Friday, November 27, 2015

Cadillac Ranch - Mall of America

We met Kristin and Chris at the Mall of American the other day. We could not really decide where to go, but we knew we wanted to go somewhere that would have college football on TV. We could see the game was on when we walked by, the menu looked OK, so we thought we would give it a try. We were seated right away and the server was with us promptly. He was good at checking back with us throughout our visit.

John had the buffalo chicken sandwich. It was your basic chicken sandwich and fries. 
I had the pulled pork sandwich with cole slaw and blue cheese potato chips. The pork was OK and the BBQ sauce was in short supply. I'd call this average, nothing special.
The blue cheese chips were not bad, although I was expecting a potato chip rather than potato slices. They were decent though with lots of blue cheese dressing and crumbles on top.
Chris had the no bull burger, which was a hamburger topped with pulled pork, BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese and onion straws.
Kristin had the Philly cheese steak with a side of fries.

The food was fine, the service was acceptable, but the one thing that made us all want to leave as soon as we were done, we the extremely cold temperature of the dining room. All of us were freezing cold, even people that never get cold normally. Maybe they keep it cold to make sure you won't stay too long, so they can turn the tables faster. Either way, we found it acceptable, but I don't know that I would go back anytime soon. It is just one more of the average dining options at the Mall of America. I did see that some new options are coming soon, so hopefully those will bring better food with them as well.

Cadillac Ranch
Mall of America
352 South Avenue
Bloomington, MN 55425
(952) 854-1004

Monday, November 23, 2015

Real Meal Deli

I decided to try and step put of my lunchtime rut and try a new place again. Real Meal Deli has been in the Baker Building for some time and they recently opened a second location in the Tri-Tech building. The menu consists of sandwiches, soups and salads with breakfast available in the early mornings as well. The Baker Building location is strictly grab and go, the Tri-Tech location has tables, chairs and seating with widows even.

I had the Josie's Club Sandwich which is topped with sliced deli turkey & ham, swiss, chopped bacon, hellman’s mayo, lettuce and tomato. The bread was fresh tasting and the deli meat was higher quality band the vegetables tasted and looked fresh.
I made this a sack lunch combo so I could try the soup, you also get a cookie and a beverage. The wild rice soup was decent. I was not expecting a broth based soup, it was a lot like chicken noodle soup with wild rice in it. It had good flavor and a lot of vegetables and meat in it though.
The cookie was warm, which was a nice touch I thought. This was probably more food than I needed at lunch, but it was nice to try a few different items at once. Overall, the food was decent, not amazing, and I would go back next time I'm in the mood for a sandwich or soup. I found the pricing on par with other soup and sandwich places like Panera or Cosi, the combo was $9.48 before tax.

Real Meal Deli
Two downtown Minneapolis locations:

Baker Center
733 Marquette Ave.,
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Open Monday - Friday 10:30am - 2:30pm

TriTech Office Center Suite #206
331 2nd Ave S.,
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Open Monday - Friday 7am - 2pm

Friday, November 13, 2015

Revival with apps at The Lowbrow

Stephanie and I decided to follow the crowds and try to get into Revival for the fried chicken everyone has been raving about. We arrived at about 5pm on a Saturday night, hoping it was early enough to keep the wait time to a minimum. No such luck. We were quoted an hour. Be prepared to wait. I could look at the wait list after the fact and some people were waiting upwards of 2 hours. Crazy.

The waiting process is not too bad though, you out in your name and they send you a text message when they are ready for you. So, since the restaurant is VERY small and the waiting area very limited, you can go to other nearby establishments. We went over to The Lowbrow across the street. There is a coffee house across the street as well that would work well for waiting.

We got lucky and scored a spot at the bar at The Lowbrow. We ordered a couple of beers and checked out the menu. We went with the half order of nachos as we were starving. The chips tasted house made and the cheese was very oozy and melty in a good way. The salsa and guacamole were very delicious. Excellent bar food.

Here is the belle of the ball, the 2 piece Southern fried chicken. This stuff really was worth the wait. It was very crisp on the exterior and juicy on the interior. Simplicity at its finest. If you want to know what good friend chicken tastes like, try this, because really good fried chicken is hard to come by around here for some reason.
We also ordered the shrimp and grits with mushrooms and scallions. I kind of have a thing for shrimp and grits. This was good, but not dazzling like the chicken. I felt the grits were a bit on the watery side and not rich and creamy and cheesy enough. The shrimp were plentiful and cooked perfectly though. There were bits of bacon or pork belly in the bowl and that helped add some much needed sodium to each bite.
We also added the hush puppies. This was a lot of hush puppies for $4.50. We did not even come close to finishing these. Too much food. They had a nice hint of honey flavor and the sauce added a bit of spice if you wanted it. They exterior was crisp and the interior soft with a bot of crunch form the cornmeal. Very good hush puppies.

The service was quite good and very friendly. He made sure to check on us as needed and was very efficient, but not so much we felt rushed. Even though there were tons of people waiting. The room is cozy, but I found it to be pretty loud as there is not much to absorb sound. 

I know I have been slacking on my deals and discounts section and I hope to bring it back soon. There were no deals to be had here, as they don't need to discount a thing. Revival is mobbed and for good reason, The chicken is fantastic. I can't wait to go back and try the Tennessee hot chicken on my next visit. 

4257 Nicollet Ave S 
Minneapolis, MN 55409
(612) 345-4516

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Surly Brewers Table

We went to Surly Brewer's Table the night before my birthday to celebrate and to have a nice dinner. We had plans to go to Jackpot Junction casino on my birthday, and we knew there would be no good dining options there. 

I heard a lot about Brewer's Table when it opened over the summer, but I have not heard much lately. I definitely liked the idea of the food menu being created with beer pairings in mind. The four course menu is $65 per person with the beer pairings included in the price. 

My first course was fiery hell beer with crudo of marlin, tangerine, cashews. The marlin was raw and not at all fishy. The dried peppers added spice as did the fiery hell beer, which is quite spicy actually. 

John's first course was Oktoberfest beer with squash soup with camembert, mole, poblano, pepperonata. The soup was extremely rich tasting and very flavorful.
My second course was watches hat beer with huevos motulenos, a poached egg, smoked ham, harissa sauce, black beans. This had a nice smoky flavor as did the beer this was paired with.
John's second course was  West coast IPAwith cauliflower and carrot puree, thai vinaigrette and peanuts. The cauliflower was a bit on the salty side, but very good.
My entree was cacao bender beer with market fish which was lobster. The lobster had to have been poached as it was prepared perfectly.
John's entree was Surly smoke beer with pork with guajillo, candied rutabaga, salsa verde. Some of the pork was a very juicy and tender pork chop and some of it was like pork belly. All of it was excellent.
My dessert course was darkness beer with the chocolate tasting, which was chocolate 5 ways. The ice cream was a bit bitter and the brownie was good. The best was the long rectangular item, which was soft and had the consistency of cheese, but I can't recall what it was called. The darkness beer has a very high alcohol content, you can almost taste it, though it worked well with the strong sweetness of the chocolate.
John's dessert course was Surly bender beer with apple brioche with ginger, buckwheat, darkness ice cream. This was good, but we both thought we should have tried the s'mores dessert.

It was interesting to do a beer pairing menu, as we have never done anything like this before. I thought all of the menu items we tried went very well with the beers they were paired with, though we both thought the desserts were the weakest part of the menu.

The service started out a bit slow, but improved after we ordered drinks. The pacing was excellent and we were never waiting long for the next course. The restaurant was pretty busy by the time we left, but not when we arrived. I would suggest making reservations, especially if you have a larger group.

Surly Brewing
Brewer's Table
520 Malcolm Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN
(763) 999-4040