Homemade In-n-Out Animal Fries

We haven’t been to Southern California in a little over 3 months now. That means that the In-n-Out withdrawal, the so-called “out-n-out,” has finally set in. Luckily for us, with AK‘s creativity and SP‘s methodicalness, we have a temporary solution until our next visit West. Or South. Wherever there’s burgers.


We’ve tried a few different ways of making what we miss most: animal style fries. People like the burgers and all, but for us, it’s all about that extremely saucy, super oniony fry mixture that gets our motors running. There are some serious bummer recipes out there that basically say that Thousand Island dressing is the same thing. They’re wrong. Here’s the closest we’ve come:


  • 1 cup Hellmann’s Light Mayo
  • 1/2 cup (or a little extra) Ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar

Basically you mix all of it and set it in the fridge for a couple hours for maximum impact. But making it looks a little funny.


Heinz for the appropriate taste.


Maaaayo. Maaaaaaaaaaaayo. Daylight come and me wanna make fries.




We relish making this sauce.


You can also add a bit of garlic powder if you want.


If you went to Kindergarten, you may remember that you get different colors when you mix stuff together.

Ok, so the sauce is made. The next important part is the umyum. This part is even more tricky than mixing the sauce because it requires patience, varying temperatures, and a keen eye. We’ll leave the eyeball part to AK.


White onion outperforms yellow onion in this mixture.


Dice. (Yes there’s yellow onion back there that we were going to use for our Sloppy Joes.)


A tbsp and a half of vegetable oil, and throw in the onions.


Leave it on super low heat, covered, for 30 minutes. For serious. Just leave it alone. SP STOP OPENING IT TO CHECK ON THEM!


After that 30 minutes, bring the heat up and stir for about 6-8 minutes. Then throw in 1/4-1/2 cup of water, leaving it on hot, and let the water cook out. This will help loosen any stubborn bits of umyum and help the flavor get a bit smoky.

Ok. Now it’s time to build our animal fries. We may be a bit sacrilegious because we aren’t using cheese, but then again, we can’t source In-n-Out fries either. So this can only be a temporary fix.


We used some Ore Ida “zesties.” They’re great seasoned fries to make in the oven and really good quality fries no matter the style you get. 


Get some of the umyums on there.




Served tonight alongside some homemade Untidy Josephs.

Please feel free to try the recipe and give us your feedback!

Man it feels good to type up some stuff again. Catch you on the flip-flop?


[FHCx306] National Calzone Day/National Deep Fried Clams Day/National Vinegar Day


Riffing on this Ben Wyatt from Parks n Rec thing… if we were to make a restaurant to celebrate folded pizza, it would be specifically diet-friendly and located in areas nearby Los Angeles or San Diego. It would be called the Local LoCal Low-Cal Calzone Zone.

But for reals. Calzone Day was just established recently. Specifically, it was petitioned by Minsky’s Pizza on their 40th anniversary. So hooray for them!

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Today also celebrates something we were worried about finding. There are always days like that. Sea Salt, which we visited for fried scallops, closed for the season at the end of October. Our next best bet was a place called Mucci’s, which is known for their deep fried – wait for it – pizza. Yeah. We were excited to see they also had clam fritti. But when we called at 4:45 to ensure they had our item, we were aghast to find they didn’t have any! As of November 1st, today was a menu change, and they don’t have ’em anymore.

We were in luck that a local joint by SP‘s old apartment had the goods for us. Here’s Mac’s Fish and Chips.



The menu on a white board. Too quaint not to share.


“We don’t have soda. We have POP!” Thanks, Minnesota. SP approves.


SP got half clams and half cod. Mmmmm those clam strips were AMAZING.


AK went full-blown Minnesotan and got Walleye. Probably was from Lake Wobegon.


And what’s this? Malt vinegar to have with our fish n chips? Such that we can enjoy National Vinegar Day? Perfect!

Despite the troubles, today was a success. We could’ve clammed up, but we got out of our shell and had an adventure.

Tomorrow is National Deviled Egg Day.


[FHCx225] National Julienne Fries Day

Julie who?


French Fry lesson time. There’s a lot of different forms of our favorite deep fried potato treat. Thanks to The Nibble, we have this beautiful article. In it, we find some serious wisdom.

The general shape of the french fry is called the “batonnet.” It’s about 0.25″ by 0.25″ by 2-2.5″ while its big brother, the “baton,” is 0.5″ by 0.5″ on the end. Our buddy for today, the Julienne style, which admittedly is used in cutting all sorts of things that aren’t french fries, uses 1/8″ or 3mm – one half each edge length of the batonnet. Nobody knows how the term originates but perhaps after a person with a name like Julienne.

So to honor the french fry, we went French: Barbette in Minneapolis.

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SP‘s “Royale with Cheese” – burger with caramelized onions and brie (yes, brie) with some hollandaise for the fries.

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AK‘s Croque Madame, with that beautiful egg on top.

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J is for Julienne!

We can’t turn down french fries. These were really great. If you’re ever in the Lake Calhoun area, make sure to stop by Barbette!

Tomorrow is National Filet Mignon Day!


[FHCx210] National Chili Dog Day/National Milk Chocolate Day

Chocolate chili, anybody?


Chocolate is chocolate. Purists will dismiss things like milk chocolate and white chocolate. But in reality, milk chocolate isn’t all that bad! We got some chocolate from Choco Love. Pretty good stuff!

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Today is also Chili Dog Day. There are a few restaurants in the Twin Cities that do amazing dogs: Chris and Rob’s, The Wienery, and Prairie Dogs. Prairie Dogs, especially, is known for making some badass chili – you can tell they’re good on it because they serve chili cheese fries. So we made the trip down to uptown (which is south of downtown) to get our dog on. And it was absolutely amazing. You need to go to Prairie Dogs immediately.

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The “Split Open and Melt” – Chili, Hook’s cheddar spread, mustard, and raw onions. Chili Cheese Fries on the side. Messy. Delicious.

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Not a chili dog. The “Pliny the Elder” – Duck fat fried hot dog, foie gras torchon, and currant apple relish. Also messy. Also delicious.

The chili is just what you need for a dog. Super meaty. No beans. A little kick and very, very, very saucy. Gets everywhere. We will dream of these dogs tonight.

Tomorrow is National Chicken Wing Day and National Lasagna Day!


[FHCx195] National French Fry Day/National Beans ‘n Franks Day

An important holiday for sure.


Beanie Weenie, whatever. You take a frank of some sort, mix it in with some baked beans. Our guess is that someone needed to make a dinner out of two convenient, long-lasting foods. Chop up some hot dog and throw it in beans. Boom. There’s even fiber in it, so it’s good for you, right?

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SP‘s favorite baked beans.

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Very good hot dogs. Easy to prepare.

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Franks. Beans.

But there’s a more important thing to talk about today: French Fries.

French Fries are the epitome of the beige food. Ultimately tasty, uniquely made in so many different places, undeniably addictive, and most definitely not good for you in large quantities. In no particular order, we want to salute the following places for their excellent French Fries. Please keep doing what you’re doing:

And many, MANY others. Those are just the first that come to mind. Today we celebrated by picking up a snack at Five Guys. We’ve found among our friends that Five Guys’ fries are polarizing. Some friends say that the reason they give you so many in the bag is because they have to get rid of them, since they’re so bad. Those are people you shouldn’t spend too much time around. Five Guys’ fries are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, fresh and hot, and best covered in cajun spices.

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Thanks for the fries!

Tomorrow is National Grand Marnier Day and National Mac and Cheese Day.


[FHCx129] National Coconut Cream Pie Day/National Have a Coke Day/5-8 Day


We’ll settle this right now. Coconut Cream Pie < Banana Cream Pie. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t great. There really aren’t any pies that aren’t worth having. We love pie. Pie pie pie.

Of all the places to get pie, we wanted to highlight the lovely bakery of Hy-Vee, the grocery store you wish your grocery store could be. It’s a growing chain of employee-owned stores with amazing quality and great ethics. We’re happy that they’ve moved into the Twin Cities!

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Today was also National Have a Coke Day. AK doesn’t like carbonated drinks, but SP is all about that Coke Zero.

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Coke Zero doesn’t taste like Coca Cola classic. But it’s better than Diet Coke.

Lastly, we had to take advantage of today’s date and highlight a local restaurant that is home to a classic Twin Cities tradition. We’re talking about 5-8 (though that’s not the case for those of you in Europe until August) and we’re talking about the 5-8 Club, home of the Juicy Lucy. SPAK took a trip out to get some cheese-stuffed burgers.

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Lucy’s Sunny Side: Stuffed with cream cheese and bacon and topped with a fried egg.

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The Saucy Sally: Stuffed with secret sauce and American cheese, topped with lettuce, onions, and some Thousand Island sauce

SP‘s Sunny Side was a very good burger. Most people avoid cream cheese when it comes to cheesing their burgers because it just seems so different than the norm. However, it toes the line between savory and sweet flavors, which is great to add depth to a burger!

AK says that the Saucy Sally tastes very close to an In-n-Out burger. Something about the special sauce, Thousand Island, and onions made it a bit nostalgic.

So happy 5-8, 5-8 Club!

Tomorrow is National Butterscotch Brownie Day and National Moscato Day.


Whose house?! Icehouse!

We’ve been dormant! Mostly because we’re moving. Part of this moving business includes getting the new kitchen remodeled (into an extra-new SUPERKITCHEN!) which, of course, means more excuses to go out to eat! Yay. This time, we chose Icehouse. It’s kind of toward uptown Minneapolis, but isn’t that not technically uptown? It’s south of downtown. The neighborhood might be called Whittier but also we might have made that up. How’s this: Icehouse is on the Eat Street bit of Nicollet.

And the inside is real purty. Photo credit: heavytable.com

SP fancied himself a cocktail and decided to forego his usual citrus-focused drink choices for what Icehouse has dubbed the “Little Richard,” which is described on the menu as “zesty jazzberry phosphate rum-punch with vanilla cream foam.” Slightly obscure Mary Poppins references aside, it looked like this:

"HOOOOOO! Shut up." - Kennedy Davenport as Little Richard

“HOOOOOO! Shut up.” – Kennedy Davenport as Little Richard

As a bonus, it makes your burps taste like Jolly Ranchers!

We, as a SPAKtastic unit, love few things more than we love mushrooms, onion, and garlic (in any configuration or combination, really). That said, it of course follows that we ordered the Cast Iron Mushrooms as a starter. It’s a gorgeous varied heap of squishy shroomy goodness, topped with goopy burrata cheese. According to the internet, “burrata” means “buttered” in Italian; hopefully that’s an effective indication of how perfect the texture is. You’d think that exquisite cheesy mushrooms in a cast iron dish (as promised!) would be enough, but it also comes with a side of crostini AND roasted garlic in a sort of oily paste form. No onions to be found in this dish, but that’s not a letdown. Just imagine: delicately grasping a crostino between your thumb and forefinger; trying to contain yourself as you use your butter knife to scoop up some garlic paste and gingerly spread it on the roasty toasty bread; fumbling with your fork to gather up enough mushrooms to adequately adorn the layer of pure garlicky heaven; and, finally… the euphoric crunch resonating throughout your skull as the savory symphony plays on over your tastebuds.

Cast Iron Mushrooms with Crostini and Roasted Garlic

Cast Iron Mushrooms with Crostini and Roasted Garlic

Pure fungal heaven.

SP has spent a couple months coveting the Icehouse Burger from afar, ever since he saw it in a local magazine. One of the things that makes it special is the option of adding a slab of foie gras to it, and we saw to it that this opportunity was seized. Some burgers are the type you cannot possibly avoid getting all over you, and the Icehouse Burger is no exception. Rather than excess ketchup and mustard, what drips down your arm is a veritable stream of fatty duck and even fattier beef juices — plus, a truffle demi-glace, which was poured over the meat as it was served. When you bite into it, it’s like biting into a meat cloud bursting with rain-juice.

“So good. There were onions, it was buttery, sweet, salty, and… **indistinct satisfied muttering**… The fries were so good, too. Restaurant-style, hand-cut fries. They know what they’re doing. **more muttering** Crispy outside, fluffy inside, salted correctly. No way they’d ever let anything sit under a warmer to get soggy and stale. The tomato aioli that came with the fries was nice and smoky. **a sound that might be characterized most closely with “nnnnph”** A burger you won’t regret.” – SP, in a burger-induced haze

The top bun practically bounced right back off after SP put it on. A burger not to be trifled with.

The top bun practically bounced right back off after SP put it on. A burger not to be trifled with.

Meanwhile, across the table, AK chowed down on some Hanger Steak. It arrived on a bed of greens and wild mushrooms with sherry, topped with veal sweetbreads, and a croquetta on the side. Our server explained that the steak is served at a default of medium to medium-well as a result of being cooked sous-vide, which usually isn’t preferred (medium rare is the SPAK way), but the meat came out a beautiful, dark, and ultimately irresistible pink. It was tender, juicy, flavorful, and everything it should have been. It’s unclear what exactly was in this particular croquetta, but whatever it was, it was awesome. The insides were moist and salty, while the outside had a lovely crunch. The thought of what goes into sweetbreads usually gets us both feeling a little skeevy, but once you can get past the inherent rubberyness, the taste is rich and enjoyable. Neither of us remember what the sauce on the plate was, but it paired nicely with any of the other items in the dish. Some kind of remoulade, maybe?

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Lest we forget the sides. This time around we decided to get two to share: 1) Beer Battered Eggplant, and 2) Bacon, Egg, & Cheddar Mac & Cheese.

Beer Battered Eggplant with basil pesto, saffron, and giardiniera dollops for dippin'

Beer Battered Eggplant with basil pesto, saffron, and giardiniera dollops for dippin’

The batter didn’t taste that beerish, but not in a bad way. Nor in a way that makes you feel cheated. It was a very light batter that melts in your mouth without ever separating from the eggplant treasure within. The eggplant doesn’t come out of the battering/frying process too squishy or overly salty, either. Yum!

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The mac & cheese is one of the items we were most looking forward to but, sadly, also the one the ended up being our least favorite. Not because it was bad! It was very good! But something always has to place last. If you tend to enjoy white cheddar mac & cheese with thinner and not so much of the in-your-face types of thick melty cheese, this one is perfect for you. The bacon pervades the dish pleasantly, and the goo from the poached egg on top is a welcome addition (eggs over easy is a SPAK breakfast favorite!). Lastly, the smattering of roasted tomato and rosemary was a very present taste without being too pungent.

And then… there was dessert. We love chocolate. We love chocolate so much that we got both of the chocolate-centric desserts available to us: the Dark Chocolate Torte, and Chocolate Zucchini Cake. Each came with either a sorbet or ice cream, the freshness of which managed to dampen the heavy richness of all the chocolate. We’ll let them speak for themselves:

Dark Chocolate Torte with apricot ice cream, raspberries, and sunflower seeds

Dark Chocolate Torte with apricot ice cream, raspberries, and sunflower seeds. Plus, some sort of vaguely brown butter-esque sauce.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with chocolate sorbet, ganache, oreo crumb, and cinnamon. Although, I could swear there was also a vanilla sorbet. You can kind of see it behind one of the pieces of cake in the middle. But maybe that was just the ganache.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with chocolate sorbet, ganache, oreo crumb, and cinnamon. Although, we could swear there was also a vanilla sorbet. You can kind of see it behind one of the pieces of cake in the middle.

We’re full.