Eating at El Loro is great, even if you can’t eat AT El Loro

We miss sitting down at a real restaurant. We don’t mind takeout, we love it, but sometimes we really do want a regular, sit-down experience. Don’t worry, we’re not one of those people who will start bullying restaurants to open back up – we know this lockdown is for a good reason – but it does make us sad. If we’re struggling with this, imagine how the restaurants themselves are handling it! The answer is, for the most part, “poorly.” Restaurants that simply do not work as take-out joints have been forced to transition, and it’s not going smoothly for most places. This can be a problem with multiple factors: the food isn’t suited for take-out, they don’t have any ecosystem in place for take-out or delivery, or the owners don’t want to work out the business plan for transition.

One restaurant we’ve been wanting to go to, El Loro in Bloomington, is a sit-down Mexican place that has made the transition to take out. Have they managed to crack the code? Hit the jump to find out.

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Scott Ja-Mama’s packs big barbecue into a tiny package

We discovered Scott Ja-Mama’s by complete chance. Driving down the road, as we are wont to do, we simply came to the intersection of Diamond Lake and Nicollet and were forced to stop at its red light. While waiting, Paula turned their head and said, “Now that looks like a hole in the wall!” There was the neon sign of Scott Ja-Mama’s, promising hot barbecue with a one-of-a-kind name. We had never before gotten so immediately excited over a restaurant we had seen on the street. It is our fervent belief that the smaller a restaurant is, the better its food is. And we’re talking about floor space, not just the amount of business it does. Scott Ja-Mama’s looked like it could hold barely five people, maybe seven if they were slim.

So, of course, we were instantly enamored and had to order from there soon. And two days later, we had put the order in. We were going to find out what Scott Ja-Mama’s was all about.

But what is Scott Ja-Mama’s all about? What even is it? Hit the jump to find out.

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Why did Burger King bring back its spicy nuggets, here and now?

Burger King brought its spicy nuggets back. You didn’t know they had left? You didn’t even know that Burger King even had spicy nuggets? We can’t blame you. Burger King introduced spicy nuggets back in 2017, shortly after Wendy’s discontinued their nuggets, in a naked cash-grab. 

We’re not really in a position where going outside to grab a handful of chicken nuggets is something you can do in a lark anymore. Going out for Burger King is a thing now, like literally any reason you go outside. You gotta bring your mask, and your hand sanitizer, and carefully plan to make sure you don’t get too close to anybody else… it gets exhausting. You need a good reason if you’re going outside. Like, perhaps, Burger King offering those spicy nuggets at an unbelievably cheap price: eight for a dollar? We’ve had these nuggets before, but it had been years since we last tasted one… Well, grab your mask and hit the jump, what is there to lose?

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Uptown’s Burger Jones meats its maker for good

Horrible news, fans of hamburgers and weirdly charged environments: the Burger Jones in south Minneapolis has closed down permanently. Yes, due to the COVID-19 situation they’ve decided that keeping the second location open makes little economic sense and have chosen to turn in their badge. No more getting burgers forcefully crammed into your mouth on Lake Street, that’s for sure.

Parasole Restaurant Holdings, a major player in the Minneapolis-area restaurant scene and the owner of both Burger Jones restaurants, has been struggling with the repercussions of COVID-19 for a while now. Parasole had been looking to sell itself to an equity firm, but the deal had been walked back in the face of the pandemic. 

We had liked the time we spent at the Burger Jones location in Burnsville, and are saddened to hear the other space is now gone. We were sincerely planning to go there someday, because it had a few features the Burnsville location did not – namely, a delicious sounding orange creamsicle milkshake we were very much looking forward to trying. But now, the coronavirus has taken another good thing away from us. That’s not even to mention all the poor workers who are now out of a job!

It’s weird, and honestly a little horrifying, to see the spread of COVID-19’s destruction well beyond just the immediate disease. It was hard enough at first to understand that these places would be closed, but the fact that plenty of them will never open again is frightful to comprehend. Burger Jones is just one restaurant out of many – we’ve come to understand there are plenty of places that we will never be able to go to, because they will be gone forever. Things are different now. We can only hope to give support to the community where we can.

But don’t despair, fans of enormous, greasy, juicy hamburgers. The Burger Jones in Burnsville is hopefully going to remain open as their flagship location. Who knows when it’ll open its doors back up, but you can get burgers to go and go Full Jones on them on your own time while social distancing. And if you’re really missing out on the atmosphere, why not check out our review of the place, right before all the shit hit the fan? Be warned, it is not for the kids!

Wendy’s gave us a GroupNug for free. Why?

Hey, Wendy’s is giving away free nuggets! Did you know about this? I mean, it happened on April 24th, so if it’s not April 24th where you are right now, it’s too late. But we managed to get some nuggets, and they were totally free! We didn’t have to buy anything, we just drove right through the drive through and they gave it to us! Isn’t that crazy?

And you know what’s really crazy? If you live in an area where there are several Wendy’s within quick driving distance of each other – like we do – you can just drive to each one and get free nugs from all of them! We went to four Wendy’s and got a four pack from each! 

If the multiplication chart I’ve hung onto from first grade can be trusted, that was sixteen nuggets for zero dollars! That’s enough nuggets for two people, for absolutely free. If this wasn’t free it probably would have cost over four dollars! Who has four dollars to spare in this economy? Do you have four dollars on you right now? Hit the jump to find out if you have four dollars on you right now.

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Pandemic Express

Sometimes, you just gotta have some Panda Express. So we got some Panda.

In these coronavirus-riddled times, it’s not so easy to go out and get you some Panda Express, though. It takes significantly more foresight, planning, and preparation to go out and pick up some cheap hot food from a chain restaurant than it used to. Not a huge amount, of course, but you can’t just slap on some sweatpants and drive down the block like you could in the Old Days. It takes deliberation. It requires a sense of purpose.

That purpose, primarily, is having to sit down and fill out the order form on their website. This is a double edged sword, because it gives you virtually unlimited time to actually contemplate what you want to eat without any line pressure, but then you have to wrangle with the universally terrible online ordering form. God help you if you want to order from one of those delivery apps – those are even worse! 

But once you’ve got your order set, it’s time to head outside. So slap those sweatpants on, find a clean face mask, and get your keys. Shit, where are your keys? You can’t hit the jump without your keys!

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FOOD: Chipotle – The Chipotle Unexperience

There is an amazing Mexican restaurant in our area that we only rarely go to. The Andale Taquiera is a hidden gem of the suburbs, a Guy Fieri-approved diner that serves some of the most amazing burritos and tacos you can get on this side of the Twin Cities, and certainly the best ones outside of the cities proper. And yet, we choose time and time to go to Chipotle down the street instead. 

Why is this? Why do we keep doing this to ourselves? Everybody knows that Chipotle’s burritos are only just passable, and any independent Mexican restaurant worth their salt would blow them out of the water. We certainly are aware of this, but we kept choosing Chipotle time and time again. What kind of madness is this? What possible reason could someone choose to do this to themselves? Well, if you’re as perplexed at our behavior as we are, just click through and we’ll tell you all about the Chipotle experience.

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FOOD: Taco Bell – The Breakfast Crunchwrap Experience

Disclaimer: Due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, we weren’t really able to go outside and buy a Breakfast Crunchwrap to take photos of for our article. We’re making do with stock images from Taco Bell itself. Sorry.

Taco Bell is something that is almost, but not entirely, unlike real Mexican food. We don’t like to parrot talking points about “authentic” food here on Eggware.XYZ, but we really do have to admit that Taco Bell is as far detached from Mexican cuisine as Magritte’s pipe was to a real one. But there’s a certain beauty in it: in a sense, it is pure and authentic ‘American’ cuisine, representing everything that makes the modern United States of America the way it is: its cheesy-potatoey strengths, and its blatant disregard for the cultures it has built itself upon.

Most of the most interesting offerings on Taco Bell’s menu are those that don’t try to ape Mexican cuisine, but do their own ‘unique’ things. This is a tradition of theirs stemming all the way back to the Enchirito, a mashup of an enchilada and a burrito in one saucy mess. One of our favorite concoctions is the Crunchwrap Supreme, a kind of rethinking of a burrito that is folded into a hexagon around a tostada. 

The Crunchwrap is what Taco Bell is all about. It’s designed in a way that makes it more convenient to eat than a regular burrito of similar size, and adding a tostada for crispiness is a clever textural component. There’s nothing like it anywhere else. We don’t want to imply that this is good food, or even particularly tasty. It’s just one of the little ‘innovations’ that you get in fast food, the kind that Taco Bell specializes in. Since Taco Bell works with a different palette of ingredients than most other fast food restaurants – tortillas instead of buns, loose ground meat instead of patties – they have more liberty to experiment and create strange concoctions. 

First released as a limited time offer in 2005, the Crunchwrap Supreme was popular enough to be added to their full time menu in 2006 and has been there ever since. And since the Crunchwrap Supreme was so popular, when Taco Bell introduced a new breakfast 2014 they added a Breakfast Crunchwrap to it. This was the most brilliant thing that Taco Bell has ever done.

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FOOD: Surviving Burger Jones

WARNING: The following article, unusually for us, is very NSFW. Please do not read this if you are under the age of 18, or if you are somebody who works for Parasole Restaurant Holdings.

Burger Jones. The name fills me with fear. How can I possibly explain why? What words will describe the imagined world of Burger Jones, otherwise a small Minnesotan chain of hamburger restaurants? What will atone for what we have invented? Is it simply too late?

Burger Jones was opened in 2009 by Parasole Restaurant Holdings, a small restaurateur business that owns several other restaurants across the Twin Cities. Like what must now be 80% of restaurants in the United States, it is a hamburger restaurant. It serves hamburgers. Its named “Burger Jones”. This isn’t hard math. 

But there is a darker side to Burger Jones, a dripping, turgid mess, that is a complete and utter fantasy invented by us here at Eggware.XYZ as one of the stupidest running jokes ever devised. We’d like to apologize to any members of Parasole Restaurant Holdings, or any other employee of the Burger Jones who might stumble upon this article, but our tale must be told. We’ve lived with this for too long, and now that we have finally dined at Burger Jones, you must all share our pain.

We are so, so sorry.

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