May 30, 2009

Wagyu Beef at WeeBee’s

Reviewed by Craig Dugas

 

WeeBee’s is a relatively new addition to the Bozeman eatery scene, bringing together a blend of original dishes, upgraded service and an all-around pleasant eating experience. The menu is tight, but the options are excellent. They offered a specially prepared dish that I didn’t want to pass up on this trip – a plate of tender Wagyu beef over a bed of rice and beans smothered by a hearty chili-based sauce.

At first taste, the sauce comes off as bland, however, after tasting the Wagyu things begin to clear up. The rich, natural flavor of the beef takes over and the sauce is simply there to provide a bit of moisture for the rice and beans.  This dish tasted superb and was served in a perfect portion. Excellent dish, WeeBee’s – I’ll be back ;)

As an added bonus, WeeBee’s offers an extensive outdoor eating area, which made for a great open-air dinner (with a great view of Gallatin Valley’s blue sky and green mountains).

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May 29, 2009

Muffuletta + Gumbo at Mezzo Matto

Update: Mezzo Matto has since gone out of business.

Reviewed by Steve Cannon 

Mezzo Matto is the Bozeman, Montana home of the Muffuletta (pronounced muff-a-lotta), one of New Orleans’ great sandwiches.  A circular loaf of soft Italian bread sliced horizontally and piled with salami, ham, and provolone, which are in turn topped with a wickedly spicy mélange of chopped green and black olives fragrant with garlic and olive oil.  This Louisiana delicacy is actually the size of four normal-size sandwiches; accordingly, it is served quartered.

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Reviewed by Eric Barnes 

Only ever having heard it by name and its excellent reputation, I was uncertain what to expect with Mezzo Matto’s gumbo. However, without a doubt, it lived up to its reputation. It was wickedly (to steal from Steve’s vocabulary) good. The gumbo, only served on Fridays, consists of a thick stock full of chicken, sausage, vegetables and topped on rice. The taste was intense without being overly spicy and just salty enough to go hand-in-hand with a side of sliced French-style bread. I highly recommend checking it out.

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Reviewed by Craig Dugas 

I, too, enjoyed a flavor-packed bowl of home-style gumbo.  Ken suggested a few dashes of the mild jalapeño Tabasco – perfect.  Both reviews above are spot-on, so I’ll save you from regurgitation of the same info and bring it local.  Mezzo Matto is off the beaten path, quite a few blocks from Main and the building looks like an open storage unit garage. That’s fine by me – they make amazing food and don’t charge “downtown prices.”  The food shop is run by a husband and wife team (Ken and Stephanie) who are very friendly, great cooks and quite proud of their Louisianan heritage. I’ll note that I went there a few times last year for breakfast pastries and they make delicious beignets, caramel-filled chewy cookies, and you’d be insane not to try the made-to-order cannolis (insert drool here).

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Shortly after lunch, we read this tweet by Joseph Money – it is included as a Micro-Review

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As per usual, here are some photos of the Gumbo (and included bread), and the restaurant.

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May 23, 2009

The “Gut Buster” from Bar 3 BBQ

Reviewed by Craig Dugas.

 ■■■■ 5/5 “Better than your all-in-one printer/scanner/copier”

Bozeman has two BBQ joints: Bar 3 BBQ and Famous Dave’s.  You go to Famous Dave’s as a group to sit down and be served some average restaurant chain meals. You go to Bar 3 BBQ to get some tasty Q and get on with your day.

Before I get to the Gut Buster sandwich, I should mention that what pushed this review up to 5 of 5 blocks is what this critic considers the tastiest brewed sweet and unsweet tea in town.  Mmmm fine.  Not entirely sure what a Gut Buster was, I ordered it to-go on a whim. It turns out to be a slow-cooked pulled pork sandwich with a layer of barbecue seasoned fries, a thick slab of green chili cheese grits and a few dashes of classic southern hot sauce. Heck, even a vegetarian could enjoy this sans the juicy pig.

I ordered this as a combo meal and the guy behind the counter gave me the “uhh really?” look. That makes sense now… this sandwich IS the combo (and the extra side was completely unnecessary). The flavors work very well together – juicy pulled pork, warm seasoned fries and the green chili cheese grits are like a thick gooey layer of cheese. After each bite, you don’t really taste any hot sauce, but you feel the burn on your lips and think “oh yeah, hot sauce.” Of course you quickly forget about that until the next bite.  Is this really a 5 block sandwich? You betcha – affordable, made fresh to order, sided with fresh brewed sweet tea, all y’all better head on over yonder to get yer barbecue.

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May 12, 2009

Made-to-order Sandwich from the Community Food Co-op

 

Reviewed by Craig Dugas.

 ■■□□ 2/5 “How much? For this?”

 

If you’ve never been to a Community Food Co-op (http://www.bozo.coop) then just picture what I would consider a sort of yuppie, hippie, organic market. If you pick out the right things (bulk items) you can find some gems, but generally it’s a little pricey for what you’re getting. But alas, on to my sandwich.

At the deli, you pick up a card and golfer’s pencil, circle what you want, and then hand it over to one of the sandwich artists. Ezekiel bread, roast beef, Havarti, lettuce, tomato, onion. They fiddle around with ingredients for about 5 minutes and then hand over a sandwich, and two pieces of Bozeman-esque flare (a slice of pickle and small baggie of stale tortilla chips). The sandwich wasn’t terrible, pretty much on par with a sandwich I’d make at home if I just “threw some crap together on bread,” except I wouldn’t cut myself short on every single ingredient. This thing was small.. too small to justify the $7 I paid for it.  The Food Co-op is well known for this rip-offery. I’m not looking for a quad-stacker Whopper, just something with more than the bare minimum of each ingredient. Also, adding meat is like $2 per additional meat (that’s “ok”), but adding a single extra veggie is like a buck. Note the photo of the thinnest, lightest ever piece of lettuce – I wouldn’t pay 10 cents for that. For shame.

One last note, don’t expect “standard” veggies in general. The tomato is soggy and the onions are marinated in vinegar – yeah, they’re that good (puke-a-hontas).

Sorry Food Co-op, that’s just the way it is. See you in 18 months.

 

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Little Belt Burrito from Wheat Montana

 

Reviewed by Craig Dugas.

 ■■■■ 3.8/5 “Pretty good”

Take equal parts: peppered home fries, crumbled+scrambled eggs, sausage bits, slightly warmer than mild salsa and cheddar cheese. Evenly distribute in a medium sized flour tortilla wrap while warm. That’s the Little Belt Breakfast Burrito from Wheat Montana.

For 4 bucks, I will say I was impressed. Not only is it less expensive than local competition (for non-gut-bomb breakfast burritos), but it was tasty and satisfying. Unlike the burrito from The Daily Coffee Bar, it was moist and made-to-order. If you have the choice, pick Wheat Montana for the burrito over The Daily (unless you’re more interested in delicious gourmet coffee). I may give the Big Belt a whirl next time, but the little one packs some flavor and is a nice breakfast.

 

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May 8, 2009

Mama Mac’s Breakfast Sandwich

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Reviewed by Craig Dugas

■■■ 3.8/5 “Gut Bomb!”

We’ve covered Mama Mac’s in the past, but today’s trip was to see how their breakfast sandwich stacks up. Did I say breakfast sandwich? I meant two slices of grilled bread stuffed with a Denver omelet.

It’s a built-to-order type sandwich, I opted for sausage (vs. ham, bacon), American cheese (vs. cheddar, provolone, pepper jack), and white bread (vs all sorts of other breads). A quick note on the bread – Mama Mac’s is also a bakery, so whichever bread you choose was probably baked fresh for that day. They offered grilled peppers, onions and mushrooms – I said “fill ‘er up.” In about 5 minutes, they brought me out a super hot, fresh breakfast sandwich wrapped in nothing but the finest aluminum foil (it’s a Bozeman thing…).

I foolishly attempted to eat the sandwich with my hands – that lasted about two seconds. The grilled bread started coming apart and there were small bits of sausage everywhere. Yum. A fork and plate took care of that.

If I haven’t been straightforward enough yet, the sandwich was pretty good. Actually, I’m about 80% finished with it right now and my gut is working overtime to digest this thing. I can hear rumble rumble every couple minutes. I would recommend this for those of you who can handle a gut bomb breakfast and like the basics done right.