Archive for June, 2011

@ North Star Casino, in Bowler

“Ham & Cheddar Panini,” at “Deli-licious.”

If you’re looking for something to make you feel better after losing 40 perfectly good dollars in a slot called the “Amazing Money Machine” at 1am on a tuesday morning, you should probably stick to schadenfreude, or maybe nachos. However, if you’re looking for the genuine casino experience, and the hissing oxygen tanks, stench of failure and loneliness, and pocket of ATM receipts doesn’t quite get you there – the Stockbridge-Munsee band of Mohican Indians now brings you delicious, gas-station-fresh sandwiches. Seemingly pressed with dry heat and the weight of a large, glassy-eyed elderly woman, I suspect this little gamble could be broken back down into its original parts by throwing it up in the air. I gave it a 2, which is the same number of times I (unsuccessfully) attempted to pass it through the bill accepter. ($2.75)

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@ Barkers, in Hudson

“Southwestern Grilled Cheese: Grilled sourdough with melted hot pepper and sharp cheddar cheeses, topped with our house-made salsa.”

I was headed out of state a few weeks ago, and quite eager to put another pin down in Minnesota. (As one would expect, initial scouting turned up quite a few intriguing prospects in the cities.) As I discovered though, not all brand of travel companion are easily sold on a twenty mile deviation from the route for a “cheese sandwich.” Pfffffffffffft. 

Whatever, mom.

SO instead, I had to settle for Barker’s in Hudson – a “more reasonable” 2.5 blocks off highway 94. Ok, maybe it wasn’t really settling – both the sandwich and the restaurant did seem worthy of a stop. Hudson *is* the Gateway to Wisco after all…and I’m a big fan of salsa and peppered cheeses. Fortunately, I’m a big fan of bruschetta too, because that’s really a better classification for their “house-made salsa.” Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the sandwich. It was tasty and well-made, well-melted, and generously proportioned. All that aside, it certainly contained nothing “southwestern” enough to warrant the deceptively zesty name. (I don’t like being lied to, Barker.) I couldn’t really stay mad, though. It was a rad little town, a good restaurant, and they made DELICIOUS french fries. I gave it a 7. 

($7.95)

@ the friendship house family restaurant, in rhinelander

“The Chicken Bacon Melt: Crispy bacon, lightly-breaded chicken and melted swiss.”

I wound up at this unassuming family restaurant a couple weeks ago; (pretty much the quintessential, locally-owned-and-badly-named, in the still recognizable body of a failed chain) and was pleasantly surprised to find this little beast. Actually, once I saw the size of their menu, I was feeling pretty lucky – this thing had to be like, 6 full pages of laminated possibilities. Victory. 

Well, I can’t lie. It was downright scrumptious. Big and crunchy, delightfully salty, and abundantly cheesed: everything a good grilled sandwich should be. Well played, Friendship House. You earned a meritable 8/10. (Ok, barely an 8, but an 8’s an 8, right?)  *slow clap*   ($6.95)

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