Food Review – 9/16/17, Everest Area Optimist Cheese Curds

Hello there!

This week we are going a little local on this blog.  This will be my one last hurrah, Summer blog before we start heading in the fall.

This blog is all about Wisconsin Cheese Curds.  We have a local stand in the Wausau area called the “Everest Area Optimist Club” who serves cheese curds, brats, hamburgers and hot dogs about a half of dozen times a Summer.  They’re always parked at Ace Hardware in Weston, WI (Wausau suburb), across from Target.  I found out they were serving food on Friday and Saturday.  The heart was racing with excitement.

I made plans, on Saturday, to visit the Everest Area Optimist Club one last time before the cooler weather hits, and as I expected, I was not disappointed by any means.  That golden beer battered curd was melting in my mouth immediately, cooked to perfection.  This is the curd to get guys.  This is the curd of the Summer!  A great beer battered cheese curd cannot be too greasy, which means they were not cooked long enough, and you should not be able to crunch the curd like a potato chip; that means they were cooked too long.

I experienced the perfect cheese curd, and Wisconsin folks know what I am talking about.  The only thing I am going to gripe about is, they could have been hotter, temperature wise.  They were definitely under a hot light, but they were still perfectly cooked.  9/10

 

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Food Review – Taste of Madison Food Festival – Madison, Wisconsin Part 2

Hello again!

Here is part 2 of my blog from the Taste of Madison food festival in Madison, Wisconsin.  This is where you will get to see my feedback on each item I tried this past weekend.  Let’s get down to it…

Burnt Ends from Blowin’ Smoke BBQ – This was a very small portion, but it was definitely enough to get a good taste.  The flavor was a very smoky and juicy piece of barbeque.   Very, very top notch!  9/10

Bacon Chicken Ranch Slider from Blowin’ Smoke BBQ – This had great value, with very tender chicken.  I am a huge fan of crispy bacon.  It could have used more ranch on the slider.  7/10

Grat 3 Cheese Balls from Bonefish Grill – This was the best dish I had at the festival.  The breading was cooked to perfection.  The shredded potatoes inside and the shredded cheese were cooked to perfection too.  Temperature wise, they couldn’t have been more perfect.  Hands down 10/10!

Bulgogi Korean Tacos from Bulgogi Korean Taco – I never had one of these, so I did not know what to expect.  The pork was juicy.  The veggies mixed in well with the pork and taco shell.  Overall, a solid item! 7/10

Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds from Curd Girl – I’m a Wisco boy, born and raised.  As long as it is not a preformed curd, it has a great chance of being good.  They were cooked a little too long because they were sticking together.  Maybe a little too much batter too, but the flavor I cannot complain.  I’m a little harsher on cheese curds than most dishes.  6/10

Deep Fried Cookie Dough from Leia’s Lunchbox – How can you go wrong with this?  As long as it is not cooked too long, it will not be dry.  They did a great job with these.  8/10

Cajun Shrimp from Melting Pot – This dish would have been the closest to being better than the Grat 3 Cheese Balls.  I always start the festival with these shrimp.  I know what I want, and I know what like.  Another solid performance from Melting Pot!  10/10

Triple Mac n Cheese w/Bacon from The Rodeo Wagon – I tried this twice.  The flavor was solid, and the bacon was crispy, but they unfortunately did not cook it long enough or the crock pot/whatever they use to store the mac n cheese was not hot enough.  A great potential dish but just average this time.  4/10

WI Beer Battered Cheese Curds w/paprika sauce from The Old Fashioned – These are the best curds at Taste of Madison!  Non pre-formed curds dunked in fresh homemade paprika sauce.  There wasn’t very much grease on the curds, which means they were cooked well.  Great job Old Fashioned!  8/10

Parmesan Garlic Flavored Tator Tots from Pots n Tots – Pretty simple analysis is that they were well cooked, and they were sprinkled with parmesan garlic.  The garlic was not over-powering the tots, so overall, a good dish, but nothing fancy.  6/10

Buff Chick Slider from Slide Food Cart & Catering – I was recommended this slider by another individual in my party; he said it was buffalo chicken dip in a slider bun.  How can one go wrong with that?  My guy was correct!  They had the right combination of buffalo sauce and tender chicken.  Plus there was some bleu cheese crumbles, carrots and celery in the slider.  The presentation and appearance of the slider was the best of the weekend.  Very very good item!  9/10

Mini Deep Fried Apple Fritters from Ugly Apple – I did not know what to expect with this dish.  Unfortunately these were very disappointing.  There was hardly any apple flavoring and seasoning.  It was a pretty dry item.  1/10

Macaroni & Cheese with WI Ring Bologna from The Old Fashioned – Just like the cheese curds, “The Old Fashioned” dominated again.  This was more of a white cheddar cheese sauce.  Plus you could get a ring bologna for $1, and it was a very big piece.  Great flavor, great cooking temperature, a solid “melt in your mouth” dish.  9/10

Blueberry Vanilla Cheesecake from Grace’s Cheesecakes – Blueberry, vanilla, cheesecake, enough said.  As long as the egg does not dominate the rest of the ingredients, it is going to be fantastic!  10/10

Chicken Kabob from Gyros Express – The chicken must be cooked right, and it has to have solid flavor.  Well, this place nailed both!  If you over cook chicken, it will be dry.  If you do not flavor chicken enough, it will be dry.  “Gyros Express” did both to a T.  Great pieces of chicken!  9/10

There you have it.  Have a great week!

Matt

Food Review – Taste of Madison Festival, Madison, Wisconsin

Hi Folks!

Here is the most anticipated blog, since my return a few weeks ago.  This is Part 1 of 2.  Today is Part 1, and it will be the introduction and each item I ate.  Part 2 will be the rankings of each item I ate, and I will reveal my big winner!

This Labor Day weekend I was at a food festival in Madison, Wisconsin called the “Taste of Madison”.  I’ve been going every year since 2010, and it never lets me down.  It’s the last big bang event of the summer for me, and I go all out!  No holds bar, the see-food diet is in full force, and the feedbag is severely strapped.  Here we go…

All the food is stuff you can order at restaurants in Madison.  Everything is $4 and under, and the portions you receive depend on where you order.  Sometimes you get a huge bang for your buck; sometimes you get a small taste.  I tried more foods than any other year I have attended, because this is the first year I was present for both days.  The “Taste of Madison” is held every Labor Day weekend on Saturday and Sunday.

What I ate:

Burnt Ends from Blowin’ Smoke BBQ

Bacon Chicken Ranch Slider from Blowin’ Smoke BBQ

Grat 3 Cheese Balls from Bonefish Grill

Bulgogi Korean Tacos from Bulgogi Korean Taco

Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds from Curd Girl

Deep Fried Cookie Dough from Leia’s Lunchbox

Cajun Shrimp from Melting Pot

Triple Mac n Cheese w/Bacon from The Rodeo Wagon

WI Beer Battered Cheese Curds w/paprika sauce from The Old Fashioned

Parmesan Garlic Flavored Tator Tots from Pots n Tots

Buff Chick Slider from Slide Food Cart & Catering

Mini Deep Fried Apple Fritters from Ugly Apple

Macaroni & Cheese with WI Ring Bologna from The Old Fashioned

Blueberry Vanilla Cheesecake from Grace’s Cheesecakes

Chicken Kabob from Gyros Express

Pictures are in order of how they are listed in this blog.  Enjoy Part 1, and I will see you tomorrow!

Wisconsin Valley Fair, 8/1/14

I made my return last night at the historic Wausau Fair. I kept it simple. I know what I wanted. I got my cheese curds at the Breakfast Optimists stand. I got my italian food; tried their grilled cheese sandwich with marinara, and it was absolutely scrumptious. I had a tasty cannoli there too. I ended the evening with a cheddar wurst corn dog, which was good, but after the curds and italian food, it was more of a filler. It’s like having a slice of Angelo’s Pizza and then having a slice of Pizza Hut; going from excellent to good.

Overall, I am satisfied with last night’s food experience. Now onto the Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis. See you tomorrow! 9/10

Wisconsin Valley Fair, 7/30/14

Let me tell you it’s been a while since I have written a food blog. I thought I’d start again with a special occasion. I went to the Wisconsin Valley Fair in Wausau, Wisconsin. I’ve been going here for 20+ years, and it’s always a special experience. It’s worth the season pass or entry fee because of one signature item, the Cheese Curds at the Breakfast Optimists stand.

They seem to raise the price every year, but so what. Who cares? If they’re that damn good and hot in demand, then they can raise the price. Basic economics. I had 2 orders last night. They’re that special!

Go to the italian specialty stand, located in the wing by the VFW/Grandstand entrance. Try their food, please! They definitely know how to cook. I sampled their meatballs, cheesy bacon bites and cheese garlic bread. Definitely sample their meatballs and cheese bread; bacon bites, not as much. I’m so looking forward to going back there tomorrow. I even told the workers their food is amazing; I don’t do that too often.

After the curds and italian samples, it went kind of downhill. I peaked early, food wise. I had my usual cheesecake on a stick, which was awesome as usual. I sampled a piece of authentic German bratwurst, which I will be going there tomorrow. They no longer have the LT Barbeque Stand, which was very disappointing; I loved their pulled pork nachos! Beware of the subs at Inferno Subs. The sub bun was warm, but the rest of it was cold, not a good combination. The flavor was what I remember though.

If you don’t have a season pass, pay the $9 entry fee and get yourself some cheese curds at the Breakfast Optimists stand, not anywhere else. Go sample the italian stand as well as the authentic German Bratwurst stand. As a major food lover and critic, you won’t be disappointed. Hope to see you there! 8.5/10