Standing right in the heart of downtown NE lies Masu. After passing by Masu well over a dozen times, we finally made our way inside for some sake and noodles. After entering the restaurant, we couldn’t help but notice the unique layout. In the center of the restaurant, there is an enormous curved bar followed by a handful of neon bright Pachinko games tucked in the back corner. If you are looking for more of an intimate setting, the left side of the restaurant has just what you need.
Masu has it all really: it is an aesthetically pleasing restaurant with delicious food, great sake, and an attentive staff. When it comes down it it, we plan to be back for seconds. Most importantly, If you’re looking for a decent bowl of pork belly ramen – look no farther.
Where: 2859 Johnson St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418 Hours: M-TH 7am-9pm | F-SAT 7am-10pm | SUN 8am-3pm |
Nestled in a quiet neighborhood in NE, lies Hazel’s. Hazel’s serves up home-style cooking with some of the finest ingredients around Minneapolis. Whether you are looking for their famous pancakes, or want to indulge in their lunch/dinner menu – Hazel’s has it all.
The establishment itself is relatively small, but they will serve even the largest of appetites. Lastly, the place has really good happy hour specials, which include $3 taps and $2 appetizers. If you are coming in for lunch, we recommend the Audobon sandwich – it is full of delicious cheese, turkey and ham, all served on cranberry wheat bread.
Locations: 2925 Cliff Rd E Burnsville, MN 55337 | 1731 South Robert StWest St Paul, MN 55118
For those who still don’t know, legitimate BBQ really does exist in the Twin Cities. After finally hearing about the Rack Shack, we figured why not give it a try. After living in Kansas CIty for a few years and moving back to the TC area, I have struggled to get my fix for something nearly as good, and I only had hopes that this would be the cure.
This monstrous food item above is known as the Hobo. The Hobo is pretty much every side thrown together over a big ass baked potato, making up over 2lbs of BBQ greatness. This dish is insane: with a potato as its base, then soaked in a buttery sauce topped with cheesy corn, creamy jalapeño macaroni, tender pork, beef brisket, bacon blue cheese cole slaw and drizzled in cheddar cheese (and an side of cornbread). Weeew, that was a lot to say, but way more to digest.
Every ingredient added to the Hobo was right on point. Both the brisket and pork were tender and smoked to perfection to accommodate the behemoth of a potato buried beneath. Anyways. . . this place is the real deal, and I really can’t wait to try the next dish.
Lagunitas Brown Shugga’ This beer is no surprise, as it has been around for a few years now. Lagunitas has some of the most remarkable beers around, and they constantly do things their way. One of their highly sought after brews that they continue to pump out during the winter season, is their Brown Shugga’ American Strong Ale.
First off, do not let the price tag fool you ($9.99 a six pack), because these beers are pushing 10% ABV. Literally two beers in, am I am feeling warm and buzzin’ heavy. For real, don’t sleep on this beer if you have been. Each sip brings sweet carmel malt flavors packed with heavy fruit hops – this brew is velvety smooth, leaving me wanting every last drop. If you’re into hops, this beer doesn’t disappoint. Did we mention this one’s seasonal? Yes, and this is why Lagunitas continues to be different, releasing a sweet and hoppy, yet powerful brew for the winter months – instead of a porter or stout.
Where: Various Location’s off of Marquette Avenue, Minneapolis MN
Back when I lived in Kansas City, this was THE place to go for a Philly. Yes this might not sound like much, philly in KC, I get it. Back when we lived there (few years ago), there were only three or four PepperJax locations – now there are dozens in the Midwest. Imagine if Chipotle made Philly’s instead of burritos — this is what to expect at PepperJax. I’ve tried many Philly’s in my life and I firmly believe these guys hang with some of the best. With fresh bread all the way from Philadelphia with tasty ingredients to compliment — it is hard not to become a regular at PepperJax. Right now in the Twin Cities, we are limited to just their food truck. Just recently, they have opened one in St.Cloud. Hopefully soon the delicious sandwiches will have a new home in the Minneapolis region.
Back to back weeks we are giving out the Brew of the Week to our local friends to the North. This time, it goes out to Bent Paddle for their Lollygagger Pale Ale.
The Lollygagger Pale is a true brew for the summer time chillin’. Brewed out of Duluth, MN., this is definitely a solid pale ale all around. Brewed with Amarillo, Simcoe, Centennial and Cascade hops – this pale ale has a complex hop flavor to it. With a signature blend of grapefruits and pine, Lollygagger does not disappoint. If I were to describe this one with one word, it would be crisp.
This week, we bring a second consecutive brew from Free State Brewery, with Ad Astra Ale. Ad Astra, comes directly from the Kansas state motto, “Ad Astra per Aspera”. These are Latin words meaning “To the stars through difficulties”.
The brew itself, is an Altbier, which is a German old-style brew. This style of brew can be less common by american breweries, as they yield high malted caramel, smooth bitters and nut flavors. The brew is most similar to a brown ale. Sitting at lighter 5.6% ABV, this brew is as smooth as they come. With a large amount of the flavors upfront, the finish is near impeccable. Crack a brew and turn on the ole Nintendo and you’re set.
Hell or High Watermelon has received a variety of reviews from beer drinkers. From the most part, you either like it or you pretty much hate it. From our experience, we think it is an interesting take on a beer and it turned out rather well. For those who brew beer, you know just how hard brewing a beer with added flavor can be; now just imagine incorporating watermelon.
The beer pours a very light yellow with a slight haziness to it. Once you crack one open and smell the beer, you know that this is a one of a kind beer. If I had one word to describe how this one goes down, I would say it is quite refreshing. It starts out with a sweet watermelon flavor, which then tapers off to a dry / somewhat tart flavor. So far, this is the only watermelon beer that we’ve tried, but we highly recommend it.
This brew is brought to us by Lakefront Brewery, out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Just like Minnesota, our fellow neighbors just east of us have quite a few different options when it comes to beer. As of right now, these guys brew some of the best stuff in a state known for their cheese and dairy products.
Lakefront Brewery’s IPA is absolutely addicting to say the least. The brew pours a signature golden/amber color with just the right amount of retention. The brew features a good clean malt flavor with a medium hop level. The brew then comes come off as a citrus or grapefruit flavor with a creamy smooth finish. This one has been rated World Class by beer advocate, and it is rightfully so. Most liquor stores in the midwest should carry this brew and it really should not be overlooked. Make sure to grab a sixer of these when possible. Enjoy!
As promised, we’re here with a fresh spring time brew. Destihl Brewery, out of IL., has brought these delicious cans to our neck of the woods. I found this one over at Central Liquors for a low price of $3.99 a six pack and could not resist trying it – and it was well worth it.
I’m going to say this now and get the negatives out of the way, make sure to open these nearby a sink or outdoors, because it is bubbly to say the least. After the initial volcano out the top, this brew will deliver. Light in color and feel with a sweet lemony zest – this Belgian Style Pale Ale can be drank for breakfast lunch and diner. Sitting at a low 4.9% ABV, you can take a few down like a champ in no time – not to mention, Abbey’s Single is quite refreshing.
Tap room hours|Th & F 4pm-10pm| Saturday noon-10pm|
Sociable Cider Werks | 1500 Fillmore St. NE Minneapolis, MN 55413 | (612) 758-0105
As Northeast Minneapolis continues to turn into the Brew District, Sociable Cider Werks has become a hot topic. The brewery, which opened up their taproom earlier this year, has some very rare and one of a kind beers on site.
Usually when I have a cider beer, I think great, another sugary beer that lacks that extra punch. Well, that won’t happen here, because Sociable Cider Werks brings a whole new meaning to brewing a cider. Each beer is well crafted using a variety of hops, spices and malts to create their beers. Instead of using apple flavorings, the guys at Sociable Cider Werks freshly press some of the freshest apples in North America. These apples include: the famous Haralson, Honeycrisp and SweeTango® varieties. Next time you are out in Northeast, try to stop by for some tasty brews.
Our two favorites: The Grapefruit Pale Ale and the Cider Stout. The grapefruit ale poured almost to the color of orange juice, but yet backed with some nice hops to make for one smooth drink. Meanwhile, the stout was more on the sour side. This made for an interesting stout-apple-sour beer, which has to be a one a kind.