December 23, 2012

Not A Cuban Missile Crisis, But........

I'm pretty certain that while J.F.K. was trying to protect the U.S. from a possible nuclear attack from Russia after they placed Nuclear weapons in Cuba, There probably wasn't a chef in their kitchen trying to come up with a delicious tasting burger that encompasses the ingredients found in a Cuban Sandwich... Yes I just gave you a history lesson while preparing to talk about food!

One of mine and my wife's favorite places to go eat some great food is at the Lone Oak Grill in Eagan and there's nothing on the menu that I won't eat, until now. Just had their Cubano Juicy which was just launched on the new menu and after talking to the manager and chef not too long ago about this new addition, they told me I had to try it. I would probably just tell you to stay away from this place if the rest of their menu was terrible, but this was the first time I wasn't all that pleased, because everything else on the menu is amazing! Instead, I'm going to break this juicy down and provide a possible change that could make it better.

So here's how it's currently made... A Pork Sausage Patty that is stuffed with Swiss and topped with Pulled Pork, Pickles, Mustard and a Slice of Ham on the bottom. Sounds just like a delicious Cuban sandwich right? While I wouldn't completely discredit their attempt, I would say... it could be better! The Mustard Pulled Pork was, as I would expect, awesome, but I would do the following to the patty's. I would do a 50/50 blend of hamburger and pork which to me, would keep it in the realm of a "burger/juicy". 

Should you go and try the Cubano? Yes, you should! It by all means wasn't the worst burger we've had, but like I just mentioned, there was some good parts to it, but I think the 50/50 blend could really make this thing a top notch addition to the menu. I hope the team at Lone Oak Grill keeps up the awesome work it's doing to serve great food, keeping the taps flowing with craft beers and hiring awesome staff!

3010 Eagandale Place
Eagan, MN 55121 

December 21, 2012

Lindey's Rigging For Steaks?

Time to go fishing for a sirloin that looks like a small football and I hear the anglers tend to flock to a place called Lindey’s Prime Steak House located in Arden Hills. While you won’t need the famous Lindy Rig used for catching Wally’s, you will need the Lindey’s Rig which consists of a fork and knife!

This place isn’t the largest fishing hole for steak anglers, but if you find it, make sure to bring an empty “tackle box” which is a metaphor for an empty stomach if you didn’t catch that... Upon arrival to Lindey’s, one of their trusted “guides” will seat you at a table where a depth finder won’t be needed, just your eyes for reading the large menu/sign with just four selections and an appetite for some great steak. 

While you’re “trolling” and waiting for your first bite and enjoying an adult beverage, look at the old time photos of when the first anglers found this little gem and when you see your steak coming towards your table, prepare to set your fork! One of their other “specialized guides”(or servers if you haven’t caught on to my clever metaphors) will help filet your steak into smaller, more manageable cuts of beef while it sits in some delicious juices and continues to cook from a hot plate. 

Now, all that’s left to do is sit back and enjoy your ”prized catch” that was cooked to perfection and seasoned just right. Your meal is served family style and is always a heaping pile of delicious fried taters to accompany your steak, a tradition that started 50 years ago by Lindey himself. The best times to catch the Lindey’s steak beast starts at 5 p.m., but if you’re an angler that likes to get out a little earlier, check out their lunch specials starting at 11 a.m. and available until 3 p.m. 

Leave the leeches, worms, tackle and boat at home, well… unless you’re actually going to go out fishing before or after than go ahead and bring all that with you, but you won’t need it for Lindey’s Prime Steak House. 

Lindey's Prime Steak House
3600 Snelling Ave N.
Arden Hills, MN 55112 

December 20, 2012

A Lucid "Honey" Badger!

The Honey Badger might not give a BLEEP if his food is delicious or not, but my wife and I certainly do and we just had an amazing four course meal and craft brew pairing at the Lyndale Tap house. They have had a few of these the last few months and I was lucky enough to win 2 passes for my wife and I to go and enjoy one of their pairings and this one included local craft brew makers; Badger Hill Brewing Co. & Lucid Brewing Co., both from Minnetonka.

My wife and I are not huge IPA and extremely hoppy brew drinkers which Lucid was, but we will enjoy a good Ale or Stout which is what Badger Hill was and the food that went with these brews was by far some of the best meals we’ve ever had and one of them took the top spot of one of my all-time favorites and you might be surprised what it is… A little side note too… This meal was better than any meal I had while my wife and I were in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and Executive Chef, Phil agreed with me after he and his wife traveled there as well. 

Course #1 was a Blackened Catfish, served with a Cheesy Corn Grit creation and some spicy Collard Greens and paired with Lucid’s VERY hoppy Lucid Foto. Some of the best fish I’ve ever ate anywhere and I don’t think I’ve ever had cheesy corn grits, but I want more! I wasn’t big on the collard greens, but my wife cleaned her plate… I think she liked it! 

Course #2 was a House Made Spaghetti with Beer Braised Sausage and Peppers in a Mustard Cream Sauce………… My favorite spaghetti was at I nonni in Mendota until I had this one! Absolutely fantastic and I told Chef Phil he needed to add it to the menu for good and his response was, “It will be an option at our new store opening in Eden Prairie.” Guess I know where my wife and I are heading! This meal was paired with Lucid Dyno which to me was a hoppy Coors Light or a watered down hoppy beer.

Course #3 was a Pork Carnitas that was served with some Orange Zest on some Peppered Chips with some Jalapeno Guac that was deeeeeeeelicious! I don’t eat much guac, but this stuff was good. This meal was paired with Badger Hill’s, Three Tree Rye Ale which wasn’t all that bad and a full body brew that was less hoppy and more enjoyable.

Course #4 and one of my all time favorite deserts ever was a Turtle Popcorn: Kettle Cooked Corn with Chocolate, Caramel, Bacon and Pecans… “Did you just say bacon?” Y-E-S I D-I-D! Wow is all I can say and the chef was even kind enough to bring an extra one out for my wife and I, it was that good. Its accompanying brew was Badger Hill’s, Foundation Stout and our favorite brew of the evening as well.
I mentioned that the spaghetti was going to be added to the menu for their new location in Eden Prairie which is awesome news, but the rest of these outstanding meals currently are not offered, BUT I did tell Chef Phil that he should include them so maybe he’ll take my advice. If you want to try the cheesy corn grits, those are currently a side and I would recommend you try them for sure!

The Honey Badger can continue to be the most fearless creature in the world and eat its snakes, mice and larva, but I think my wife and I will stick to amazing meals like the one we just experienced at the Lyndale Tap House instead! :) 

2937 Lyndale Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55408 

December 8, 2012

Is Mancini's "Unforgettable"?

Nat King Cole might think Mancini's is "Unforgettable in every way" and maybe because the inside still looks like it's from his era, but I'm sorry darling, it's not that incredible! Sure there's a ton of nostalgia and history about this place and sure it's always packed, but I just don't understand what all the hype is about.

Is it the worse place I've ever been to? Not really, but I also think I honestly could cook a better steak right at home and/or choose to go elsewhere like; Porterhouse Steak & Seafood or Woolley's Steak House before considering Mancini's. It had been a year sense the last visit to Mancini's with my wife and her family and I really couldn't remember if it was delicious or not. Seeing how   it wasn't memorable, I wasn't able to compare that meal with our most recent visit and that's not really a good thing...

When we go to restaurants specializing in steaks, we tend to go with filet's because, if cooked right, are moist, full of flavor and cut like butter. That's IF they're cooked and prepared right. A Mancini's steak in my eyes; bland and dry and a knife is needed instead of just a fork (not like butter)! Again, it's not the worse place, but I would definitely take their 1950's approach and modernize it a little bit. 

This is one of my wife's favorite places and I'm sure we'll back for some more old school decor and mediocre food, but "like a song of love that clings to me", Mancini's food does not! While Mancini's wasn't unforgettable for me, I'm willing to maintain what seems to be a yearly visiting routine for her. :) 

531 West Seventh Street 
St. Paul, MN