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BigE's Profile

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Jerry's Rainbow

I love Seward Coop. Great meat counter, and always a fun variety.

The Wedge is reliably awesome too.

about 4 hours ago
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul
1

NATIONAL CHEESEBURGER DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Might as well throw our favorites into this thread...

For me, no one has topped Parlour's double cheese. Something about a thin double with an obscene amount of cheese really appeals to me, over the thick pub burger. The ONLY thing that would make it better is if they got more crust on the burgers.

Runner up would probably be the Nookie Supreme.

about 4 hours ago
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul
1

Elk Meat - Recommendations/Experiences?

It's too bad none of the local(ish) farms make it to the STP Farmer's Market. I've been loving the pork, beef, and lamb recently, then stopping at Heartland for various other carnivorous wonders.

I'm probably going to contact some of the local farms and inquire about parts vs. quarters. It's a ton of meat, but it's worth it. If I remember my last research correctly, some of these places are selling for $4/lb hanging weight.

about 4 hours ago
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Elk Meat - Recommendations/Experiences?

Anyone a regular consumer of elk meat? I love it, but haven't found a good source, either farmer's market or otherwise.

I'd be fine with ordering 1/4 of an animal if need be, just looking for any recommendations based on previous experience.

Sep 09, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Heavy Table's Out of Towner's Guide.

http://heavytable.com/out-of-towners-...

Good stuff. Maybe we could just pin this guy for the inevitable "where do I go?" threads.

Sep 02, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Hot beef sandwich

Carol's in Blaine serves a great, classic hot beef (the hot turkey is worth it too).

Jun 13, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Travail/The Rookery

Most of the madness happens on the Travail side. If you went over to the Rookery side, it would be (slightly) less raucous. Music might still be overwhelming though, depending on the time.

May 19, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Who's firing out the best food right now?

Can't go wrong with LBV, Meritage, or Piccolo. The latter is much different the former two. Classic French vs. New Age...whatever they feel like. All are great.

Apr 08, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

First Erik Anderson returns, now...

Gavin Kaysen is leaving Cafe Boulod to come (back) to Minneapolis.

http://mspmag.com/Blogs/Dara/March-20...

Goodness. We might just be a new foodie destination...or something.

Apr 01, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Roast Beef: Maverick's vs. Wally's or other?

A few things:

-I was at Maverick's a few weeks ago, and they are as good as ever. Not sure the large sandwich is worth $9, but it is quite good.

-Broncos continues to be top notch. If you haven't checked it out, do so if/when you're in the northern 'burbs.

-I've been to a handful of recommended Italian beef places in Chicago, and none have done anything for me. Bland and mushy in every case.

Mar 27, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul
1

Who's firing out the best food right now?

I'd put in a second for Borough too, though I've only ever eaten at Parlour (downstairs bar).

Best burger in town, hands down.

Mar 26, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Visiting Champlin in May

For breakfast, Fat Nat's is great. Not exactly Champlin, but worth the short-ish drive.

http://www.fatnatseggs.com/

Mar 24, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Who's firing out the best food right now?

My favorite meals recently have been at Travail/Rookery, Corner Table. Tasting menus at both, but the reservation issue at the former.

In the new-ish/under the radar group, I like Gray House. I went a few weeks back and had the tasting menu. $20, 3 courses. Star of the show was a flank steak with steel cut oat 'risotto'. Excellent deal...nice, cozy spot in the midst of Uptown/LynLake madness. My only knock on the place was pacing. I was by myself, and I was still sitting for 20+ minutes between courses, with ~10 other people in the restaurant. The FOH needs to do better communicating that, IMO. If I was there with someone else, it wouldn't have bothered me as much.

Mar 24, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Your Favorite Source for Roasted Coffee Beans.

Good morning friends,

I recently returned for a two week trip to the Kona coast on the Island of Hawaii. Aside from escaping the hellish winter we've been enduring here, one of my goals for this trip was to start drinking coffee. In my life, my coffee consumption had totaled maybe 1/2 cup, but I figured there was no better place to start. Nearly every day, we made the short trip to Greenwell Farms (HIGHLY recommended, if you're ever on the Big Island) and I tried out most of their offerings. I ended up taking some beans home, bought myself a hand grinder, a Chemex setup, the whole nine. I'm loving it, but I'm running out of Kona stock.

What I'd like to find is a local spot for freshly roasted beans. I live in Stillwater, but I don't mind making the drive somewhere on the weekend. I've heard good things about Peace Coffee, and I've actually seen their beans at Cub, but I assume those aren't the most freshly roasted. All recommendations are welcome.

For the record, I don't need much in terms of volume. I'm using ~32 grams of beans a day, enough to make one travel mug worth.

Mar 21, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Chicken & Waffles

Cub's fried chicken is surprisingly good, actually. Try this, if you're heating it up later...

http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/01/th...

Travail/The Rookery

Ah. The vegetarian part would make it more difficult, yes.

As I said, the Rookery is what the old Travail was with a la carte, though in (sometimes) smaller plates. Even the proteins aren't very big...it's all on the order of Piccolo-like portion sizes.

Feb 10, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul
1

Travail/The Rookery

This is correct. And to clarify what getgot said, the menu at Rookery does NOT (to my understanding) overlap with the Travail menu. Different kitchens, different chefs, different food. But yes, you can get a tasting menu of sorts for $75.

To say that you won't ever go again because it doesn't feel the same is silly. It feels exactly the same, just bigger. The Travail side doesn't look much different at all; same bar on the kitchen, same hot tub table, same number of tables (maybe minus one). It just happens to have another side for cocktails and small plates.

I sat on the Rookery side (there is no actual division, for what it's worth), had 11 dishes, and it felt the same as sitting at the high top bar at the old spot. They just happen to have another 8-10 tables beyond that, composing the rest of the Rookery.

Travail/The Rookery

After seeing a few Facebook posts in the past two nights from the Travail crew regarding no line, no wait, open tables at the new joint, I thought I'd check it out. I couldn't believe that they wouldn't be on fire already, given the anticipation during their hiatus.

As I turned down Broadway at ~8:30, I saw Pig Ate My Pizza completely packed, including folks waiting for tables. I assumed Travail would be the same, or worse. Much to my surprise, I walked in to a less than half full establishment. I guess it must be a combination of a few things. I think some people don't know they're back yet. The rest (like me) probably assume they're crazy busy already.

Here's the setup for those of you that aren't familiar (I wasn't). The first thing you notice is how huge the space is. High ceilings, lots of windows, and a huge amount of kitchen space. The collective kitchen/bar/prep areas take up probably half of the space. There had to be 20 chefs going last night. It's really an amazing show, just in that respect.

Half the building is Travail, which only serves their tasting menu. The current menu is 10 courses (plus a bunch of other amuses and fun) for $110/couple, $55 single. This price goes down to $90/45 on Tuesday/Wednesday, which is crazy. There are tables, along with a bar on the kitchen, similar to the old style.

The other half of the building is the Rookery. Food is a la carte, with ~20 dishes ranging from $2-10. Seating included the more traditional high top bar (where I ended up) and more tables. The bar is fun too; it curves back and forth the whole way, so if you come with another person, you will actually be facing them. A nice touch. Overall, there are twice as many seats as the old place.

To the food and the rest of the vibe. The guys haven't missed a beat on either front. It's a party atmosphere at all times, and you can't not have a good time while you're there. It's absolutely infectious. Even as they were cleaning up at the end of the night, they're blasting music and the crew is dancing and singing along.

The food is right on too. Here is what I had last night:

-Pate: Pork pate (two slices), grilled bread (two pieces), whipped bone marrow, gremolata. Goodness, what a start. Charcuterie whiz Geoff Hausmann is back with the Travail crew, and I think this might be his creation. The pate is great on it's own, but when you use whipped bone marrow along side...forget it. Ridiculously good.

-Tofu: Tofu, soy pearls, mushrooms, broth poured tableside. I don't remember all the details on this one, and there were a bunch. Either way, I've never had tofu before, so I figured there was no better time. I knew the boys made the tofu in house, and I spent a few minutes after my meal talking with James about it. For my first introduction, I really enjoyed it. I can't compare it to anything else, obviously, but I would recommend it.

-Egg: Soft scrambled egg, mushroom, chives, served inside an egg shell. Simple, but delicious.

-Gnocchi: A single ~2" piece (definitely bigger than normal) of gnocchi, seared, topped with shaved parm, and mushroom (this seemed to be a trend for the night, which was fine).

-Agnolotti: Four pieces, stuffed with cheese (I think...didn't hear the type), topped with vanilla butter and fried capers.

-Beef tongue: Slider style, topped with a beet chip, queso fresco, avocado, cilantro, with a few tortilla chips on the side. Rich, tender as can be...just delicious.

-Oxtail: Not sure how to describe this one...it was seared patty, mixed with brunoise carrots. An Asian broth is poured tableside. The whole dish works well together. A little more simple than the rest, flavorwise, but still good.

-Duck rillette: This one was fun. The rillettes are stuffed into a waffle cone, mixed along with arugula and a sauce that I didn't hear. I thought the sweetness of the waffle cone wouldn't work, but it was just fine. I'm a sucker for rillettes, so I would probably get this everytime.

-Lamb: Shoulder, potato, chimichurri. I love all these things, and I loved this dish. Not much fuss involved here, just everything done right.

-Churro: Dessert time. A nice, piping hot churro served alongside a small cup of ancho hot chocolate. I'm not normally a hot chocolate fan, but this worked. It actually left a nice heat in the back of the throat by the end.

-Zeppole: Two fried pastries; doughnut holes, basically. Both had a ricotta filling (not very noticeable), and were sitting on a vanilla sabayon. I could have eaten about 50 of these things. Nice ending to the night.

I didn't get into the cocktail side of the Rookery, but the menu sets up perfectly for a few drinks and some small bites. If you decide to go for a few things only, my recommendations would be the pate, beef tongue, either pasta dish, and lamb from the savory side. Both desserts were great too.

As I was leaving, I told the guys that I can't wait to come back to do the Travail side, but I'm worried that it will be crazy packed. Given what I saw last night, maybe not. I can't believe that they aren't. For what they are (still) producing, 10 courses for $55 is the a steal of epic proportions. You can order the entire Rookery menu for $75...not sure how that stacks up to ordering it individually, but it would get you about 20 courses. I walked out last night at $58 for 11 courses and two beers. Worth every penny. Get there. Quickly.

Nominate: Best Pizza in Minneapolis-StPaul (if you say Dominos, you are banned from chowhound 4 good)

Pretty positive review from HT.

http://heavytable.com/pizzeria-pezzo/

I work in WBL, but I haven't been yet. I hear it's pretty much packed all the time.

Feb 03, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Good quality rib roast. Where to buy.

The best piece of meat I have ever cooked came from Clancey's. If they're still getting their beef from Hill & Vale, I can vouch for how awesome it is. Still, I haven't been able to justify $150-200 for a prime rib.

Feb 03, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Grain Stack Restaurant MIA

Recent write up from HT about the beef tongue reuben. Good review, and looks delicious.

http://heavytable.com/beef-tongue-reu...

Feb 03, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Eating and ogling: Are there any topless bars in MSP ...

I've had a steak at The Seville that was surprisingly good. That's the only advice I can offer.

Feb 03, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Excellent dinner at Parka

I've never been to Parka, but I don't know how much time Harcey was spending there v. V-44.

Jan 16, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Nominate: Best Pizza in Minneapolis-StPaul (if you say Dominos, you are banned from chowhound 4 good)

Very much interested in building one. Not for me currently (apartment living), but two of my friends want to build one this summer.

I'll check out the top site and let them know about it. Any other guides you might have would be appreciated, though I fear the CH Overlords would quickly smite us for insubordination.

Jan 15, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Nice spot to watch the Super Bowl in Louisville

Good afternoon friends,

I'll be flying into Louisville, landing right around kickoff for the SB. I'd like to find a nice local spot to watch the big game. Any recommendations are appreciated. Dinner, a few bourbons, and a comfy spot to watch the game are the goals here.

Thanks in advance.

Jan 13, 2014
BigE in Kentucky & Tennessee

NE Burbs

Ingredients is still my favorite for lunch. Their burger is still the gold standard on this side of town.

A few spots that are new, or that I've tried since this thread first came around:

1) Acqua - They have two locations now, the original on the west side of White Bear Lake, right off 61, just south of highway 96. The second is on the north side of Forest Lake, right on the lake itself. I've been to both, and they are the best restaurant(s) you can get in the NE burbs, in my estimation. I had brunch at the FL location a few weeks back and really enjoyed it. The dinner is great too; $30 - 3 course dinners are a great way to try things out. Both have very nice views of their respective lakes. Not sure if the FL location has outdoor seating, but the WBL has a limited amount. Very nice during the summer.

2) Roma Market in Wilnerie, just west of Mahtomedi high school on highway 12. I've really enjoyed the pizzas here on a few occasions; haven't gotten to the rest of the menu yet.

3) Pizzeria Pezzo in downtown WBL. http://heavytable.com/pizzeria-pezzo/ I haven't been here yet, since it just opened and only does dinner service, but reviews are good, and the lines are pretty serious. One of my co-workers waited over an hour for a table this past weekend.

Jan 13, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Nominate: Best Pizza in Minneapolis-StPaul (if you say Dominos, you are banned from chowhound 4 good)

This has been my experience at Punch too. Multiple trips, at least 3 different locations. Every time, you pick up a slice and it flops over, dropping all toppings with it. Not good.

Jan 13, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Nominate: Best Pizza in Minneapolis-StPaul (if you say Dominos, you are banned from chowhound 4 good)

Looks like we might have a new contender...

http://heavytable.com/pizzeria-pezzo/

I work in WBL, so this is great news :) I'll be sure to report back as soon as I try it.

Jan 09, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Good quality rib roast. Where to buy.

I agree with this. I ended up getting mine from Festival, and it ended up being very good. Salted it and put it in the fridge 2 nights prior, slow cooked it, seared at the end (Food Lab method), and really enjoyed it.

Jan 03, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

"Old fashioned" Steak House: Where?!

I've been to Porterhouse a few times, and was just there on Sunday night. They do an alright job. The meal started with a caesar salad that looked like it came out of a bag, and it probably did. A pile of lettuce, with a separate pile of croutons on the side, and a sliced soft boiled egg. It tasted fine.

The steak I got (ribeye) was cooked alright, much more medium than the med. rare I ordered (I was part of a group of 10, so maybe I give them a pass). The meat itself was nicely seasoned too, but the quality of the beef seems is just OK. That's the best way I can describe it. Nothing better than I could do from a steak on my grill. I did get a large portion of ribeye cap, which I consider a huge bonus, but the eye itself was nothing special. I want a steakhouse to provide more than that.

Dec 31, 2013
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul