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Category : Food Challenges

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Hudson Burger Battle

2016 Hudson WI Burger Battle Review

2016 Hudson Burger Battle

2016 Hudson WI Burger Battle Review – Back again for the second year in a row to give my vote for the #HudsonBurgerBattle2016.  Now you have from the 1st of November until the end of December to try five selected burgers at five local restaurants in Hudson, WI with the purchase of  a punch card for $25.00. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to BRIDGE, supporting programs that allow youth and adults with disabilities in the St. Croix River Valley to attend year-round day service programs, attain meaningful employment, participate in ongoing recreational activities, and socialize with friends.

It just wouldn’t be in We’ve Tried It fashion if I didn’t go and eat all five burgers in one evening.  So, let the meat sweats begin.

Right now I’m here at Dicks Bar & Grill for the first of five burgers in this burger battle.  Ricky Style – Topped with their special homemade sauce, lettuce, tomato, raw onion, American cheese and pickles. Kinda like a junior Mac, if you will.   Prepared nice and served open-faced.  Tasty and very fresh bun, lovely burger here with an excellent homemade sauce I might add!

Dick's Bar and Grill Burger

Moving down the street to Stone Tap for the second burger in this battle of meat.  What we have here is the C3BO – C3 is for the 3 cheeses involved; Queso, American and Wisconsin cheese curds. BO is for the bacon and onions mashed into the patty.  Stone Tap was my 1st place last year as well as the overall winner from all participants.  Does this one do justice this year with a new chef involved? Hell yes! Try this burger! It’s petite, but packs a delicious punch.

Stone Tap Burger

On to the third burger at Postmark Grille, which happens to be very unique.  The Peanut Butter Cup Juicy Lucy – a peanut butter cup (from local candy shop Knokes just across the street) stuffed burger, with crisp bacon and fried jalapeños. This actually works, there is no cheese to take away from the peanut butter cup, it oozes like a true juicy Lucy, it was just missing one major ingredient; seasoning.  However, I’m a fan.

Postmark Grille Burger

Unbuttoning the pants for this short drive to the outskirts of town to Seasons Tavern where I am chowing down on my fourth burger in this challenge which happens to be the return of a monthly special they had this summer know as their Empire Burger – 7oz burger patty, thin sliced apple, caramelized onions and bacon cream cheese on a pretzel bun.  I was a bit concerned about apples on my burger, but they really are thinly sliced and they mainly are added texture with a faint taste of apple that gets lost in the caramelized onions. Cream cheese was a nice touch with the pretzel bun.  Their caramelized onions are definitely the star in this burger.

Seasons Tavern Burger

The fifth and final burger tonight is served up at Big Guys BBQ Roadhouse, and is ironically named The Winner (aka The Trump) – 8oz blended patty of sirloin, chuck and short rib with pork Belly, Vermont cheddar, smoked chanterelle mushroom, chive horseradish sauce and arugula on a brioche bun.   Another petite burger served with all the right toppings, without the mess.  We have a serious battle going on here.

Big Guy BBQ Burger

In short, not one of the restaurants asked how I would like my burger prepared, but all served up some wonderful creations.  Who is on top of this burger battle?  I think they are all winners this year, they really stepped it up a notch with their creativity and execution.  Unfortunately, you will have to wait until the end of the year to see who brings home the title of this annual fun and delicious burger battle.

We regret to announce that the tickets have been sold out for the 2016 battle. The winners will be announced in January 2017. If you purchased your tickets already be sure to comment and let us know your favorite.

Be sure to follow @Phatphood on Instagram .

5 burgers 1 night

2015 Hudson WI Burger Battle We’ve Tried It

5 burgers

Hudson Burger Battle

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

Big Guys BBQ Burger

Big Guys Burger

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

Season's Tavern Burger

Seasons Burger 2

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

Stone Tap Burger 2

Stone Tap Burger 3

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

Postmark Grille Burger 2

Postmark Grill

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

Dick's Bar and Grill Burger

Dick's Burger 2

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

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

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

One hundred percent of the punch card purchase will go to BRIDGE, supporting programs that allow youth and young adults with disabilities in the St. Croix River Valley to attend year-round day service programs, attain meaningful employment, participate in ongoing recreational activities, and socialize with friends.

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


Phatphood Minnesota State Fair Food Review

Phatphood State Fair Review

Phatphood Minnesota State Fair Food Review: It was a cloudy and humid yet, pleasant day because of a cool breeze. I arrived at 9:30am and finally made it through the gates at 10:30am. Once in, I made a frantic had-to-pee marching walk to LuLu’s for the cheese stuffed sausage breakfast sandwich but I was fifteen minutes late. The Minnesota State Fair app for my iPhone states that breakfast at Lulu’s is served until 11am, but they had a hand written sign noting that it is over at 10:30am. Doesn’t matter, they said they had ran out after I begged for them to make me one. I did however get to try almost every other food item that I wanted to. Here are those items.

state fair 36

Deep-Fried Lobster On-a-Stick ~ Canadian lobster pieces poached in butter, dipped in a corn batter, deep-fried and served with a spiced dipping sauce. Served at LuLu’s Public House located next to Schilling Amphitheater at West End Market. Review: A bit tough and chewy but still delicious for a new State Fair item, not much for the $9 price tag and barely any dipping sauce given. 3/5

state fair 11

Blue Cheese and Corn Fritz ~ Six deep fried corn fritters stuffed with crumbled blue cheese, kernel corn and served with a fresh herbed chimichurri. Served at The Blue Barn located West of the Skyride at West End Market. Review: Better without the chimichurri, with it, it has a whole different flavor and steals from the fritz (fritter) itself. $7.25 4/5


Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque 666 Wings Challenge (Video)

Smalley's Stillwater MN

If you have been following We’ve Tried It then you would know that we have been on a quest to break our friend Jenni with HOT food challenges. I swear she has a mouth of leather.

First we tried St. Croix Farms Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Salsa, then we moved on to St. Croix Farms 10X Ghost Pepper Salsa and now we are going all in with Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque 666 Wings.

Six of us tried the 666 wings: Jenni, Nicole, Lisa, Mary, Shirley and Missy. It didn’t workout so well for many of us. Watch the video to see what happened…

Who will get the 666 Wings Sauce in their eyes…

The service and food were amazing at Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque and we highly recommend stopping in if you are in Stillwater, MN.

Update: Smalley’s is closing it’s doors and the last day to get their amazing food is January 13th, 2018. Our hopes are that they will be opening a new restaurant soon. They will be greatly missed by the community. You can get the full story here.

If you missed the other hot challenges with Jenni – check out our YouTube page and while you are there be sure to subscribe to our page.


Specialty Meats & Gourmet: Exotic Food Taste Testing Review

Today’s review is on Specialty Meats & Gourmet, a family owned company located in Hudson, WI, an eastern suburb of the Twin Cities Metro area of St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN.

The best source around for specialty meats and gourmet items: Artisan Cheeses, Charcuterie, Chocolate/Sweets, Cook Books, Domestic Meats, Exotic Meats, Game Meats, Jams/Jellies/Honey, Salsas, Rubs/Sauces, Smoke House Meats, Smoking Woods and Syrups/Mixes. These items are served in some of the finest restaurants throughout the nation and you can have them delivered right to your home.

photo 1 (3)

I spoke with Linda Janse “Meat & Cheese Communications Liaison” and she was kind enough to give me a tour and fill me in on all the hot items to try.

photo 4 (3)

Specialty Meats & Gourmet only deal with the smaller, specialty suppliers and producers in the business. Their suppliers include individual farmers and smaller distributors. The items that you will find in the store and on the website are not usually found in grocery outlets or your average restaurant.

photo 2 (3)

Selling everything from Alligator to Yak. Today we decided to try Kangaroo, Python, Duck Sausage with Bacon and Jalapeno, Goat Salami and Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Salsa. Check out our video to see what we thought of our picks.

Exotic Meats

Each employee at the store has a great job title: Steve Loppnow is “The Meat Detective”, David Hara is “Taste-Bud Technician and Maria Heineman is “Shipping Specialist & Kangaroo Wrangler.” You can follow Specialty Meats & Gourmet on Facebook to see new items that they carry.