Monday, February 16, 2009

Rudolph's Ain't no Battle's

1933 Lyndale Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55403

When I found out their slogan was "best rack in town" I knew I had to go...Uh...just kidding, I like ribs. Cleverness is okay I guess, with the rack joke and whatnot. I did the big mistake of getting a sandwich instead of the ribs, but that's another story.

A little known fact about me - I used to work at a bbq restaurant (and I'm not talking the McRib specials at McDonald's...although I did work at McDonald's). Anyways, I know a thing or two about bbq and ribs. I was taught by the famous George Battle himself. He grew up in Texas where bbq is no laughing matter. But all that aside, I know my way around a brisket. If you're from Iowa you know what I'm talking about.

If you're looks for a laid back hang to drink some 2 for 1s during happy hour and maybe nosh on some cheap apps, then Rudolphs is an aok choice. All else considered I was not overly impressed.

Bison Burger $9
Over all this guy wasn't bad. For those of you who don't know - Bison is actually quite good for you...I guess good in the sense that it doesn't clog those arteries as much as beef does because it is leaner. Still has a good hearty taste like a burger should. Lean, but not dry topped with jack and cheddar cheese and bacon. I take back the clogged artery comment. Served with french fries. I'll tell you later about how I'm not so enchanted with french fries anymore...

And what's the difference between Bison and Buffalo?

Pulled Pork $8
Shredded pork shoulder tossed in Rudolphs bbq sauce, topped with coleslaw and served on a sesame seed bun. Dave opted for no coleslaw, although I think it would make the sandwich better and at least more interesting.

Rudy Burger $9
Burger served on texas toast with american and monterey jack cheese and finished with mushrooms, sauteed onions and bacon. Served with fries. I don't recommend this if you're not in an extra greasy mood. The toast was a little on the cold and tough side which made it hard to eat. The oil that was created between all the cheese and bacon was just too much. And then the mushroom and onion mix on top just sort of slid around and didn't bring much to the sandwich. In theory I would love this - cheese, bacon, mushrooms and texas toast...unfortunately wasn't a fan, but hey, maybe some other time Rudy.

Popeye $8 (regular price)
Spinach and artichokes in a creamy parmesan dip topped with crusted parmesan cheese and served with warm pita bread. During happy hour I think this guy ran about $4, but don't quote me on that. Nothing to write home about...I mean com'on, how many times have we seen spinach artichoke dip on an appetizer menu...zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Bar-b-que Brisket $10
Chopped brisket mixed with sauce and served on a hoagie. Personally I like good slices of brisket vs. chopping it. Also, from what I learned at BBQ U was the fattier top cut of the brisket is usually the part you chop up. It's less pretty than sister bottom cut, contains a lot more fat and doesn't look too good on a plate unless you chop it, mix it with some sauce and put it on a sammy. Not that there's anything wrong with top cut, but you really can't beat smokey, well cooked bottom cut brisket.

There were some HH rib tips somewhere in there as well. Those were actually a good deal in price. The rib tips themself were also pretty decent.


# of People: 6

Reservations: In the afternoon you are probably safe without.

Day/Time of Visit: Sometime in February, one of those warm days. Around noonish. I should probably start writing more stuff down. This is a poor excuse for a report. Apologies.

Will I be back: Uh...maybe. 2 for 1 happy hour aok. The sandwich however was not a hit. I will stick to beer.

YAYs!: Quiet, interest decor, friendly service, decent HH specials, extra parking across the street.

Nays: Again, not a fan of the sandwich I had. Just a lot of greasy fried food. The rib tips were okay and a good deal on the happy hour menu, but nothing else really stood out as amazing or interesting.

Notes: See parking lot across the street for additional space.


Rudolph's Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon

Uptown's Tum Rup Thai

Tum Rup Thai
1221 W Lake Street, #112
Minneapolis, MN 55408

RIP Indio. We hardly knew thee. Indio, also owned by the Tum Rup people recently closed...I never got to write a review about them, but the snapper there was amazing! I really enjoyed Indio, maybe even more than I enjoy Tum Rup, but it didn't last. Now there is another Thai restaurant called Roat Osha, also owned by the Tun Rup people on the opposite side of Uptown. Went there the other day so a post will be up soon.

Anyways, Tum Rup on the other hand is alive and well...alive at least. It's relatively new to the Uptown scene but it seems to be holding its own even though it is near Arby's and adjacent to a vacant lot. Maybe that's why it's doing so well? Who knows. Anyways, the food is good and come at a fair price so I recommend that you try it. I have a few minor problems with the joint...but it has not stopped me from visiting, so it can't be that bad, right?

In fact, I've been there quite a few times so I'm writing a little about my favorites of the menu. I have to say that nothing I've eaten at Tum Rup has ever been awful or even bad, so don't be afraid to try whatever, I'm sure it will be good.

Fresh Salad Rolls $5.25
Your basic spring roll, but the ones here at Tum Rup are always super fresh and delicious. You can also order them vegetarian if you prefer, but a spring roll without shrimp or beef is like and neurotic Asian driven by boredom without her blog. Served with a fish and peanut dipping sauce.
Crying Tiger Salad $9.50
One of the best salads I have ever had. It's like a lettuce wedge salad on crack. Not's just good. The Iceburg lettuce wedge is topped with Grilled sliced beef tenderloin that has been tossed with Thai chilies, herbs and lemon juice, then grilled. The whole thing is topped off with scallions, mint, kaffir lime leave and cilantro. Also served with cucumbers. If you're watching you wasteline (as I often am) this is a good way to fill up without a lot of carbs. The beef and dressing are tangy with a little kick. It also has a great aroma with the mint, cilantro and scallions.

Wonton Egg Noodle Soup $8.50 (vegetarian)
This soup is super simple and really homey. It's like the Thai version of chicken noodle for those days when you're not feeling 100%. The soup is filled with chicken wontons, fresh skinny egg noodles, bean sprouts, red onion slices and topped with cilantro. The bowl is huge first of all so you definitely get your money's worth. You can also add a variety of meat or seafood for a few dollars extra. The spice/heat degree can be adjusted in this dish. I like to go a little spicy, it makes this rather basic soup a little more interesting.

The only bad thing I would have to say is there is only 3 or 4 wontons in the whole thing. However, you get plenty of noodles so it evens out.

Pad Thai $9.75 (w/mock duck)
Something about mock duck that I just love. I won't even try to explain why. If you don't share my enthusiasm for fake bird meat then you can have this dish with any variety of meats or vegetarian style. These pan fried rice noodles are mixed with egg, soy sauce and topped with bean sprouts, scallions, cilantro and carrots. Served with crushed peanuts and a lime on the side. Really simple and delicious for all you noodle fanatics out there. I usually do this dish at about a 3 or 4 out of 5 for spiciness. I have noticed that depending on the day it can knock your socks off or not be too bad. If you can't deal with real spicy food then stick to the 1. It still has good flavor.

Siriracha Fried Rice $9.75 (w/chicken)
Jasmine rice stir fried with egg, sriracha sauce, tomatoes, onions, cashews, cilantro and scallions. This dish is spicy no matter what. For those of you who don't know about sriracha, get on the wagon! This is a super spicy Thai chili sauce, sometimes referred as rooster sauce. Even if you order this dish mild it will still pack a kick. Those with weak stomachs should not attempt.

YAYS: Good menu variety, affordable, small bar, can choose spice level, outdoor seating during the warm months (in Minnesota that means in July and July only), and they also had a most awesome bartender who moved to run Indio when it opened and now I don't know where he is.

Nays: Not a huge dining area, some not so great seating against a wall between the kitchen and bathrooms, service not always great, waiting for a table is sometimes a pain, sometimes the dining area is really loud and they have got my take out order wrong more than once.

Notes: Get there early or be prepared to wait on the weekends. Check your to-go orders. I would also agree with most reviews on Google - service is definitely lacking. COME BACK MY FAVORITE BARTENDER!


Tum Rup Thai on Urbanspoon

Harvey, You're the Bread Master!

Turtle Bread Company
4762 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN

Open Daily from 6am to 9pm. Additional locations in Linden Hills and the Minneapolis Downtown Skyway. Although I used to adore (and work at) the Linden Hills location, the newer Chicago location is definitely bringing in the business. And sadly I feel the Linden Hills location is losing it's flair, still great, but I'll stick to Chicago.

Next door is the new and improved Cafe Levain also owned by Turtle Bread great Mr. Harvey McClain. I visited Levain about 2 years ago before it was recreated into a more casual dining restaurant. I will have to go back soon...I'll tell you all about it. But back to TB...

Inside you'll find an open dining area and a fully exposed bakery area. There are lots of tables and a couple bakery racks displaying an array of pastries and freshly baked bread. In the deli case are cakes, tarts, sandwiches, salads and quiche. Walk up to the counter with your bread in a bag (you can ask for it sliced) or to order from the breakfast and/or coffee menu. Around the dining area are additional refridgerated cases containing spreads, cheeses, take home soup, soda, meats, pasta salad, etc.

I love the seating area because it is very open and casual. The windows face towards Chicago Ave where you can see the boutiques and shops across the street. There is lots of sunlight. It makes you feel like you are somewhere else, it makes me happy.

Turtle Bread offers a great variety of breakfast and lunch items. Since my and Mr. B's recent move from Ames we have been looking for a place to fill the Cafe Beaudelaire void. Turtle Bread has done it, or at least is a close second. Their medium sized breakfast menu is reasonably priced and offers items to satisfy anyone's breakfast needs. I of course have my favorites, but I am pretty sure everything will be a hit. Also, if you make it around the brunch hour there is homemade soups, sandwiches, pastries, quiches and salads to choose from. Fresh bread, cured meats, cheeses, soup, spreads and cakes are also available to take home. Oh, and don't forget the coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice (also lemonade and grapefruit).

Salmon Benedict $9.50 (mine and my pa's)
This is definitely one of my favorites and a favorite of my dad's. If you like eggs benedict you will love this. Two poached eggs sit on top of several pieces of sliced smoked salmon. The bread is a brioche made fresh daily in the bakery. The whole thing is covered in a rich and creamy hollandause sauce. The sauce just does it for me, because it is just the right amount of richness and sourness. This dish is served with your choice of breakfast potatoes or salad greens in a light and tangy vinegarette. Salad for breakfast? Oh, how I love you Turtle Bread.

Veggie Frittata $7.95 (for the mum)
An egg frittata topped with an assortment of vegetables including mushrooms, onions and spinach. Sprinkled with fresh ricotta cheese and served with a thick slice of Striato bread and breakfast potatoes or salad greens. Warm, fresh and healthy. Lots of flavor and texture.

Salmon Scramble $7.95 (Mr. B's)
Seems we like the salmon in this family. The salmon at Turtle bread is so rich and smokey, once you try it you'll understand. The salmon scramble is eggs, spinach and smoked salmon folded together and served with Striato and breakfast potatoes or salad greens. Simple but quality ingredients make the dish extraordinary.

Add a couple buck for a fresh cup of coffee or fresh squeezed orange juice and you have a amazing, filling meal that is also affordable. Turtle Bread has a great atmosphere and a wonderful clientele. It is simple and graceful, understated yet bold, relaxing and is something you won't find anywhere else.

# of People: 4

Reservations: No. You cannot make reservations at the bakery/cafe, but you can at Cafe Levain. If you go to the bakery for brunch especially on a Sunday I recommend getting there around 10 or earlier to grab a seat.

Day/Time of Visit: Sunday, February 15th - 10:00 am

Will I be back: I go as often as I can, but it's a little bit of a drive.

YAYs!: Everything...more specifically: lots of free street parking, lovely dining area, lots to choose from, friendly staff, fresh items, stuff to take home.

Nays: Sometimes is a little crowded. As I mentioned on the weekends getting there earlier is better than later.

Notes: Their fresh soups, especially the chicken wild rice are a must. Try TB for lunch as well.


Turtle Bread Company on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 5, 2009

That Was My First Post of Feb???

Oops, not doing so hot with the new years resolution (the one about writing more on my blog)...maybe waiting at work past 5 because a certain boyfriend has forgot to pick her up will cure my post sickness...


Dear Sushi in Iowa, Get in my Face

7125 Mills Civic Parkway, #110
West Des Moines, IA 50266

Samurai Sushi and Hibachi on Urbanspoon

In search for the best sushi in the midwest...eating my way through Minnesota and Iowa one unlucky fish at a time.

If you haven't noticed - I love sushi. I wouldn't call myself a sushi expert...a sushi pig maybe? A sushig? But I can tell if a fish is fresh, I know what I like, I am adventurous and have a slightly above average eye for artsy stuff (some art DNA got spashed on sister got to swim in it). I think the reason I love sushi (and almost all japanese and asian cuisine for that matter) is because of the creative element that is often lacking in other food realms. Food that is pleasant to the eye, in addition to the mouth and the stomach, makes it all the more enjoyable. On that note, let's forget everything I just said and talk about Samurai Sushi & Hibachi in West Des Moines, I-O-WAAYYY-

Samurai is relatively new to Des Moines, located near the Jordan Creek Mall. The dining area is two separate spaces - a sushi/bar area and a hibachi grill area. For those of you not familiar with habachi I suggest you watch "A Benihana Christmas"...wait for the onion. We sat on the sushi/bar side. It was a very square area with dark walls, only a few booths, sushi bar and my good old friend regular booze bar. A lit waterfall covered the wall behind the sushi bar while to the right hung a plastic Pepsi sign (you know, the kind you see at a baseball stadium refreshment stand) with the day's specials.

Tim the owner came over to the table to explain how to eat our appetizers (live oysters!) and tell us all we ever wanted to know about his business. I was surprised to find out he had another location in the Quad Cities. This would be the last place on earth I would go in search of sushi - however, the first place I'd go if I wanted to get stabbed...I kid, I love all you Iowa folk, you river ones are just a twinge scary.

Overall the place was good. The servers were attentive and I got to try somethings I had never tried before. Tim was a delightful fellow and he let us in on the 'frequent customer specials'. Basically if you go a lot and you know what you're looking for the will provide. If you are dangerous ask for what's not on the menu. I will be back in search of the cuddle fish special!

Live Oyster Special $10.00
I didn't quite know what to expect in regards to the 'live' part. I guess technically oysters on the half shell aren't alive, just chilled. So to me 'live' equals really, really fresh - and they were! 4 oyster halves rested on a bed of crushed ice. Each piece was individually sauced and topped with cilantro and a small amount of sriracha sauce. Amazing! Even Mr. B agreed and he's not a big oyster fan. Guess the extra freshness really counts.

Tuna Roll $4.50
Love me some tuna and I have to say this was definitely in the top 2. The tuna was a deep red and more soft, fatty and oily than I'm used to (these are all good qualities). Tim had mentioned that they go light on the rice and use bigger pieces of fish than most places do. I would agree.

Philadelphia Roll $5.50
Smoked salmon (but raw? How they do that? This requires further investigation), cream cheese and cucumber wrapped in a tiny roll - Premium (sorry, I just watched Everything is Illuminated yesterday). No, but seriously, they were great. I always forget that Philadelphia roll salmon is smoked. For me personally I'm not a huge fan. I would rather taste the salmon in all its oceanic goodness. Maybe you would classify this as a beginner roll?

Futo Maki $5.50
Holy crap! I thought I knew what this was, but I didn't and I was pleasantly surprised. If you've ever had Kim Bap (a popular Korean dish) - I would compare the Futo Maki to this. According to the definition of futomaki is simply a fat sushi roll. This Large roll was filled with carrot, asparagus, marinated kampyo gourd, egg and fish (not sure what kind of fish...I'll have to go back and ask Tim). Lots of different flavors and textures, really fresh vegetables. I would go back just for those. I've never had them anywhere else.

Spicy Toro Roll $9.00
This was a new one too. I've had Toro sashimi but never toro in a roll. The fish was chopped fine and mixed with a spicy mayo, much like a spicy tuna or salmon roll. It had a really good flavor, not too spicy, and the extra oily-ness of the toro made the mixture super creamy. Although I really enjoyed this one, I might stick to Toro by itself. You just can't beat it.

Green Dragon Roll (probably more well known as the Caterpillar) $12.00
BBQed eel and cucumber wrapped in rice, nori and covered in thin slices of avocado, tobiko (flying fish eggs) and eel sauce. I think I've said this before, but I will repeat. The eel in this roll is barbequed so it is really smokey and sweet and literally tastes like just normal barbequed meat. If a person likes avacado, bbq and cucumber you could probably trick them into eating this one...I would just fail to mention the eel part.

Deluxe Rainbow Roll $14.00
Tuna, Yellowtail, scallion and asparagus rolled in rice and nori, topped with assorted fishes. Again, the tuna featured in this roll was a deep red color and ultra delicious. I'm trying to think back to the kinds of fish it was topped with. Definitely salmon, maybe some himachi and other varieties of tuna. All very fresh.

IOWA Roll $13.00
I can guarantee you will only find the IOWA Roll at Samurai. Inside: spicy salmon, eel, cream cheese, crab meat, avocado and masago (caplin fish eggs)...there was roe in that? Outside: rice, nori and tempura batter. Then the whole thing is deep fried.

My speculations on why this is called the IOWA Roll:
It has everything you could ever want in it.
People in the midwest enjoyed everything fried (even their underwear...I'm in a weird mood and I'm starving!!! Hence the random outbursts) .
Everyone will buy it because it's named after their state? <--DING, DING, DING! It was pretty awesome though. Not your typical sushi roll, but then again, sushi shouldn't be typical. That, and I can check 'eating IOWA Roll' of my list of lifelong goals. Holy crap I'm funny. THE VITALS # of People: 4

Reservations: No

Day/Time of Visit: Saturday, January 31st - 1:00 pm

Will I be back: You betcha. Gotta get my cuddle fish on...MAN! I NEED TO EAT! I'm losin' it.

YAYs!: Friendly service, new and interesting things on the menu, habachi and sushi, good perks for regulars.

Nays: Wish it was in a more attrative place.

Notes: Color me impressed.