Archive for August, 2008

Hogan Brothers Acoustic Cafe

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Hogan Brothers Acoustic Cafe

415 Division St S
Northfield, MN 55057
(507) 645-6653

On Sunday afternoons, we often head downtown to get a quick bite. We went to Tiny’s but they are closed on Sunday. Usually, we do go to Hogan Bros., so we headed over there. We have been there twenty times in five years. We like the low prices, the tasty food, the warm atmosphere, and the good service.

Today we liked it just as much as we have in the last five years, except for one thing, they are starting to cut back on the little things that make them them. In this instance, it was the lettuce and sauce on the hoagies, which pretty much makes them just plain sandwiches, and the pita sandwich produce was reduced by more than half of what I used to get.

Still, we got two sandwiches, a big cookie and one drink for $11 plus change. The latest art was really good, and the air was nice and cool on this heated day, AND they were playing new Bob Dylan over the speakers. YES! Oh, and they did include lemon and a straw with my tea, and I didn’t even have to ask.

we love the ice cream there, and they do excellent muffins, and soup. Beer, too, I guess. There there is live music and open mike on the weekends. It’s a good energy place, I just hope they don’t cut back anymore, or we will be eating air sandwiches and going there just for cold tea and ice cream…and oh, don’t forget the live music, mostly on the weekend evenings.

Here’s another view from 2006;

http://www.epinions.com/review/Hogan_Brothers/content_222007168644

B & L Pizza

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

B & L Pizza

514 Division Street South

507-663-0390

We walked in at 5:30 on Thursday afternoon, there were about four other occupied tables, by the time we left, around 6:15, the place was full. Lots of parents and young children and couples. Nice family scene. We ordered a Alfredo Chicken Fresco pizza, large. We can usually polish off a large one between us two. The pizza was served warm, not hot. Good for the kids. It had nicely cooked onion, great oregano flavor, plenty of cheese, maybe too much for me…I usually order light cheese and forgot this time…the crust was cooked perfectly, although it was plain, sort of floury and too thin for the amount of toppings.

There was chicken, but I only noticed three pieces on five pieces of pizza. And bacon, but it was strewn around carelessly and although it tasted good and was thin enough to chew, there wasn’t much of that either. We had iced tea, which tasted like the normal grocery store tea.

The service was what you would expect from a family pizzeria, pleasant, but lacking in timing and graces, yet friendly and accurate. Had to ask for a straw, and when I did, I noticed the server had kinda of handled it more than I’d like, so I didn’t use it.

One thing that needs replacement is the lighting over the booths.  I hardly recognized my hubby across from me.  The light bulbs are practically bare and totally irritating.  D minus with a red circle around it.

All in all, I didn’t hate it, but like when we were there four years ago, I felt slightly cheated. I am willing to go back and give it another try. They do have baklava and lasagna, two of my favs . I know a lot of people must like it judging from the number of people we saw there so I give it a 82.5% rating for now with a possible higher percentage later on. That’s fair, isn’t it?

Oh, they do serve wine and beer, too.

Figs

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

The New York Times has a nice article on figs. It’s a

healthy food that is much overlooked.

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/

subjects/f/figs/index.html

Northfield Shops and Business Offerings (coming soon)

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

I have expanded my Northfield Restaurant blog to include information about any business who wants to have a listing here to let people know what services they offer through their businesses or what type of items they sell in their shops.

If you have a business, just email me what you want included and I will post it here, with each one having it’s own header and information. b r i g h t@beautywood.com(just take out the spaces)

Northfield Golf Club Sunday Brunch

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

This morning we did a brunch at NGC. I hope everyone knows it’s not just for members. We are not members cuz we don’t golf, but everyone is welcome in the dining room for lunch, dinner and sometimes special events like brunch or the chef’s showdown. Cuz it’s good.

Today we had everything on the table practically…which included sweet rolls, the glazed and sugar kind, fruit plate, fried French toast, shredded potatoes, omelette made to order, and sausage and bacon, the delicious kinds. Drinks come with it. We had orange juice and it was really delicious, too.

For $9.95 per person, and that keeps us going all day long, a really good deal for a really good meal.

NGC Chefs Culinary Throwdown

Friday, August 22nd, 2008
  • Northfield Golf Club
  • (507) 645-4026
  • 707 Prairie Street

Northfield, MN 55057

http://northfieldgolfclub.com

dining@northfieldgolfclub.com

The premise is to have two chef teams throw down-like Iron Chef-and prepare four dishes each, with potatoes being the focus food served simply and elegantly.  Then, we, the twenty customers/tasters, were given a score sheet with presentation, originality, and taste being the headings used to score each dish.

First of all, I must say, it was an amazing and very interesting evening. I tried many foods I have never tried before and I ate several things that I have never tasted before in very original combinations of flavors, that we like to call recipes. It was two hours of delicious fare and good conversations.

Could I cook any of these dishes at home? Ahhh, let me see, no, a resounding no! Well, there was a salad made of herbs that I might be able to put together if I had some truffles on hand, and at $500-$1,000 per pound, I doubt that I would have any truffles on hand. I could make the salad without the truffles, but as my proper speaking British friend says, “It wouldn’t be the same now, would it?”

Was the $60 per person an outrageous sum, with an additional tip and tax added on? You betcha. Spendy, very spendy. But, you know what, if you can’t try some delicious, artfully created food once or twice in your
life, you haven’t really done it all, now have you? I like food a lot, and I like great food a whole lot more. So, for me, the answer is give up Subway and Culver’s for two months, and hit the big time and go for
the big deal, even if it’s once a year. Scoop up that spare change or cut out those Cuban cigars for a week or two, but, do try it sometime, for a special day, and perhaps a memory of a lifetime. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you, two large glasses of very nice wine were included.
I drank half of a glass of each wine…a lovely light sweet Gervais, and  pinot grigio. As most of you know by now, we don’t really drink, but we will allow for wine served as part of the meal, as a compliment to the dishes, as wine can help balance or bring out flavors of the food. We did get a bit tipsy as well. :)

Not only was our evening filled with scrumptious food and delicious wine, but we met some new people and ran into some we already knew. We all talked about food and learned from each other, so we can put our feelings about the food we tasted into words and scores. Plus Chef Raphael, the head man and really great guy, sat and ate with us and discussed the food with us as we asked questions all through the night. We met the chefs and asked them questions and got some insight there. So the next part of my blog
will be some more technical stuff about the food we experienced last night.

While I won’t include every last detail, I will hit what I thought were the highlights. Me and Doug, my dh, cuz he is the red meat expert, of which there was plenty to report about.

For the red meat portion of the offerings, the first group served elk loin, which was pan seared, rare and with a blackberry reduction. It was berry, berry good. The elk was not gamey tasting, but a very mild
meat. It should be served rare to avoid toughness. There was also lamb loin wrapped in potato pesto. It too, was delicious. and served very rare. This is the my hubby’s portion of the report. He loves meat and
knows the difference between the good, the bad and the ugly.

The seafood portion we were served the most delicious lobster with the best texture I have ever eaten on this planet. And I have had fresh Maine lobster, went on the boat offshore Atlantic City for our fresh
lobster venture, and eaten at numerous fine restaurants where the lobster was flown in fresh daily…this was the best. Right here in Northfield. Whoda thunk it? I was pleasantly surprized, to say the least. We also had warm sushi, mahi-mahi, wrapped in plantain. It was fine. It was served in a tempura potato basket with all sorts of hearts of palm, Thai chiles, orange zest, lemon grass and a braised fumet reduction. I didn’t get the last thing, but you could tell they went all out on making this dish and it was very good. Didn’t miss a
trick here.

We also had a potato pizza, which used potatoes for the pizza dough, topped with herbed ricotta cheese and French sausage somewhat like pepperoni, only classier. It was good. I liked that potatoes could be
used for dough. I have had potato bread, so this wasn’t much of a stretch, but nonetheless, as one lady named Nalli said, “unexpected.” The flavors filled my taste buds up. I like that.

The second potato dish was Potato Pave. It was delicious, it reminded me of Eggs Benedict, as it has hollandaise sauce and a quail egg, but added some foie gras as duck liver, and a hint of truffle. It was so rich, and because it was my fourth dish, I just couldn’t eat all of the portion, which was equivalent in size and shape to three stacked Oreo cookies.

The dessert portion of the first group was a sweet potato quesadilla with lavender honey, apricot salsa and brie. Sounds really strange, doesn’t it? It was, but it was strangely good. I thought I’d like a little splash of lemon or something more citrusy with it. Others thought it was very good, but wondered how it could be made better with a different kind of cheese or fruit for the salsa. Maybe peach, or perhaps apples? They are all coming into season now…seasonal eating is a very in thing to do…environmentally speaking, because you can eat more locally grown produce that way and that saves on transportation costs and reduces the use of gasoline and thereby cools the planet and on and on and on! Just Food loves me now. :)

The dessert portion of the second group was really startling. A sweet potato creme brulee’, which I thought was quite good. Others found theirs too thin…but the crust was too thick perhaps. I thought it was very good. But then, they served cinnamon ice cream with a caramelized pecan. Well, honestly, it was very good, too, but in combination, several of us thought it didn’t quite go together with the brulee’. Either one would have been nice alone…there was a lot of flavor in each one. That means to me that they used high quality
cinnamon and dairy products, and perhaps even several types of cinnamon for layers of flavor.

I have found that each country, like India, Mexico, USA, all offer different tasting cinnamon, and actually all spices and herbs taste different, like wine, depending on where they are grown, what are the climatic conditions, what type of soil, is it rich or poor, is it clay or sand, or rich, deep fertile loam. It all
counts. Cool nights, warm days, or any combination, it all counts toward the flavor, texture and quality of the food we eat. That’s why we shouldn’t build on black gold farmland, it takes centuries to get
this stuff back, you know. I don’t know how I made that last leap, but it sure felt good. :)

Call and ask them what’s up…have your email put on their list. They promised me they’d have another throw down. I hope they do keep their word…

Okay, it’s the next day. This is the real test for me. How do I feel the morning after. WOW! I feel really good, strong and not hungry at all. This is a real tribute to those young and upcoming chefs. To prepare eight different dishes plus those two glasses of wine, and some ice coffee I threw in the mix for myself, and still feel good the next day. Hey, I think we might have gotten the best deal in town.

So much for my meanderings and wanderings. You may believe that your mom’s bbq ribs are the best food on the planet, and you don’t want anyone telling you different. I am with you on that. No one makes
meat loaf like my mom, or chili, either. But mom’s repetoire of recipes was somewhat limited and I am a big girl now, and I like trying new things. If you do, too, let me encourage you to dine fine. That
reminds me, I haven’t been to Fermentations yet, but that’s just because we keep going to the Golf Club. With Chef Raphael there, who btw is the hubby of Ashley of Ole Store, you can’t beat it. And you
don’t have to drive into the cities! Save more gas!

If you stuck with this this long, let’s go do the math. $60 for the throw down, if you charge $5.00 for a glass of wine, then you have $50 left for the food portion, at 8 dishes, that’s $6.25 per dish. Incredible. You can’t eat at White Castle for that anymore. Haha, well, that was fun. See ya!

One more thing-hail to the chefs!

Northfield Speaks Up

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

We are trying an experiment here. Post whatever you want, business promo, self promo, ideas, opinions, dance instructions. It’s up to you and your imaginative mind.

Family style only. We will NOT be on time with our monitoring so don’t complain. It’s free! We are promoting a free speech site with only one condition…be nice or at least civil if you want to your message included here. Thanks!

Hot Tips!

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

Hot Tip Visit Carla and let her paint your walls!  http://www.barefootstudio.net

Hot Tip#-3-Stanton Airfield, a historic grass field just south of town on Hwy 19, has glider and small aircraft lessons, rides and gift certificates. See, http://www.stantonairfield.com for details.

Hot Tip#-2-The Fairbault Air Show is Sept. 13, 2008

Hot Tip#-1-Beef O’Brady’s has a coupon for half off a second entree in the driveway Shopper.

Hot Tip#0-Go pontooning in Faribault!

Hot Tip #1-The local phone books have restaurant coupons in the back of the book. Good deals for good meals!

Hot tip #2-for Viking fans, get those fast fun football facts with a special twist at http://www.sportsdatahub.com

Hot tip #3-get a free zip file high quality download entitled, “Dreamin’ of You” by Bob Dylan and http://www.bobdylan.com

Hot Tip #4-Sociale Gourmet has a $5.00 off coupon on the back of the grocery store receipts at CUB and I imagine EconoFoods. Check it out.

Hot Tip #5-Hear some beautiful music; http://microsite.smithsonianmag.com/si_jukebox/200809-moab/moab-1.html

Hot Tip #6-Free Obama buttons, copy all of the following url: https://political.moveon.org/obamabuttons/?rc=updateemail&id=
13663-3352476-EcyGq0x&t=1

My Other Site

Friday, August 15th, 2008

I cover a lot of territory here, and plan to expand soon. Let me know if you have any thing you’d like to see with family style, and within reason. http://www.beautywood.com

J. Grundy’s Rueb ‘n’ Stein

Friday, August 15th, 2008

J. Grundy’s Rueb ‘n’ Stein
503 Division St.
Northfield, MN 55057
507-645-6691

Now we are talking experience, or experience. Yeah, that’s it. We walked in today, despite the huge back hoe operating at the corner. It wasn’t that noisy inside, so the chance we took paid off alright. We also had a coupon from the phone book we thought we would try out. It was for a free burger with a purchase of a burger and drink. We ordered that and more. Usually, we leave the cost of the food covered by the coupon to the wait person. That way we spread the wealth around and see how they deal with the coupons, too.

They are right when they say the best burger in town just got better. We were there last year and my dh who is the world’s foremost authority on beef, claimed that they did have excellent burgers. Then he went to the golf club and declared them to have the best burgers in town. Now, he has changed back, saying Grundy’s had changed something, and he was right..they went angus on us.

I had the veggie burger, or what they call the bean burger. It’s not listed like the others, but on a list under the burger dishes with the turkey burger. I am the world’s authority on veggie burgers, and I must say Grundy’s does have the best veggie bean burger around. It’s as close to real beef burgers as you can get, imho, but it’s not meat. I love it! They have great fries, and they taste great, but as my regular readers may know I am the enemy of salt. The fries are salty here, but I ate them anyway. Some enemy I turned out to be. It’s about 7 hours later, and I am still throwing down water, well actually, I put a constant comment tea bag in a glass of distilled water and keep filling it up over and over again. Boy, those fries were salty.

I also tried the green bean soup that comes as a choice with the burger dishes. I love green beans, cooked like I like them, so I thought, hey, why not, and the wait person did recommend it highly. It was just okay for me, like Randy says. It was a weird color and the beans were still stringy. I don’t recommend it highly unless you like weird colored soup and you have those kind of strange desires to experiment with food intake.

When it came to the coupon, they did take off for the burger, but left me with a $3.50 charge for the cup of soup. I thought that a bit much, but I didn’t *itch much. We left the $ for the waitperson, but not as much as we would have had she brought us some silverware, and not called us ‘guys’ a lot.

Grundy’s has a lot going on, with games, tv, clothes, a five page menu, a full bar, two rooms that I know of and a huge history of Northfield hanging on the walls. Go there, have a blast, or a quiet day, and don’t think about me at all!

http://ruebnstein.com/html/menu.html