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Budvar beer

Blue Max. The before the trend best beer store in town, and also on the national radar...

Jan 27, 2013
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Coming soon...Parka

Jan 24, 2013
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Where to buy veal bones for stock? Not neck bones.

Veal is not carried at local coops. Clancey's may accommodate a special order. Lund's/Byerly's doesn't cut carcass beef, so I think that's also a special order scenario.
@Big E - Marrow bones are available at local coops - those that feature carcass cutting programs.

Jan 24, 2013
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

New St. Paul Restaurants

Foxy - We've been three times. Love the miniature scale of the space. The service concept is a hybrid probably derived from their over the counter farmer's market roots. The combination of signage and miniature menus still results in a brain freeze as the complexity of ordering and visualizing is a leap of restaurant faith. The service counter is friendly, and it's a bit like watching a juggling act as the transactions occur. Order, make drinks, handle payment, and there's no room for a cue. The service counter itself occupies enough space for another two tables, and minus the cue, it might feel a bit less cramped. Food quality is very hand made and genuine. Quality has varied (cold cheese curds, crunchy chick pea texture) but this is simple food. They will hammer out quality and service smoothness as they go. We're on hiatus for a couple of months.

Jan 11, 2013
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Paleo Friendly Restaurants in Downtown Minneapolis?

Butcher and Boar, Brasa (casual meat centric). Forgo FOGO.

Oct 17, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Best gourmet supermarkets near Minneapolis Mid-City Industrial, 35W and Stinson?

Immediate proximity is going to be limiting. There are old school grocery stores (predominantly packaged foods in proportion to fresh/gourmet), a family of Whole Foods stores including two newly opened (proportionately more fresh ingredients and carefully sourced meats), and there's an abundance of food cooperatives (lots of fresh ingredients, and locally produced products - Wedge, Seward, Mississippi Market, and Eastside in the general area of Northeast that you're querying).

Jul 06, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Source for Organic Chicken in Blaine Area?

I would purchase a few at a time, freeze, and thaw as necessary. I think the lack of response says a lot about the lack of availability in the area.

I'd also put in a good word for growers who don't invest in organic certification, but go the distance in terms of all vegetarian diet, high quality grain, low density operating scheme requiring no antibiotics, etc.. The cage free, free range classifications are a bit confounding. Meat birds, even when raised with the highest standards of husbandry do not possess enough instinct to want to do much more than stand, drink, and grow. They will not leave the shelter of the coop even with open door. There are breeds that are smarter and can actually forage outdoors, but they are a lot more expensive.

Jul 04, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Seeking relatively quiet, table service Mexican restaurant in Twin Cities.

Roughly six months. Carnitas that tasted like recycled pork fat and had an old flavor. Chipped paint from chair backs and a ring of dirt. Wear and tear is understood. This was worn and torn. Carpet looked ill kept. We were in the vicinity of a restroom as well, which is never a good seat, to the extent that the area should be used for art or potted plants. The pork might have been from the bottom of a hotel pan, but properly cooked even that's not a problem. The braised meats at Brasa are an example of well prepared, defatted, well seasoned, etc..

Jul 04, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

MSP Trip Recap

I'll give Meritage a try and report back. I've tried Russo's product and Craftsman and find them both credible, but I want to go down market, not in terms of price necessarily, more atmosphere, and maintain quality. Quality defined as fresh, well ground, decent portion, proper patty, properly seasoned, properly cooked, proper bun, proper accompaniments, decent fries. Beef needs to be from established source without growth hormones or antibiotics. Add in some flawless beer service and here's a business plan if you have between 200 - 500 K. I haven't tried Burger Jones because I don't like references to heroine addiction in restaurant names and I'm not happy with other Parasole experiences. Close minded maybe.

Jul 02, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

MSP Trip Recap

If there were a few decent burgers available in this town, there would be a lower compulsion to jam cheese in the middle and declare it something worthy of cult praise.

Jul 02, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Seeking relatively quiet, table service Mexican restaurant in Twin Cities.

There are only a few places in the restaurant world where I have experienced food that I did not want to finish after only one bite, and that I did not want the kitchen to try for a fresher/better executed second attempt. I suppose it was an off night, but then there was the fact that the place needed cleaning and paint. Could have been an off night? I'll try again if a few people chime in that the food and cleanliness have improved.

Jul 01, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Looking for Unique MSP Dinner

Yogi Bera strikes again. Harriet will tighten up very soon if Rick Nelson has anything to say about it (rave review).

Depending on the hour of the day there are places to duck in while you wait, or walk around the lake before dinner for a change up.

Jun 29, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Looking for Unique MSP Dinner

Hands down Linden Hills. Harriet Brasserie or Tilia. Walk around Lake Harriet. Ease to navigate from airport. Friendly neighborhood feel.

Jun 28, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Monterey Market (Berkeley)

Lived a few houses away from MM for several years. As a private chef shopping at MM, CC, M.P., MF, TF, BB, WF, 6 - 8 different FM's over the years, plus Sigona's. Bill Fujimoto is king. What MM was was fantastic (Ricardo, Trino, Bill). Living in the flyovers now (MSP). I love the pity as well as the whining about how disorganized your embarrassment of riches has become. Food cooperatives that support small/local/cooperatively owned producers are stronger here than anywhere in the nation. Farmer's markets and CSA's thriving. Aquaponic year round production. Exceptional summer harvests and lots of pickling, fermentation, and preservation culture. No it's not a Med climate, but the earthquakes here are milder, bicycles and pedestrians are welcomed, and despite the fact that no one cooks eggs in a spoon, the culinary landscape is percolating nicely. The hogs we raise are shipped to your kitchens and salumi factories and animal farmers are doing well here (amidst the mono crop corporate blech). Hell we even know how to use cold frames and red wigglers in the basement.

Jun 22, 2012
keg in San Francisco Bay Area

Butcher and the Boar

That was a rhetorical you. I catch your drift.

My experience with Publican was over the top on the one occasion I ate there. We fussed a bit on beer selection and our server was genuinely thrilled, without entering too heavily in our conversation. When we later asked who was responsible for the beer program, only then did he introduce himself as the Ciceron. Completely unpretentious fully focused on delivering delicious beer and food. The same dedication seems to be everyone's focus at Publican. That's the prize of a great dining experience.

On the "smoked meats different every time" comment below, that would be a nightmare for anyone producing cured meat. There's very narrow tolerance for variation in a high quality production scheme. It's not easy to deliver consistency, but it is the goal. Smoke house programming, cart loading, compliance with cooking and cooking standards, and a list of details that would put you to sleep. Inconsistency is the mark of someone who is still trying to figure out why the results are inconsistent.

Creosote flavor sounds like they might have had a smokehouse fire (or flue fire), or they might not clean the equipment carefully.

Jun 19, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

University Ave. reminder

Tried to eat at Ngon last night. Either R.N.'s article, this post, or some kind of father's day blitz had the place hopping. At least 20 seats open, the bar fully seated, and a 30 minute wait (insert sad emoticon here). After the transiting an alley way, and making a couple of questionable driving maneuvers to get there, I felt a mix of feelings. I've never had a reservation there before in my many visits. We'll be back again, but you might want to call ahead. I don't think Caribe was having this problem.

Jun 18, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Another TC's sojourn begins.

Whatever happened to the "R" month rule on oysters? Any month with an "r" in it is also a cold water cycle month. This might be a wive's tale, but it was the way I learned about oyster seasonality. Warmer water months are spawning months and the quality if far more variable. A "spawny" oyster is not a tasty oyster.

Oyster shucking is often a hack job, so a primer on how to shuck shouid be sought out from a qualified fishmonger. Whoever supplies them should contact the chef and set up a tutorial with some beer involved in compensation. I have no inside knowledge of who this might be...

Jun 12, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Non-pretentious couple from KC in town for two nights

Well said. These posts are fun as they swing back and forth like a flying trapeze. The other thing that's truly different about the Twin Cities are the food coops. Full disclosure I'm a member of two and employee of one. Something as mundane as a good place to buy groceries turns out to be a highlight of the area. They're really well executed, connected to local producers, and more robust here than in any other city in the United States.

Jun 11, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Hamburgers not "beefy" enough

Oxtail. I'm a butcher. Cleaning an oxtail would yield a depressingly small amount of meat. Grinding one whole would clog the plate in your grinder and what did pass through would taste like knobs of gristle. You might be thinking of shank meat, which is very flavorful, but also full of a lot of connective tissue too. It's better for a braise.

The patties are falling apart because with single pass grinding the meat is greatly unbound. A second pass through the grinder or paddling in a mixer will increase the bind (protein extraction) and make the patties stay together.

Aging ground beef is not advisable. Bacteria love surface area and ground meat has an immense amount of it. All meat has spoilage bacteria and possible pathogenic bacteria too. Grinding it is like firing a starting pistol for accelerated growth. Also kitchen aid mixers are not known for producing a high quality ground product.

Regardless of what cut you select, look for good marbling. Grass fed beef depending on how it's finished can be very low in intermuscular fat, or possibly quite nicely marbled. Grass fed, grain finished is my own preference for ground beef. I look for a chuck roast with healthy fat percentage, grind it coarse, change plates, and regrind half through a finer plate, mix and patty. Great texture, good bind, fat to sustain flavor,and moisture and beefy beefy-ness.

Jun 10, 2012
keg in Home Cooking

Butcher and the Boar

Publican is the best! Phenomenal quality, focus, and finesse. That would be a tall order to match that quality in any town. Sausage and beer at a world class level matched with perfect service and properly cooked shellfish too. If you think that's an easy formula, you don't know easy...

Jun 10, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Non-pretentious couple from KC in town for two nights

MOA is the same stores and same quality as everywhere else, just on a grander scale. The planet has flattened in terms of distinctive variety and quality. That said, MOA is an efficient place to shop and has simple light rail connectivity to down town (soon both downtowns). Food at the mall is much as you'll find anywhere else. Average to cruddy, but lots of it.

Bicycling in the T.C.'s is a great choice. MSP even with absurd weather extremes is the number one or number two cycling community in the nation. Very friendly with a system of trails and public spaces which are really fun to use. Also bike lanes galore. The system that would work quite well for you is called Nice Ride (google it). This is a perfect way to see the cities at a very reasonable cost. Many culinary areas have nice ride kiosks nearby, so checking bicycles in an out would be a snap.

I would stop at Birchwood Cafe - kiosk in front. Freewheel Bicycle Cafe,, with bicycle access only on the Midtown Greenway. Bob up to the Global Market if you want too many options - it's like MOA for small operations with shoestring budgets. You should consider eating options around the City's lakes, as well as near Summit Avenue in St. Paul (truly beautiful old homes). Also take in any River trail you can, as well as the view from Cathedral Hill and the History Center, or the Capital.

As I mention these places, and think of the views and the food, I'm certain that less time in the Mall and more time out and about would make sense. Of course you could end up with a bad ticket for weather (hot or wet, or hot and wet), but we've been having an unusually perfect early summer.

Food trucks and farmer's markets are thriving here too. Google and make this a focus. You will not be disappointed for the most part, and the price/quaiity you're looking for are all there.

I would not rent bicycles at Minnehaha Falls. I really think Nice Ride will suit you needs and be a hoot too. Other shops have daily rentals with helmets and locks etc..

Jun 09, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Cooks Ilustrated Shout Out to Minnesota's Jucy Lucy

Mavericks has a spot in my heart. More principled ingredients sourcing, and better fung shoe (feng shui) would elevate it to the next level. I'm not averse to enjoying the occasional commodity product. Had high hopes for Buster's, and the burgers and vibe were decent, but the lack of concern about pharm raised meats is a deal breaker. Blue Door falls into the same league. Groveland Tap fails to make it to the dance unfortunately as it would be my neighborhood haunt if they learned how to clean the place and well there is the food.

Jun 02, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Cooks Ilustrated Shout Out to Minnesota's Jucy Lucy

Black Sheep. Ngon. Brasa. St. Paul Cheese. Punch. Mavericks. Izzy's. Grand Old Creamery. Black Sheep Coffee. Kopplins.

Heartland FDM? Are they open in the evening or lunch hours only? I couldn't find info about hours of operation on the website. On my days off, Sunday is a home brunch day, and Mondays Heartland is closed as far as I know. Out of curiosity, what's the sandwich price structure and do they still have upscale coffee? I seem to remember Bull Run beans.

Jun 02, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Bread and Pickle

Clancey's for a sandwich. Linden Hills Coop for some picnic snacks. Ba da bing. City of Minneapolis should allow some hungry food truck operators to work the parks. I'd take a Chef Shack tongue taco any day of the week...

May 31, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Cooks Ilustrated Shout Out to Minnesota's Jucy Lucy

@TDQ, unlikely that any you mention would dip into the well of Lucy-fer or fried snickers on a stick. Wait a minute, am I visioning their next menu cycle(s)? The Lucy is low food and as low food goes is not really that compelling a form. I can see upscale low food working if it's executed with good technique and competent (consistent) line cooking. Then you have to take a stab at the overhead and guess the price. Somehow I think the targets in all these places lie elsewhere. I respect all the places you mention, but don't eat in any of them very often. My food/entertainment dollars go towards lower food establishments and raw ingredients for the home stove almost every night of the year.

May 31, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Cooks Ilustrated Shout Out to Minnesota's Jucy Lucy

I had burgers as a child in the 70's that were stuffed with mushrooms and or cheese. It was a novelty then, and it's a novelty now. Along side the chicken cordon bleu (from scratch thank you) it was a fun diversion and that's about it. Baked Alaska was another wacky treat.

It's probably a good thing for most food service establishments to annihilate their beef. Anything that knocks out pathogens is your friend - in low brow as well as high brow establishments. You take a calculated risk when you eat anything rare or medium rare. You are testing the weakest links in a food handling system, and there are many.

I would guess that most of the beef patties in the JL camp are machine formed, commodity product (meaning coming from beef grown with growth hormones, and nummy prophylactic antibiotics). Given that ruminant digestive systems are not designed to process grains, I'd say that human digestive systems are not designed eat too much processed crap. Obesity epidemic would be a case in point.

My one local bar JL experience yielded a trip to the porcelain god. It was not a malted beverage induced incident. In all my culinary wanderings this set the "worst restaurant experience" bar exceptionally low.

May 31, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

roasted pig for reception

Processors with scalding tanks are getting hard to find. One in Lake Pepin area is the only one I know of. A local farm that can get you a scalded hog is Hidden Stream. Google them if you're interested, but they have nothing to do with fully cooked beasts as far as I know. They may know of a caterer who does them however.

May 28, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Supertaster Daily: 5 Grilled Hot Dogs in 3 Minutes for Memorial Day

These are all skinless hotdogs. The casings are peelable plastic and have been removed. The thermal processing and smoke give the hot dog a skin like texture. Old school would be lamb casing. That's a dog with a snap to remember. I'd be curious to see if you like the High Plains Bison Hot Dog served at Wrigley Field. It's also skinless, but made with 100% grass fed bison.

May 25, 2012
keg in Features

Brunch for Large Group in St Paul

Heartland. There, I said it.

May 24, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Se Salt

Interplanetary fish fry. I'm in. No holds barred. Irony is the State fish you're so committed to eating is in almost all instances Canadian. Eh? Game fish are tricky that way.

May 23, 2012
keg in Minneapolis-St. Paul