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russban's Profile

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The People On America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Country

I agree with ttoommyy, the focus of a business is to make money. I agree that at times their shilling can be annoying but since the shows are on PBS and the magazines have no advertising, they have to find other revenue streams. Personally I'd rather have a magazine like theirs that isn't page after page of ads, but that's my preference.

cook steak directly on coals?

Check out a cookbook called "Charred and Scruffed" by Adam Perry Lang. He has some interesting techniques for grilling, including cooking directly on the coals themselves, which he calls "clinching" As travelerjjm said, you need to use lump charcoal. The author does say that if you are squeamish about setting meat directly on the coals you can use a thin rack, such as a cooling rack.

It's an interesting book and he also talks about planking your fish and meat, which is a technique I like to use.

Aug 13, 2012
russban in Home Cooking

Huevos Rancheros in Twin Cities

Fat Nat's is by far the best I have ever had.

May 28, 2011
russban in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Q Fanatic - A good place to eat a lot

I agree, this is one of the best BBQ places in Minnesota, the food is fantastic, and the owners and employee's are as nice as could be. It's not just the entrees that are great but the sides are wonderful also. It's obvious that, unlike many other places, they take a lot of pride in their sides. The sauces are homemade and served on the side. They have a very interesting variety of sauces, they all taste amazing and really complement the flavors of the different meats.

One of the great mysteries in life is why people will go to a crowded, painfully noisy chain like Roadhouse instead of here!

May 19, 2010
russban in Minneapolis-St. Paul


If you are open to going out to the suburbs, Q Fanatic in Champlin is fantastic. Ribs, pulled pork and chicken, brisket, etc. are wonderful even without sauce. All of their sauces are homemade and their sides are great also. The only caveat is that they can be slow at times. My family loves bbq and trying new places but this has become our goto place.

Jan 06, 2009
russban in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Sonic-updates in MN?

Sonic is no better or worse than any other fast food place, a little different with the tots and the breakfast toaster sandwiches but I do love their slushies and limeaids a whole lot. I have been told, but I haven't confirmed, that there is a Sonic under construction in Elk River also. I doubt that there will be a huge loss of business for the local independents, since I think that people who love the fast food lifestyle most likely don't appreciate the better food/service and weren't patronizing the locals anyway. The rest of us will indulge ourselves on occasion but then go back to the good stuff!

Splendid Table-NPR

I have the book and have made about 5 of the recipes and haven't found a bad one yet. While I really enjoy her radio show, sometimes I feel is a bit too "gourmet" for my tastes in food, but I enjoy listening to her storytelling skills as well as her very interesting guests. Her new book really seems to bring a new vigor and interest to my cooking, giving me ideas on how to cook interesting and flavorful food for weeknight suppers, which frankly have been way too busy and have killed some of my love for cooking. It is the only "cookbook" that I have ever read from cover to cover.

May 23, 2008
russban in Food Media & News

O Limequat, limequat, wherefore art thou limequat? (MSP)

It looks like the limequat has a fairly short season, October to Feb. or so. There seem to be a lot of people in the south growing the trees and they often mention that they are similar to and confused with key limes. Maybe a key lime might be acceptable for your infused vodka? In any case I am certainly intrigued by the idea of a limequat!

Splendid Table-NPR

I heard about this the other day on MPR and it sounds like a lot of fun! If you have never been to "The Fitz", it's a neat place to go and see a performance. I've had the pleasure of seeing Prairie Home Companion there several times and The Splendid Table should be great there also. I am also really looking forward to the release of her new cookbook. I have been getting her weekly Weeknight Kitchen email for some time now and have used several of her recipes successfully so I expect to find a lot of ideas from the book. Last year before the super bowl she had a recipe for super bowl wings that are so great my kids have never let me even try another recipe for wings since.

Mar 13, 2008
russban in Food Media & News

MSP- best burger ? (not jucy lucy)

My 13 yr old son and I tried The Nook for the first time on Saturday. We got there and ended up waiting for almost an hour to sit down. The place was filled with Big Ten wrestling fans in for the tournament. Seems they all saw the Diners, Drive ins, and Dives show! My son HATES to wait and crabbed the whole time but once we finally got seated and he got his juicy nookie he admitted it was worth the wait. I will have to agree that their burgers are the best I've had. We even got to watch the guy at the next table eat the 2 supreme burgers and get a t-shirt! Worth the wait just for that!

Mar 10, 2008
russban in Minneapolis-St. Paul

msp Source for fresh tortillas

I took the time on Saturday to go to the Mercado Central with my 13 yr old son. I bought the tortillas at La Perla and we tried the al pastor and carne asada tacos at Taqueria La Hacienda. The tortillas were great at home and the al pastor was wonderful. We both decided the Mercado Central was the place to eat and we are planning to go often. It was a lot of fun to look at the shops and we can hardly decide what to eat next! Manny's looks great so we will probobly just order a bunch of things from different shops and really chow. My wife was unhappy she missed the experience and we are not allowed to go again without her! It was a really filling culinary day as we stopped at The Nook later to try the burgers, but thats another story!

msp Source for fresh tortillas

After reading the thread about al pastor tacos and the entry about breakfast tacos on the Homesick Texan blog, (, I have been wondering about where in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area one can buy freshly made tortillas? I live in Coon Rapids but I get around all over the northern Twin Cities. I have gotten really tired of supermarket tortillas and I am curious where others get theirs.

{MSP} Chris and Rob's Coming to West 7th...

Yeah, one thing I do miss is the char dogs. It was always a site to walk into one of the Vienna Beef places and see the flames rising about 2 feet from the grill! What other places in town do Chicago dogs?

MSP - Local Food Hero - radio show

Just checked out their blog and definitely like it. I would suggest getting it set up as a podcast! I am sure I am not the only one who not only find it difficult to listen to shows on a time schedule so I love podcasts i can put on my ipod and listen to whenever. I am no expert on the subject but if you look on itunes it appears to be relatively easy to set one up. That having been said I did listen on my computer and I enjoyed the show a lot!

Mar 03, 2008
russban in Food Media & News

Fieri pushing TGI Fridays

I like the show, like Guy and don't have much of an opinion on TGIF, but I was disappointed when they screwed up the plantain sandwich. The plantains were the "bread" of the sandwich and were one of the reasons it was a cool unique sandwich, and then to change the sandwich the way they did by putting it in bread was a shame. If I was the winner I would have been mucho disappointed! Actually I thought the chili winner should have won, but that's another story!

Mar 03, 2008
russban in Food Media & News

{MSP} Chris and Rob's Coming to West 7th...

I have been going for years since they were Joey D's down on 42nd in Minneapolis. Living in Coon Rapids it was a bit of a trek but when I got a craving I just had to go! Now that they are in Fridley, I go too often, which shows on my waistline. I lived just north of Chicago about 20 odd years ago and grew to love Chicago dogs (they have a Vienna Beef hot dog place in EVERY town, no matter how small), and when I moved back here it was hard for me to live without them. I love Chris and Rob's because the food is exactly like I had in Chicago. Their hot dogs, polish, italian sausage, and italian beef sandwiches are wonderful, and full of flavor. My kids love their pizza, I do too, but I always order the hot dogs or polish and only have what I can steal from them.

If you are unfamiliar with a Chicago dog it has a really good old fashioned hot dog with mustard, a relish so bright green some people call it an "atomic" relish, onions, sliced tomatoes, kosher pickle, sport peppers and celery salt. Notice ketchup is absent, I don't know if it's like that at Chris & Rob's but in Chicago if you ask for ketchup on a Chicago dog they refuse and often make rude comments to you! As you can tell I heartily (not heart healthily though!) recommend them.

Splendid Table-NPR

I try to listen to her also, in the twin cities she is on Sunday at 6:00 am and for some reason I rarely sleep that late so I will lie in bed and listen. If I do sleep through it I listen to her podcast. I love her weekly guests the Sterns, what a great job they have! I also like when she has Christopher Kimball on since he is also one of my favorites. I get her weekly email and have tried several of her recipes and liked them.

Feb 06, 2008
russban in Food Media & News

What kind of fish to buy? And where?

I think that for the most part frozen is not too bad, fresh is better but most of us don't have fresh readily available. I have great luck with talapia, no matter how I cook it and that is what I usually buy. Trader Joe's is a good place as is Costco (I know, go figure!). If you shop at a more upscale grocery store instead of the local low price leader you can often get some very good quality fish.

Feb 06, 2008
russban in General Topics

MSP Best Gyros?

I grew up in MN and never heard of a gyro until I moved to a suburb of Chicago about 30 yrs ago. Hot dog stands with gyros (and those tasty Vienna Beef hot dogs!) were everywhere, so to me thats what gyros should taste like. There is a Chris and Robs in Fridley and Minneapolis that have the same great tasting gyro's and hot dogs that I remember from Chicago.

Jan 29, 2008
russban in Minneapolis-St. Paul

MSP - San Diego Fish Tacos?

I have had the fish tacos at Baja del Sol and liked them quite a bit and there is another fast food place called Taco del Mar that has them and they are good. Authentic? I have no idea but tasty just the same.

Nov 19, 2007
russban in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Taste of Asia in Coon Rapids, MN

Those of us who live in Anoka County have not had much to choose from for decent Asian food in the past, since we mostly have the dreaded "Asian buffet restaurants". My wife and I have mostly had to go on a road trip to Mpls, or St. Paul to satisfy any cravings we've had which doesn't always fit into our schedule. We have used several of the suggestions made on this board for which we give a big "Thank you!" to all of you because we have found some great places, but it isn't the easiest for us to get "down to duh cities". A few months ago a new restaurant opened up called Taste of Asia at 3055 Coon Rapids Blvd. and we have been there several times. They do Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese and they do it quite well. Not the same as the "gourmet Asian" that you usually find on this board but good, solid food. Great eggrolls and spring rolls, as well as a great veggie fried rice and several good dishes for each ethnicity. They do have a lunch buffet where instead of going up to a steam table they bring out the dishes as they make them and serve them to you at your table. Different way of doing it, but it is becoming popular with students from Anoka-Ramsey CC. Probably not worth a long drive but if you are in Anoka County they are worth checking out.