I mentioned to April that I was craving a negroni at Icehouse, and since she works next door, she said she wanted to come meet me for happy hour. Sold! A lonely negroni < a spontaneous friendate.
Icehouse, in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis (my neighborhood for the past five years or so), has a bold adventurous menu that’s grounded in traditional American fare. Their beer selection leans local and fantastic, the cocktails are diverse and modern, and their happy hour is arguably one of the best in town, in terms of a higher-end spot offering ballerrific nummies on a budget. There are few places in town where I’d take my parents to brunch that I’ve also been blackout wasted at seeing my favorite hardcore electronic noise band (I can actually think of two more spots off the top of my head that meet these specific criteria).
One of the best/worst parts of Icehouse is their $5 sipping shots. I have a self- and friend-imposed 3 shot limit, only if I’ve eaten a full meal prior and am drinking water. They’re so good, though, you guys, and they get you drunk and they’re cheap. That’s some kind of Matty unholy trinity. And one of them is a carbonated negroni that’s sweet and refreshing on a summer afternoon.
But I wasn’t planning on Burger Fetishizing today. There’s a $30 burger on their menu that I’m planning on doing eventually, I was here this day for a negroni and some lovely company on a Sunday, I have a list of burgers that I need to eat and talk about already without throwing other ones into the mix.
And then they tricked me! They have a happy hour sandwich called a “chorizo bocadillo.” Now, this place has stupid-good sandwiches. Seriously local pedigreed Chef Matthew Bickford has worked at a bunch of top restaurants in town before opening a gourmet deli in the North Loop neighborhood, which led to him opening Icehouse. Their pastrami is crazy tasty, and unfortunately retired from their happy hour menu (you can still get it for a reasonable price on the lunch menu, though). To my knowledge, a bocadillo is a sandwich on french bread (Wikipedia, back me up here. Thanks!), and chorizo is a sausage. So when I order a chorizo bocadillo, I expect a sausage on french bread.
But oops! Here comes a burger. And it’s good. It’s a homemade chorizo patty, which I’d normally expect to be tough, but I assume they’re work with more tender cuts of pork and brine and fuck with it other ways, and it worked; there’s a lot better of a texture than I’ve come to expect from a pork patty (which beyond America’s obvious love affair with beef is why we don’t see pork burgers often, even though beef burgers are called “hamburgers”, but we can talk etymology some other time). And there’s a fucking egg on it. Under the egg, though, is the pièce de résistance: a sheep’s milk cheese-stuffed piquillo pepper, which is a cute li’l Spanish sweet pepper. No sauce, though! They don’t need it! The cheese and yolk do more than enough of the heavy lifting to keep that moistness in the bread. Oh, and their homemade onion bun, which was designed to carry burgers and be flavorful on its own without overwhelming the main event.
It comes with fries cut in house, skin-on and not too crispy that lean on the overseasoned side, which actually isn’t a problem for me. They’re definitely too even to be cut by hand, but let’s face it: beyond going that extra mile, there isn’t much point; cut your cooks some slack. This is a totally bonkers steal at $8 during happy hour, and it’s $12 for brunch.
Those bastards tricked me into eating a burger, but I totally wasn’t mad about it.