Notice the crossed tooth-picks?
After visiting the 5-8 club just 4 days prior, I decided that I had to try the SENIORITA LUCITA as my prior visit, G could not stop talking about how great his was and kept repeating "Now that is a damn good burger". On this visit I made my way in with another good friend who is a "Matt's" fan, so I am and have been trying to break her of that nasty habit. Unfortunately, I don't think today's visit helped much with the cause. She ordered up the MINNESOTA YODLER and wasn't a huge fan. I cannot say that I am terribly excited to try this one as I am not a mushroom fan, but we will see, I'll give anything with two beef patties stuffed with something eatable a try once.
SENIORITA LUCITA - Lucy's all spiced up and ready for a fiesta! A half-pound burger, stuffed with smoked chipotle jack cheese, chipotle peppers, and Pico de Gallo. Keep a cool drink and an order of our famous onion straws nearby to accompany this Lucy. Muy Caliente!
As the highly anticipated SENIORITA LUCITA made its way in front of me, I didn't really know what to expect as G could not get more than "Damn, that's good" out of his mouth for about an hour after he finished this thing. So I chowed on my O-rings while I waited for the innards to cool. Chiptle jack cheese is a new one for me as I am not a huge fan of Jalapeno Jack inside a Lucy, but I have to image that the chipotle jack is pretty close to the same? Well, it is close, but what ever kind of jack cheese the 5-8 is using, it works. It wasn't stringy like trying to melt Mozzarella in the microwave as I have had so many times. It actually got runny and tasted very good. I could not taste any of the peppers, only onions and cheese to start with. The Pico either wasn't in the burger at all or it had so little of it that you could not even tell. About 3/4 of the way through the thing, I finally reached the first pepper. They all slid to the back of the burger as I was eating it. Now that just completed the thing, spicy and oh so good.
I wish this thing had more of those chipotle peppers in it if I had to say anything negative. SENIORITA LUCITA had just the right amount of kick that kept me wanting more and more. Overall the second Lucy in the line-up was excellent, probably not one that I would order on a regular basis, but still one that gave me a ton of new ideas to try at home. I hope SENIORITA makes it onto the regular menu someday as I think this could be the end of good things to write about the "Free the Cheese" campaign.
Just like the description says, this thing was Muy Caliente!
So the journey begins. As I posted earlier, the 5-8 Club, home of the original Juicy Lucy, has begun a challenge/contests featuring 5 new Juicy Lucy additions to the menu for this summer. Not all will make the cut, but I am told that a few might possibly end up on the permanent menu at some point. I started off with what is quickly becoming one of the fan favorites of the new line-up.
THE PIG-PEN - Lucy's messiest friend. Oozing bacon-cheddar cheese and bacon crumbles fill a half-pound burger. Forget the napkins, you'll die to be dirty enjoying the delicacy.
The Pig-Pen was recently featured on KARE 11 and also made its debut at the 2010 Taste of Minnesota.
Along with me for stop number one, were my two Juicy Lucy wannabees. C ordered the Pig-Pen and G ordered up the SENIORITA LUCITA. They arrived and the first thing I noticed was they have a fancy way of marking these things as they come out of the kitchen. The Pig-Pen gets a small slice of bacon stabbed with a tooth-pick while the SENIORITA LUCITA gets two picks crossed at the top. I'm sure they also have some color coordination thing going on as well, but I didn't keep tabs. On this visit two of us ordered O-Rings as well, but all baskets came with fries and the mistake was already noticed prior to the waitress delivering them, so we got the best of both worlds, two O-ring baskets and fries. For the first time in about 5 or 6 stops where C has accompanied me, he finally got the Lucy with the oozing cheese. Mine, not so much, but still damn good. The bacon infused cheddar was decent, probably the best Lucy to date with cheddar that wasn't stringy and just over powering. The addition of more bacon, well, just good. Bacon makes everything better and the Pig-Pen had exactly the right amount of it going on. Clearly present and actually decent size chunks that it doesn't get lost in the bun or meat.
Overall the Pig-Pen was delicious and when it makes it on the regular menu, I'm sure this will be a regular order for me. I cannot say that I am terribly excited for all of the Lucy's on the "Free the Cheese" menu, but I guess we will find out over then next few weeks.
at 8:00 PM
So the first time I stuffed two burgers with cream cheese and jalapenos I just took a slab of cream cheese directly from the fridge and put some chillies on top directly from the can. It was good, probably one of my favorites to date. Cream cheese is kind of like bacon, it's good on almost anything especially when you add jalapenos to it. I had a lot of time to think about what could be done to improve on this Lucy creation and here is what I did.
I got to thinking about what is the best with cream cheese in it? Then I started thinking about how I love to make homemade cheesecake for the holidays and how everyone loves them so much. So what is so different than what I did prior? Well, the key with making a homemade cheesecake is the temperature of the cream cheese. So this time I set the block on the counter about an hour or so ahead of time. Then I thought it probably would be better if I whipped the cream cheese like you do for a cheesecake. So I got the hand-mixer out and started to whip the cream cheese. So far so good, no lumps all the signs of a good cheesecake. After this was complete I got a can of diced jalapenos out of the cupboard and just before I cracked the pop-top open, I went out to the garden to see of I had any fresh jalapenos ready. Sure thing, two ripe jalapenos waiting to be eaten. Their you have it, jalapeno cheesecake Juicy Lucy. All it needs is an egg and some sugar, maybe next time.
After everything was put together and burgers were cooked, we sat down to eat. The wife even was joining me with a Lucy tonight rather than her normal cheese burger. They were fantastic as the wife even said so. If you take a look above, you will notice that I used a ton to filling and was this the correct decision. I mean, what am I going to do with the left over filling? Two perfectly cooked half lb Juicy's with more than 1/4 lb of filling in each. Also, thanks to the wife again for making the perfect side item, tator tots. Oh how I love Juicy's with tator tots, nothing is better.
As the last Juicy Lucy in the South Western Suburbs, I found myself along with C at Wildfire restaurant over at the Eden Prairie Mall. I have dined at this location many times and have enjoyed the STUFFED BURGER OF THE DAY on multiple occasions. Unfortunately the last time I was here they were offering a horseradish Lucy. Talk about nasty so I went with a salad instead (the "WORLD" famous chop). I was smart enough this time and called ahead to find out what was on tap for today feature burger and it sounded decent although it was what I like to call a "Gourmet" Juicy Lucy.
Today's stuffed burger of the day was a Pepperjack stuffed Southwestern burger. Accompanied by a side a fresh guacamole and pico de gallo all served up with a side of fries and cole slaw with the addition of french onion soup to begin things off, times two.
Burgers arrived and if you have ever dined at a Wildfire restaurant you know that anything that they place on the wood-fire grill tastes damn good. Even if it is just a burger, you still get that smoke and char flavor. As for the Juicy Lucy itself, it was nothing special. In my opinion, I could have walked away from the table just as happy if the cheese would have been placed on top of the burger rather than inside. Don't get me wrong, a burger is always better when stuffed with something just because we can, but this burger was just that, a burger. Maybe they are using too good of a grade of beef than any of the others, but it left nothing special on the plate other than a good quality burger you would expect to get a a great steakhouse (maybe that is why they refer to it as a stuffed burger and not a Juicy Lucy).
As for the compliments, the Guacamole sucked and looked like that crap you buy at the grocery store in a bag and the cole slaw was just cabbage with a little mayo chopped into perfect little squares rather than shreds. I would expect more from Wildfire on the Guacamole rather than the crap they scooped into a little cup and put on my plate. The Pico was decent and had great flavors mixed throughout, so I will give them that one.
Overall the stuffed burgers that Wildfire puts out each and every day from lunch are fantastic and I will continue to order them as long as they keep the horseradish away from the kitchen.
I wonder how good warm guacamole would be? Probably not that great, but this gives me a great idea for a new Lucy to try at home. Some fresh queso along with a smoked poblano and some homemade Guacamole inside a burger, smoked with hickory. And instead of your typical ground chuck, how about some fresh buffalo meat.
at 6:00 AM
About three years ago we decided that it was time to try to save some money on our monthly grocery bill. We figured out that most of our weekly/monthly food spend was dining out and their was nothing that was going to be done about that, so the second biggest spend was on COW! I started doing some searching and found a place that only charges $2.00/Lb (hang weight plus processing). At the time, we didn't care about health, organic or giving back to the environment. That quickly changed about two months into our first 1/2 cow.
We selected a farm called Moonstone Farm located in Montevideo, MN. They were about the cheapest I could find within a 3-hour distance. At the time, that's all we cared about, cutting spend instantly and still eating massive amounts of red meat. Once we got the first cow home, it took a little adjusting. Our first comments were, what did we just spend $350 on and how the hell can we cook this to taste good. But a little time passed and we actually got used to the lean meat and cooking steaks at about 225 degrees for longer periods of time among other tricks and still keeping it healthy. When we first purchased this cow, it was in the early summer, late spring. We actually went through the entire 1/4 cow that summer and needed more to get us through the winter. We quickly learned that the meat is much more enjoyable if you purchase a cow that has been on pasture all season rather than one that has only been on pasture for a few weeks. Ever since then we have been placing our order in August or September and picking up a years supply of meat every October. One other thing that we do is have all of the roasts ground as I do enjoy my homemade Juicy Lucy's and the roasts really are not enjoyed in my house.
Here are some neat facts and information about the farm we selected and for three years now have been going back too.
"Among the goals that serve as our guide to decision making is that we will take a lesson from the great prairies that preceded European immigration to western Minnesota. Our 240 acres now support continuous living cover in the form of grazing and hay acres, 40 planted acres of 42 woody species, woods and water. We are students and teachers of holistic management, permaculture design, and sustainable community. We are slowly and continually learning what is required of us to live well in this place, while leaving it in even better condition than when we arrived."
"Moonstone grass-fed beef is raised for you on 100% grass and hay without pesticides, antibiotics, hormones or genetic engineering. We are committed to land stewardship, contented livestock, clean water and wholesome, healthy food. We are licensed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and certified by Food Alliance Midwest."
Grass fed cattle have a milder acid in their stomach then humans do, therefore any E.Coli bacteria growing in the stomach of grass-fed ruminants will not survive in the human stomach. It takes a much stronger acid to digest corn. E.Coli will adapt to this stronger acid, which is stronger then human stomach acid, and will make humans quit ill.
Moonstone Grass-fed Beef is featured at Bryant-Lake Bowl.
at 6:00 PM
After 3 months of brewing like a mad man in preparation for the summer months and the wife no longer being pregnant I was left with 20 cases of beer as a reward. Learning very quickly that it is impossible to keep different kinds of beer straight, I came up with a bottle cap system and the wife purchased a dry erase board to keep an ongoing beer menu on the beer fridge. I do plan on going further with this and actually printing beer menu's to pass out when guests come over, unfortunately this past weekend the menu board had to work. Although I am quit proud of having this much beer in the house, all hand crafted by me and for me to enjoy, I rather enjoyed myself with a group of family and friends this past weekend. It was as if 8 adults were holding the key to a candy store once I broke out the beer menu. Between me taking orders and pouring beer after beer and watching everyone passing glasses to the person standing next to them making comments like "you have to try this one" and "Oh, you would love this one" I knew that all my hard work had paid off. Not one complaint to be shared (or at least that they would tell me about) along with the 10lb pork but that was smoked for 10 hours and marinated with 8 bottles of my Power Pack Porter.
Northern Brewer's Irish Red was probably the biggest hit along with Denny's Waldo Lake Amber coming in at a close second. The Honey Weiss' tap was ran dry and was probably the best beer to date that I have brewed with Waldo Lake being again, a close second.
Once the summer comes to an end, I will once again begin to start brewing again. The combination of not having a full basement and only running the AC when the wife kicks and screams doesn't allow me to brew during the months of June, July, August and possibly into September as day time temps in my half-basement reach temps. of 85-88 degrees. I might brew up a batch of Saison beer as that yeast allows temps upwards of 85-92 degrees. But not sure how it will turn out as the temp constantly changes from day to day and day and night.
Up next will be a printed version form of a menu to include the 5 batches of wine that is also being served and enjoyed along with complete description.
Labels: Lowball Brewing
at 11:37 AM
Awhile back I made my way to the rural area of Maple Plain with two other Juicy Lucy wannabees. Quickly running out of options on the West side of town to enjoy a Lucy, we began a 30 minute road trip with absolutely no idea where we were going. With the help of the iPhone we finally arrived in Maple Plain and found a very nice Irish Pub that I knew offered a truly unique Lucy that "sounded" delicious on paper. McGarry's Irish Pub, the local, family-owned pub just down MN12 in Maple Plain, bringing a bit of Ireland to the Western suburbs of Minneapolis.
We entered the small bar with extremely high ceilings and found our way over to a high-top table that appeared as it could have come over directly from Ireland. It featured a very nice Irish pub style bar and backdrop with tons of old looking wood and a very nice selection of Irish beer on tap. We selected to go with a nice pint of Boddingtons. Although not a true Irish beer, it is a very fine English bitter beer that was once brewed in the English city of Manchester. Looking at the menu online prior to our visit, one particular item stuck out as a must try. Crab & Jalapenos Bites - crab, chess and jalapenos breaded and deep fried, severed with ranch dressing. Sounds delicious right? Unfortunately these were just pre-frozen jalapeno poppers. Crab was almost not present and they just reminded me of something that Arby's would serve up as a side item.
Now onto the reason for our road trip all the way out in BFE, the McGarry's Juicy Lucy. As described: 8 oz fresh ground lamb burger stuffed with drunken goat cheese topped with red wine portabelle mushrooms. First of all, I love Lamb and drunken goat cheese. The combination sounds perfect and is a very popular pairing in many fine restaurants. The fact that McGarry's is offering this together in the form of a Juicy Lucy, pure genius (or so we thought). Two of us ordered the Lucy minus the mushroom and one with the works as the menu states. All three burgers arrived and we quickly dug in. The first bite was perfect, good quality burger, cooked perfect. The second bite wasn't as good and the third bite, finally! Drunken Goat Cheese. Again, the same with the cheese, the first bite was delicious and the second and thereafter just continued to become less and less enjoyable. We all agreed on the following comments and thoughts about what we just ate. The idea is great and has huge potential, but unfortunately not at McGarry's Irish Pub. Good quality lamb should be served medium rare even if it is in the ground version. The burger became dry and just not enjoyable after about 1/3 to 1/2 the way through it. The lamb burger was cooked to well done if not beyond. I particularly enjoyed the cheese in the middle, but the other two were either lacking cheese or it wasn't enjoyed and over powered the lamb burger. Goat cheese is very over powering to start with, but with the wine addition it quickly became bitter. The quality of the lamb used is very questionable as I do not think it was very fresh. The use of fresh ground lamb daily should be the start of re-inventing this item, but with a location of Maple Plain, the volume probably cannot justify this. I know that drunken-goat cheese looks good and sounds good, but I think the lamb with the combination of a fresher version cooked medium rare to medium with the combination of garlic and blue cheese or a nice quality feta could possibly be the winning ticket. But what do I know, I'll eat anything that says Juicy Lucy at least once.