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Burger Hunter: Gold Nugget Tavern & Grille

Week after week, Mike S. impresses us with the depth and breadth of his burger knowledge. Burger joints should be painting a mural for him! Check out all The Burger Hunter’s meaty exploits at the #GreatAmericanBurgerHunter tag on Instagram.

There’s gold in them there hills! This hunt takes us on an adventure into the west metro where the yuccie’s drive with no regard for humanity. 10-and-2 yourself straight to the Gold Nugget Tavern & Grille. Now this place is burger Mecca. They even have an internal battle each week between their own burger specials. I went with The People’s Burger. It won 22 weeks straight and earned itself a spot on the menu. This beast is loaded with flavor. The grind is a mix of chuck and smoked short rib so the pedigree is choice af. The meat taste is rich. Fitting for the number of high buck vehicles in the parking lot. Ok let’s mine our way through this big winner. Bun is brioche, butter grilled and perfy. Light and nice. The burger is topped with a housemade American chive cheese that all about smothering your meat. We call it “Instagram ready” in the biz. It’s so yummy and really should be consumed more in life. Next up is the smoked poblanos and tomato jam. Sweet and smokey work together like a miner and his pan . . . Or a hipster and her fixie. You get the point. They complete each other. There’s a reason so many BBQ joints render this tasty outcome. The People’s Burger has even more going on. Imagine a calendar full of appointments where everything is syncing in harmony. iSuccess. Last up is the bacon mayo. It’s sneaky great. The mayo just slides into your DM’s and the bacon is creeper . . . This burger is high and mighty but worth the investment. The chew is terrific and def a sweeter ride. Don’t sleep on the cheese curds they might be better than the Minnesota State Fair. Big claim . . .  Big hunt!

Scorecard:   Flavor: 9.3   Presentation: 8   Originality: 10

Gold Nugget Tavern & Grille, 14401 Excelsior Blvd, Minnetonka; goldnuggettavernandgrille.com


george saunders

Win Tix: An Evening With George Saunders

Stephen Colbert calls George Saunders “Quite possibly his favorite living author”, the New York Times recently released a virtual reality short film about Saunders’ new book Lincoln in the Bardo, and the new book has hundreds of people on the waiting list at our local libraries. He’s won numerous awards, and his writing has appeared in every publication worth reading. And he’s going to be here in MPLS + STPL on Wednesday, March 1st.

Rain Taxi is pleased to welcome back to their event series acclaimed writer George Saunders on the occasion of the release of the highly anticipated Lincoln in the Bardo. Saunders will both read from this work and participate in an onstage discussion about it with Rain Taxi editor Eric Lorberer. Advance tickets are $35, and each ticket purchase includes a signed copy of Lincoln in the Bardo. Tickets and books will be held under the purchaser’s name at the Will Call table at the door. Please bring your ID to pick up tickets.

Secrets of the City wouldn’t be worth one damn to our thriving and hard-partying literature community if we didn’t get some of our readers into this amazing event. Reply to this email or message us on the socials for a chance at a pair of tickets to hang out with us and hear Lorberer talk shop with Saunders.


Midweek News & Notes: Mayoral Mischief

Since many of our readers don’t read anything, not a damn thing, we feel we should share some of the important-to-you stories being shared around the SotC virtual water cooler so that you’re properly briefed before your happy hour.

News: The Betsy Hodges re-election campaign posted a fake ‘Frey for Congress’ job listing.

Notes: Since the DFL endorsements are the real elections in MPLS, and the endorsement for mayor is June 24th, expect the next few months to be full of city politics news. And since it’s going to be competitive, there’s going to be a lot of activity. Case in point: Someone from the Hodges campaign was, joking or not, trying to play up the storyline that Jacob Frey is a political climber by posting a Frey for Congress job listing. We think it was a joke, a pretty funny one at that.

News: Tom Hoch, former CEO of Hennepin Theater Trust, might run for MPLS Mayor.

Notes: While Hodges and Frey are the top contenders, along with former MPLS NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds, the addition of Hoch would crowd the field with qualified candidates even further. Why are we spending so much time with the MPLS mayor’s race? Because with the national government so crazy and the MN Legislature full of rural reps who want things like permits for bike lane users (a real thing), city politics will be even more important in the upcoming years.

News: Meanwhile, on the other side of the river, Chris Coleman is living the St. Easy life.

Notes: Taking in Wild games, live tweeting the Grammys, having a Valentine’s Day date with his wife, things are pretty chill for the new coolest mayor in MPLS + STPL before his run for Governor. We love it.

News: Introducing Twincy Summer: You Can’t Drive There!™

Notes: Along with the major CF that will be caused when I-94 goes down to one lane through the Lowry Tunnel, Portland Ave and Cedar in MPLS will have closures around the Greenway for bridge repairs.


Burger Hunter: Val’s Rapid Serv

Week after week, Mike S. impresses us with the depth and breadth of his burger knowledge. Burger joints should be painting a mural for him! Check out all The Burger Hunter’s meaty exploits at the #GreatAmericanBurgerHunter tag on Instagram.

On a bus to St. Cloud . . . Oh, Garth. Any which way you go put on some twang cause we’re heading to Cloud town. Now I’m tempted to support Kim Kardashian’s former fiance Kris Humphries 🏀 parents (they own a Five Guys 🍔 in St. Cloud, MN), but we’ll save that one for later and hit up the legendary Val’s Rapid Serv. You act like you didn’t know that was coming. Said Cloud town! This place is old timey with game. Sign outside is so tight. Damn Gina, damn! They’ve been doin’ it, doin’ it, and doin’ it well since 1959. Totes a take-out burger and fries joint. Cash me ousside, howbow dah. Eat in the car. The Triple Cheeseburger is the best choice. You can eat half if it’s too much. Don’t get weirdy on me. Always remember burger lefties are late night besties. The patties are thin and done well on a flattop that’s seen more action than Wilt the Stilt. A “seasoned grill” like Val’s is destined for a Smithsonian at some point. Kid you not! The flavor is classic and the cheese is melted all over. With a light beef grease and a power cheese melt it mo def an OTP.  Hella juicy! The bun is good and fits better than your lost winter glove. Speaking of finding things or finding things out, the locals seem to know why the fries are so good and possibly off color. While browsing the racks at St. Clouds iconic sports den Centennial Sports, I come to find out that those sneaky folks over at Val’s sprinkle their fries with popcorn salt and possibly a hint of cheese. It certainly explains the unique flavor. A top-rated French Fry indeed. Loved this whole experience. It’s fast and when everybody likes it you know it’s good!

(Writer’s Note: “Tennessee Stud” was on the radio while at Val’s!)

Scorecard:   Flavor: 8.2   Presentation: 5   Originality: 6

Val’s Rapid Serv, 628 E St Germain St, St Cloud, facebook.com/pages/Vals-Rapid-Service


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