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Author: Phatphood

Home/Articles Posted by Phatphood
Lady-Day-at-Emersons-Bar-and-Grill-Jungle-Theater-2018-Season

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill Jungle Theater

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Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill Jungle Theater – First, I’m a bit embarrassed that this is the first time I’ve been to the Jungle Theater.  What a delightful intimate setting without a single bad seat in the house.  The staff and crew definitely matched the vibe.  I simply adore it, and truly have been missing out.

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill

Thomasina Petrus performance as Billie Holiday was unquestioned and unparalleled.  Her swagger and approach felt so effortless, that it was nothing short of amazing.  From the singing to the immaculate storytelling, Petrus took you on a journey back to that night at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.

As the title, this takes place at a club in Philadelphia in 1959 with Holiday (Petrus) performing one of her very last shows, starting with some shade thrown at actually being back in Philly.  Booze filled tales are told between songs like the sultry “When a Woman Loves a Man” and the ebullient “What a Little Moonlight Can Do” – Petrus nails the dialog and crushes the vocals.

Jazz with a blues appeal to it, this four-person ensemble was all that was needed, and they delivered.  Piano, bass and drums, along with a voice, it was a night out filled with a bittersweet feeling of nostalgia.  Through joy and pain, racism and poverty, addiction and abuse, this was a head bobbin’ history lesson everyone should witness.

It is just shy of a 2-hour performance with a 15-minute intermission, which really wasn’t needed with the show wrapping up just a half hour after it.  Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill runs through June 24th.

Be sure to follow Jungle Theater on Facebook. You can purchase your tickets to Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill here.

Follow Phatphood on Instagram to see what I am up to next!

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

Clustertruck 2

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.

Clustertruck 3

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.

Grand Catch 5

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