Smith and Forge Hard Cider

Smith and Forge Hard Cider

Hard ciders can be amazing or OK.  Smith and Forge is pretty good.  It comes in a can and drinking one of these is all you need to relax.  It isn’t overly sweet.  I cannot personally chug this particular hard cider, but it is very drinkable.

Smith & Forge 4

If you want to serve something that will appeal to a wide range of individuals I think this particular hard cider should hit the spot.  It is easy enough to drink that even your finickiest friend will have one.  It is also bold enough to satisfy your manly friend that would prefer a beer.

Overall Smith and Forge has a really good flavor to it.  It is easy to drink, but not too easy.  If you are looking for a little more from your hard cider I suggest trying this one.

Prime Rib

Prime Rib

Gather the following ingredients:

4+ lbs Prime Rib (rib eye) – marble, marble, marble
Steak Seasoning
Au Jus Sauce

Pan large enough for your steak
Meat thermometer

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees or 475 degrees.

Season all of the sides of the prime rib roast generously and place it into the pan.  Cook for 30 minutes at 500 or 475 degrees or until the smoke alarm goes off (about 28 minutes).

Prime Rib Pan

Reduce the heat down to 250 degrees and slow cook the meat for a few hours.  For 5 lbs of meat cook it about one and a half hours.  140 degrees internal temperature for a medium rare prime rib.

Prime Rib 26

When the meat is done pull it out and make the Au Jus sauce.

Serve a thick slice of prime rib swimming in a scoop of Au Jus.

Prime Rib on a plate


Smashburger – chain restaurant

Eagan location – 1270 Promenade Pl, Eagan, MN 55121

Smashburger!  I am told that you are not supposed to smash a burger while making it which makes me think someone was told that and said, whatever I will do what I want.  Personally I love Smashburgers.  They are nice and thin.  I do not know why people like thick burgers.  No one needs half a pound of ground beef.  No, no, no.  All you need is one thin patty and the right bread and toppings.

Pick your sandwich:  beef or chicken if you like.  Add a side.  I like they Smashfries.  The flavoring added to it is very nice.  Also I love the thin fries.  I wonder if McDonald’s would be as good as Smashburger if they had not gone down the path of low quality versus the obviously high quality food that you will receive at Smashburger.

You have other choices of course.  I like their malts.

If you find yourself near a Smashburger I highly recommend eating there.  The sauces and grease might drip down your arm over onto your basket, but that is part of what makes this food amazing.

Smashburger malt

Apple Valley location – 7394 153rd St W #100, Apple Valley, MN 55124

If you are in Apple Valley on a Sunday and realize that you can’t get Chick-Fil-A look across the street and get yourself a burger.

smashburger 004

This particular location is very nice.

smashburger 008

Vikings Football

Friends at the Vikings gameVikings Football

In Minnesota the NFL football team is called the Vikings.  Being a Vikings fan is one of the most heartbreaking thing that you can be.  Why?  The Minnesota Vikings have an uncanny ability to lose.  If you are like me you will start every game rooting for the team and by the end you just hope they lose.

The Minnesota Vikings have never won a Super Bowl.  They often make it to the playoffs just to fall early.

The game I went to was back in the old Metrodome.  Brett Farve was the quarterback at the time.  The seats were on the goal line.  Seeing the entire field from that spot wasn’t bad, but it isn’t like watching it on TV.

My fuzzy pic of the game taken on a blackberry

Watching or really paying attention to a football game while at the game is very difficult.  Commercial breaks are the cause of this.  The game has lulls constantly as those of you watching on TV are forced to watch a commercial.  At the game you find yourself drifting away from the game.  Then the crowd roars and you realize that they started the play and you missed it.  This will happen to you over and over again.

Football is a great game and really fun to watch, but the commercialization kind of reins it.  That being said the game I went to got super exciting at the end.  Brett Farve led the Vikings team to the greatest comeback of his career and every second counted, every second mattered.

Is going to a game worth it?  I would say it is worth going at least once.  We can only hope that the new stadium will be amazing.

Timberwolves Basketball

Timberwolves basketball

The local NBA basketball team in Minnesota is the Timberwolves.  The who?  Yeah I wasn’t very familiar with the name either.  Apparently they have been a team since 1989 which is around the time I stopped watching basketball.

Timberwolves T logo

Now I stopped watching basketball when I started getting annoyed about these athletes making a ton of money and missing simple shots.  In my mind they make enough to get the ball in the hole pretty much every time.

I didn’t expect much from the game because I didn’t even know any of the big players anymore.  I have to tell you watching live professional basketball is one of the most enjoyable things you can do.  The game is exciting.  The missed shots are devastating unless it is the other team and then they are exhilarating.

It is easy to see what is happening on the court.  It is easy to follow.  Most of all it is easy to pay attention.  I have attended baseball and football games in Minnesota and basketball was the most exciting and easiest to get into.

If you have an opportunity to attend a Timberwolves basketball game go.  You will enjoy it.

La Fonda De Los Lobos, Eagan, MN

La Fonda De Los Lobos – 3665 Sibley Memorial Hwy, Eagan, MN 55122

La Fonda De Los Lobos is sort of an upscale Mexican restaurant.  Not a trendy upscale Mexican restaurant, but not your normal Mexican food restaurant either.  It is hard to explain.  It is kind of a dive and at the same time you know the food wasn’t just slapped together or reheated.

Some of the items on the menu are not what you expect.  They aren’t bad at all.  In fact once you get past the items on your plate not meeting your expectations the meals are actually pretty good.

This isn’t cheep Mexican food, but at the same time the meals aren’t expensive.  It is very much a get what you pay for experience and what you get is pretty good.

La Fonda front door

The restaurant is upstairs.  Just walk in the front and I think most of the time you wait to be seated.  It is an older establishment, but that isn’t a bad thing.  Enjoy your meal.

La Fonda back door

If you are looking for a little fun head downstairs or just park around back and go in that door.  There is a nice patio area that you can use in the summer, spring, and fall.

The bar downstairs has 4 pool tables, pull tabs, games all around the edge.  You can join their league if you are really into pool.  You can use the jukebox.  The drinks are great.  They have a beer menu and not a drink menu, but the bartender can make you whatever you want.  Their cosmo is quite nice.  You can also purchase a shot of Jagermeister if you want.  They have a machine for that.

La Fonda tables

The people.  I kind of love the people that go to this particular bar.  I have seen some of the oddest things.  I have spoken with some of the retirees that hang out at the bar until it picks up around 5.  That is when everyone who gets off work will start arriving and when the real fun begins, or so I am told.

Check out La Fonda De Los Lobos yourself.  I think you will enjoy it.

Casper’s Cherokee

Casper’s Cherokee – 4625 Nicols Rd, Eagan, MN 55122

Caspers Cherokee

The two world’s of Casper’s: the exciting bar and the poser restaurant.

I like Casper’s bar.  I have had some fun gathers in this large barn like building.  They offer free taco bar which isn’t very good in my opinion, but kind of on par with everything else pertaining to their food.  What can you really expect from a free taco bar.  Avoid the meat and you will be happy.

The bar has pull tabs which seems to be a staple item in Minnesota.  Good luck.  I kind of like their Karaoke when they had it.  They have games that you can play depending on the night.  The music they play is pretty good.  The patio is sweet.

Caspers Cherokee Patio

The long island iced teas in the bar are really good.  There are many choices.  I would suggest avoiding the wine.  Especially their pinot noir, Mark West.  It is really bad.

They have appetizers which are pretty good.  The items on this menu seem more like meals than appetizers to me, but if you are hungry they will work.

Caspers 1

The restaurant is another story.  The food at this restaurant has never been very good.  For a place I would think of as a steak house they are particularly bad at cooking steak.

The original Casper’s caught on fire a few years ago.  The atmosphere in the restaurant prior to this fire was old school.  It had the feeling of an established old restaurant.  After the fire they updated everything and suddenly it felt like every other trendy restaurant out there.  Even the size of the menus suggests this.  It was extremely disappointing.  People look like they really enjoy the crab on Wednesday so maybe that is worth eating.

I would love to make Casper’s one of the go to restaurants, but all of my experiences with their food has been mediocre at best.

If you are looking for a fun place to go for happy hour, yes, head to Casper’s Cherokee.  If you want a good meal go anywhere else.

River Road Pinot Noir

River Road Pinot Noir

River Road Pinot bottle

This wine was also recommended to me by the wine clerk as one that she really likes.  She was correct in stating that this is a good wine.

This is a very drinkable wine.  It is also a rather simple wine.

It should be OK to serve for dinner.

I give this wine a 4/5 score.

Mount Warren Pinot Noir

Mount Warren Pinot Noir

Mount Warren bottle

Mount Warren is my new favorite Pinot Noir.  It is so smooth and easy to drink.  It has a nice flavor to it.  I think it might be better than King’s Estate.

Honestly when I started drinking this wine I fell in love with it.

The bottle has a twist top which is very convenient for taking to a party.  This wine has nothing bad about it.  It is good on day one and is equally as good up to a week later.

I would serve this at a dinner party.

I give this one a 5/5.

Les Brebis Pinot Noir

Les Brebis Pinot Noir

Les Brebis label

This Pinot Noir was recommended to me by the woman at the wine shop.  It is one of her favorites and she was right to recommend it.  It is a good pinot out of the Oregon area.

It has a pleasant flavor.  I enjoyed this pinot quite a bit.  It is a normal pinot noir.  It isn’t unbelievably good, but it is also not bad at all.

I would serve this one at dinner.

I give this pinot a 4/5.