When I was a sprout growing up in Sinclair Lewis’ Zenith City, I went to junior high (7-9) at Ordean Junior High School, where nobody complained about us having “Warriors”for a team name with a silhouette of an Indian for a logo. Then it was on to Duluth East for (most of) grades 10-12. Well, due to some weird population shift in the cosmos now Ordean is East (after a gajillion dollar remodeling job) and East is Ordean East Junior….er Middle….. Or something. Don’t even think about getting me started on my grade school.
The students at East have always been an enterprising lot, but now they’ve amped it up by starting a restaurant within the school that is open to the public. It’s called “Food for Thought” and it not only helps train students interested in the culinary arts, but also in general business. The menu is varied, very ambitious, and everything served is made from scratch in house.
Specials change by the week and month, and compliment the regular menu items. The Duluth Lunch Bunch hit the cafe today and reported an excellent experience. Every dish consumed was superb in preparation and presentation, and the enthusiasm of the student employees was reported to be far and above the service received in most Duluth restaurants. The operation is overseen by Glenn D’Amour, Culinary Arts Instructor for the Duluth public school system and former corporate chef at several highly regarded local eateries.
We have a gaggle of pix, so let’s get right to them. The current offerings are in our menu section. And p.s. Don’t tell anybody the prices are too cheap!!!! (Cash only, BTW).
Duluth East High School
Local Toledo hot dog legend Tony Packo’s has been around for 70-80 years, and is the birthplace of the “Hungarian Style Hot Dog.” Now with five locations, the business received a lot of publicity as the home town favorite of the TV character “Max Klinger” on the long-run sitcom “MASH.”
Toledo is about halfway between two distinct “coney island hot dog” territories. And all three are distinctly different in flavor and texture. To the north, you find the Detroit style like American Coney, heavy on meat and a beefy taste – in Ohio you have the dueling chains of Skyline and GoldStar, and both of their coney sauces have a ‘sweet’ element in them. Some fans say chocolate, some say cinnamon. They are both good, and you can purchase complete Detroit kits or Skyline ingredients online. And you should. Often.
So Packo’s sells their sauce in little 8 ounce cans (pictured), less than a buck and a half, if I recall, and the promotional material says it is enough for five hot dogs. I think that’s conservative, you could probably schmear the sauce on 8-10 I’ll betcha.
Ingredients include: beef, water, chili spice, textured vegetable protein, sugar, salt, corn starch, and garlic. The distinctive characteristics of Packo’s are 1) the presence of the chili pepper is very evident, as is the sugar. The sauce is sweeter and hotter than the Detroit or Ohio styles.
There is a layer of flavor deep in there that reminds me of say, Hormel Chili. Which isn’t a turn off, just ‘different’ for a coney type sauce. In my experience. Your mileage may vary. Below are pix of the sauce in the can, out of the can, and after heating. Shop online if you can’t find at your grocery. In addition to hot dog sauce, Packo’s sells pickles, noodles, peppers, chili, barbecue sauce, relish and ketchup. And yes, I’d buy this again. Might even stock up.
Tony Packo Hot Dog Sauce Review
I wrote about this brand previously, which may or may not have been born out of a Wisconsin tavern. Last time I was intending to get an “all meat” but somehow got home with a supreme, a type I would never buy. If you’re not bothering to click over to the other review, here’s the spoiler: I thought it was pretty good.
Here’s the most excellent news: none of these sausage ingredients start with “mechanically separated” (anything). They are PORK! WAHOO!
More careful this time, actually got home with the one I wanted (ham, sausage, bacon bits, pepperoni). 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, and voila! Cracker like crust, mild sausage, good cheese. Sausage bits could be bigger (my preference), but overall flavor is great. The odor of the smoke flavoring in the bacon is fairly strong, but not objectionable.
Luigis Frozen Pizza Review
In nearly the geographic center of Wisconsin, a small town named Wautoma, Stoneridge Market is a full service grocery store that has a wholesale meat manufacturing and distributing division, and if that weren’t enough, they own a winter inner tubing park nearby. Their in-house meat counter features dozens of flavors of bratwurst, as well as other processed and smoked meats. They’ll also process your deer for you, here’s the pricing for that. (It’s very price competitive – get your venison sausage on!) The market carries over 300 varieties of Wisconsin cheese, and fresh curds (squeaky cheese) are available every Thursday!
I picked up their garlic ring bologna, which is a beef/pork combination in a natural casing, with mild herbs and spices for flavoring. It’s a nice fine grind, excellent casing, and mild flavor. It’s not nearly as strong as “Chicago style” garlic sausages.
Even though this is a smoked product, it doesn’t say “fully cooked” on the package, so I recommend heating it in your preferred manner. I usually simmer in water for a while, and then slice on a bias and pan fry. Most times I like a little char.
Serve as a breakfast side, or an entree with kraut or hot German potato salad. If Google maps is correct, the plant is one of the buildings at the end of the road pictured below.
Mrs. Burgerdogboy came back from an outing with her pals at ScarletGirl.com, with a most unusual rave – no, not the latest in intimate playthings for couples, but rather a tip on a pizza her husband must try!
So Sunday nite she urged us out the door as the punctuation for a week we have both been suffering from the Portland winter crud sickness – either as a very loving jesture or in fact as an excuse to pick up some ice cream – the cure all for any known feminine malady.
We motored over to Uncle John’s Market in Burlingame, long the destination of Portland pizza whisperers, but heretofore unvisited by Portland’s leading “pizza expert.” (Moi).
So here’s the drill. There is a strictly take-out pizzeria inside this neighborhood market, offering slices or one-sized (x-large) pies to go, with your choice of toppings.
The mistress of Scarletgirl had recommended the pie as a thinner crust rendition of typical NY pizza, a two-handed slice, and she was spot on in both her description, and her understanding of what Burgerdogboy likes.
We grabbed a single slice of pepperoni for $2.75, and both enjoyed noshing on it on our way to ice cream land.
It’s thinner than typical NY pie, bordering on a cracker-thin, crispy slice, with nice cheese bubbles and a little char on the crust.
I grabbed a take-out menu, as it’s near to impossible to find details (or a phone number) for this neighborhood gem online.
For a quick slice in SW Portland, hit up Uncle John’s, or call ahead and order a large pie to go, or to enjoy al fresco (in your car) as we did!
It’s funny that the second time I’d end up at Five Guys that it would be the same location that I first visited, three or four years ago. It’s when Five Guys was still rather novel, and especially to Portland, as it was the first location – in the SW burb of Beaverton. I apparently was not moved enough to review it the first visit, at least I don’t see it in my archives. I do remember a couple of things about it, 1) I thought it was spendy, and 2) you get a boatload of fries. Oh, and free peanuts.
Nothing much has changed at the Beaverton Five Guys, except there were only three guys there. I went with the “Little” Burger; upon inquiring as to its weight, I confused the counter help. Who. Couldn’t. Help.
It’s an adequate burger and still a boatload of fries. And still spendy. 1 burger, 1 small fries, 2 drinks, nigh onto $15. The late Mrs Burgerdogboy and I had a better burger down the road at the Fresh Grill back in the day. Five Guys is slow, too, no matter how busy or empty they are.
But Five Guys is a better burger than many – certainly than McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, and In N Out. I think Steak N Shake is a better value, and prefer the taste of Fatburger patties.
I do like that Five Guys has the Coke Freestyle machine, allowing you to make crazy ass mixtures of soda. But a word of advice, skip the Coke Zero Lime.
Any time I pick up a product to purchase and the first two words on the ingredient list are not “mechanically separated,” I figure I’m way ahead of the game. It was the ingredient list that attracted me to the meat ravioli product of Perfect Pasta, a suburban Chicago manufacturer.
Note the ingredients: Durum wheat flour, beef, egg, whole milk ricotta, water, Romano, onions,celery, crarots, salt, bread crumbs, fresh garlic, parsley, fresh sage, fresh rosemaqry, black pepper, granulated garlic.
Isn’t that perfect? Sounds like some grandma’s recipe.
Perfect Pasta has been cranking out various noodle recipes of all ilks for consumers and commercial users for several decades. They focus on one segment of the industry and do it well.
So many pre-made, frozen ravioli have no taste and worse texture, but this product is a gem. Not only can you see the various ingredients (picture below), you can actually taste them!
If Google maps is correct (and it isn’t, on occasion), below you will a pic of Perfect Pasta’s plant, USDA inspected establishment # 19829. Use the company’s locator to find an outlet near you.
Perfect Pasta Meat Ravioli Review
Tried out a new pre-made pizza sauce last night, from Chicago pizza supplies and food supplier, Pastorelli, who have been around for a million years or so. In addition to pizza sauce, they have a number of consumer products including tomato derivatives, olive oils, and pre-made crusts, which I tried previously. The past few years, I’ve been pretty satisfied with Contadina Pizza Sauce in a squeeze bottle, when I’m not in the mood to make sauce from scratch, but they may have fallen from grace, or at least to second place, after sampling the Pastorelli.
Take a look at this ingredient list: Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Canola Oil, Import Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt, Imported Pecorino Romano Cheese, Spices and Garlic. You can’t get much more basic than that! I like the flavor and texture, it leans to the thicker end of the sauce spectrum, and nicely covers a pie. It’s not sickeningly sweet, and has a nice little zest. It also comes in one serving pouches, if that’s your preference, though the small can works out perfectly too. Buy online if you can’t find it in your local grocery.
If you’re really hungry, take comfort in knowing that many of Pastorelli’s products are available in 55 gallon barrels, and 250 gallon totes.
If you’re feeling especially ambitious, my recipe for homemade pizza dough is pretty straight forward, but does require some advance planning.
Pastorelli Pizza Sauce Review
Seventy years ago this month, the only Americans around Nuremberg were 10,000 feet over it, dropping bombs to break the industrial backbone of the Third Reich; 90% of the city was destroyed and 100,000 people killed.
You can’t tell.
The city has been rebuilt to look exactly as it did before the bombing. From photographs, paintings, and architectural plans, Nuremberg, like many cities in Europe, wanted to preserve its heritage.
The inner walled city is curiously reminiscent of the Old City of Jerusalem, with the wall running the perimeter of the central business district, guarded by a moat now used only as a pedestrian walkway.
Three large churches border the town square, which is daily the scene of a local vegetable, fruit, bread, and cheese market. Scattered through the marketplace are sausage stands and pretzel vendors.
To commemorate the awful events of seven decades ago, billboard sized posters of the destruction have been erected outside the restored buildings. The devastation, memorialized in black and white seems horrible.
This is probably a good time to be here; the city is quaint and surely throngs of tourists must crowd the streets in the summer. The natives are friendly and accommodating. At a restaurant last night, we were invited to sit with a local family (there were no empty tables), and they were anxious to hear about the US. They have a daughter who lives in Fresno, and wanted to know if I had ever been there, and what it was like.
The train travel reminded me of what I like about Europe, but also what I miss about the US.
Since 1419 (that’s right) Zum Gulden Stern has been serving Nuremburg’s special “Rostbratwurst.” They are available starting from a fresh or smoked version, and prepared on a grill. It’s the oldest sausage restaurant in the world. (Duh).
I seldom journey someplace without trying a local specialty or two, and here would be no exception. I wondered in the restaurant, which was “casually busy,” and found a table. I figured I’d try one or two of the sausages and be on my way, satisfied with my outing.
Frau Henrietta, a woman the size of a picnic table, rolled up to the table to inquire about my order. I noted on the menu that the little tubular delights were sold in denominations of six, and I knew they were small, so I uttered that I would take six, thinking that’s more than enough of a sample, and I’d be on my way.
She looked at me crossly I thought she was going to spit on me, but she only spit out her words: “Six is a child’s order!”
I reconsidered my order and said an even dozen it was then, but Henrietta would have none of it: “Twelve is a woman’s order!”
Can you guess what happened next? Yes, I ordered EIGHTEEN, and she beamed and said “That is a man’s order!”
Next up was the drink selection, and I hardly wanted to go through the inquisition again, so I told her to bring me an appropriate beverage, and she was back in a second with an over-sized pitcher of a local beer that is mixed with lemon. A seasonal thing. Back before there was a craft brewer on every block trying to make beer taste like chocolate or emeralds or whatever.
I managed to get thru a dozen sausages and two glasses of beer. Everything at the restaurant is very locally sourced, with ingredients coming together from nearby fields to make fresh horseradish, sauerkraut, and potato salad on a daily basis.
Take a virtual tour of the restaurant.
Worlds Oldest Sausage Restaurant
I’m reluctant to try almost any freezer pizza that says it can be microwaved. Just never works out, in my opinion. But Reggio’s is one of my favorite frozen brands, and the individual sized were on an endcap and on sale, so I thought I’d give one a whirl. I’ve tried the size before, but in a conventional oven, as I am likely to do, given the option. The results were satisfactory.
Two things that food producers have so far failed to master, one is microwavable pizza, the other is “crispness” on deep fried products. The Reggio’s pie includes one of those “specialized” baking surfaces (within the box) which is supposed to amp up the crisp factor. In the base of this product, you remove from the box and the cello, and slide the frozen pizza back into the box for its minute or so in the nuke-a-torium.
I wasn’t very happy with the result. While the familiar taste of a Reggio’s pie was there, and the interior portion was adequate, the crust rim was rock hard, and part of the pie was left in the box. It doesn’t appear there is any easy way to get the pie out of the ‘cooking chamber box’ intact.
As with most products that give you the option of conventional oven or microwave, despite the time needed and energy consumption, I always recommend using your oven. In the case of this pizza, the upside results would have been two fold: 1) even crust baking, and 2) better appearance.