Masa: Minneapolis, Minnesota

(Him) Well this was a unexpected choice of restaurant while visiting the big city but I sure are glad we ended up here. Being country mice and all, I would have never have figured we’d plop our tails into this fancy establishment. I’m sure the wife will give you the full lowdown on how we got here but I’ll just jump into the review……
Figuring the location in downtown Minneapolis you’d figure they would have made this more of a recognizable or memorable storefront as I’m sure they have hella rent to pay. But alas poor Yorick, if you blink you might miss it despite it’s many picture windows. We did not have reservations and they were needed, however since we got there early enough and looking like dazed eyes tourists they welcomed us into the fold…or perhaps they saw my stomach of some girth and decided it would be huge sale day and welcomed us with open arms. It was fancy schmancy, well as hoity toity as faux Mexican restaurant can get I suppose. ( Are you impressed that I busted out fancy schmancy and hoity toity in the same sentence yo! ?)
I never realize or pay attention to décor but this place was white. Like the pearly gates white, everywhere was white so if you are a spiller you will be outed here for sure. Evidence of your clumsiness will show, so be especially careful while eating here. I started off with a girly drink drunk…some beverage called a Bellini. I only ordered it because I am a sucker for all things Blood Orange which this contained in spades. At 8 American dollars I should have been appalled at the price however this concoction of Champaign and blood orange puree went down smooth. So smooth that I ordered a second one for good measure.  They offered free chips and salsa which was unexpected for such a high class joint. The green salsa tasted green and fresh but I’m not sure I’m into green and fresh, so I can’t give it high marks. The red salsa was probably some chipotle concoction and that was freakin outstanding. MORE PLEASE! So I ate a lot of that.
I am not sure of the name of the entre that I ordered but it was mostly awesome. It was a filet of slow roasted pork shoulder covered in a mole sauce. I’m not sure which was better, the perfectly cooked pork or that sauce….that sauce…….oh that sauce. In hindsight it was probably the sauce. It was cooked or served? on a banana husk or some type of husk. I have no opinion on that or if it was a presentation thing or what.  The dish also had fried pineapples that were a perfect compliment to the pork. The only complaint I had was the refried black beans were inedible. They were cold and bland. Oh well, no one is perfect.
We also shared 3 deserts here….Tres Leches cake, Buttery caramel crepes and churros with Mexican chocolate. WOW! Each bite better than the next. This was a food orgasm for sure and pretty sure I was making an O face while eating them. I cannot highly recommend these items enough. All in all I would go back to this place in a heartbeat.
Value…..6.2……I suppose for downtown Minneapolis dinner for 4 at $150 with tip is decent but I have nothing to base it on. Food…….8.38 (this could have been higher if I would have entered on a good bean day)  The caution factor 2.71……Lose the white, It’s hard to enjoy the eats while you be worried about the white.

Midwest Mexican Food Roundup: Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota

That’s right folks, we are finally back.  Seems like the common thread these days is that when we do want to go out to eat it’s usually for Mexican food, and it seems to be a trend that isn’t going away.  Ultimately, I don’t like to pay for food that I could cook at home, but Mexican food remains a mystery to me.  Even if I could figure it out, most of the recipes have been in the family forever, they are complex and require many simmering hours on the stove.  Who has time like that for the off chance that it might taste somewhat similar to what you had? We thought we should share our opinions with you even if you didn’t ask.  You know, before there was a food duo I don’t think the hubby ever even had Mexican food.  He claims he didn’t even like Taco Bell.  Anyway, here’s our list of tops and flops–our entire relationship using Mexican food as the context.

Taco Burrito Mexico: Green Bay, Wisconsin

(Her) My first foray into authentic Mexican food that wasn’t a chain restaurant.  Just a little shack making the biggest burritos ever and all made to order.  The entire menu was a la cart and the fact that I’d bring some back with me to the UW for later eating probably contributed to my freshman 15.

(Him) Perfectly fine Mexican joint as long as you go to the one on Webster Avenue.  Everything else gets a solid “meh”.  I wouldn’t complain if I had to go here again. If this restaurant were a Monopoly property it would be St. James place and the West location would be Vermont Avenue because they charged us for chips and salsa.

El Patron: Downtown Appleton, Wisconsin

(Her) A greek place that couldn’t make it trying to be a greek/Mexican place and not doing either of the traditions well.  Just give up already.

(Him) So they are on the Ave…I’m sure the rent is high however so should expectations on the quality of food. A miserable fail, I can’t help but be harsh as in my years of eating I’ve noticed that Mexican food is hard to screw up. If it’s average then make it fast. This spacious eatery offered neither deliciousness or speedy service on a mundane afternoon. The prices were way too high for what you got. No reason to drop two twenties on a lunch in Appleton unless you are getting a 4 course or something.

Some random food truck : Denver, Colorado.

If you stumble off your plane, through your hotel, and into a waiting limo and then find yourself in the hub of Denver’s mall and think “sure I’ll have the tamale from this food truck and yes, I’ll have the green sauce” DONT. Even though we think of Coloradons as  a bunch of beer drinking hippies, they are truly southwestern and their green sauce is not the mild tomatillo sauce I know and love.  It is a green chili sauce with a pension for heat and no amount of sour cream can save you.

Mr. Taco: Downtown Appleton, Wisconsin

(Her) This was reminiscent of my beloved Taco Burrito Mexico, but without the quality or seasoning.

(Him) A 9 PM visit on a Saturday night and we were the only ones there. It was a little place with counter seating and a very limited menu. The owner was  friendly enough, but all the meats had onions so the menu was further constricted. I had about the worst quesadilla I’ve ever done had. The bean dip was blah. I do not recommend.

Antojitos Mexicanos: Downtown Appleton

(Her) The  current winner of my affection.  You’ll find flavors here that you won’t find at any other restaurant. Antojitos serves  authentic street food  as well as recognizable fare but with  multiple sauces and salsas to choose from and all are done well. Seems to be that many parts of Mexico are represented here. This is one of the few places around town authentic enough to serve Barbacoa and lengua tacos, gorditas (that don’t look anything like they are from Taco Bell), and Tortas.  The pickled vegetables with cactus in them are amazing. They will make amazing guacamole at your table if that kind of thing impresses you.  If so, you should get out more or cook more.  The restaurant is cozy and small and with it’s location off of College Avenue, I’m still confused as to why it’s not always packed.  Definitely a hidden gem.

(Him) Small cozy joint that we almost overlooked.  A pork and pineapple quesadilla doesn’t sound all that exciting, but their spin on it takes it to a whole new level of culinary masterpiece.  High praise, high praise indeed.  I’m at a loss for words because of its greatness.

El Azteca:Darboy

(Him) Our friends the Hs love this place…I’m not sure why. This is a super fast place I’ll give it that. They have good Iced Tea. so they have that going for them. The food is just so-so. Refills come slowly. Good luck getting seconds on chips and salsa even with a big group. They are conveniently located next to the movie theatre so if you are date nighting it up, you could do worse. No reason to go unless you are in a hurry to eat subpar food.

Taco Loco #2:Beloit

(Her) see previous blog.  Still a contender with high ranks.

El Rey:Milwaukee
(Her) see previous blog dedicated to this place.  This is still one of my favorite due to the authenticity of the surroundings.

(Him) I was impressed with this Mexican supermart and taqueria upon entry. The produce section was bar none and had so many items you can’t find around here. The meat section has meats sliced so thin you can read your comic books through it. How can you not like a place that has all the tripe your heart desires? The taqueria is the old school equivalent to an old Kmart eatery from the 70s.  The servers speak very limited English, and trying to engage her in a conversation about onions was futile.  I pointed to the flautas on the menu and she brought me Fajitas, but to her credit there were no onions. It was ok.

Masa:Minneapolis

(Her) We only went here because the hubby had won a gift certificate.  I really wished the food would have matched the upscale atmosphere, but in retrospect I should have ordered something different than tacos. We ordered three different desserts, and the crepes with goat’s milk caramel and pecans was orgasmic. We ended up dipping everything in the amazing chocolate sauce from the churros.  The tweens we brought along were a little overwhelmed by the fancy atmosphere, but we didn’t feel uncomfortable having them there.  They really liked the fancy bathroom with an infinity sink, and thought it was funny when the servers would rush and pick up their napkins when they left the table.  I guess we are all just a bunch of Wisconsin hicks!  They perked up during the dessert course.

(Him) Good time, free food is always great.  I had some amazing slow roasted pork shoulder in banana leaf served in all its glory; without all the garnishes and what not. Could not have been happier, feeling like a high falootin’ Minneapolite.  My drink of blood orange juice was so good I ordered two.  So glad they accommodated us since we didn’t have reservations.  Definitely the Park Place of Mexican joints. Perhaps Pennsylvania Avenue if I hadn’t been drinking.

The list definitely goes on with Mexican places that we have eaten at and then never returned for one reason or another.  (Mostly onions) But honestly if these places would have been good, I would have pushed to go back.  like Chinese food, I often get the impression that Mexican food has been dumbed down for our American tastes.  I sometimes feel that other ethnicities are laughing at us going ape shit over fresh and local trends since it is what they have always done.  The places we seem to enjoy are the ones who give the finger to the Americans and serve what they want to eat. We felt that Masa deserves a review all it’s own (especially since the hubby has such a good draft of one waiting in the wings) so we’ll post that separately.

What we put in our mouth down South. Haikus by Him.

We are about to embark on a mini whirlwind vacation to the Twin Cities and as we start our food adventure it reminded me that we have not blogged in such a long time.  I found this gem in the draft pile.  These were written by my infrequently contributing husband and I think it’s a fun read without my interpretations, but I did add some pictures.  P.s The trip was a long driving trip as usual but this time our dog joined us.

(Him)

We recently went down south. The food was fair to great. Here are a few Haikus on the eating experiences there.

Taqueria Los Comales     East Chicago Indiana
order two tacos
qué fat man must mean five
five tacos so good

Steak and Shake (chain) Clarksville IN
OlDSCN4480d Friend I miss You
Tasty Steakburger Oh Yeah!
Come Back up North please

Moby Dick   Bardstown KY
Fried Bologna Samwich
greasy artery clogger
I’d do it again

Kennys Corner Somewhere on the KY/TN Border

DSCN4550Boiled Peanuts yuck
yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck
grow on you they do

American Legion Post 17 Gallatin TN

Best Pit Pork Ever
goes up for seconds here here
Best Pit Pork ever

Loveless Cafe   Nashville TNDSCN4596

Good not great biscuits
reputation proceeds them
DSCN4587Elvis ate here once

Jacks Bar-B-Que On Broadway Nashville TN

DSCN4670

Darn tasty fixins
Lots of bark when asked Awesome
upper echelon

Pucketts Grocery and Restaurant

DSCN4699

Way overated
so so burger but friendly
loose dog fights my dog

Hagy’s Catfish Hotel Shiloh TN

DSCN4736No Haiku on this place, my ham was too salty
but the Caramel Pie here was the greatest  thing I’ve ever tasted in my life
no exaggeration
Just seek it out for nirvana

Firehouse Subs (Chain) Chattanooga TN

Nothing special here
warm subs for south sub lovers
a means to an end

Nana and Pa’s Drive In  Fall Creek Falls TN

wanted to like it
food did not hold up its end
tiny roadside hut

DSCN4921

Boston Haikus

We recently went to Boston. The food was fair to great. Here are a few Haiku s on His eating experiences there.

Scratch Kitchen – Salem MA

Promise Exquisite
Where was the flavor you cad
Liar Expensive

Santarpios Pizza – East Boston
Southy Accent Yeah
Bust Balls my pizza maker
Fresh Fresh and Tasty

Regina Pizza – Boston
Perhaps right oven
at original location
better represents

Mehak – East Boston
Pushy Indian
Force the Chicken when nan calls
Tandori hot blah

Mikes Pastry – Boston
Good Vibe downtown spot
Peanut Butter Brownie Score
Ate while drunk later

 

 

Embassy Suites – Boston Airport
Breakfast Nirvana
buffet bonanza each day
choices galore

Sobelman’s Pub & Grill: Milwaukee, WI

(Her) When I read multiple online sources telling me that Sobelman’s was the best burger in Milwaukee, I guess I had to see for myself.  Funny thing however, Image that when I talked to people in Milwaukee they had never heard of them.  I think when you are dealing with things online, you can dub yourself the best at anything and there’s really no one to argue with you. Continue reading

Mai’s Deli: Appleton, Wisconsin

(Her) I finally got a chance to visit this place which I’ve been curious about for awhile now.   Since my initial visit, I’ve been to Mai’s about 5 times and talked it up to people probably more times than I’ve visited.  Continue reading