Sunday, February 24, 2008

Lone Spur lunch

Yesterday I had lunch at one of my favorite places, the Lone Spur in Minnetonka.

Enchiladas with brisket

I had what I typically have, the enchiladas stuffed with their own home cooked brisket. The brisket is so juicy and moist, and accompanied with the cheese, enchilada sauce, and some sides of beans and rice, this is about as good as it gets for me.

It occurred to me while I was dining there that I have been coming to the Lone Spur for 14 years now. I love this place. Here is to another 14 years and beyond!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Patty Melt at The Lookout

I went out to lunch on Saturday at The Lookout in Maple Grove. This is becoming a regular destination for me.

On this trip, I had the patty melt; the classic hamburger sandwich. A hamburger patty, American cheese, and fried onions pressed between two slices of grilled marble rye bread. On an episode of “Feasting On Asphalt II”, Alton Brown referred to this as the hamburger meeting the Philly cheese steak. A great description!

A most excellent patty melt at The Lookout

The patty melts was excellent; a juicy burger, nicely browned onions, creamy cheese, and some good quality marble rye bread. Yum, what is not to like? I scarfed it down, along with most of my seasoned fries.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Thai yellow curry with venison

Over the weekend, I got kind of creative and concocted my own Thai inspired meal. Earlier in the week, my company got some takeout from Big Bowl for lunch, and I had some chicken in a yellow curry sauce. I decided to put my own twist on this, sliced up some venison steaks I had in the freezer, and the result was Thai yellow curry with venison.

Venison is a lean, delicious meat, and combined with a flavorful, spicy, and silky coconut curry sauce with fresh vegetables, I found it to be extremely tasty and exotic. Of course, you could use whatever you like in terms of meat (chicken, shrimp, beef, etc.). Whatever the case, it was a fun and incredibly easy use of one of my favorite meats. I was most pleased, and will definitely make this again.

Thai Yellow Curry with Venison

-1 14 oz can coconut milk
-3 T. fish sauce
-1 T. sugar
-1 T. olive oil
-2 T. fresh ginger, cut into thin matchsticks
-1 tsp. crushed red pepper
-1 lb. venison steaks, sliced thin (or use beef, chicken, or shrimp instead)
-1 T. curry powder
-Salt & fresh ground black pepper
-8 oz. fresh green beans, trimmed
-1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
-1 medium red onion, sliced
-5 cloves garlic, minced
-Jasmine rice for serving

Combine the coconut milk, fish sauce, and sugar. Stir well to incorporate and set aside for later.

In a wok or a large, deep, cooking vessel, add the olive oil and heat to medium high. Add the ginger and crushed red pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the venison, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes until nearly all the pink is gone from the meat. Remove from pan.

Add more oil if needed, and stir-fry the green beans, red bell pepper, red onion, and garlic. Cook for a just couple of minutes. Return the meat to the pan and stir to combine.

Pour the coconut mixture into the pan. Cook until the sauce is bubbly and slightly reduced, the meat is cooked through, and the vegetables are slightly tender, but still have a nice texture to them. Serve in deep bowls over some steamed jasmine rice.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Walleye at Senser's

I made a return trip to Joe Senser's Sports Theater in Plymouth for lunch today. This time, I had their beer battered walleye sandwich.

Beer battered walleye sandwich at Joe Senser's

Not only was it huge, but it was also very delicious. The large fillet of walleye was crispy and lightly battered and served on a toasted hoagie roll with lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce on the side. Yum!

I upgraded to the shoestring fries, which were well prepared and had a great crispiness to them.

A good lunch. It really hit the spot after a long morning run!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Pollo alla Cacciatora for dinner

Tonight's dinner...

After finding some chicken thighs on sale at Byerly's for a mere 99 cents a pound, I decided that was a good enough of an excuse to make a pot of pollo alla cacciatora.

The recipe was based on this one, except that I added a ton of crushed red pepper to make it spicy! In addition, the mixed olives I bought at Byerly's olive bar were marinated in a peppery olive oil, so those contributed some heat as well.

I served it over spaghetti and gilded the lily with a tangle of julienned prosciutto on top. Leftovers are going to be mighty tasty for my lunches at work this week! :)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Meat loaf on a chilly night

We had another evening with the temperatures well below zero. How about a little winter comfort food? Last night I whipped up an outstanding meat loaf.

To make the meat loaf, I really used two different recipes. The primary recipe is based on Alton Brown's meat loaf recipe, which is my meat loaf recipe of choice. But I was also inspired by Bobby Flay's meat loaf and incorporated his balsamic-ketchup glaze.

The meat loaf was delicious and incredibly flavorful. The balsamic-ketchup glaze not only adds a tangy zip, but it also creates some beautiful and tasty caramelized bits on the top of the loaf.

I am already looking forward to the leftovers! :)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

In praise of the small town meat market

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to experience a real treat; visiting a small town meat market.

I stopped in the town of Kimball, MN where I visited the Knaus Sausage House. This is a place I had not been to in years, yet I was somewhat familiar with it. We used to stop here for beef sticks en route to Grandma and Grandpa's place!

I loaded up on an assortment of goodies; their famous beef jerky, buffalo teriyaki sticks, smoked pork chops, bratwurst, smoked mettwurst, hot dogs, and a couple of different kinds of summer sausage. Everything I have tried has been most delicious.

For dinner on Saturday, I simply seared one of the smoked pork chops. The chop was nice and thick, delicately smoked, and had a texture that was almost similar to ham. With a little BBQ sauce on the side for dipping, it made for a tasty meal.

Friday, January 04, 2008

What is on tap?

Beer is a food, so I can talk about it on my blog!

For Christmas, I was given this 1.3 gallon mini-keg of Bell's Two Hearted Ale. I thought this was such a cool gift, and I tapped it over New Year's. The beer is very flavorful and hoppy, kind of like a good bitter ale. Nice stuff, and it would make a great summer beer.

As you can see, though, my pouring needs some work... :)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's eats

I've been eating very well over the New Year's holiday.

On Sunday night, I made a homemade pizza. Pepperoni, Canadian bacon, mushrooms, green peppers, green and black olives, and a combination of fresh mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses piled on top of my homemade pizza dough that uses a blend of freshly milled whole-wheat flour and unbleached all-purpose flour. Delicious!

And for New Year's Eve, I celebrated with some of Giada's balsamic roasted chicken and some steamed Brussels sprouts. I have not made this in ages, and I just love the deeply lacquered, tangy skin. The meat stays incredibly moist, and I can't wait to have some leftovers for lunch! :)

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Road Food Pursuits - Mama G's

On a snowy Saturday, I ventured to an establishment that I had never been to before. Sometimes it is a pleasant surprise what one might find.

Mama G's
9705 Highway 101
Maple Grove, MN

I had lunch at Mama G's in Maple Grove. Operating on the northwest corner of Highway 101 and County Road 30 since 1968, this small, unassuming sports bars is known all across the metro for hosting a variety of sports leagues. They are one of the premier locations for sand volleyball in the Twin Cities, and they also do broomball in the winter.

Being a sports bar, it means there are plenty of drinks and also some food. I was not sure what to expect because the menu is quite small with no frills. It was a single page containing a select number of appetizers, a few sandwich, burger, and wrap options, as well as pizza. There did not appear to be fried foods on the menu, so I am guessing the kitchen must not have a deep fryer.

There were three burgers to choose from; the hamburger, cheeseburger, or bacon cheeseburger. I opted for the one with bacon, and with a choice of cheddar or Swiss, I chose Swiss. Also, you get a choice of a variety of bagged chips for your side. I took the Poore Brothers BBQ chips.

The bacon cheeseburger at Mama G's

My burger arrived, and I was pleased with what I saw; crispy strips of bacon, beautifully melted Swiss cheese, and a good looking burger on a fluffy, toasted bun. It came with lettuce, tomato, pickles, as well as some mayonnaise and diced raw onions on the side. This looks very promising!

One bite and I knew I had found a gem. The 1/3 pound burger tasted fresh with a fantastic beefy flavor. It was fairly thick, had a nice juiciness, and reminded me of a good homemade burger. All of the toppings and condiments only added to what was a delightful lunch. Delicious!

Even better, the burger with a bag of crunchy kettle chips only cost $5.50. The whole meal with a diet Coke and a little bit of tax set me back $8 on the nose before tip. Are you kidding me? Unquestionably, this is one of the better burger values I have encountered.

If you are looking for a reasonably priced and very tasty burger, I would suggest stopping at Mama G's. I know I will be back!