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Coming soon to the Minneapolis food truck scene: cookie dough

In the food trends pipeline, it would seem that cupcakes are so over. Doughnuts are hot, but they’re bound to slip sometime. And when they do, spouses Haley and Tony Fritz are going to be ready with what they foresee as the Next Big Thing.

Cookie dough.

Yep. The co-owners of the popular O’Cheeze food truck are launching a sibling vehicle they’re christening Dough Dough.

“Cookie dough is already picking up in New York and in L.A.,” said Tony. “These ideas start on the coasts and work their way towards the center.”

The plan is to have seven dough varieties on hand: a classic chocolate chip, German chocolate, salted caramel, marshmallow and more, served by the scoop, in bowls.

(Food safety sticklers, worry not; the flour will be heat-treated, and the Fritzes have developed a no-egg recipe. And yes, they're formulating the product so that the dough can be baked into actual edible cookies.)

Once the initial hiccups are worked through, the Fritzes say they're going to expand into other cookie dough-friendly format, including cookie pops, sandwiches and cones.  

“We’re going to make them very visual, and over-garnish,” said Tony, citing a few examples: flambéed marshmallow on marshmallow dough; coconut, caramel and chocolate on the German chocolate dough; tons of sprinkles on a birthday cake dough.

“Isn’t it all about how your food looks on Instagram?” said Tony. In a word, yes

The truck is under currently under construction and they hope to take delivery on May 13. They’ve got a launch date set for May 17. It’ll be parked in downtown Minneapolis (look for a freebie giveaway for the first 100 customers) and will later join its O’Cheeze sibling at Indeed Brewing Co.

Don’t expect to see Dough Dough entering the downtown food truck circus more than once a week. This dessert purveyor on wheels is going to be more about corporate events, weddings and festivals. “We’ve already got some parties on our calendar,” said Haley.

Meanwhile, construction of the brick-and-mortar iteration of O’Cheeze is plugging along, but at a pace slower than projected. “You start opening up walls and ripping up floors and you encounter all these unforeseen delays,” said Haley. “The hope is that we’ll be open by the end of July or early August.”

Will Dough Dough have a presence in the new shop? Yes, a limited one, probably in the form of pre-packaged items, in a small assortment of flavors.

“We’re really excited about the whole project,” said Tony. “We’ve been doing O’Cheeze for four years now, and this is the first step that we’ve taken into a new direction. We’re going to have as much fun as we can with this.”

Mercy in downtown Mpls. ignites backlash against double-patty cheeseburgers

The burger: Prepare for the backlash. After years of flying high in the local burger stratosphere, has the double-patty cheeseburger started its descent?

Witness its conspicuous absence from the menu at Mercy, chef Mike Rakun’s just-opened remake of Marin Restaurant & Bar in the Le Meridien Chambers hotel in downtown Minneapolis.

“Double-patty burgers are great, and there’s a time and a place for them,” he said. “But when it comes to a burger, I like to get a nice, big, beefy bite. You can cook [a single patty] to temp, and it’s nice and juicy. And when we make them at home, this is how we do it, with a big, thick patty. Besides, everyone else is doing a double.”

He’s not kidding on the whole big-bite thing. This bruiser of a 6-oz. patty radiates an ample (that's being modest) beefy flavor. It’s all due to the in-house grind, a luxe mix of chuck and brisket, fortified by a few secret weapons: trims from the menu’s tenderloin, New York strip and sirloin steaks. Here's proof postive that it's usually a good idea to order a burger at a steakhouse, or a steak-centric restaurant. “It also doesn’t hurt that our beef is 100 percent prime Niman Ranch,” said Rakun. Um, no, it doesn’t.

The patties are prepared on a flattop grill — mine was taken to a precise medium, as requested — with a slightly sizzled, caramelized char on the top and bottom surfaces and a significant amount of juices lurking on the inside, waiting to be released. 

Holding true to its Old School Cheeseburger name, the garnishes are simple, and effective: a suprisingly juicy tomato slice, a flurry of shredded iceberg lettuce and a disk of soft, white Gouda cheese.

There are also chopped (and nicely crunchy) raw onions. “I love raw onions,” said Rakun. “Whenever I’m cutting onions, I usually eat them, I’ve been doing that since I was little. Plus, they pop against a heavy burger. And you can cook onions, but don’t you already get enough of that caramelized flavor when you cook the patty on a flattop?” Point well taken.

Oh, and fanastic pickles, with garlic and dill lingering in each bite. “We were going for a Claussen-style flavor,” he said. And there's a nod to the Special Sauces of the world, although this one is curiously lacking a foundational ingredient: ketchup. It's not missed. Instead, there’s Dijon mustard, a house-made mayonnaise, a little smoked paprika and a barrel-aged Worcestershire sauce. The results add a touch of zing, but don’t overwhelm. Well done.

Finally, there’s the (toasted) bun. “It’s a damned good one, isn’t it?” said Rakun. Yeah, it is, although let’s get real: the generous levels of butter would elevate a Wonder Bread bun. “We put Harvey at Turtle Bread up to the task of making us a challah hamburger bun. This is what he dreamed up, and it’s awesome.” Agreed.

Has the single-patty burger found an audience? “We’re selling a ton, it’s kind of ridiculous,” said Rakun. “But people here love their burgers. I’m beginning to think that the burger might be the Minnesota state dish.”

Price: $14, and justified [see Niman Ranch, above].

Fries: None. Instead, a generous handful of potato chips, admirably rendered. They’re parchment-thin and delicately crisp, with nary a trace of greasiness and a nuanced but effective touch with the salt shaker (years of overseing health-conscious Mill Valley Kitchen has clearly rubbed off on Rakun). I may never be able to face a bag of Old Dutch, ever again. Wait, who am I kidding?

But what's the deal with skipping the fries?  “I dunno,” said Rakun. “We do offer them, and if you want to get a side of fries [price: $8], more power to you. But I think chips are a nice little crunch contrast with a burger. They’re certainly a little lighter than a big handful of fries, especially at lunch. We want people to be able to walk out the door and feel good about themselves.”

Timely price reduction: Rakun offers the same burger (minus the chips) for 10 bucks during happy hour(s), a very good deal, indeed. “It hurt to put that price on the menu,” he said with a laugh. Take a seat anywhere in the bar and order between 3 and 6 p.m. daily, as well as anytime between 9 p.m. and whenever the kitchen calls it quits. "Wicked" ticketholders, are you paying attention?

Address book: 901 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., 612-252-7000. Open 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Burger served during brunch (11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekends), lunch (11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays) and dinner (3 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 3 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday).

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