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Category : Eats

Home/Archive by Category "Eats" (Page 18)

Benihana Restaurant Mall of America Phatphood Review

Benihana MOA Review

Benihana Restaurant Mall Of America Phatphood Review:

Arrived at 5:30, was greeted and asked how many in my party. Was given a buzzer and was told it would be a couple of minutes. Cool, it’s empty but ok. The couple next to me was told they could go to the bar if they want and have drinks or apps, I wasn’t given that option. Sat at bar and ordered drinks, that same couple that was at hostess stand (much older) sat next to me and was told the two bartenders names, I wasn’t offered that information. Buzzer went off, hostess came and said that was an accident. Buzzer went off again 5 minutes later, oh, they’re ready now.

Go to hostess stand, they are trying to seat me with a few other people for a hibachi table. Nope, I didn’t ask for that (keep in mind there are many, many tables open to sit at), so I now had to ask myself. Was seated out on the mall patio, was not given an option or asked if it was alright.

Ling took my order, brought out soup and salad. She realized I didn’t have utensils so she grabbed a fork quick and did a stretch hand off to me as she was talking to the other table about their horrible experience, I’m sure. Didn’t finish the salad. I left the fork she long armed me earlier in the bowl. When she came to clear the soup and salad she asked if I want to keep my fork. Now I’m at a buffet instead of a restaurant, great.

Received my Rocky’s Choice, minus any of the sauces that I actually asked for extra of, neat. After she was reminded she brought out the sauce, apologized and said “I bring you two” as in to make up for none? Now many of us Benihana veterans can agree that we pour our shrimp sauce delicately over everything on the plate with a majority of it smothering the fried rice. Well I went to do that, and at this specific location it was the same consistency as turning over a DQ Blizzard and watching with amazement that it doesn’t fall out. So I used my handy dandy buffet fork and scooped out the shrimp sauce and added it to my fake hibachi meal. Now, if my meal was even slightly warm prior to adding my shrimp blizzard, this very chilled substance quickly put an ending to that. Might as well just call it leftovers.

Moving on…I was so lucky that I didn’t pay for this meal since I had a born day coupon, also to add to my excitement I was offered ice cream “for your birthday” yea, because we all know you get ice cream with all teppanyaki meals. Oh, was there ice crystals in that chocolate ice cream?? Nope, just freezer burn.

Good luck Mall of America Benihana’s…way to scare the tourists away from the restaurants and into the food court. Sushi was cool so 1/5


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


Green Bay Packers Horse Collar Kielbasa Review

Lambeau Field Horsecollar

Green Bay Packers Selling Horse Collar Kielbasa: This isn’t just any ordinary kielbasa, it’s 22 inches long! If you are planning on catching a game at Lambeau Field this season you may want to try out this monster.

The 22-inch-long house-made kielbasa, called the ‘Horse Collar’ sells for $20 and is served on a freshly baked hoagie roll that is shaped like a horseshoe. It comes smothered with beer cheese sauce and fried sauerkraut.

Yesterday we set out on a quest to find someone who would be traveling to Green Bay to catch a game at Lambeau. As luck would have it our friend Lori Moore Dezern was in GB for the game last night and was more than happy to review the Horse Collar for us.

Green Bay Packers Lambeau Field

So what did Lori think? “It’s awesome! 6 of us tried it and LOVED it. A little messy but was expecting it to be worse.” We ask Lori if she would order it again and she said, definitely. She also added that the horse collar could be a full meal for 2-3 people.

I have never been to Lambeau and a part of me wants to go just to try this. Let us know if you have tried it yet and what you thought in the comments below.

Thanks Lori for all the pics and reviewing the Horse Collar for Weve Tried It!

Crave Review

Crave Mall of America Review Part Two

Crave MOA

Crave Mall of America Review Part Two: After a horrible experience at Crave Mall of America we posted a less than favorable review. Shortly after posting we received a tweet from corporate and then a call from the GM at the MOA location. After a great conversation with Jude, we decided to send in one of our food and product reviewers (@phatphood via instagram) to see if he would have the same experience at this establishment.

Please note that the management and staff were aware of the date this was to occur and that it was a gentleman with two kids to come in to review their service to see if it improves. So, naturally we went during lunch time and added another person to mix it up a bit.

PhatPhood: We arrived at Crave on Saturday afternoon. I had with me my mother and my two sons. We were all greeted from a female at the hostess stand and were seated in a booth very close to the main entrance within seconds. It was loud where we were sitting with the openness of the mall so near to us so we had to talk loudly to each other. It was also very busy for this time of the day, nearly all tables were full in the section we were seated in.

Our server came over to us promptly after being seated and introduced himself to us as Jeremy. He then asked if we wanted to started off with any alcoholic beverages. We declined and I said that “the three of us will have good ol’ tap water.” My mother ordered an ice tea and he ran off to get the drinks.

We studied the menu for a bit and my mother asked if I thought they had anything low sodium for her to eat. I said I’m sure they’ll have something being that my mother had just received doctors orders to watch her sodium intake because of her blood pressure. When Jeremy came back with our drinks “here is some of Bloomington’s finest” he joked and then he asked if we would like to order appetizers and I told him no and that we were skipping apps and going to order our meals instead.

My youngest son ordered first, he then politely moved onto my mother “and for the lady?” She then asked if there were any low sodium choices on the menu after seeing at the bottom it stated to ask your server if you have any dietary needs. His reply was “Noooo not really.” Keep in mind, he had no clue as to what my mother was intending to order. My mother just came back with an “oh, okay…I guess I’ll have the turkey club sandwich with fries” and Jeremy moved on to me and my eldest. My boys and I all ordered sushi and I also ordered their Beef Kogi tacos since I heard great reviews about them.

Jeremy came back with steamed towels, chopsticks and soy sauce for the sushi eaters. He ripped open the prepackaged chopsticks for each of the three of us as we removed the chopsticks and he held on to the paper which I thought was a clever way on not having to come back to clear the table of paper debris. He then poured each of us soy sauce and let us be.

Crave Mall of America food

Our food arrived much faster than I had even expected. Two female servers were walking my way from the kitchen window with plates of food and I was actually amazed on how fast it was as they set down the dishes and new who they went to. I snapped photos of all of the dishes as I always do before anyone could touch them. My family loves to be put on pause while I do this. We then enjoyed our meals and conversation.  She said her turkey sandwich was very good, the turkey was very moist and delicious. Which is impressive with how picky she is, even prior to her recent visit to the hospital. She really could not eat the fries as she said they were heavily salted.

Crave sandwich

Both of my boys devoured their sushi and even some of mine. Hey, they are growing boys! My sushi roll, crunchy spicy tuna roll really wasn’t that good. In my opinion it lacked flavor and was quite boring. The tacos? Amazing. Would definitely order them again. Great flavors, tons of meat, very full and the kimchee was a great touch. That was the good.

Crave Sushi

The bad? We were never asked for refills or given them without asking. My mother had a quarter of a glass left when our bill came after we turned down dessert. I was in complete shock that they did not offer any type of low sodium alternatives. He did not even offer low sodium soy sauce. Is this not a standard in most sushi restaurants these days? He could have easily suggested that he could ask the cook to not salt the fries as well, but maybe I’m asking for too much as a concerned son.

After the bill came I did ask to speak to the general manager that was working, as instructed by my WeveTriedIt team. He came to the table and I introduced myself and told him which company I was representing and he said, “we were expecting you but thought it would be during dinner.” It was clear the staff was warned and on radar for my arrival.

I asked the general manager the same question my mother asked the server and how he would respond to someone that needed a lower sodium meal. His response was basically “our servers are not trained to alter the menu items but could certainly ask the cooks if it were requested.” He then asked my mother if she made a specific request which she did not. We get it. Overall, it was a good experience with them having a heads-up. I would not mind going back yet another time when it is not quite expected.


Elotes Mexican Corn on the Cob Recipe

Mexican corn on the cob

Elotes Mexican Corn on the Cob Recipe: PhatPhood shares his Elotes recipe with us and in his words, “It’s too damn good.”

Elotes in four easy steps!

1. Shuck, butter and roast ears of corn on grill or in oven at 400 for 45 minutes.


2. Lather with Mexican style mayonnaise. You can use regular mayonnaise, but the Mexican style already comes with a sour lime flavor to it.


Elote Mexican Corn on the Cob

3. Dust generously with cotija cheese.

Cotija Cheese

Elote Recipe

4. Sprinkle on some chile arbol molido and a squeeze of lime.


Follow @PHATPHOOD on Instagram to see what else he is cooking up!


Which Wich Banh Mi Sandwich PhatPhood Review

Which Wich Review Banh Mi

Which Wich Banh Mi Sandwich PhatPhood Review: Bánh mì is Vietnamese for bread, but has come to mean any type of meat-filled sandwich. Find out what PhatPhood thought…

One of the fast food sandwich chains Which Wich decided to jump on the “World of Flavor” craze and is now offering an Americanized version of the Banh Mi sandwich.

The flavors were pretty much there. The jalapeños were fresh and very spicy. The Sriracha mayo was on point. It didn’t taste like the carrots and cucumbers were pickled at all and was missing the daikon altogether but again, the flavors were there.

Bahn Mi Review

The worst part next to the $7.50 before tax price was the pulled pork. There is just too much liquid involved, and if you don’t eat this sandwich within 10 minutes it will become a soggy mess. It dripped the entire time I ate it.

In my opinion this is a mediocre attempt at offering flavors from around the world. I gave it 3/5…I’d get it again to satisfy my cravings when there are no other similar options near by, which is often the case.

Be sure to follow @PHATPHOOD on Instagram. What restaurant should I review next? Leave a comment below.

Cooking steaks

Cooking Frozen Steaks Vs Thawed Test

Frozen vs Thawed Steaks

Cooking Frozen Steaks Vs Thawed Test: Our ‘Weve Tried It’ team recently read a story about cooking a frozen steak compared to cooking one already thawed out. Which one tastes better and is juicier?

Naturally WTI wanted to put this to the test, so we brought in Chef Royal.  He prepared two New York strips side-by-side with a little grape seed oil and salt & pepper. The frozen is on the left in all pictures shown above, with the thawed on the right.

They were both seared and finished in a cast iron pan. Obviously the frozen takes several minutes longer to cook.

The verdict: The frozen did hold the juices better and was a tad bit more tender. The thawed New York strip steak held the flavor better as with the frozen it doesn’t hold and get absorbed.

We are considering seasoning one of them prior to freezing and trying this test again. Our foodie: PHATPHOOD was surprised at how much juicier it tasted and how tender it is. Even Chef Royal could tell while cutting it. Don’t knock till you try it…we were surprised.

This was the original video that got us wanting to try out this test – check it out!

Have you tried cooking a frozen steak? If so, what did you think?

Missy Germain

Restaurant Review: Crave at Mall of America

Missy Germain and girls

Restaurant Review: Crave at Mall of America: If you have been to MOA then you know that there are many different restaurants to pick from. Thinking sushi? Crave is a good choice! Or is it?

Last night I took my daughter and niece shopping. The girls wanted sushi from Crave. I can’t count how many times I have been to this restaurant. In fact, this was my go to place for a while for all my business lunches and group gatherings.

I will start out by telling you that all of us were in t-shirts and shorts – summer attire. At the hostess stand, a female employee gave us the once over and instructed another employee to seat us in the Americana Room. No bigger than a large walk-in closet, this separate space is likely intended for private parties, meetings, or when the place is packed.

While being led to this space, we noticed that there were lots of booths and tables open. Once seated I asked the host if we were seriously being seated here. She ignored me and walked away. We sat for a few minutes before deciding that this segregated seating arrangement was unacceptable.

My daughter told me it was because of all my tattoos and I assured her, in an attempt at humor, that it was the messy buns in their hair.

The waiter finally arrived as we were getting to our feet. I told him we were leaving and he asks if it is because of where we were seated. We confirmed that it was. He immediately offered to seat us in the open dining area but It was too late for that and we declined.

As we were walking out we again noticed all the open booths and tables. Once out of the restaurant, the manager stepped outside and invited us to come back in. We declined and told him they may want to refrain from seating guests in the Americana Room when the main dining space has ample seating available. It sends a very bad message.

I’m happy to report that this story had a positive ending. We opted to dine at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., where we were welcomed with smiles and great service.

Here is what Crave Restaurant website says: “CRAVE Restaurant was built out of a passion to create a dining experience unlike any other. A dining experience where quality, local and regionally sourced food, chic atmosphere, and diverse choices offer guests the opportunity to create their own unforgettable dining experience. The energy of the restaurant is all encompassing–the buzz of guests and staff, the warm and open design, the modern sushi bar, the fresh spin on American cuisine with seasonality, and the sense of discovery around every corner. A CRAVE guest will leave knowing they experienced just the right mix of sophistication, entertainment and service in what can only be defined as The CRAVE Experience.”

It is said that satisfied customers tell 3 friends about their experience, while angry customers tell everyone they know. Looks like Crave might want to do an immediate tune-up with a few of their employees before they offend yet another group…


Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers Review

Freddys PhatPhood Review WTI

Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers PhatPhood Review: Finally there is a Freddy’s Custard & Steakburger in Minnesota! Conveniently located within walking distance of my home in Savage.

As I walked in today (Tuesday August 5th) to their soft opening I was surprised how much smaller it looked inside than it did on the outside. The kitchen and dining room look to be a 50/50 split of the building located in the Cub parking lot off of Highway 13.

Freddys Custard and Steakburgers WTI

The decor was mainly red, white and black with an old school diner meets Dairy Queen vibe to it. Even their slogan on the side of the soft drink cup reads “The taste that brings you back” as modern day pop hits blare throughout the entire establishment making it a little difficult to hear the order callers voice. I don’t mind any type of music playing, I actually enjoy it. I just wish the selection brought me back as they imply with their food.

Aaaaah food, yes, that is what I’m here for…let’s get to it!

Freddys Steakburger PhatPhood Review

Number 6. Double Steak Burger California Style with fries and a side of Freddy’s Fry Sauce. 4/5. Not bad for a cooked-to-order fast food joint. Beats Culver’s. Comparable to Smashburger. Seasoning is great! The onion on top was really fresh which made it very potent, almost overpowered everything else. Oh, the cheese on the double steakburger is melted to perfection.

The shoestring fries are meh. With a signature sauce I need a big fry to dip in it. Had to fist 4-6 fries to do some major dipping. Not a big fan of the sauce. Which I was disappointed in because I was hoping for a sauce to come back for again and again. Will definitely be back for another steak burger, probably hold the onion. $7.49.

Freddys Review

Number 3. Chicago Dog Freddy’s Style. 3/5. This was a pretty decent dog for a fast food joint. Definitely beats out Sonic. Finally a place to grab a dog on the run that has some flavor and not a soggy bun. Substituted the regular fries with the chili cheese fries, $7.89 total.

Freddys Frozen Custard and Steakburgers

Chili cheese fries. Not a fan. 1/5. They weren’t horrible, but they weren’t that good either. Others will probably disagree. The chili tastes exactly like Hormel canned chili. The cheese was decent. Yea.

photo 2 (2)

The fry sauce was a typical mixture of mayo, ketchup and some zesty spices. Nothing too brilliant that will have you Googling the recipe. They have a self-serve fry sauce station at the order pick up counter. Their signature seasoning is readily available near the soft drink station, it added a good flavoring to their scrawny shoestring fries. Ask for unsalted fries or try them before adding the seasoning.

I will try their custard on my next visit. After all, it is mentioned first in their title so I assume it’s the star of the show. The burger clearly is the best thing thus far, coming back to try a patty melt for sure! Culver’s fries are better, but the hot dogs stomp out the only competition I can think of, Sonic. (Please don’t even bring Dairy Queens hot dog into this). Welcome to Minnesota Freddy’s…can’t wait to hear/see what others think.

Follow me on Instagram @PhatPhood to see what I eat next!

CHips Review

Lay’s Potato Chips 4 Flavor Finalists Review

Lays 4 flavor finalists

Lay’s Potato Chips 4 Flavor Finalists Review by PhatPhood: Lay’s done did it again. Fans submitted flavor ideas and they were bagged in crispy potato chip form.

From left to right of the screen that is facing you:

Lays Chips

Wasabi & Ginger ~ Best out of the four! The flavor is spot on and it’s not overbearing. I could snack on these anytime I don’t have sushi and I want to get rid of that craving. 4/5 (I gave the Wasabi & Ginger a 4/5 because it comes in a 8.5oz while the others come in 9.5oz. It is the only one kettle fried while the mango is “wavy” or rippled.)

Second was the Cappuccino ~ Surprisingly this is my second favorite flavor. You want to dislike it because you’re like “Coffee!? Potato chip?!” Yes, it works. As an excellent dessert chip…that’s right, I’ll be crushing this over some vanilla bean ice cream later this evening. It has a great mocha/coffee flavor to it. If it actually had caffeine, I would have it for breakfast! 4/5

Next up, Mango Salsa ~ Too much fruity mango tasting crystals added. First time trying, it hit me harder than I had expected. A little kick with the salsa flavor as well. I tasted this one again after I had tried all four and I swear I got a hint of Fruity Pebbles. So it’s either inconsistent or my pallet is out of whack tonight. 3/5

Lastly, Bacon Mac n Cheese ~ I really wanted this to be my favorite. It just tastes like cheesy Lay’s but salter with all the flavor taken out. This is the last one I would get. Darn you, this was my pick before the tasting! 2/5

Oh well, Wasabi & Ginger it is! If you have tried the finalists be sure to vote for your favorite.

What should PhatPhood review next? Leave us a comment below. Don’t forget to follow @PhatPhood on Instagram (unless you don’t like food then don’t bother.)