June 20, 2016

Dixie's On Grand A Delight

My wife and I were rollin' out of our suburb, a Twin Cities highway and I had one arm on the wheel. I was holdin' my lover with the other and on our way to spend a little dollar for Father's Day as a family. I don't remember what was playing on the radio, but I don't recall it being Alabama. They would however, like the traditional southern food from our recent visit to Dixie's on Grand!

We may not be parking in the holler with mountains in the background, but this place has some really tasty southern cuisine worth consuming. When my wife and I first met, we used to stop by Dixie's every so often to enjoy one of our favorite soups in the metro with a side of darn good tasting wings. The soup was a Lobster Bisque and it was phenomenal! So, for this past Father's Day, my wife thought we should hot a spot that was one of our go-to's.

I happen to look at the menu before we headed out the door and noticed some changes with the biggest change being the soup. Our beloved Lobster Bisque was no longer on the menu! WHAT!? IN it's place was a Corn & Crab Bisque which was still very appealing to us. When we arrived, we had asked about the soup change and our server was fairly new, but stated that a menu update just occurred about a month ago. No biggy, I guess we're basically reviewing Dixie's for the first time all over!

So, without hesitation, we ordered a bowl of the new Corn & Crab Bisque and some Corn Bread for starters along with some adult beverages and started off the evening right. As we entertained out little guy with the train cho chooing around the bar, we waited for our soup and bread to arrive and placed our order for our main plates - Southern Fried Chicken and Mama's Fixins' Red Beans & Rice.

The Bisque and Bread arrived and we started to dig in. My wife looks at me with a huge smile and says, "I'm fine with this as my meal if you don't want to share it!" Well, I guess it's good then??? Oh, it was indeed awesome and I can see what she didn't want to. While we missed our Lobster Bisque, their new Corn & Crab Bisque creation was just as amazing and satisfying. Great flavor, fresh tasting crab and the corn added that delicate sweetness to the soup. It's a must get! As for the Corn Bread, it wasn't anything to get overly excited about, but it was good.

We waited about 20 minutes for our chicken to arrive which is standard prep for their chicken and the server with notify you as you place your order. This is great, because fare too many people would get all bent out of shape for having to wait too long for their meals to arrive. Mingle, chat, entertain your little ones - it's what dinner time is about. Plus, waiting for good food is worth it! Our Southern Fried Chicken and Red Beans & Rice arrived and we started to dig in.

The chicken is Dixie’s signature brined & marinated juicy half chicken served with smothered greens. I'm not a fan of greens which is why I ordered the Red Beans & Rice. This was by far my favorite fried chicken I've had in the metro and would go back for more. The chicken was perfectly cooked, juicy and definitely full of outstanding flavor. Perfect! The Red Beans & Rice was also very good and a must get as well. By the end of our meal there was nothing left on a single plate or in a single bowl - spotless! Our little guy is hit and miss with chicken and he even ate it!

Dixie's on Grand definitely fits my life, is oh so right and I'm looking forward to going back for some more soup, Mama's Fixins' and southern fried chicken done the right way. With the newly launched menu, I'll have to check out some of the other dishes as well, but I'll never so no to the Bisque.

Dixie's on Grand
695 Grande Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105

June 17, 2016

Don't Worry, Be Hoppy

S' a little song I wrote about some brew, you might want to drink it before I do. But hey, Don't worry if I do, just be hoppy now! If you're a die hard fan of  locally developed craft brews, especially anything that has a significant amount of hops added, this next place is just for you. If you're a fan of Bobby McFerrin, you get extra points!

I'm not a huge fan of overly hopped up brews, but I'll pretty much try anything you would call a beer and the Nutmeg Brewhouse has some tasty creations. The newest addition to the south metro culinary scene is located in Burnsville right of County Road 42 and not only are their brews pretty darn tasty, their food is top notch. 

The space itself upon walking in is pretty cool. Writings on the ceiling describing basically the inspiration of establishing the brewhouse. Open kitchen towards the back. Bar and it's backdrop is very rustic looking and right behind the bar is where the, magic-happens. Not the biggest space, but over the last few years all the new, excellent and creative culinary cuisine inspired restaurants that have opened are smaller, more intimate environments and I dig it. 

It's a brewhouse, so of course we started the evening with some ice cold adult beverages. My wife, like me, isn't a huge hope fan and thankfully they had Fargo Breweries Wheat Hefe as a visiting tap that she was able to order. I went for a flight of their current brews on tap and I unfortunately am unable to tell you exactly what their names are as they're still very new and no beer list was available. But, have no fear, I can describe the picture below from left to right. Belgian blonde with mild hints of hops and hints of apricot - not bad. Next is a stout brew with hints of hops and more chocolate tasting than coffee. After that is a little more bland and mild hop brew and finishing with an extremely hopped up EPA.
As for the food, we started with some delicious wings and you can head over to Flying Buffalo's? to see how they ranked against the competition. We then ordered the Atlantic Cod and Chips as well as the Avocado BLT. The wings of course came out first and we ordered the Blackened Dry Rub with a side of mild (house made) buffalo sauce and ranch. They come out laying on top of a bed of napa slaw which was basically an awesome blue cheese slaw.
I added some lemon to the slaw and that immediately made it an even better treat to enjoy whole throwing back my brew flight and some insanely tasting wings (wink wink Nutmeg). The dryrub on these wings was awesome and I would recommend you order them, as always, extra crispy. Next, grab a wing, keep singing some Bobby McFerrin, dip in the ranch, dip in the buffalo sauce and enjoy! awesomesauce! 

My wife went for the BLT which was actually pretty darn good - it was the aioli that dominated this dish. Made with a bakery square of ciabatta bread layered with fresh avocado slices, roma tomatoes, romaine lettuce and four thick slices of smoked applewood bacon finished with our homemade spicy aioli spread. Served with sidewinder fries. Worth ordering if you love bacon (why would you not?) and avocado.
I went for the fish and chips and you can see how they did against the competition as well in our Friday Fish Fry Challenge, Time For Me To Fish Fry. Fresh Atlantic cod battered with their seasonal house beer. Served with sidewinder fries, a blistered lemon and our house made curry tartar sauce. The curry tarter was awesome and the fish was also awesome. You get two large fillets and it's more than enough food to satisfy the belly.
I'm definitely looking forward to heading back to check out some dishes and I already have my eye on a couple to check out; their Roasted Chicken and what I think might turn out to be my favorite dish here, New Zealand Lamb Chops. I. Love. Lamb! I'm not going to give you my number, but when you're worried, stop by the Nutmeg Brewhouse and they can make you hoppy! 

1905 County Road 42W
Burnsville, MN 55306

June 5, 2016

When A Man Loves His Animals

When a Maaaaaaaaaaan loves his animals, he can't keep his mind on nothing else, but if it's bad, he can easily see it and taste it! I love to eat tasty animals and I really like to try the ones considered to be exotic or abnormal - you know, the ones you won't find in a grocery store. It's also the type of animals Percy Sledge maybe wasn't consuming either?

Found a place that has started opening locations throughout the Twin Cities called New Bohemia Wurst+Bierhaus and the concept is very intriguing. You walk in and pre-order like you were visiting a Chipotle, but around the corner is more of a sports bar feel. No, pop machines, no liquor and mixed drinks, just ice cold craft beer from all over and wurst. Lots of wurst!

What caught my eye was the type of wurst being served, the type a lot of people would run from.
While this place has exactly what I am looking for in unique food to try, it has a long ways to go in actually serving delicious tasting wurst. So, just how exotic is this place? Here we go!

My wife and I had a night out with some of our neighbors who, like us, enjoy trying new foods. After reviewing the menu and seeing what this place had to offer, our wurst order looked something like this;

  • New Bohemia Bockwurst (Combination of White Veal & Pork)
  • Mac n' Cheese Stuffed Wurst
  • Chicken & Apple Wurst
  • The Jackalope (Combination of Antelope and Rabbit)
  • Smoked Duck and Cilantro Wurst
  • Basket of hand cut fries w/ jalapeno mayo, pepperjack cheese sauce, fresh herb ranch
  • Cold Brews

While this list of crazy combinations sounds amazing to me, the New Bohemia failed to deliver quality, delicious tasting wurst. Lets break each one of these dishes down a little further and give you, the reader, better options.

The Bockwurst was boring, bland and flavorless. The Mac n' Cheese was consumed by my neighbor and she said it was flavorless and had zero cheese in it - ZERO! The Chicken & Apple had absolutely no apple flavor. The Jackalope was boring, bland and a little tough. The Smoked Duck was consumed by neighbor, but he didn't seem pleased at all. The best part of our meal - the hand cut fries and dipping sauces.

Now, there are toppings that you can add to your wursts, 8 to be exact and even these couldn't help with how boring and flavorless these wurst options were. And, it's pretty sad that your hand cut fries are better than your staple menu item.

So, where can you go for something better? If you want an awesome veal sausage, check out the Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter in Stillwater for all your German inspired food needs. If you want an awesome animal combination sausage (any animal), check out Specialty Meats in Hudson. I guarantee their Rattle Snake & Rabbit sausage will put the New Bohemia's to shame. If you want an awesome Chicken & Apple sausage, check out Aamodt's Apple Orchard or Afton Apple Farm. Both of these places serve the very best Chicken and Apple sausage in the Twin Cities. And finally, if you want an awesome Mac N' Cheese sausage, grab a smoked Johnsinville, make some mac n' cheese, put a couple of spoon fulls right on top and enjoy!

I think this place has some potential to be awesome, but they have a long ways to go before that happens. It's a cool concept, lots of great bier options, a giant pretzel that is probably awesome, but the wurst needs help! Feel free to check this place out if you're the adventurous type and if you have a woman that is, hold on to her and never want another girl.

New Bohemia Wurst+BierHaus
Multiple Twin Cities Locations