July 17, 2009

Breakfast at The Ditch

Reviewed by Chad Coley

■■■■ 5 / 5 “Good environment, excellent service, wonderful food”

The Ditch is a little-known breakfast and lunch spot just south of Four Corners on Highway 191. I had expected a tiny sitting area with coffee and perhaps pastries. I was entirely wrong. The seating area is comfortable and larger than expected. In addition, outdoor seating by the creek is available and nice. As I learned in a conversation with the owner, the creek/irrigation ditch is the namesake for the eatery.

The breakfast menu is not large but the food was superb. With my coffee, I ordered a breakfast sandwich which consisted of eggs, sliced ham, and a spread on focaccia bread. I didn’t have my food reviewers hat on and therefore can’t name exactly what I liked most about the sandwich, other than to say it was very tasty. I was accompanied by my sister who ordered tea and the bowl of fresh fruit with yogurt. Her review was positive as well since the strawberries were quite fresh and full of flavor. We also had the opportunity to enjoy some cinnamon and sugar crepes after our relaxing and delicious meal.

There were a few other breakfast items and several lunch items on the menu. The owner was nice to talk to and the place has a comfortable atmosphere. I’ll be back soon.

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July 15, 2009

Sandwiches at Wheat Montana Deli

Reviewed by Craig Dugas

■■□□□ 2.3 / 5 “Bread as soggy as in a hot dog eating contest”

 

Since Wheat Montana revamped their menu in January 2009, I’ve only enjoyed a good breakfast (including some very large, tasty baked items) at their Bozeman location. After hearing rumors lately of less-than-palatable sandwiches, the Taste of Bozeman crew rushed to the scene.

When ordering the Havana, you’d probably expect a Cuban sandwich (pork, pickle, mustard, ham, etc) – and this version was nearly that but lacked pickles and included tomatoes.  In fact, my plate lacked a pickle too, which they generally include. You can even see the void on my plate where the pickle should be.

At first glance it looked fine.  Upon further inspection, the “pulled pork” was not at all pulled.  It looked like they tossed a pork chop in a food processor and hit pulse a few times.  I would call it “nearly minced pork.” Once I picked up the steak roll, a cloudy liquid started pouring from the bottom. Did my sandwich forget to use the restroom before they served it to me?  I hope not. Did I order a pre-dipped French Dip? No way! This thing was soggy… too soggy. The sog quickly dispersed and made it over to my small chip area.  ”Nooooo” I thought in slow motion, but it was too late. The sog had taken over.

What would have been an solid 3 blocks was pulled back to 2, with an added 0.3 for always good service. Wheat Montana – you’ve got to fix this problem, it’s like when competitive eaters Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut dunk a hot dog roll in a cup of water – it’s disgusting. We took a short video recording of the leaking sandwich, but decided not to include it since many Taste of Bozeman readers might get queasy at the sight of it.

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Reviewed by Eric Barnes

■■■□□ 3 / 5 “Good, but has flaws”

 

When I walked up to the guy behind the counter, I politely commented, “it looks like you guys have changed your menu!”

“Yeah, we did that back in January,” he responded.

“Looks like it’s been a while since I’ve eaten at Wheat Montana,” I thought to myself. The reason is mostly because their sandwiches have always been between an Average and Below Average range, (although they do make a tasty, not to mention ridiculously filling, bread bowl).

I decided to give them another chance. I ordered the Missouri, a sandwich from their old menu, but new to me. The sandwich consisted of turkey, bacon, guacamole/ranch, swiss, lettuce and tomato served on wheat bread with a side of chips and a pickle. Surprisingly, the taste was better than average. With the guacamole and ranch sauce, it was like eating a super BLT! The only reason I gave it 3 out of 5 is because holding the sandwich caused the moist bread to compress under my fingers, resulting in a thin layer of gooey dough. A slightly drier and firmer bread would have put this sandwich on top.

Aside: what’s the deal with the plain tortilla chips? I feel like I need a container of salsa every time I see them.

The pickle was crunchy and excellent.

 

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July 9, 2009

Sandwiches at The Grind Deli

Reviewed by Craig Dugas

■■□□□ 2.2 / 5 “Sack lunch”

The Grind just might be the tiniest restaurant in Bozeman.

They offer a small array of specialty sandwiches and gourmet coffees and sodas – of which I ordered the Turkey Raspberry Cream sandwich with fruit and a glass of water.  I always love the choice of alternatives to chips.  The fruit selection was decent- apples, bananas, apricots and Ziploc bags of dried cranberries.  I picked the cranberries as the most unique of the selection – they were good.  The sandwich was not your monster half-sub you get at Pickle Barrel. In fact, it was more bread than ingredients, which is somewhat disappointing. The flavor was packed full of mediocrity… I just don’t see myself taking the trip out there specifically for that sandwich.  However, if I were in that area and wanted a coffee or a very light meal, then it’d probably fit the bill. The service was kind, and the establishment had an all-around pleasant feel.

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Reviewed by Eric Barnes

■■□□□ 2 / 5 “If I were starving, and near the hospital…”

 

In some ways, I felt like I was walking into some grandmother’s kitchen when I entered The Grind deli. Everything felt homely, from the paintings on the wall, to the knickknacks neatly scattered about. Instead of an old lady behind the counter, however, there was a young lady. And instead of little grandchildren playing around, there were doctors and nurses filing in and out. Upon seeing this setting, I immediately braced myself for a simple, homely meal – and that is exactly what I received.

I ordered the Turkey Bacon Guacamole sandwich, which had turkey, bacon, red onions, diced tomatoes, and guacamole on wheat bread. Despite all of these ingredients, the sandwich was vertically challenged and mild in flavor. But, just as if you were at someone’s grandmother’s house, you politely eat what you are given, and thank the cook when you are finished.

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Reviewed by Matthew Johnson

■■■■□ 3.5 / 5 “I rounded up from 3.5 on the fourth block…”

The Grind Cafe is nestled away in the building just behind the Rocky Mountain Surgical Center off of Highland Boulevard. This little lunch spot is not new to me, I used to frequent it several years ago when I was running my own consulting business and enjoyed chatting with the owners who started their business the same week I did. Unfortunately the owner’s weren’t there today, but I was able to enjoy the nostalgia all the same. The Grind is small, very small – it can accommodate 6, maybe 8 people max in an odd little space between two offices. The service is slow, but not excruciating considering that there was only one person performing every job typical of a cafe while we were there.

I ordered the Roast Beef sandwich ($6.50), chips, and an espresso shake ($3.00). The sandwich had a creamy horseradish spread, red onions, lettuce, and of course roast beef (there may have been a few other items too, but I’ve forgotten). If I had one complaint about the sandwich if would be the undistinguished slices of grocery store bread it was made with, but otherwise it was delicious! The shake however was a letdown. To me, an espresso shake means milk, ice cream, espresso, and whipped cream on top. To The Grind a shake means: ice, espresso, and whipped cream. There might have been some ice cream in there too, but not much. The chips were good.

On our way out, Barnes added a delicious looking cookie ($1.00) to our order which he was will to share half of with me. I must say the cookie was only two thirds as good as it looked.

All in all, I like The Grind and would recommend it anyone looking for a new place to eat, but I’d only tell 3 people at a time so as not to overwhelm them.

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