From Southwest-themed pretzels to Roman-style pizza, here’s a rundown of our dining diaries’ greatest hits over the past seven days. What were your top eats of the week? Share the details in the comments section.
Double BH Burger at Bull’s Horn Food & Drink
After calculating that I had not consumed a burger in 12 weeks — surely some kind of dismal personal record — I immediately knew where I would go to break the fast. That’s because Doug Flicker, the chef/co-owner of this reimagined dive bar, takes an admirably no-nonsense approach to the genre. Here’s what he told me in 2017:
“It all kind of comes down to proportions,” he said. “A good hamburger is a combination of everything, it’s not just the meat. The patty shouldn’t be too thick, so when you take a bite it all blends together: the beef, the bun, the cheese, the lettuce and the sauce. It’s about harmony.”
So true. And all those attributes shine through in this glorious mock-Big Mac: the milk-enriched bun. The juicy, flavorful beef. The plentiful amount of crunchy iceberg lettuce. The gooey American cheese. The vinegary pickles. Even the sauce, a just-right mix of mayo, ketchup, pickle juice and paprika.
Another plus is that, unlike some of the takeout I’ve recently encountered, this burger held up really well after the drive home. Oh, and the price? An extremely reasonable $12.50 (add fries for an additional $2).
The big question is, after that beauty of a burger, can I really go another three months without one? Doubtful. Curbside pickup, 4-8 p.m. Tue.-Sat. (Rick Nelson)
4563 34th Av. S., Mpls., 612-208-1378
Pizza al Taglio
I had to laugh when Rick said I was “on vacation” last week — staycation is more like it. I had been planning a trip to Rome that got canceled. So, I decided to do Rome at home, and I have been carbo-loading on Italian feasts almost daily.
My favorite dish came from Bon Appétit magazine for Pizza al Taglio. It’s one of two styles of Roman pizza: there’s the cracker-thin round pie containing barely any yeast; and this inch-thick slab, which translates to “pizza by the cut” because you need scissors to trim off portions. Basically, it’s focaccia with toppings.
I followed this recipe for Pizza al Taglio with Onion and Provolone, which actually comes from a Montreal wine bar. I halved it, because almost 7 cups of flour seemed excessive for a household of 2 1/2. (Since I didn’t have the bit of spelt flour it calls for, I added rye flour along with Baker’s Field bread flour.) The result was a sheet-pan-sized, chewy, crusty and almost nutty pie with sweet, oven-caramelized onions on top (and some leftover roasted tomatoes on the left-third, because why not?) that I’ve been nibbling on for almost a week.
The recipe isn’t complicated, but be warned, the dough requires a 24-hour rise in the fridge, so don’t start this the day you plan to eat it. (Sharyn Jackson)
All-Day Breakfast Waffle from Nordic Waffles
This breakfast sandwich fanatic was delighted to encounter a tasty new option, and in a surprising venue: a supermarket freezer section. Next to the yellow Eggo boxes.
Nordic Waffles recently made its debut at Lunds & Byerlys. Unlike the Eggo, they’re a Minnesota-made product. Each single-serving portion is produced, by hand, in the kitchen at Potluck, the collection of local food vendors (including Nordic Waffles) at Rosedale.
Although it wasn’t a line item on her 2020 Day-Timer, eventually branching into supermarkets was a long-term goal for owner Stine Aasland, who turned coronavirus-led market disruptions into an opportunity. Namely, a crash course in what could be titled How To Launch a Supermarket Product In a Fraction of the Usual Time. Six weeks, to be exact, a near-impossible compression of the usual timetable. Fortunately, the hassles and long hours panned out.
“For us, it’s a way that we can maintain our team and keep the wheels running,” said Aasland. “This has been a bright light in a dark time. And they’ve been selling like hot cakes.”
With good reason: they’re terrific.
To start, Aasland is featuring a single variety from her menu, the “All-Day Breakfast” waffle ($7.49 to $7.99, depending upon the store location), chosen because it’s the company’s bestselling menu item at its wildly popular Minnesota State Fair outpost, at Potluck and at the 130 cafes, coffeehouses and other food service partners (scattered across nine states) that feature Nordic Waffles.
She chose well. The waffles are a welcome change of pace from the usual breakfast sandwich bread component. They’re tender and rich, and the smoky bacon-egg-Cheddar combination is classically appealing. I brightened mine with a few splashes of hot sauce; next time, in an attempt to feel virtuous, I’ll sneak in some greens. The portion is huge — it could easily feed two — and preparation is easy, just a two-minute blast in the microwave.
Is Aasland planning to add more varieties to her line of frozen waffle sandwiches? “That would be a secret,” she said with a laugh. I’m going to interpret that as a “Yes.” Can’t wait. (R.N.)
Available at most Lunds & Byerlys stores
Southwest Style Pretzels from Dot’s Pretzels
It’s a quarantine miracle: a new pretzel. I did a double-take when I walked past a display of Dot’s Pretzels at Lunds & Byerlys, and spotted a cactus on the packaging. Yes, the North Dakota-born, Midwest-famous and mysteriously seasoned “homestyle” twist from Dot’s Pretzels now has a Southwest-flavored sibling ($5.50 for a 16-ounce bag). And creator Dorothy “Dot” Henke is remaining characteristically tight-lipped on what, exactly, that flavor is. “I want something that when you put it in your mouth, you savor the taste, trying to figure out what’s all there,” Henke said. “You’re wondering, ‘Is it this? Is it this? Or is it that?”
To me, they had the aroma of cheddar-jalapeño Cheetos when I first opened the bag, and notes of Cool Ranch Doritos on the palate (did I really just write that?), perhaps due to the dehydrated red bell pepper listed in the ingredients (sorry, Dot). Jalapeño is also in there, as is paprika, garlic and onion powders, tomato powder, Cheddar cheese and more.
So why the new flavor, and why now?
First of all, Dots’ planned expansion to stores along the East Coast has had to take a temporary pause as the company’s salespeople stay put, so branching out closer to home made sense.
The Southwest flavor’s R & D actually took two years, with loads of batches of mixed-and-matched seasonings tossed out, a few pans crusted with burnt corn syrup along the way. The launch was always aimed at spring 2020, but the new flavor is getting a wider initial release than they might have in normal times. After all, people want pretzels.
“People like comfort food,” Henke said, “and snack food is comfort food.”
Still, Henke was hesitant to release the new pretzels into the world, taste-testing till the last possible moment. “I was chicken,” she said. “Because I didn’t want to disappoint.”
Now that Southwest is out there, look for more Dot’s Pretzels innovations. “Maybe at some point we will go with, I don’t know, a mustard, there’s the dill, there’s the ranch, there’s the sugar cinnamon,” Henke said. She’s also working on some “new, amazing snack items” that go beyond the humble pretzel. As per usual, it’s a secret. (S.J.)
Available at many supermarkets and convenience stores.
Musubio Hot Dog at Meteor
When the state ordered bars and restaurants to close on-premise service back in March, Meteor co-owners Robb Jones and Elliot Manthey thought about turning the north Minneapolis bar’s parking lot into a carwash. A few snowy weekends squashed that idea. So, they went in another totally new direction, using their federal relief package to buy a hot dog roller. Now, the ‘elevated dive’ has become a takeout hot dog stand.
It might have started as a strategy to unload wine and beer inventory, which can’t be sold to customers without a food order. But Jones and Manthey aren’t phoning it in with the new menu. The dogs — boardwalk classic Nathan’s — come in five flavors ($4.50 to $5.50), including plain with ketchup and mustard, but even the online menu is blunt about that one: “I’m not sure why you’d come here for this.”
Go instead with the “current house favorite,” the Musubio. It’s slathered in sesame aioli sprinkled with bright orange togarashi seasoning, hoisin, green onion and chunks of pineapple, and it hits the sweet-creamy-tart-umami mark. I bought mine with a bottle of Dolin rouge vermouth.
There’s also a veggie dog option and frozen Mucci’s pizza.
They initially wanted to offer a higher-end hot dog, but a local purveyor couldn’t keep up with the “dozens and dozens” of orders they’re getting every day, Manthey said. Even with all the new business, it’s a surreal place for the bar owners to find themselves in. In the menu description for the also delicious Meteor Style, which comes topped with kimchi mayo and crispy onions, Jones clarifies: “We make it here, in the dive bar that is now a” bleeping “hot dog restaurant.” Curbside pickup, 2-8 p.m. Wed.-Sun. (S.J.)
2027 N. 2nd St., Mpls., 612-886-2483