Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Butcher Salt food truck

I visited the Butcher Salt food truck last summer when it was fairly new. I went back recently to try their topped hash browns. I think I need to continue to work my way through their menu as everything is really very good.

The topped hash browns include hash browns, bacon, pepper jack cheese, rosemary, sautéed peppers, onions,  tomatoes and an over easy egg. There is a lot of stuff going on here but it all works great together. The hash browns were a nice mix of crispy and less well done and the toppings were cooked well, not over done at all. I was not sure I’d be filled up after eating just this, but I was. It is a great selection if you want to share or are not that hungry. It would have been way too much with a slider or something else.

Here’s a link to my previous post, it still pertains as the menu is essentially the same:

Butcher Salt truck
Twitter: @ButcherSalt

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Serum's Good Time Emporium

We visited Serum’s in Anoka after seeing them listed on a best wings list in a local magazine recently. Plus, it is not too terribly far away and the parking is a lot easier in Anoka than most parts of Minneapolis.

They offer a wide variety of wing sauces, but many of them are simply mixtures of a couple standard sauces. We ended up waiting quite awhile for our wings, though the server let us know in advance. We ordered the Wild Wing Sampler with 25 wings and 5 sauces for $21.99. We got the medium, hot, garlicilada, Thai and spicy Szechuan sauces. The medium was really, really mild, the hot had some heat and was OK, but garlicilada was probably the best of the bunch, with a nice garlic flavor. The Thai were quite good with lots of peanut flavor and the spicy Szechuan were not good. The problem with the wings was that they seemed to be overcooked. The meat was dried out, flavorless and not moist at all. It seemed like they were not very hot when they arrived either, like they had been sitting for awhile before they were brought out to us.

The fries were nothing special, but definitely solid crinkle cut fries and the portion was generous.

I’m not sure we’d go back for the wings. I don't see how these wings made any "best of" list. Maybe we were there on a off day but they were nothing out of the ordinary and certainly not worth the trip out of your way to Anoka. If you are in the area or live nearby it might be a decent choice for your average bar food though.

213 Jackson St
Anoka, MN 55303
(763) 421-7522

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Hello Pizza

We’ve been making an effort to try some different places lately. We visited Hello Pizza for some quick slices. It was not busy at all when we arrived, only one other couple was there on a Sunday around 11am.

We both had the Hello Trinity pizza, which is topped with red sauce, mozzarella, house-made fennel sausage, natural casing pepperoni and crimini mushrooms. The pizza was hot and fresh when it arrived and tasted great. The slices are quite large and one was enough for me. It is definitely along the lines of a New York style of pizza crust. I love their pepperoni and how it gets crisped at the edges.

Hello Pizza is not full service, you just order at the counter and your food is brought out when it is ready. The dining room is very cute though. It is a great place to stop in for a quick meal and we will certainly come back again.

Hello Pizza
3904 Sunnyside Rd
Edina, MN 55424
(952) 303-4514

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Minnesota State fair - second visit 9.6.15

We made it back to the Minnesota State Fair for a second visit this past Sunday. It was a bit overcast when wee arrived, but the morning rain has passed. I was hoping the rain would keep the crowds and the slow walkers and moseyers away. 
transportation hub entrance
We started with some Big Fat Bacon. Yum! 
 We tried to win some Vikings swag, not much luck this time. 
John got a fresh peach from the Produce Exchange stand. Very juicy and fresh. 
Original Fudge Puppy; it is basically a chocolate covered waffle on a stick, quite good actually. 
The weather cleared up around noon, but it clouded up again and rained more later in the afternoon. 
This is an apple rollover from the MN Apples stand in the Agriculture Horticulture building, a new item for 2015. Very light and flaky with lots of apples inside and a lot of icing on top. 
I tried a Gizmo sandwich at the recommendation of Andrew Zimmern. It is hamburger and sausage with marinara and cheese on a toasted bun. I thought it was a large and filling sandwich, but I am  not sure I'd order it again. It was just too much food and it was a bit bland.
S'mores beer from Giggles Campfire Grill
Buffalo'd Bones from Famous Dave's, new item for 2015 as well. These were quite good; very tender ribs and the buffalo sauce was spicy and flavorful. 
This is Not Your Father's Root beer, an adult root beer with 10% alcohol. It apparently has some kick, but certainly doesn't taste like it. Tastes just like regular root beer. Very good stuff! 
French Fries from the Fresh French Fries stand. These were quite good, but I think we liked the fries from our first visit from the World's Greatest French Fries stand a little better.
We bought some ride tickets so John could do the baseball pitch. We also rode the Ferris wheel and played the water squirt guns and I won a Minion at that!
I tried the Pineapple Wheat beer at Ballpark Cafe made by LTD brewing. It was OK, not sure I'd get it again though.
 I managed to have some more Grain belt Blu beer, wish they bottled this stuff! 
I got some macaroons from the Salty Tart. Very good. I swear there were 4 cookies in there last year. I also got some Sweet Martha's cookies, just a cone. Very good also, especially when fresh. 

We had a great day and got a lot of walking in an also collected some nice freebies. The fair was pretty busy even though the weather wasn't great. We even made it home before the next round of rain arrived later that night. I hope everyone had a chance to visit the fair this year and I can't wait until next year as always! 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Bep Eatery

Bep eatery is another recent entry in the skyway dining scene. It seems like there have been a few new openings recently, which is kind of exciting. Bep eatery has Vietnamese street food and offers pho, banh mi, spring rolls and vermicelli noodle salads built to order in the Chipotle style of ordering.
packaged sandwich
trying to show the generous contents of the sandwich
I ordered a banh mi with pork, veggies, herbs, peanut chili dressing and jalapenos. The pork was excellent! It was large pieces of pork, seasoned and grilled. The meat was very tender and there was a lot of it in the sandwich. The vegetables were also very fresh and good and I really liked the peanut chili dressing as it added a lot of flavor. The bread was fresh and crusty on the outside and light and fluffy inside. This was an excellent sandwich and I need to go back very soon and try their other meats with different combinations.

The line moved quickly. You go down the line and select your topping and pay. There is some seating available inside the restaurant, but it looks like most people grab and go back to work. The banh mi was $7.95 plus tax, and it was a large sandwich, so the price seemed fair to me. It is a little out of the way in the Fifth Street towers, but it is certainly worth your trip!

Bep Eatery
100 S 5th St #210
Fifth Street Towers (skyway level)
Minneapolis, MN 55402
(612) 338-5189

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Schram Vineyards & Lola's Lakehouse - Waconia

Stephanie and I decided to go over to Waconia for one of our girls nights out. Since Highway 5 is closed going to Waconia we got to take a bit of a detour on some gravel roads. During a bit of a downpour. Fun!
First, we stopped at Schram Vineyards, which is a winery and brewery outside of Waconia. It is in a very nice setting near a small lake. They have an indoor tasting room and an outdoor tasting room. Sampling flights of both beer and wines are $10. It was pretty busy even though the weather wasn’t great and they had a food truck on site, in addition to the winery offering cheese and crackers and some other light snacks.
I wasn’t overly impressed by the wine or beer, but was very charmed by the setting and what they are trying to do here. It was fun to visit and try the offerings. The Bumbley Blueberry was probably my favorite wine, it was a bit like a prosecco or a wine cooler, very light and sweet.

Next, we headed into Waconia to go to Lola’s Lakehouse for dinner. We’d been hoping the weather would be nice so we could enjoy the great views on the lake front patio, but it was still raining a bit when we arrived. It wasn’t that busy, but we had a reservation anyway and were seated right away.
We started with the ahi tuna crisps appetizer, which was sesame seared tuna, nappa slaw, ponzu, wasabi aioli on wonton crisps. The tuna was very fresh and light and the portion was quite generous. We both liked this dish a lot.
Stephanie had the grilled chicken club, which is one of her favorite items to order here. It is marinated chicken with Swiss, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo served on a focaccia roll with a side of fries.
I had the diver scallops, which are seared scallops, cauliflower puree, prosciutto, little neck clams, roast asparagus, pomegranate reduction. The dish was on the sweeter side, but the scallops had great flavor and the asparagus was cooked perfectly.
We had a couple of desserts, because that is what we do. First, the key lime pie. This was a good version of key lime pie; just the right amount of tart lime flavor and a bit of sweetness form the graham cracker crust.
The second dessert was the chocolate lava cake served with warm vanilla bean ice cream, house whipped cream and chocolate fudge. It kind of looked like a Hostess dessert. It was very chocolatey, but the ice cream helped tone it down a bit.

I thought the menu at Lola’s had a wide variety, with lots of non-seafood items, like steaks and burgers. The service at Lola’s was very good on this visit. I don’t think we waited long for anything at all. We had a great time at Schram and Lola’s and we will certainly be going back.

Schram Vinyards
8785 Airport Rd
Waconia, MN 55387
(952) 442-5105

Lola’s Lakehouse
318 E Lake St
Waconia, MN 55387
(952) 442-4954

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Minnesota State Fair - First visit 8.28.15

We visited the Minnesota State Fair on Friday for our first visit. We plant on getting another visit in over Labor day weekend. I wanted to share a few photos while the fair is still going on.

I was not very excited about new fair foods, so we stuck mainly to old favorites. A lot of the new foods simply didn't sound appealing or worth the money.

I started with a Schell's blueberry beer with frozen blueberry foam. This was new in 2014 and I had hoped it would be back again this year. Still good!
 pronto pup, far superior to the corn dog in my opinion!
 Beer flights from the MN Craft brewers sampling booth. 
 John with the mascot of the MN United Soccer team. I think we need to try and attend a game. 
 Fries from World's Greatest French Fries were very good this year, very crisp and fresh. 
 We seriously only drink RC Cola at the State Fair.
 Sweet corn from the MN Corn Roast stand. Excellent as always. 
 John's favorite Turkey to Go turkey sandwich. 
I tried one new item, a blueberry and apple pie from the new stand Sarah's Tipsy Pies. The pie would've been better if served warm, and the drizzle of liquid didn't add much to it, though the drizzle was not generous either. The crust was crisp and it tasted fresh though. But, I'm not sure I'd go back.

We had a lot of fun walking around and looking at people, places and things as usual. We have a lot more items left to sample, so look for another installment next week! In the meantime, have a great time at the Minnesota State Fair if you get a chance to go!