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Author: Phatphood

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Clustertruck 12

Curbside Food? Get Clustertruck Minneapolis.

Clustertruck 1

Curbside food? Get Clustertruck Minneapolis. There’s a new Juicy Lucy in town, and the only way to get it is…curbside! That’s right y’all, Clustertruck.com just planted their seventh location in the beautiful downtown Minneapolis, MN. It is basically a new non-restaurant concept that makes all their food under one roof, and they source top-quality and local ingredients, that is online and app based, only. No calling anyone, unless you need direct assistance from their hotline.  Just click what you want, pay, and be ready for some deliciousness to come to your curb. You can get so many different meals from breakfast to Mexican to Pan-Asian to a burger like this:

Clustertruck

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8oz patty filled with cheddar, topped with bacon, onion, piquante peppers, harissa mayo, butter lettuce and tomato on a French bun.

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Hungry customers can choose from more than 50 mouthwatering menu items inspired from fresh, visible ingredients and sustainable sourcing for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and there’s ALWAYS FREE DELIVERY. ClusterTruck’s tech-savvy food delivery system times each step perfectly, taking an average of just 21 minutes from order to curbside pickup. The food never sits under a heat lamp and always spends less than six minutes on the road for delivery. I loved everything I tasted, including pizza, wings, buffalo chicken mac n’ cheese, and the hot chicken sandwich that kitchen manager Anton Winter served me.

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The dope thing that I noticed about using their site while beta testing this week was; once an item is no longer available for the day, it gets taken off the menu, that way there is no tease and only available items are show to the customer.

Clustertruck Details

Want in? Click this clustertruck.com , and starting Monday May 7th when they officially open for business, enter promo code: 612FEEDME at checkout for $10 off an order of $15 or more. This is valid through May 31, 2018, no exceptions. For new customers only. Easy. Yum.

Clustertruck hours of operation are 10am-10pm Sunday through Thursday and 10am-11pm Friday and Saturday.

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Jersey Boys Orpheum Theatre Review

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Jersey Boys Orpheum Theatre Review – Don’t know much about Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons? Well, don’t fret; you will after witnessing this live production of musical history. It is cleverly narrated in detail by the stars of the cast as they tell the story in true finger-snapping fashion. If you have seen the movie, take note that this touring show gets a little more gritty and vulgar with the back story of these rag-to-riches, blue-collar boys as they swoon the ladies, tap the liquor bottles, and drop major f-bombs. It’s fantastic!

Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

Jersey Boys

I promise you will recognize at least one of the hits, if not more, that include; “Walk Like a Man,” “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “Oh What A Night” and “Working My Way Back to You.” Jonny Wexler (Frankie Valli) hit the falsetto notes so well, that I was convinced it was a recording of Frankie Valli himself. I kept watching for lip-syncing, but to my amaze, he was just that good, and basically nailed it.

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Did you know that the actor Joe Pesci, a Jersey boy himself, was the one that introduced Tommy DeVito (played by Corey Greenan) and the rest of the band to Bob Guadio, who in-turn ended up writing most of the hits for The Four Seasons? Yea, this musical taught me all of that. They all pretty much had more ties to the Italian mob than I was aware of as well.  It really makes for an interesting story with some really catching tunes. This is a must see, and you only have until the end of the weekend to go see it. Expectations will be far met.

Jersey Boys

You still have two more days to catch Jersey Boys at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. You can purchase tickets here.

Grand Catch 42

Grand Catch Claws Its Way to St. Paul

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Grand Catch Claws Its Way to St. Paul – It just opened yesterday (4/16) and I’m already hooked!! Grand Catch is the newest creation of the masterminds behind Cajun Deli & Milkjam Creamery and they stepped the seafood boil game up a few levels for the Twin Cities food scene.

Grand Catch St. Paul, MN

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Starting out with Grand Catch Cheesy Fries – battered fries, garlic butter, cheese sauce. With lobster claw added. C’mon, you know you want this!  I just finished, and I already want it again.

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Testing the waters with two pounds of crawfish and one pound of head-on shrimp boiled to perfection and then tossed in their Awesome Sauce (it’s their Garlic Butter & Louisiana, combined) and I got it hot. Next time I’ll try extra hot or the highest level; insane ghost. 🔥 It was spicy, garlicky, buttery, fresh and pure deliciousness. I’m in my happy place aka my zone.

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Obviously, I can’t leave without trying some type of Milkjam Creamery creation for dessert.  Raspberry Lychee Twist -Thanks to Elizabeth, this was the perfect cool down. She was awesome, along with the rest of the staff here at Grand Catch.  Hospitality and a happy full belly, I don’t ask for much. They nailed it.

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I tried a few tap beers and this mocktail; Crazy Legs, which was refreshingly tart.  Can’t wait until the boozy slushees are available. Soon!

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It’s new with 75-80 seats that fill fast at prime time. Lunch and dinner menu are the same and they close at 10pm, plan accordingly. Bibs and gloves make for dope attire, rock them… don’t be shy.

1672 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55105 – Take a look at Grand Catch website here.

Disney Newsies Broadway Musical

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Disney’s Newsies Review

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Chanhassen Dinner Theatres Disney’s Newsies Review – EXTRA! EXTRA!  The CDT production of Disney’s Newsies – The Broadway Musical is a triumphant hit!

Disney’s Newsies:

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres turns 50 this year, and what a way to celebrate their anniversary with a historic victory!  Newsies is actually a true story loosely based on events of the 1899 newsboys strike.   The strike lasted thirteen days during that summer in New York. It resulted in a compromise from both the World and Journal to buy back all unsold papers from the newsboys.  In 1992, Walt Disney Pictures made it a movie, and in 2011 Disney Theatrical Productions brought it to the stage.  It’s a fun, fast-paced, well-choreographed musical with some of the most addictive songs a production has to offer.

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Aleks Knezevich Owned This Role!

One of the best attributes when attending CDT are the familiar faces.  Aleks Knezevich is back, in what I believe is his best performance to date.  Playing the lead role of Jack Kelly felt so natural and fitting.  He’s done a few great performances here at CDT, Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, is now his second best performance.  He was also pretty cool as Danny Zuko, in Grease last year.  On opening night, however, it was relevant…he owned this role.

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In this male dominant cast, there were two unfamiliar faces that really stood out, for their talent.  Lucas Wells (Crutchie) was captivating every time he took stage, but more so during his solo performance of “Letter From The Refuge.”  Hoping to chalk him up as a familiar face in the years to come.  Every 0.0002 seconds a star is born, there is proof to that while watching Tanner Zahn Hagen (Les). The adorable goldmine to the newsies because of his young age and instant charm.  This kid was made for the stage and will have you sold, just like the stack of papers on a daily.

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It’s a very minimal set with only a back screen for visuals, and pretty much needs to be with most of the cast being on stage flipping and dancing most of the time.  This production is running all the way through the end of September, so you will have ample time to catch it at least a couple times, and you’ll want to.  So, seize the day and check out this uplifting musical that will have you humming the tunes for days, maybe even weeks after.

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Purchase Your Tickets Here:

You have plenty of time to see Disney’s Newsies at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres! Performing on the main stage from March 2 – September 29, 2018. You can purchase your tickets here.

School of Rock Andrew Lloyd Webber review

School of Rock The Musical Orpheum Theatre

School of Rock The Musical

School of Rock The Musical Orpheum Theatre  –  School of Rock The Musical is an energetic show with a very talented cast that almost leads you to believe that you are not at a Broadway show, but a fantastic concert. Jack Black meets Adam Richman (Man vs.Food) is how I’d describe the lead character Ned Schneebly, well…technically Dewey Finn, played by Rob Colletti. Colletti was a fun guy to watch, and he sure in the hell didn’t mind dropping the F-bomb from time-to-time.

School of Rock The Musical Orpheum Theatre

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Scouring over 22K children back in 2015 before opening night really paid off for this production. That talent they were looking for followed over from year-to-year. It was apparent with the kids they had on stage at the Orpheum opening night in Minneapolis. They literally had the crowd rocking, while playing live musical instruments!

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Andrew Lloyd Webber really knows how to catch ones ear, this on-stage musical version had all of the original songs from the movie, plus fourteen new songs he magically composed, as the wizard he is. The entire score turned out to be just as contagious as Colletti and all of the spunky kids, during every single jam session.

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It’s simple, if you loved the movie, you’ll really enjoy this adaption just as much, if not more.  From the music to the humor, it never let’s up. Got kids? Bring’em, they can relate. I’d say that it’s not the best for anyone under twelve, and probably too loud for anyone over sixty-five. Between those ages, and you’re golden!

School of Rock Andrew Lloyd Webber

School of Rock The Musical runs through March 11th. You can purchase your tickets here.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

The Humans Orpheum

The Humans Orpheum Theatre Review

The Humans Orpheum Theatre

The Humans Orpheum Theatre Review – Dysfunctional families unite and go see this hilarious and astonishing Broadway play before it leaves town. The every day struggle is real for this working-class family that join together in a noisy Manhattan apartment in Chinatown for Thanksgiving.

With an incredible cast of only six, this Tony Award winning best play is sure to captivate just about any modern American family. The Blake family shines in this run-down two-level stage set that lets you see both floors at once, it’s quite brilliant.

The Humans

If you have seen the original “IT” movie, then you may appreciate that Richard Thomas plays the roll as Erik Blake, or dad, whom to me, has a striking resemblance to Jeff Bridges, at least from where I was sitting. Also, another familiar face from a classic football film I’ve always enjoyed, “Best Of Times” is Pamela Reed, whose strength is pronounced as the character of Deirdre Blake, wife to Erik.

The Humans

Add a grandmother (Fiona “Momo” Blake) who suffers from dementia, a recently dumped lesbian daughter (Aimee Blake) and a part-time working daughter (Brigid Blake) with her live-in-boyfriend buried in student loans, and you got a financially strained family getting together over a holiday meal, as we, the audience get to eavesdrop on them.  With stories shared from the past, followed by laughter and tears, it will all seem relatable. The strong performances of the cast deliver this with perfection. It really feels as though they are a family and these are real relationships.

There are a few elements about the supernatural and odd dreams that may leave you a bit confused by the end, and as to how it actually does end, but if you pay attention to the tropes and storylines, you will come to your own conclusion.

You have until February 18th to see The Humans at Orpheum Theatre, order your tickets here.

Hamburguesas El Gordo Cubano  We've Tried It

Hamburguesas El Gordo Restaurant Review

Cubano El Gordo

Hamburguesas El Gordo Cubano

It’s lunch time, it’s snowing, and I needed an obnoxious burger in my life. So, I ordered a Cubano El Gordo with everything – Cheddar, mozzarella, ham, bacon, avocado, onion, tomatoes, lettuce, pickle peppers, mayo, mustard, ketchup, fried egg, chorizo and Vienna sausage. Topped with Extra grilled pineapple. Whew! The Mexican Whopper is what I call it…once you taste it, maybe you’ll get why. Say hi to Luigi, whom runs the front of the house here at Hamburguesas El Gordo he’s a cool ass dude! How are YOU handling the first snowfall of the year (Minnesota)?

Del Gordo Burger

Hamburguesas El Gordo Del Gordo Burger

If you’ve never been to Hamburguesas El Gordo in St. Paul (Payne/Phalen) then you haven’t had Claudia Gutierrez’s famous Del Gordo Burger. It’s just a 1/2-pound handmade patty, topped with cheddar, mozzarella, grilled ham, bacon, avocado, pickled peppers, tomato, onions, lettuce and mayo. Yea, a mouthful, literally. You can also get it with grilled pineapple or doble carne. She used to only make these once-a-week, back in the day. That was until fans couldn’t get enough, and the demand became a business and that business got her to where I am today, at her second location. Burgers, dogos, tacos, elotes, loaded asada fries…and wine & beer coming soon? You know where you can find me on a regular.

Dogo Norteño and Dogo Chilango

Hamburguesas El Gordo Dogo Norteno

Have I told you how much I love hot dogs? Have I told you how much I love that Hamburguesas El Gordo opened this second location? (L) Dogo Norteño – Wrapped on bacon and topped with avocado, grilled onions, cilantro, mustard, ketchup and mayo. (R) Dogo Chilango – Wrapped in bacon and topped with tomatoes, onions, queso fresco and sour cream. These are half the price that other gourmet dogs go for, and they are damn delicious.

Street Tacos

Hamburguesas El Gordo Street Tacos

There’s some new tacos in town. Hamburguesas El Gordo officially opened their second location today on 42nd and Cedar. I’m so excited that Claudia has expanded her business from St. Paul to the City of Minneapolis. Very authentic street tacos with fresh handmade corn tortillas. Oh, and you can get them Norteño style, like I did. Get a “the box” of 10, thank me later.

A Real Taco Box

Hamburguesas El Gordo Real Taco Box

Do you want to do Taco Tuesday right? Grab “A REAL TACO BOX” Handmade tortillas with your choice of meat topped with fresh onions, cilantro, queso fresco and avocado…aka Norteño style. Grabbed these to go from Hamburguesas El Gordo new Minneapolis location. I done good!

Locations

  • 990 PAYNE AVE ST PAUL MN 55130
  • 4157 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55407

Follow Phatphood on Instagram to see what he eats next!

Book Club Good Food True Story

Book Club Minneapolis Restaurant Review

Minneapolis Book Club

Book Club Minneapolis Review – On December 5th, 2017 the doors opened to the public at Book Club, a California inspired eatery in the Armatage neighborhood of Minneapolis. Twin Cities’ restaurateur Kim Bartmann and Chef/Owner Asher Miller have partnered up with the newest Bartmann Group’s restaurant.

Book Club Minneapolis Restaurant

Photo Credit: Book Club

The menu has some delicious items to choose from;  Wood-fire grilled Balinese chicken, green curry mussels, and whole fried brook trout. They also have burgers, fries, grilled ribeye, and vegetables all year long. Relax and enjoy their contemporary vibe and a warm neighborhood feel. Book Club is open for lunch and dinner every day, and brunch on weekends. There’s also a full bar, a commitment to craft cocktails, extensive wine and beer lists, and a special section at the bar reserved for those waiting for their take-out.

Book Club Cocktails

Photo Credit: Book Club

Phatphood’s Book Club Minneapolis Restaurant Review:

I snuck in to try their second ever brunch service, and so far I’m feeling really good about this place. Vanilla custard french toast with walnuts, exactly how I like mine, eggy and custardy. Great choice to start this venture out.

French Toast Phatphood

Photo Credit: Phatphood

The porchetta eggs benedict served with salad was very good! All elements were perfectly cooked, I don’t think I have ever had an English muffin that was so on point.

Eggs Benedict Book Club

Photo Credit: Phatphood

You know me, I can’t just try one or two items on my first visit of a brand new restaurant. I definitely needed to try Chef Asher Miller’s pork belly sandwich with swiss, pickles and honey mustard at Book Club. Delicious, my only gripe is that there is a little too much honey mustard, I know, I know…I’m like a condiment/sauce freak, but it took away from the pork. Still loved it! Full!

Pork Belly Book Club

Photo Credit: Phatphood

Check out Book Club Monday through Thursday 11am – 10pm, Friday’s 11am – 11pm, Saturday 9am – 11pm and Sunday 9am – 10pm. You can call (612) 822-5411 or email askus@bookclubmpls.com for more information on Book Club. We hope you enjoy it as much at @phatphood did.

Disney Aladdin Broadway Musical

Disney Aladdin Orpheum Theatre Review

Disney Aladdin Broadway Musical

Disney Aladdin Orpheum Theatre Review: It was a colorful and magical delight, that’s if you can make it to the end of the first act. So, the hit Broadway musical Aladdin is currently at the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Minneapolis and it has its fair mix of boredom and awesomeness.

Aladdin Orpheum

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It starts off slow and takes a while to get up to pace, but once Genie (Anthony Murphy) is formally introduced by that accidental rub, things crank-up more than a few notches. Actually, this show really gets to its feet the moment Aladdin (Adam Jacobs) enters the Cave of Wonders when the set transforms into an all gold spectacular display, filled with comedy and jaw dropping stage magic. This is when you realize that Genie is the star of the show, as he pretty much owned the audience after this fifteen minute genie-us performance of “Friend Like Me.”

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The show dips back in a slumber for a bit before it jubilates into an emotional performance with the stunning Jasmine (Isabelle McCalla) and Aladdin as they perform “A Whole New World” while taking flight on a magic carpet that didn’t seem to have any wires what-so-ever. The set was mesmerizing, with a dazzling display of astrochemistry. With scenic designs by seven-time Tony Award winner Bob Crowley, you know you are going to get a visual orgasm.

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My favorite character from Aladdin has always been Lago, and Reggie De Leon did not disappoint.  This loveable-huggable sidekick of the evil Jafar (Jonathan Weir), was just a joy to watch every time that he took stage.  From the wisecracks to his penguin like waddle, you will appreciate that he isn’t a scarlet macaw for this Broadway performance.

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The comedy is there, the choreography is there, the costumes, bedazzled and sequenced, were there, and the magic…was definitely there! Thus, accounting for 51% of the show, making this a must see. Just know that the other 49% is somewhat lackluster in the two hour ten minute seating (not including the intermission). I probably wouldn’t go see Aladdin for a second time, but I am very appreciative that I did get to experience it.

Showing until October 8th, 2017. You can purchase your tickets here.

Photo Credit: Deen van Meer

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.

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