to shed the knowledge of Western Civilization and the English language to the King’s children.  Laughter will give way as puns intended towards the modern day political madness. The King jokingly mentioned how he wanted to build a fence around Siam to keep the other countries from entering and taking power.

Joan Almedilla as Lady Thiang in Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I. Photo by Matthew Murphy

An unforgettable scene during the first act was with the introduction of the many wives and children of the polygamist King.  This is where charm came into play.  Each of the kids had their own unique stature and playfulness, where as the wives were more subtle.  Except for the elder wife, Lady Thiang (Joan Almedilla), who captivated the audience with “Something Wonderful”, conveying a powerful voice of nothing less than perfection.

Laura Michelle Kelly and Jose Llana in Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I. Photo by Matthew Murphy

The second act comprised of more serious nature and sadness along with a grasp at love between the King and Anna, giving way to more heartfelt duets such as “Shall We Dance” and also  “I Have Dreamed” performed by Manna Nichols (Tuptim) and Kavin Panmeechao (Lun Tha), whose love affair was hidden in fear of the King.

Jose Llana and Laura Michelle Kelly in Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Also in the second act, a performance within a performance was conducted as the character, Tuptim, narrates a book known as Uncle Tom’s Cabin, for the King and his guest, Sir Edward Ramsey, whom was there to be convinced that the King was not a barbarian.  This scene had dancing, singing and simple props that captivated the audience’s attention.

Jose Llana as The King in Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Opening night had its minor mishaps, as the spotlight tech had trouble keeping up with the quick movements of the performers.  Also, for a show of this caliber, the choreography could have been a little more precise.

You can purchase tickets for ‘The King and I’ through March 5th at the Orpheum Theatre.