Anchor is a place that we knew we would return to – check out this review of Anchor fish & Chips that we did in November of 2010. Very little has changed since our initial visit 5 years ago.

Got there early and was seated at the windows at the front. They do have a patio but it is limited to a 6 person maximum. As a warning to first-timers, they do not seat your group until all members are present so come together, come as a small group, or expect to wait a bit.

The kitchen is smaller than you would expect, but they do sell a lot of one item and when you do it as well as Anchor, there is not a lot of prep or space that is needed. The two of us ordered the Fish and Chips and could not get ourselves to try anything else. Their beer list has expanded in the last 5 years but the Nordeast by Premium is $1.50 less than the rest so we felt obligated to have those poured. The food was a bit over-salted, but it was undecided if that added to or retracted from the flavor. What we did decide on was that it was quick and quite delicious.

A visual sampler of what we ordered:

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Their current menus: Drinks/Brunch – Meals/Sides

The Anchor Fish & Chips Website

  • Food: One Trick Pony (its in their name) 4/5
  • Atmosphere: A Cozy 4/5 
  • Drinks: 3.5/5
  • Overall: A Strong 4/5

It was a series of unfortunate events that brought me to Steve O’s this time around. The first could have been labelled in a similar way, but that night was brought about through a beer-fueled celebration of the end of a school year. It is important to note here that I work at a school a ways down the street from Steve O’s and had it not been for the teachers there I would have never heard of the place…

It was 10 AM that day and the school was shut down due to a police presence across the street. The students had been turned around in the buses and the staff was told that we could leave for the day (everything turned out fine). A group of teachers gathered in my room as we began looking for a place to grab a drink after the stressful morning. A google search could find no such places as they all opened at 11. Someone asked the question “What about Steve O’s?”, “You remember what happened there last time”, “Yeah but I think they are open”, “They open at 8 AM! We found a place!” What luck!

Walking into Steve O’s at 10 with a group of people attracts a few stares from the regulars as the tables are moved around but their eyes turn back to their bottles on the bar without complaint. The bartender waitress came out as we looked over their breakfast menu and we ordered a round. Beers came in clean glasses with a good variety available and the mixed drinks came strong. Odell’s St. Lupulin the waitress affectionately called “the one I cannot name”.

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Breakfast here is a stop worth making if you are in the area. They have pizza with hollandaise as the sauce, plates that are cheap that come with a free bloody mary, and a good variety of meals off the griddle. It is not a large kitchen however, so anticipate that any large orders will take time. The list that was handed to the cook actually enticed him enough to come out and give us a wave to see how many people were actually eating it. And don’t ask if you can get poached eggs, the response will be a scripted “alright, how do you want your eggs fried then?”

We stayed until well after the lunch hour, tried our luck at pull tabs, and paid our surprisingly minimal bill before opening the doors to the great blinding light called the outside world. I will be coming back to try their wings.

  • Food: 3.5/5
  • Atmosphere: 3/5
  • Drinks: 4/5
  • Overall: 3.5/5

There have been multiple attempts to make it to the Gopher Bar, all met with locked doors and taped signs informing us that they were closed for the day. After having now sat at the bar and talked with the patrons, that might have been best to delay this first encounter.

I will give the Gopher Bar this: they have cheap beer. Our couple rounds of drinks here totaled our first round at the previous bar we were at. They also have a good-looking bar that looks fitting for the space. Their food is more than edible and their Coneys have a good taste to them.

If you read other reviews about the Gopher they talk about its no-holds-bar idea of practicing their freedom of speech. This is completely true – the confederate flag hangs above the bar and there are countless bumper stickers exclaiming ideas like: “If you think healthcare is expensive now wait until it’s free!”, “Guns are carried on these premises”, “Better an imperfect Republican than a perfect Socialist”, and “If you don’t like my confederate flag you can kiss my ass”. While its fair game to practice your rights, I wonder how much they lose each year to people leaving due to conflicting ideals of the bar:IMG_4662

We went before a night game of the Saints, in which the Gopher is just up the street from CHS field, because the other establishments were packed and we would not have been able to get service. Opening the door of the Gopher was met with an elderly couple at a table and two people residing the bar. Stark difference from one block down the road.

Sitting at the bar got quick service and a couple beers right away, and I liked that. After having made a stop before here, the quick venture to the bathroom filled the nostrils with Ammonia and left me wondering how grandfathered permits work in St. Paul. The doors to the field were opening soon so we finished a second round and took off to further down the hill in Lowertown.

  • Food: 3/5
  • Atmosphere: 1/5
  • Drinks: 4/5
  • Overall: 2.5/5

The competition was a great success this year. The average scores the contestants had were placed higher at this competition than previous ones – either the chefs are stepping their game up or you all are just loving what we make more and more! In total we had 42 people complete the scoring process, with many more in attendance to just taste what was made – including our competitors! Here is the highlights:


Highest rated chili overall, and the winner of the trophy: #1 Trevor with an average of 3.5/5

Runner up for the trophy: #6 Zane with an average score of 3.4/5

Hottest Chili: #3 Doug with an average heat rating of 4.1/5  [the highest average we had!]

Crowd Favorite, and the winner of the belt: Trevor, with 8/42 Votes [This category was very close across the chilis!]


Would you like to try your hand at being our guest chili competitor next year? Head over to this form and submit your name in the random entry. Multiple entries allowed. The winner will be selected and announced at this year’s Ribfest in August.

We tried a new online scoring system that worked wonderfully and allowed for quick tabulations of the votes. Our fellow statistitian Brad may have some insight posted soon, but for now we just wanted to get the results out to those who could not make it.

Thanks for coming,  and we will see you at the Ribfest in August (if not before then at the bar!),

ManCuisine.com Competiting Members – Adam, Brad, Doug, Isaac, Jeff, Trevor, and our guest competitors.

To begin: There have been a few vodka drinks after a rough day which has my mind on the process of cooking with alcohol. It is no secret I have tried in the past to use Summit’s delicious winter ales and porters in my chilis with the intent to bring out the mindset that my steaming pot of food will bring them warmth and merriment on cold winter nights. There was a year that I used tequila in a batch only to be praised for its warm flavor and downvoted for the same reason by others. Looking out the window today and with the soft memory of sun on my face from the walk this afternoon I began to doubt my previous tactics to win out the crowd this year in the chilifest competition. This year I plan to win, not just to try my hand at an idea I think will win.

Over the years of working with my family and friends to bring us all together and have a night of food and happiness I have come around to the idea of competing. For those who know me, I am not a competitor – in any sense of the word. In the halls of history I place my winnings in the same rooms that I hold minor trophies for small bowling accomplishments and that time I won the best decorated derby car in cub scouts [but not the fastest!]. Cooking has always been in a different part of my house, not in the modest trophy room I keep undusted.

It brings me to those strands of memory in which I was taught to cook; brought in to experience what it means to bring the ingredients into a dish and what those meant to the overall meal that it provided our hungry family. It was customary that as soon as you had a head over the counter that you would help cook a meal for those in the house. The best part was the ‘secret ingredient’ in which we were able to pour one part of a vial, a jar, or a random container in the cupboard, and see if the family could place what we had added. For those of you who have been to the Chilifest in the past know this from Joan’s needed explanation of their ‘secret ingredient’ every year that may give the men an edge.

The words “Instant Coffee”, “Bacon,” “Chorizo”, “Hominy”, and even “A slight dose of MSG” have been announced at these moments that the cooks have been questioned. And these are the ones that I remember from the lineup of winners in our almost 10 years of friendly competition. My ingredients have been “Tofu”, “Curried Beans”, “Pork Shoulder brined in Porter”, and the aforementioned “Tequila”. The comparison to those who don the belt of victory to my outlandish ideas have reigned me in,

Don’t view this is as a bash on the judges who have voted me low due to my venturous nature. I have loved every chili that I have created. This is a call out to those who have had and enjoyed my reaching into the cupboard to explore those flavors yet unexplored in our competition. You are the real MVPs. This year my head is above the counter but my mind is on the trophy room. I can use all the secret ingredients I want but I know that what wins is not ‘warmth and merriment’ but the spoon that brings in the flavors even the smallest of children imagine when the soup is dropped off in front of them.

Get ready judges, this spoonful’s for you. See you on Saturday.

Isaac

Who will reign supreme? The members of ManCuisine.com are bringing their A-Game and ready to battle it out on the tastebuds of those who dare to taste the heaven that is the chili the men concoct every year. This annual event brings in the best assortment of people – our friends and family!

The location this year is at the Turtle Bread Company in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. At 6:00 begins the social ‘hour’. 6:30 begins the tasting and judging. The doors close when the last one leaves.

To attend: Bring yourself.
To eat/judge: Bring a 6+ pack to share or your best version of cornbread per person participating.

We have 9+ chili cooks up to the challenge this year. Only one trophy goes home.

 

The chili cooks that are competing this year:

Brad J – Longtime competitor, longtime recipe testing; This year is his.

Trevor J – Has taken home the trophy, tasting for it again.

Isaac J – Experiential, experienced, ready.

Doug M – Wild card, won it, will win it again.

Adam M – Cooking chili year round. Going to make it happen.

Jeff S – Holds both trophies. Doesn’t plan to lose any.

Zane/Allie N – Newcomers, promising family recipe – make it happen with the judges?

Brian I – Longtime judge, knows what wins, first time competing – will the equation work?

Ken Z – Part of the family, itching to try his recipe for the first time, itching to win.

 

In summation:

March 14th 2015

4205 E 34th Street – Minneapolis, MN 55406

6:00 show up and converse

6:30 tasting and judging

Leave when it seems right.

The 5th Annual Ribathon approaches. The date is set for Sunday, August 24th in our recent smoking home in Eagan. For a specific address to our event, email gno@mancuisine.com – We would love to have more competitors join the ranks!

Ribfest 2014

Here are the specifics this year:

It is that season – smoke, meat and eating! Join us for the rib fest to test our abilities in creating the best rib possible. Cooks will arrive in the morning, tasting happens at 5. Bring food to share and drinks to imbibe. Join us anytime within this range!

Attendees:
Bring something to share (beverage and/or food item) and your appetite.

Rules for the cooks:
Arrive as early as you need to serve at 5:00.
Find your own ribs-any cut.
All meat must be cooked onsite.
Prep(Cut)/Rub/Brine is okay in advance.
Must cook with coals. No gas or electric cooking.
Sauce can be prepared in advance, no store bought sauce.

Serving/Judging

Ribs to be served at 5

Every cook will assign one judge to rate all the ribs.
All other attendees will have the option to vote for their overall favorite.
Must be present to win!