Monday, September 16, 2013

Wellman's West - Juicy Lucy

As you know, I have an unhealthy obsession for The Juicy Lucy (cheese-stuffed burgers native to the Twin Cities area). The Nook in St. Paul does them the best (see my previous posts on them or on Diner's Drive-Inns and Dives: DDD The Nook) but it's expensive to drive 240 miles for a burger so I am on a mission to find one comparable in the Des Moines area. I heard about Wellman's Juicy so I ventured west.

First of all, if you haven't been to Wellman's West, it's a pretty cool place and probably the best patio space that I've been to in DSM. That's tough for me to say since I don't like to travel further west than MLK.

So the burger.... it wasn't great. It was a little too crispy on the outside which is a problem since Juicies should be cooked to medium. The cheese was already gooing out the side so you can tell they didn't seal the burger well. I couldn't tell which cheese they used but it wasn't too bad. It seemed almost Velvetta quality instead of a real cheese. Despite all that, it didn't taste too bad. I would say it isn't a great replacement for a real Juicy but I've had worse. In their defense, I am holding to a very high standard since I am a snob when it comes to these burgers. Anyone heard of another place that serves these that I should check out?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Something Italian - Papa Luigi

One of my favorite spots to eat in the skywalk for lunch is "Something Italian." I usually go for the pizza, although the sandwiches are good (very bready though). My favorite slice is the one shown below, the Papa Luigi, which pretty much has everything on it.

Their slices are large, thin and have great quality ingredients (especially the veggies). I wish I still worked in the skywalk so I could stop there more often If you love Caesar salad, SI has the best! You get a nice deal if you get a slice and a salad.

Check out their menu. They also come to the Saturday Farmer's market with some breakfast pizza selections. What's your favorite thing from SI?

Yeah, not the best picture but this goes to show you their slices are so big, they don't fit in vertical camera shots.

Hotshots - Craft Hotdoggery

Three years ago, we probably had 0 hot dog eateries, we have 2 now. So I guess hot dogs are a "thing" now. I am OK with that though! I tried Hotshots, which is nestled on the ground floor of the Nationwide building," for the first time. Their menu has a pretty sophisticated combination of toppings with their dogs which impressed me.

The Steve McQueen - Cilantro FTW!
I went with the Steve McQueen which was an eclectic mix of Cincy chili, sour cream, cheddar cheese, cilantro and rice noodles on a beef dog. It is jam packed with toppings but surprising not all that messy to eat. They did a really good job stuffing their bun with the ingredients in a way where they wouldn't fall all over when take a bite. The sour cream and chili combined to make a really creamy/thick addition to the hot dog. The beef dog snaps when you bite it (as I am told a good hot dog should do) and it tastes great. I would say they are bigger than the Capital Pub dog and better quality. The rice noodles were an awesome addition to add some crunch to a meal that would have been very soft. I am a sucker for cilantro so this was obviously going to be a meal I would like. Overall, this is a very delicious, hardy dog.

I don't normally have an urge to grab a fancy hot dog AND I think this place is only open during lunch hour so I might not make it over there again for a while. Nonetheless, I would definitely order this dog again or check out a couple of their other intriguing combos. Your thoughts on this place? Thoughts on the hot dog movement in Des Moines?

Exile - Chick Bacon Avocado Sandwich

After the Arts Fest (yes I know that was a long time ago), I grabbed lunch with friends at Exile. I don't remember what it was called and it apparently isn't on their online menu but it consisted of Grilled Chicken, Avocado, bacon, on their awesome pretzel bread (with a side of Sweet Potato fries).

It tasted as good as it looked

This sandwich was awesome! I've only eaten at Exile 2-3 times and this was by far the best thing I've had. The chicken tasted really good and all the ingredients tasted fresh. The sweet potato fries weren't bad--I am guessing they are deep fried with a coating of brown sugar as they were sweet and very dark.

I really want to like Exile but it always seems like any trip I have there, something doesn't go right. This time, the service was incredibly slow. We did have a large party all with separate checks and she did apologize for the food taking a long time to get there but there were still long periods of time where we didn't see our waitress. Still, the food was good and I will keep coming back to support them. What is your favorite thing at Exile?