Baseball Roadtrip 2011- Twin Cities and Fargo
My 18th annual Baseball Roadtrip is complete, with some awesome food, thanks to all the suggestions from this community. Here's a short wrap up:
I arrived in the Twin Cities a few hours before my friend. He's not a meat-eater, so I used the opportunity to grab a Juicy Lucy. My research indicated a slight advantage to the 5-8 Club over Matt's and The Nook, so I chose The 5-8 Club
It's nothing groundbreaking, I mean it's just a burger with the cheese in the inside. However, this burger had a fantastic crust, so it gets a thumbs up from me.
Picked up my friend at the airport and caught the Twins/Padres game at Target Field. Scored a pair of nice upper level seats for $10 on the street. This happened to be my 100th ballpark.
At the game, I broke my rule about eating in ballparks, and had a Kramarczuk's Polish sausage (fantastic) and a Grain Belt Beer (meh).
Got up somewhat early and headed over to Al's Breakfast
in Dinkytown. I heard about the legendary lines, so we wanted to get an early start. The line was slightly out the door, but it was still a full hour before we were seated. Ladies and gentlemen, I present one of the best breakfasts I've ever had:
That's three poached eggs, bacon, corned beef hash, dark rye toast and a blueberry pancake. Every item was top notch. They cook the bacon from scratch for each order. The eggs are perfectly poached. The corned beef hash was phenomenal. The pancake was absolutely delicious. Add to this the crazy atmosphere, the awesome staff, and the general aura of the place, and Al's Breakfast is on my short list for the Roadfood Hall of Fame. This is the wall behind the counter. That medal on the green ribbon is a James Beard Award. Nice.
With very, very full bellies we headed out for the 400 mile trip to Fargo, ND. We took the more scenic route up along Route 10, but it really wasn't all that scenic. We drove Fargo a little before our game at Newman Outdoor Field on the campus of North Dakota State.
It's an extremely bland, nondescript stadium built in the late 90's. Completely indistinguishable from a hundred other fields across the country. Inside, it's the same story. A beautiful night, saw some great independent league baseball, but the stadium is forgettable. After the game, we attempted to grab some pie at TNT Cafe in West Fargo, but it was closed. 9 pm on Saturday night. Not much going on in West Fargo I guess. Back in the car, we drove all the way back to Minneapolis. Had one beer each at the hotel bar (Firepit, or something), and both nearly collapsed from exhaustion.
Slept in a bit and headed around the corner to Hell's Kitchen.
Thanks to the Roadfood people for this recommendation. I have to say, I got a little suspicious at first: 1) it's located in the basement of a downtown office tower 2) the place is heavily over-decorated- very carefully put together to look kitchy 3) they hand out pagers for the waiting list and 4) the menus are laminated. This place had all the markings of a corporate chain. I had terrible flashback of the Machine Shed. Thankfully, it was far, far better than it appeared. I had a small bowl of the Mahnomin:
This is a wild rice porridge with hazelnuts, berries and heavy cream- highly recommended by many Roadfooders. It was absolutely delicious, but I simply cannot consume heavy cream without intestinal consequences. I only had a few bites, but it was really fantastic. I followed that up with Lemon Ricotta pancakes, which were fantastic:
After breakfast we tried to walk off some of those calories, and eventually wound up back at Target Field for a 1:00 Father's Day game: Twins vs. Padres. I'm not a fan of new stadiums, but Target Field is among the best. It's beautiful, the sightlines are outstanding and it's easy to move around. I had a Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss, which was awesome.
After the game we had time for one more meal on the way to the airport, so we headed stright to Tavern on Gran
d in St. Paul for Fried Walleye sandwiches.
Better than I had expected. It's a flaky white fish, but had a unique fishy taste. Served on a nice ciabatta, it's a great sandwich. Great little restaurant too, in an absolutely beautiful neighborhood.
So that's wrap. Thanks to everyone for their input. I shall now resume my life as a suburban father. I'll probably be going back into Roadfood hibernation until next year's trip.