Archive for the ‘US-Midwest’ Category

Brats and Betty Bars

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Minnesota knows their brats, and a trip to the small town of St. Joseph Minnesota would not be complete without hitting up the St. Joseph Meat Market for some of the best. They have a ton of varieties, and I have faithfully stuck with the Wild Rice Brat. I’m not sure what the wild rice does for the flavor, but the smoked sausage speckled with little bits of black rice is truly glorious. I am here in St. Joseph visiting my girlfriends family and I am lucky to receive these local delights. I top my brat with some killer homemade pickles (see refrigerator pickles recipe) and some yellow mustard. The meat market also carries the essential “brat buns”. The meal is not complete, however, without Grandma Betty’s “Betty Bars”. These bars are a family tradition and the recipe has been perfected over the years. The Betty Bar is basically a peanut butter chocolate bar with crispy cereal. The sweetness and texture are unparalleled in the bar category. Unfortunately the recipe for the bars will remain a family secret for now.

Minnesota State Fair

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

This is Minnesota State Fair food and, as you can see from the various pictures, its function is to make you happy. Everything is either on a stick, deep fried, smothered in butter or all of the above. The chefs here have truly have mastered the art of greasy food. The variety of food choices is actually quite surprising; it’s not just sausages and funnel cakes. They offer such oddities here as teriyaki ostrich on a stick and chocolate covered bacon on a stick.

I sample as much as much stomach can handle. The dap-kings walk around in a group — each person buying one thing and then bringing it back to the group to share. We start with cheese fries topped with bacon and chives. The curly fries are perfectly prepared and the toppings make it a great starter.

I move on to what i consider the best item at the fair: deep fried cheese curds. These are similar in flavor to mozzarella sticks but they are super fresh and perfectly crisp. Most people dip them in some ketchup and that is definitely a winning combo.

From there i move on to a pronto pup which is a corn dog made with a flour batter rather than corn batter. The pronto pup is not too big, but i find it to be the perfect size. The dogs are freshly dipped in the flour batter, and i think this makes for one of the best dogs on a stick around.

We all share the pork chop on stick which is a very popular item out here.

Deep fried pickle slices with ranch dressing is a good side order

Before we hit dessert, we all have to chow down on some delicious Minnesota sweet corn dipped in butter. Unstoppable.

Everyone tries their own desserts. Some go for the candy apple, while others eat the frozen key lime pie slice dipped in chocolate on a stick.

But I go for the true heart stopper: the deep fried twinkie on a stick. This item is simply wrong. It is, however, pretty damn good.

All in all. This was truly an inspiring food day for me. I am definitely going to try to come back to the Minnesota state fair next year.

Little Italy in Cleveland

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

Cleveland is the band’s last stop on the first U.S. “100″ days tour and we all decide we want Italian. After doing a couple of google searches, we choose a restaurant and head towards it. All of the sudden, we see a little sign that says Little Italy. Little Italy in Cleveland, who knew? It’s monday night so there is not much action on the main strip, but there are a couple of places still open. We end up in Guarino’s at 12309 Mayfield road. Turns out this is the oldest restaurant in Cleveland. The band feasts it up on classic Italian fare. I order chicken parmigiana with a side of fettucini (pictured above). The tomato sauce is sweet and tasty. While the food is not great, it is comforting and it is just what we were looking for. Perhaps the best thing about this place is the vibe and the decor. I couldn’t get a good picture to represent the decor, but our waitress (pictured below), gives off a pretty serious vibe.


Nut Roll

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

The dap-kings are driving through Wisconsin from Minneapolis to Milwaukee. As navigator, I have to make sure to stay awake and have some treats for me and the driver to keep us happy and inspired. Enter the Nut Roll. This delicious king size nutty treat is made by a local midwest company called Pearsons ( The salted and roasted nuts are attached to a sweet white center via a thin layer of caramel. Besides being sweet and delicious, this bar is extremely manageable. There is no caramel strings when it is broken into little pieces. Its perfect for sharing with the band driver, Dave Guy. On a side note, I have a Wisconsin joke for you. Why did the Dap-Kings decide to play a gig in Milwaukee as opposed to Madison? Because Milwaukee, me likey!