Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore

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AaronM
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2009/09/09 09:02:13 (permalink)

Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore

Matt’s Bar, Minneapolis
Matt’s is the third place where I’ve tried a Juicy Lucy. Over the past couple years I’ve been to the 5-8 Club once and the Nook twice. The 5-8’s Lucy was good, but not all that memorable. The Nook’s Lucy in my experience is spectacular. I had wanted to see how Matt’s stacked up, so we went for dinner the first night I was in town. My first impression was good. The place is similar in size to the Nook, and it was packed. The grill was right there when you walked in and the burgers cooking looked/smelled great. It took about 10 minutes to get a seat and we ordered right away. We got 3 Juicy Lucy’s and a basket of fries. I also ordered a Diet Coke, which came in a can…which is always disappointing. Anyway, the burgers came after about 10 minutes…MUCH faster than the Nook. I unwrapped my burger and took a bite. The meat was mild but tasty, but at first I thought they forgot the cheese. They didn’t, it was there…it just didn’t have much taste. I believe both the Nook and Matt’s use American Cheese, but if memory serves the cheese at the Nook has much more flavor. The fries were hot, plentiful but sadly mediocre. The Nook’s fries are also better. Overall I’m glad we went to Matt’s, but as I don’t get to Minneapolis that often I’ll probably stick to the Nook next time.
 

 
 

 

 



post edited by AaronM - 2009/09/09 09:07:53
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    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/09 09:30:33 (permalink)
    AaronM -

    Thanks for the report...this really makes it easy for those of us with the twin cities on are must visit list.  Nice photos too!
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    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/09 09:40:57 (permalink)
    Lovely pictures Aaron--and I really like the chef's tat too.  As well.  :)
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    AaronM
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/09 09:42:52 (permalink)
    Hell’s Kitchen, Duluth
    On the way up to our camping site at George Crosby Manitou State Park, we stopped at Hell’s Kitchen in Duluth for lunch. This is the same place as the one in Minneapolis. I guess it was reviewed in Road Food. My Friend reccomended I try the Ham & Pear Crisp Sandwich. It was good, but nothing special. Like something I could easily make at home. The best thing about it was the cheese, Fontina and Swiss…the pear being barley detectable. The fries were good. If I ever got back I think I’ll opt for the Walleye BLT. I should note, the staff at Hell’s Kitchen was extremely nice and attentive.
     

     

    post edited by AaronM - 2009/09/09 10:33:14
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    TnTinCT
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/09 09:50:05 (permalink)
    Saw the juicy lucy burgers on one of the TV food shows, and need to try making them at home.  The burger certainly looks good, too bad was lacking flavor! At least if I ever get to that area you've pointed out where we need to go!
    #5
    AaronM
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/09 09:54:32 (permalink)
    I have more...but I just got busy so it might be a while.
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    AaronM
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/09 10:11:42 (permalink)
    World's Best Doughnuts Grand Marais
    For breakfast one morning we drove up to Grand Marais. I had been told this place had the world’s best doughnuts, like the name implies. When we got there it was pretty busy, and some of the doughnuts were so fresh they were still warm to the touch. I didn’t get the best pictures are we wanted to eat them before they cooled down. Were they the best doughnuts in the world? Hardly, but they were still very good. You gotta remember when you’re in a place like Grand Marais you have limited choices, and I can say with confidence they have the best doughnuts in Grand Marais. Again, the employees were super friendly and there appeared to be a ton of “regulars.”
     

     

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    AaronM
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/09 10:12:53 (permalink)
    Sven and Ole's, Grand Marais
    After some hiking we headed back to Grand Marais for some lunch. I love Pizza, so we tried Sven and Ole’s. My friend had been there a couple times before and said it was good. They had a delectable looking Pizza Margarita. At my friend’s insistence, we ordered "The Meat Zah" which has Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, Canadian Bacon, Beef, and Onions. It was really good, but the toppings were pretty standard. Has anyone tried their pizza perhaps? I’m really wondering how that Margarita is.
     

     

     
    Delish!
     
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    AaronM
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/09 10:14:54 (permalink)
    Betty's Pies, Two Harbors 
    Last year I had wanted to stop at Betty’s for a slice of pie but we couldn’t find the time. This year I was determined to go. We stopped on the way back to Minneapolis after 4 days of camping. We got there about 9:30 in the morning, and most of the patrons were there for breakfast. Forget breakfast, I was there for pie. I got a slice of coconut cream and a coffee. Delectable! My friend got the 5 layer chocolate which was good, but not a standout. I believe the coconut cream was the best I’ve ever had.
     

     

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    AaronM
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/09 10:24:36 (permalink)
    TnTinCT

    Saw the juicy lucy burgers on one of the TV food shows, and need to try making them at home.  The burger certainly looks good, too bad was lacking flavor! At least if I ever get to that area you've pointed out where we need to go!


    I've made them at home too. Try using cheddar instead of American. I also like using Blue Cheese, although it doesn't melt well. Great flavor though.
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    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/09 10:46:00 (permalink)
    Oh, Aaron you're killing me seeing as we didn't make it to World's Best Donuts this year.  I have had Sven & Ole's pizza but not the margarita.  Will have to go with that the next time I'm there.  Looks like a lovely trip--how did you like the park?
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    AaronM
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/09 12:31:13 (permalink)
    Nancypalooza

    Oh, Aaron you're killing me seeing as we didn't make it to World's Best Donuts this year.  I have had Sven & Ole's pizza but not the margarita.  Will have to go with that the next time I'm there.  Looks like a lovely trip--how did you like the park?


    Loved the park. We pretty much had it all to ourselves the first two nights we were there. Camped right on the little lake...Beaver lake I think. Last year we stayed at one of the hike in camp sites at Split Rock...that was nice too. We did a lot of hiking...the Temperance River Trail, Eagle Mountain, Judge CR Magney to the Devil's Kettle, Tettegouche adn the Split Rock River trail. We also hiked the short trail at Sugarloaf Cove. That was neat.  
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    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/09 12:36:51 (permalink)
    Hiking up there is really nice--just the right amount of varying terrain.  One of those park stops over Superior is the location for the end of that bad-seed movie with Macauley Culkin and Elijah Wood when they were younger, and I can never remember which one.  Next time you're in GM, try My Sister's Place, or any of the joints Davydd hit in his last GM trip report.
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    AaronM
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/09 13:16:29 (permalink)
    Nancypalooza

    Hiking up there is really nice--just the right amount of varying terrain.  One of those park stops over Superior is the location for the end of that bad-seed movie with Macauley Culkin and Elijah Wood when they were younger, and I can never remember which one.  Next time you're in GM, try My Sister's Place, or any of the joints Davydd hit in his last GM trip report.


    Will do. Loved that little town.
     
    Oh...and you're thinking of The Good Son. ;)
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    kland01s
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/09 15:00:30 (permalink)
    We love Grand Marais too and used to go up every fall in late September. One trip up we stopped at Hawk Ridge in Duluth for a view of the thousands of raptors that migrate south over this point in the fall. Of course, anywhere on the North Shore is beautiful and many good places to eat.

    http://www.hawkridge.org/

    great report and photos Aaron!
    post edited by kland01s - 2009/09/09 15:04:18
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    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/09 17:43:05 (permalink)
    Very nice report Aaron.  We've made the same pilgrimage to Matt's, The Nook, and 5-8 Club.  Our experience was similar to yours, with Matt's being the weakest of the three examples.  While I felt the total experience (including food, ambiance, service, regular crowd) at The Nook was the strongest of the three, I still have to give the edge to 5-8 Club when judging the burger itself with none of the other factors taken into consideration.

    Bottom line for us was, when choosing your Jucy Lucy, you can't go wrong with The Nook or 5-8 Club.  Leave Matt's for its neighborhood regulars and everyone involved will be happier for it.

    Buddy
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    AaronM
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/10 09:34:14 (permalink)
    I guess I should also mention that I ate at Brasa Rotisserie in St. Paul. I neglected to take pictures, but we ate outside and it was dark. Really good food. I had the Spicy & Sweet Braised Beef with Roasted Yams with Andouille Sausage and the “Rustic Style Cheese Grits.” Loved it all, but the service was super slow.

    http://www.brasa.us/

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    AaronM
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/10 09:37:37 (permalink)
    BuddyRoadhouse

    Very nice report Aaron.  We've made the same pilgrimage to Matt's, The Nook, and 5-8 Club.  Our experience was similar to yours, with Matt's being the weakest of the three examples.  While I felt the total experience (including food, ambiance, service, regular crowd) at The Nook was the strongest of the three, I still have to give the edge to 5-8 Club when judging the burger itself with none of the other factors taken into consideration.

    Bottom line for us was, when choosing your Jucy Lucy, you can't go wrong with The Nook or 5-8 Club.  Leave Matt's for its neighborhood regulars and everyone involved will be happier for it.

    Buddy


    Agreed. I would totally go to the 5-8 club again. I actually saw it from the plane when I was landing in Minneapolis. It was like 3 years ago when I was there, but I remember I liked it. Remember it was a lot faster service than the Nook. The only downside of the Nook that I can remember is the waiting. Waiting for a table. Waiting for your food. Seriously, the last time I was there it took like 30 minutes to get our food after we ordered...and that was after waiting 20 minutes to get a table.
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    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/10 14:51:40 (permalink)
    I can't post a picture because it turned out lousy and I can't seem to fix it, but we ate at King's Place in Miesville (Home of the King Burger) Saturday night http://kingburgers.com/ and they did not have a Juicy Lucy on the menu, but the burgers were very good.  Not entirely well done which is always a pleasant surprise.  Every variation is named for something to do with baseball.  I had the 'Strategy' which just has coleslaw and cheddar cheese on it.  It was excellent.  Service was a little issue--it was slammed and our party was a little big and they were doing the best they could.  Great burgers if you're ever in the area.
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    AaronM
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/10 15:17:17 (permalink)
    Nancy, are you in MN on vacation?
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    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/10 15:32:33 (permalink)
    No, we got back Monday.  We were just up for the weekend.  Friday was the State Fair and Saturday we went to see Jim Gaffigan at the Red Wing casino.  This was dinner before that.
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    Buffalo Tarheel
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/10 20:25:10 (permalink)
    Aaron,
     
    Very nice report and great pictures.  In the last year I have been fortunate enough to have a steamed cheeseburger at Ted's in CT and some great burgers at In-N-Out in LA but never a Jucy Lucy burger.  You've given me an inspiration that only lacks a trip to the Twin Cities.  Thanks very much.
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    Davydd
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/10 23:12:37 (permalink)
    Aaron,

    Nice report. I've been to all those places and some. I finally got a useable wifi connection 23 days into our camping trip out west and have a lot of catching up to do. Zion National Park of all places but at a private campground just outside the gates.
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    Davydd
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/10 23:18:52 (permalink)
    The next time skip Betty's and try The Pie Place in Grand Marais for pie. For a small town, Grand Marais has a lot of quality restaurants. My favorites are The Wild Onion and The Pie Place for breakfast and Chez Jude, The Crooked Spoon and The Angry Trout for dinner.

    When we get back from our 5+ weeks camping trip in the western states (open ended return) we may go up to the North Shore again yet this fall. I have a few new places to try.
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    AaronM
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/11 12:46:48 (permalink)
    Buffalo Tarheel

    Aaron,
     
    Very nice report and great pictures.  In the last year I have been fortunate enough to have a steamed cheeseburger at Ted's in CT and some great burgers at In-N-Out in LA but never a Jucy Lucy burger.  You've given me an inspiration that only lacks a trip to the Twin Cities.  Thanks very much.


    Thanks! Minneapolis is really nice, but I've only been there in the summer. Don't know that I'd want to go there any other time of the year. I've always wanted to try In-N-Out too. Only been to California twice, and one of those times I didn't make it out of the airport.
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    AaronM
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/11 12:48:56 (permalink)
    Davydd

    Aaron,

    Nice report. I've been to all those places and some. I finally got a useable wifi connection 23 days into our camping trip out west and have a lot of catching up to do. Zion National Park of all places but at a private campground just outside the gates.

     
    Have you been to Brasa? I know it is new. I really wish I had taken pictures, but we were sitting outside and it was getting really dark. Half there seating is outside...I imagine it gets pretty tight inside during the winter. The place was packed, and the servers seemed over-worked. Great food though.

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    AaronM
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/11 12:58:16 (permalink)
    Davydd

    The next time skip Betty's and try The Pie Place in Grand Marais for pie. For a small town, Grand Marais has a lot of quality restaurants. My favorites are The Wild Onion and The Pie Place for breakfast and Chez Jude, The Crooked Spoon and The Angry Trout for dinner.

    When we get back from our 5+ weeks camping trip in the western states (open ended return) we may go up to the North Shore again yet this fall. I have a few new places to try.


    I wanted to try many more restrants in the area, but we ate most of our meals at our camp site in George Crosby Manitou SP. Before we left Minneapolis we stopped by Osseo Meat Market to stock up. GREAT place. We got strip steaks, sausages,  cheese hot dogs that they make, pork jerky, farmers cheese, Osseo's own roast beef and ham, etc. Everything is so good there and the prices are good. Very friendly people working there.
     
    We also got some bread/baked goods from a place in downtown Minneapolis...I'm trying to think of the name. They sold a lot of German foods/candy etc...
     
    http://www.osseomeats.com/
     
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    AaronM
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/11 13:08:22 (permalink)
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    BuddyRoadhouse
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/11 15:26:39 (permalink)
    Karmarczuk's provided brats for the recent BratFest held in Wisconsin by The Contingent.  They placed pretty high, too, making it past the first round and at least into the Elite Eight.

    I picked them up during my last trip to Minneapolis at the urging of Davydd.  The happy surprise when I got there was the extensive cafeteria style restaurant attached to the butcher shop.  I ordered a sampler plate and barely made it halfway through.  I stopped in Hudson, Wisconsin at RJ's Meats to pick up some additional brats for the cook-off.  One more stop at a nearby grocery store for a styrofoam cooler and a couple bags of ice made sure the brats got to Milwaukee and my Karmarczuk leftovers made it all the way home to Chicago.

    BTW, Karmarczuk's is right across the street from Nye's Polonaise, a wonderful Polish restaurant encased in a late 50s/early 60s time capsule.  A little overpriced, but well worth at least one visit for the experience and excellent food.

    Buddy
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    Davydd
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    Re:Minnesota – Minneapolis and the North Shore 2009/09/11 19:37:39 (permalink)
    Woops! Brasa is the one I haven't been to yet. Restaurant Alma is the one I have and I recommend it.

    We spent 14 days in California and did not have an In and Out burger even though it was our intent to try. It was always the wrong time of the day when we saw them and we spent little time in cities. In fact almost all out time was in the mountains someplace.
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