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 Feeling Minnesota

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Re:Feeling Minnesota Thu, 04/8/10 6:49 PM (permalink)
I visited the Norske Nook in 1998 with some friends who live in nearby Eau Claire.  It was very good then.  We bought two pies to take home.  I'll have to check it out again sometime next time I'm up that way.

<message edited by Louis on Thu, 04/8/10 10:18 PM>

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    Re:Feeling Minnesota Thu, 04/8/10 9:40 PM (permalink)
    I remember visiting the Norske Nook for the first time back in 1998. I had the Sour Cream Raisin Pie, and it was good. If I recall it was very similar to the pie I enjoyed at The Farmers Kitchen in 2008.

    However here is the photo of the Sour Cream Lingonberry Pie I had at the Norske Nook back in 2006

    I remember really enjoying the tart filling, but not being very impressed with the pie crust.

    Great report so far Buffetbuster.  As you know what is likely to be  my final swan song  will be my trip to Minnesota sometime this summer.

      Re:Feeling Minnesota Thu, 04/8/10 9:53 PM (permalink)
      That is a fine looking slice of pie!  I have never had sour cream lingonberry before.
        Michael Hoffman

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        Re:Feeling Minnesota Thu, 04/8/10 9:57 PM (permalink)
        I will never understand how anyone can be so enamoured of pies and cakes and anything sweet. It would never occur to me to even think of eating things of that sort.

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          Re:Feeling Minnesota Thu, 04/8/10 10:51 PM (permalink)
          Michael Hoffman

          I will never understand how anyone can be so enamoured of pies and cakes and anything sweet. It would never occur to me to even think of eating things of that sort.

          I'm with you, cake and pie just doesn't do it for me, and I love sugary drinks (about 6 cokes a day)
          People at work make up any excuse for a cake, and I end up scraping all the icing off and still only want a small peice.
          I like mom's fresh apple cake which is basically just apples, flour, sugar and butter.   That's about as crazy as I get.
          I actually prefer sugar free syrup on my pancakes, feel it has a much beter flavor than any with sugar in it.
          I also don't get why people love chocolate, again I could live the rest of my life without it.

            Re:Feeling Minnesota Fri, 04/9/10 9:07 AM (permalink)
            Friday April 2, 2010 cont.
            I needed to save some room for a late night meal, since Travelin Man was flying in that evening and we had plans to grab a Juicy Lucy.  But one thing I wanted to make sure I did not miss on this trip was a visit to Convention Grill.  Located in a mostly residential neighborhood of Edina, just west of town, Convention Grill

            looks great at night with all the neon.
            It has been three years since my previous visit here and I had a well above average burger.  But what really endeared Convention Grill to me was their hot fudge sundae.  They do have a remarkably large roster of different ice cream treats available,

            but I am a sucker for a great hot fudge sundae. 

            And what makes this one so good is that they not only make their own hot fudge sauce, but they serve it warm and serve it on the side.  This is so you can add it when and where as you like.  And even though I am generally a nut frowner, I don't mind peanuts, so my sundae came with a side of that, too.
            The hot fudge sauce is thick and has a deep, rich flavor and instead of pouring it over the sundae, I methodically spooned off small chunks of the ice cream and dipped it in the warm hot fudge.  Simply heaven!  I ran out of ice cream before the hot fudge, so I chugged the leftover sauce.
            The Convention Grill has two dining rooms, but they are quite different.  The front room, with the counter and the grillmen is pure hamburger stand. 

            The room in the back, where I sat, with the tall wooden booths and lots of glass, looks like the classic old fashioned ice cream parlor. 

            I like them both!
            While eating my sundae, Travelin Man called to let me know he had landed.  I answered the phone with, "This better be important, I'm in the middle of a hot fudge sundae!"  We confirmed where we were meeting, I finished the sundae and headed out the door.
            Convention Grill
            3912 Sunnyside Road
            Minneapolis, MN
            <message edited by buffetbuster on Fri, 04/9/10 10:13 AM>
              The Travelin Man

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              Re:Feeling Minnesota Fri, 04/9/10 10:45 AM (permalink)
              Tune in next time when you'll hear The Travelin' Man say....

                Re:Feeling Minnesota Fri, 04/9/10 10:59 AM (permalink)
                Friday April 2, 2010 cont.
                I pulled up outside The 5-8 Club and less than five minutes later, TTM showed up.  This place is so close to the airport runway, pilots undoubedly us the large exterior sign

                as a guide when coming in for a landing.
                Until about a year ago, when Chris & Amy of ayersian told me about them, I had never heard of the Juicy Lucy cheeseburgers before.  Then The 5-8 Club appeared on Man vs. Food.  And just a few days before our visit, they also appeared on Food Wars.  Good for them, but bad for us.  We knew that this meant they would be overrun with customers.  Luckily, since we didn't get here until almost 10:00PM, there was no wait.  Our waitress did tell us that from around 4:00PM to 9:30PM, they were slammed with a long line out the door.
                For those who don't know, a Juicy Lucy is a burger with the cheese stuffed on the inside of the patty.  The people at Matt's Bar claim to be where it was invented, but I don't know if that is for 100% sure.  Anyway, you can now find them on menus all over Minneapolis.
                The interior was not what I expected.  Having read that it was a former speakeasy that goes all the way to the late 1920s, I was disappointed that it lacked any old charm. 

                Here is the menu

                where the Juicy Lucy is listed and you can order it with blue, pepperjack or swiss cheese.  But wanting to go the traditional route, we both got the American cheese.  We were asked if we wanted onions (raw or grilled) and we both said yes to grilled.  That Saucy Sally mentioned on the menu sounds interesting, too.  I tried to order an appetizer of cheese curds, but due to the earlier big crowd, they were now out.
                The menu says these burgers take longer than normal, but we seemed to get them rather quick.  Here is my burger,

                which I ordered by itself.  You can see a little bit of cheese spillage there.  TTM got a side of onion rings with his,

                which were definitely prefabricated and a small cup of okay cole slaw, which I ate.
                They tell you to wait for a few minutes before biting into the burger or you will get a hot avalanche of cheese headed at you.  After waiting for what we thought was an appropriate time, we bit in.  Sorry to post photos of half eaten food, but in this instance, I think it is necessary.  Here comes the cheese!

                TTM seemed to be eating around the edges with this

                as a result.  From the photos, I think these are pretty good looking burgers.  But, we didn't really care for them.  Maybe it had something to do with it being so late in the day, but they just lacked that big beefy flavor that you look for.  It was fine as a novelty, but that was about it.  I'm glad we didn't wait in line for this.
                We had plans for Matt's Bar the next day and were hoping for a better burger experience there.
                The 5-8 Club
                5800 Cedar Avenue South
                Minneapolis, MN
                <message edited by buffetbuster on Fri, 04/9/10 11:00 AM>

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                  Re:Feeling Minnesota Fri, 04/9/10 1:08 PM (permalink)
                  They definitely detract from the taste of the meat--I like them but I always order cheeseburgers instead of hamburgers.  Now I want a Convention Grill sundae.   Know what my next Twin Cities RF stop will be!

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                    Re:Feeling Minnesota Fri, 04/9/10 1:26 PM (permalink)
                    The thing that interested me on the 5-8 club menu was that they have a GCB and reference its home in Greencastle.  They must have a Depauw grad in the kitchen.  I visited there as a senior on a recruiting trip and Marvin's was one of the first places they took me.  The GCB was a couple of 1/4 pound patties side by side on a long roll.  The garlic part I believe was just garlic salt but it was a very good burger.  I ended up getting another one later that night.
                      Going Where?

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                      • Location: Minneapolis, MN
                      Re:Feeling Minnesota Fri, 04/9/10 8:12 PM (permalink)
                      Matt's Jucy Lucy is much better than 5-8, but for a great burger Convention Grill is the place to stop (and their malts are so good, yum).  Doesn't help that I live a few blocks from the Grill and now I have to visit this weekend; after my taxes are done. 

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                        Re:Feeling Minnesota Fri, 04/9/10 9:45 PM (permalink)
                        Thank you BB for a very recent trip to a very recent TV show that barely shows anything but the food that they are representing!

                        I am heading that way in a couple weeks on a flight to the NW and have about a four hour layover any chance of hitting either of these places within that time fram?
                          Ahi Mpls.

                          • Total Posts: 922
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                          • Location: Minneapolis, MN
                          Re:Feeling Minnesota Sun, 04/11/10 8:24 AM (permalink)
                           5-8 Club; BAH!  Your picture says it all, Too much gummy cheese- where's the ju(i)ce?!   So glad you made it to Convention Grill, always been one of my in the world did you say no to the FRIES?! They're hand-cut by extremely surly teenagers.Very delish. 

                            Re:Feeling Minnesota Sun, 04/11/10 8:46 PM (permalink)
                            The only one of these places that is real close to the airport is The 5-8 Club.  And considering the long lines they are expeiencing right now and that the burger wasn't that good, it probably isn't what you are looking for.  Sorry I couldn't be more help!
                            AHI MPLS-
                            Hand cut fries by surly teenagers?  I had no idea!  I will try them next visit to Convention Grill for sure.  So, what makes them so surly?

                              Re:Feeling Minnesota Mon, 04/12/10 9:39 AM (permalink)
                              Saturday April 3, 2010
                              Being the trooper that he is, TTM agreed to an early start the next morning for breakfast.  He picked me up outside my hotel at 6:00AM and less than ten minutes later, we arrived at Al's Breakfast

                              in the Dinkytown neighborhood of Minneapolis.  Just about any other restaurant that I know of, if you arrive at a few minutes after six, you will get a seat.  But not at Al's
                              The main reason for that is how small the place is.  Built into an alleyway and only having 14 counter seats, this place is not for claustrophics.  Because we were the first ones to arrive who didn't get seats, we were told to slide down to the far end wall and wait.  Soon, the entire back wall was lined with people waiting for a precious seat.

                              The woman behind the counter noticed us taking photos and asked if we wanted a photo of us, waiting.  This kind of shows just how cramped Al's is. 

                              And it also shows some fine 6:00AM hair!  Despite the looks on the faces of the guys in front us, they did seem to enjoy our wacky banter and were very friendly.  That is why I didn't mind taking a photo of the food of the man in front of me. 

                              Thanks goodness he didn't have any ear hair issues.
                              After about 20 minutes we were seated and started looking through the menu.  Here is the page

                              that includes what they are best known for, pancakes.  When we placed our orders, they wrote them down on little order pads,

                              which were kept in front of us. 
                              The behind the scenes here is lots of fun.  The staff obviously enjoy bantering with the customers and they call out the food to each other with classic hash house lingo.  The place is decorated

                              with twinkling lights, foreign currency, fun drawings on the note pads

                              and a sign that says "Tipping is not a city in Russia".  On the bottom shelves are payment coupon books

                              for regular customers who are short on cash. 
                              I went for the two egg Israeli Special,

                              which is scrambled egg, Kosher salami and onion, plus corned beef hash on the side.  They were both delicious, but no match for the omelet TTM ordered. 

                              Truthfully, I can't remember what kind of omelet it was, but the egg part was so thick and perfectly browned on the outside, this was one of the best omelets I have ever tasted.  On the side, a single (I think it was whole wheat) blackberry pancake,

                              which TTM also enjoyed.
                              One other thing worth noting.....  There was a group of five, a mixture of men and women waiting for seats.  Four opened up and the woman doing the seating for Al's told them to take the four seats and they would get the fifth seated when a stool opened up next to them.  So four of them sit down.  I look back and the one standing is a young woman, which seemed odd to me.  When the woman working for Al's saw this, she made the one man stand back up and told the young woman to sit down.  And from what I heard, she was also pregnant.  So, this guy went and sat down while his pregnant girlfriend had to stand up.  That still shocks me! 
                              After breakfast, TTM dropped me back off at my hotel. 
                              Al's Breakfast
                              413 14th Avenue SE
                              Minneapolis, MN
                              <message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 04/27/10 8:59 AM>

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                                Re:Feeling Minnesota Mon, 04/12/10 9:45 AM (permalink)
                                That is as good looking a breakfast as I have ever seen from a place where you have to worry about ear hair whilst taking a picture.  ;)

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                                  Re:Feeling Minnesota Mon, 04/12/10 11:00 PM (permalink)
                                  That "Juicy Lucy" cheeseburger reminds me of one that was similarly constructed--and had a brief bit of fame--in the late 1940s.

                                  The "Lum & Abner" radio show in late 1946 had in its storyline where Lum made a "Lumburger."  The "Lumburger" consisted of a hamburger with (maybe grape) jelly inside it instead of cheese.  You bit into the burger and jelly would ooze out one end of it, just like a jelly doughnut.

                                  Somehow, popular restaurants from coast to coast, including Hollywood's Brown Derby, for a while served this strange concoction before its popularity slowly died.  I'm only surprised that someone hasn't come along to revive it in the ensuing years.

                                    The Travelin Man

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                                    Re:Feeling Minnesota Tue, 04/13/10 12:21 AM (permalink)
                                    The omelet in question was (I believe) smoked cheddar, bacon and tomato.  The pancake was, indeed, a whole wheat pancake, with blackberries in the batter.  I was kind of mad that they tried to sneak me something healthy, in the way of a whole wheat pancake, but I fooled them by slathering it with butter.

                                    HA!  I'll show you.

                                      Re:Feeling Minnesota Tue, 04/13/10 12:54 AM (permalink)

                                      It must have.  Your mom's was significantly better!

                                      "Better"?  You mean "best" here, surely.  I'll forgive your comparative/superlative error THIS time...  Chris


                                        Re:Feeling Minnesota Tue, 04/13/10 6:10 AM (permalink)

                                        That is a seriously brown omelet.  I don't think that I have ever seen anything like it.

                                          Re:Feeling Minnesota Tue, 04/13/10 8:40 AM (permalink)
                                          I can't even imagine eating a burger with grape jelly on the inside.  Those two things just don't seem to go together.

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                                            Re:Feeling Minnesota Tue, 04/13/10 8:51 AM (permalink)
                                            That pace is seriously crowded and I think I'd get the heebies from people standing two feet behind me, watching me eat.

                                            The food looks good though, although I am not sure about the well done omelet.

                                              Re:Feeling Minnesota Wed, 04/14/10 3:33 PM (permalink)
                                              TTM picked me up at my hotel at 11:30 and we headed for our lunch destination, Cafe Latte.  Located in a well-to-do neighborhood in St. Paul, we walked in right before the lunch crush meant a long line out the door.

                                              One of the things that makes Cafe Latte a favorite of mine is that you can eat as healthy or unhealthy as you want. The vast majority of the customers here were women. 
                                              We got in the cafeteria line

                                              and I started with a lovely Caesar salad

                                              and TTM put a bowl of cut up fruit

                                              on his tray.  Going past the sandwiches and the spreads,

                                              I pondered over the large soup options. 

                                              Though tempted by the Mexican Lime Chicken or the Creamy Basil Romano, how could I say no to Smoked Salmon Stew?

                                              To drink, they do have some interesting Mexican sodas,

                                              but I went with the iced tea, while TTM grabbed a lemonade.
                                              There is plenty of seating, both upstairs and down,

                                              but with such a big crowd, we grabbed the first available seats, which were right next to the register.
                                              The creamy stew had big chunks of fresh tasting salmon, along with carrots and potatoes.  We both gave it a thumbs up.  The Caesar salad was greatly enhanced by the wonderful croutons, which isn't surprisingly considering how seriously they take their bread

                                              around here.  TTM seemed to enjoy his fruit, except for the blueberries, which ended up on my plate.  The iced tea was fresh brewed and was one of the best unsweetened iced teas I can remember.  TTM also remarked how good his lemonade was.
                                              Okay, now that we got that out of the way, it is time to get serious!  Cafe Latte is well known for their fabulous desserts. 

                                              Not wanting to lose our table, I went to the dessert case first.  Since the cafeteria line was so long, I stood in the much shorter to go line on the other side.  Tough decision, but as a mint lover, I couldn't pass up the Grasshopper Torte.

                                              It had a subtle mint flavor that didn't overwhelm the rest of the cake and the mint/chocolate combination is one I just can't resist.  I was feeling a little smug about my excellent choice, until TTM showed up with the chocolate cake.

                                              Some of you may remember the chocolate cake from Niecie's that we fawned over.  This cake was clearly better.  Incredibly moist, with a deep chocolately taste, without being rich, this was an amazing dessert.  If Shakespeare was still alive, he would be writing sonnets about this piece of cake.  This cake was easily the best thing we ate while in Minnesota.
                                              Cafe Latte
                                              850 Grand Avenue
                                              St. Paul, MN

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                                                Re:Feeling Minnesota Wed, 04/14/10 3:41 PM (permalink)
                                                Are you sure you didn't mean:
                                                "One of the things that makes Cafe Latte a favorite of mine is that you can eat as healthy or unhealthy as you want. the vast majority of the customers here were women."


                                                  Re:Feeling Minnesota Wed, 04/14/10 3:44 PM (permalink)
                                                  Oh, I'm not going to lie to you.  We couldn't help but notice how many attractive women were eating here.  It's not easy to suck in your gut for this long a time!

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                                                    Re:Feeling Minnesota Wed, 04/14/10 4:02 PM (permalink)

                                                    The 5-8 Club

                                                    That burger looks to be about as good as a 'stuffed patty' burger gets.
                                                    Thanks for the fine photos.

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                                                      Re:Feeling Minnesota Wed, 04/14/10 4:14 PM (permalink)
                                                      They do know how to bake up dere.  Beautiful desserts!

                                                        Re:Feeling Minnesota Wed, 04/14/10 4:32 PM (permalink)
                                                        Buffetbuster: When I saw the Cafe Latte sign, I thought, "Oh no, he's going to a faux Starbucks!"  I'm glad to see they were a bit more than that.
                                                          Ahi Mpls.

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                                                          Re:Feeling Minnesota Wed, 04/14/10 5:12 PM (permalink)
                                                            Once upon a time PAM SHERMAN had a cafe in Uptown (mpls) I believe she was the origin of the FABULOUS chocolate and TURTLE cakes that Latte serves...( sherman's begat the new French cafe-new french begat Cafe Latte I believe) ANYHOO, Shermans closed @ 6:00 so they put all the cake slices on the HALF PRICE shelf at 5:30.  I am proof that (wo)man can subsist quite happily on chocolate and french bread for months on end.    Edit to ask why the heck my post turned tiny?! Sorry gang....
                                                          <message edited by AHI MPLS on Thu, 04/15/10 9:41 AM>

                                                            Re:Feeling Minnesota Thu, 04/15/10 8:25 AM (permalink)
                                                            I'm new to the site, but I thought I should add a destination for a fabulous Dutch Apple Pie... Hollenbeck's Cider Mill in Virgil, NY. It is only open from apple harvest season (~mid-September) through the end of ski season (~March 1), which unfortunately does not coincide with the great regional specialty season (Cornell chicken BBQ -- Bob Baker deserved a Nobel for inventing that one), but it is still worth the trip. If you come during harvest season, they also make fresh fried donuts (a great favorite of kids who like to watch the old-time machinery for that and for the apple coring/peeling for the pies). And, to top it all off -- because you missed the cheese curds on this trip -- there are cheese curds in the refrigerator case in several variations. Unfortunately, there isn't seating and you have to buy a full pie, but I have confidence that it will be eaten somehow. They have several other flavors, but the Dutch Apple dominates in my opinion. 
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