Feeling Minnesota

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Ahi Mpls.
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/16 08:53:08 (permalink)
 Gosh. I'm not so sure that A trip report about Minnesota is the best place for you to post about a New York apple pie...    Welcome to Roadfood though!
#61
DirtDude
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/17 17:37:59 (permalink)
All the food looks great, but I have one question. Is "Feeling Minnesota" supposed to be a Soundgarden reference? Or did they get that from somewhere else?
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buffetbuster
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/18 09:14:49 (permalink)
DirtDude-
I believe the movie title did come from Soundgarden.
#63
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/18 12:28:07 (permalink)
AHI MPLS

  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....


You should be able to correct the size by highlighting that portion, clicking on the "Size" box above, and then clicking on the number "2", like I just did with your quote.
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Nancypalooza
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/19 09:55:30 (permalink)
Soundgarden is great; the movie unfortunately is godawful.
#65
buffetbuster
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/19 10:38:52 (permalink)
Nancypalooza
the movie unfortunately is godawful.
And like this trip report, seemingly never ends! 

#66
C Turner Joy
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/19 10:44:13 (permalink)
Nancypalooza

Soundgarden is great; the movie unfortunately is godawful.


How dare you?  That movie had both Keanu Reeves and Courtney Love.
#67
mayor al
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/21 08:51:04 (permalink)
One man's 'Minnesota' is another man's 'New Jersey' !! If they were all the same we could have only one descriptive title, not 50 !!
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/21 15:54:53 (permalink)
TTM and myself killed some time in St. Paul and then explored the Mall of America for several hours.  But it was soon time for second lunch and we headed to the other famous home of the Juicy Lucy, Matt's Bar.  Only here, it is spelled Jucy Lucy.  We were meeting Roadfood master sleuth AHI MPLS here at 4:00PM and when we walked up around 3:30, there was a long, long line out the door. 

Damn Food Wars!
 
But due to several parties in front of us getting impatient and leaving, we got our booth seats right at 4:00PM.  Just as we sat down, AHI MPLS (on the left) and her friend Kim

came strolling in.  I think they were secretly waiting in the car for us to get seated, so they wouldn't have to stand in line.  Very smart!!!
 
The inside is dark

and they proudly advertise that walking in is like stepping back in the 50s.  Actually, I think the wallpaper here was out style by the 50s, it was so bad.  But, it still had a nice friendly bar atmosphere.  The grill


is out in the open, to the side of the bar and if it hadn't been so crowded, I would have loved to have watched how these interesting burgers are made.
 
You aren't handed a menu.  What is on the wall

is all that is available.  TTM and I both ordered Jucy Lucys, while Kim and AM decided to split one.  We also got an order of the fries for the table.  Meeting AM was like meeting an old friend.  She is funny, outgoing and laughs a lot.  Here is TTM and her

yukking it up.  She even brought an old Jane & Michael Stern book with her and asked us to sign it.  Roadfood legend CarolinaBob had previously signed it.  Wish I could remember which book it was, because I don't own it and would love to have a copy for myself.
 
With how crowded the bar was and how long these sandwiches take to make, I'm sure we had a long wait.  But time passed quick and we soon had our Jucy Lucy's. 

You do only get one choice for cheese and that is American.  The waitress didn't warn us to wait before biting into the burger, because of the molten lava cheese aching to get out, but we knew ahead of time.  Matt's official slogan is, "Fear The Cheese"!  While I was still waiting, Kim cut hers in half,

which kind of surprised me.  But she has eaten these before, so she knows what she is doing.  It did cause quite a mess, but she did eat the whole thing and enjoyed it.  I took the small bites method, until the eventual avalanche

of gooey goodness.  As you can see, these burgers also come with onions (fried or raw are optional) and pickles.  From the first bite, it is obvious that this is a much better burger than what they serve at the The 5-8 Club.  It is moist, juicy, with an unmistable fresh beef taste.  Truly, a delicious mess!
 
The french fries

were the standard shoe string version, which were just okay.  And they accidentally dropped off a grilled cheese

at our table, that even though it looked quite good, I don't think anyone even tried. 
 
While the four of us stood outside and chatted for a while longer, I noticed someone walking out with a handful of "Fear The Cheese" bumper stickers.  The man was nice enough to give me one.  This

is my poor attempt to look menacing.
 
We eventually said goodbye to our new friends.  TTM dropped me back off at my hotel, with plans to meet up for a late night dinner.
 
Matt's Bar
3500 Cedar Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN
612-722-7072
 
http://www.mattsbar.com/
post edited by buffetbuster - 2010/04/21 16:00:24
#69
MiamiDon
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/21 16:14:34 (permalink)
That has to be one of the messiest normal-sized burgers that I have ever seen!  I'd try one in a heartbeat.  Glad to hear that you liked it.
#70
carolina bob
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/21 18:02:16 (permalink)
"Roadfood legend"??? When did that happen? And how come I'm always the last one to know?
post edited by Carolina Bob - 2010/04/21 18:03:30
#71
Ahi Mpls.
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/21 18:48:13 (permalink)
   That's a fine lookin' burger! Actually my friend Kim had never been to Matt's before...I should have warned her that one NEVER cuts a Jucy Lucy! Shame on me.    BTW, That book is called "Real American Food" from the fine folks @ Knopf 1986 Jane Stern did the illustrations...It's one of my all time faves. I'm getting quite the autograph collection of RF Superstars in there!   Sounds like I'll be adding another hall of famer next month!  It was awesome meeting you guys, come back soon!  Now get to the pictures of TTM polka-ing!  
#72
buffetbuster
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/21 20:43:03 (permalink)
Carolina Bob

"Roadfood legend"??? When did that happen?
Bob, you became a Roadfood legend the moment you walked into Doe's Eat Place last February to meet a bunch of strangers!
 
Thanks for the name of the book AHI MPLS.  I'm going to start looking for a copy on line. 

post edited by buffetbuster - 2010/04/21 20:46:02
#73
mr chips
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/22 08:36:35 (permalink)
Enjoying the tales of BB and TTM's travels. Dd you make it to Hell's Kitchen? I ordered some of their homemade peanut butter per The Sterns' review in 500 Things and truly enjoyed its unique combination of sweet and salty. I am stockpiling recommendations for a future trip to the Twin Cities to see the new ballpark.
post edited by mr chips - 2010/04/22 10:22:16
#74
buffetbuster
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/22 08:48:04 (permalink)
mrchips-
Yes, Hell's Kitchen is still coming.  I am very much a fan of the peanut butter, too.  Easily, the best I have ever had.
#75
Nancypalooza
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/22 11:27:40 (permalink)
That looks like a fun table and some great food!  Cliff, you get a 3 on the menace-ometer. 
#76
CheeseWit
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/22 11:56:58 (permalink)
Cliff: GREAT report. Was good to see Norske Nook. I was there a couple years ago and didn't like it all that much except for the pie you got. Excellent job as usual.
#77
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/23 13:55:50 (permalink)
Since TTM and I were staying at seperate downtown hotels, we decided to meet outside our dinner destination, Murray's

It was only a five or six block walk for both of us and the excellent outside signage made it easy to spot.  Murray's is an elegant place,

with white linen tableclothes, impressive chandeliers and walls covered in mirrors and curtains.  They also have a piano player

to help set the mood. 
 
Our meal started with a fine bread basket,

highlighted by wonderful, crispy garlic toast.  TTM particularly liked the pretzel roll.  My caesar salad,

with the especially fresh croutons, was excellent.  TTM commented on how good my croutons looked and the waitress brought a bowl for him to enjoy.
 
The most famous entree at Murray's is the Silver Butter Knife Steak for Two.  It is a 28 oz. strip sirloin and despite the $94.00 price tag, we went for it.  About the size of a small roast, here is our waitress

presenting it to us and then doing the carving.

Even though it was only half of the steak, my portion was substantial. 

TTM prefers his steak medium rare and I like mine medium and they were more than happy to accomodate the two different requirements for one steak.  My favorite part of the steak was the rugged exterior crust, but the juicy, tender interior meat was excellent, too.  And in a hunk of meat this size, you get plenty of both.  We both were quite happy with our steak.
 
As for the sides, my buttery spaetzle

was wonderful and although I didn't try it, TTM seemed pleased with his crunchy topped hashbrowns.

Although we were way too full to even consider dessert, we did get the treat of watching Cherries Jubilee prepared at the table next to us.

 
Obviously, this was a very expensive dinner, much more than a typical Roadfood meal.  But, I don't mind paying a lot if I think I got my money's worth.  I would definitely return to Murray's.
 
Murray's
26 S. 6th Street
Minneapolis, MN
612-339-0909
 
[link=http://www.murraysrestaurant.com/home.html%3C/a%3E%3C/font%3E]http://www.murraysrestaur...tml%3C/a%3E%3C/font%3E[/link]
 
TTM and I decided to make one more stop and that was at the legendary Nye's Polonaise.  Despite the fact that they are playing polka music in the bar, the crowd here is surprisingly young.  We enjoyed a drink each, while listening to a few songs from the World's Most Dangerous Polka Band, before calling it a night.

post edited by buffetbuster - 2010/04/23 13:59:04
#78
Nancypalooza
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/23 14:41:19 (permalink)
What a gorgeous steak!  I haven't tried Murray's yet but might put it back on the radar after this.
#79
Ahi Mpls.
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/23 17:09:26 (permalink)
  I do believe that the croutons are made from the garlic toast... And may I say that as good as the steaks are, that garlic toast is worth the price of admission!
#80
Louis
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/23 18:28:50 (permalink)
The size of that steak looks like you were getting into Knockum Hill Bar-B-Q giant pork chop territory....well, maybe.

post edited by Louis - 2010/04/23 18:30:12
#81
mr chips
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/24 00:15:34 (permalink)
That steak looks marvelous. And I love that polka band.
#82
rumaki
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/25 13:15:57 (permalink)
I love both Murray's and Nye's, but for completely different reasons.  The only thing they really have in common is that they are both "retro" experiences and Minneapolis institutions.
 
Both are places to which I've taken out-of-town guest speakers (I teach at the U of Minnesota, and host a lot of guest speakers), although I'm selective about who I'll take to Nye's, as it definitely requires a sense of humor.  The food there isn't bad, but you really go for the polka experience, and that doesn't appeal to everyone.
 
Murray's, on the other hand, is a place all my speakers -- most of them New York or London or Washington, DC "sophisticates" -- love.  The food is great and you cannot find a more uniquely Minnnesota-upscale supper club atmosphere anywhere else in the Twin Cities.  The other advantage is that they serve dinner late on weeknights, which is rare in Minneapolis.
 
It's a pity you didn't have room for dessert -- although I certainly understand why you didn't!  Murray's fresh red raspberry pie is absolutely fantastic.  The last time I was there, they'd run out.  In the future, I'll reserve my slice of pie when I reserve my table.
 
  
#83
zataar
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/25 14:50:47 (permalink)
The  photos from Murray's are wonderful! My daughter went there twice for special occasions. She loved it. Even thought her hair was blue and purple and she looked totally like an art student, she and her boyfriend were treated very specially. She loves Nye's, too.
#84
buffetbuster
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/26 10:53:37 (permalink)
rumaki-
I did see the fresh red raspberry pie on the menu and was interested, but there was just no appetite left.  That will have to wait until next visit.  And I agree about Nye's.  The food isn't that good, but the atmosphere sure is fun.

AHI MPLS-
As garlic toast goes, the stuff at Murray's is one of the best.

zataar-
Thanks for sharing the story about your daughter's visit to Murray's.  That makes me like the place even more.
#85
Davydd
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/26 11:41:22 (permalink)
I used to work in the Multifoods Tower across the street from Murray's and had many, many business luncheon meetings there but never an evening meal. You could taste the garlic toast all afternoon.   Next door is Lyon's Pub on Sixth my favorite downtown pub because the bartender knows my name.   On the other side of Murray's is Ike's where you can get a really good hamburger but a little pricey.
#86
kaszeta
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/26 21:00:11 (permalink)
Nice thread.  I just got back from a business trip to Minnesota (return trip, I lived there '95 through '01).

Hit four of my "usuals": Matt's Bar, Caspian Bistro, Al's Breakfast[1], and Kramarczuk's. 

Now hitting the gym.

(new-ish member so I can't link my review... I'll copy some photos later)

[1] Too bad Jim wasn't working, he still recognizes me even though I usually only get there about 1x a year now
#87
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/26 21:09:27 (permalink)
kaszeta-
Welcome to Roadfood!  Can you tell us more about Caspian Bistro and Kramarczuk's?
#88
Lindalou52
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/27 08:27:17 (permalink)
I wonder how many people found the pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing sitting in the display case at the sand creek cafe...
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kaszeta
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Re:Feeling Minnesota 2010/04/27 08:43:10 (permalink)
buffetbuster

kaszeta-
Welcome to Roadfood!  Can you tell us more about Caspian Bistro and Kramarczuk's?


Kramarczuk's is a Ukrainian (I've had a lot of people tell me it's Polish, but the name and many of the dishes are Ukrainian) butcher shop in Northeast Minneapolis.  Kramarczuk's takes up two storefronts: on the right side is the actual butcher shop/grocery, filled with several refrigerated cases absolutely stuffed with some of the most delectable sausage products I've ever experienced (one of the few places I'd even put in the same category is Karl's Sausage Kitchen in Saugus, MA). When I first moved here this side of the store was white 1950s-style refrigerated cases lorded over by older stern Polish butchers. It's now much more bright and modern, but the bounty of sausages remains the same. Over the years I've sampled a substantial fraction of their sausage selection, and they produce several of the best polish sausages I've ever had, as well as several outstanding sausages from other countries (Chorizo, Andouille, Linguica, Italian, etc.). For everything I've had, the spices were just right, the texture perfect, and nothing over- or under-smoked.

The other half of the store is a cafeteria-style serving line, where you grab your tray, select your meal from amongst the various sausages, sandwiches, borscht, verenky, hams, and other specials, grab a beverage, and then pay at the register, after which you can grab several slices of Polish bread fresh sliced from a loaf. When I was living here, this process was overseen by an older Polish woman who would admonish you for not taking enough bread since you were (unless you were at least 200 lbs in weight) "all skin and bones." These days, the bread is self serve, but still good.

As far as the sausages and sides? Kramarczuk's is a veritable treasure trove of Polish and Ukrainian food. For my combo plate, I opted to go full-on Ukrainian, with three assorted varenyky (similar to peirogi), one holubets (cabbage roll), a Ukrainian sausage, sauerkraut, sour cream, and a pickle. I shudder to think about the number of calories present here, but the food is of such wonderful flavor and quality that it's worth it (even though I had to spend two hours in the gym later in the day to partially work off the calories). Rounded out with a Sprecker Root Beer (from Wisconsin), this was a nearly perfect lunch.

Kramarczuk Sausage Co
215 E Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN
www.kramarczuk.com

(Search for my blog, "Offbeat Eats", for a full writeup)

Caspian Bistro is a Middle Eastern restaurant and grocery store on University Avenue just east of the University of Minnesota.  Basically an upscale kebab shop with nice decor, pleasant staff, and pretty much every style of kebab I like.
#90
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