George’s Fine Steaks and Spirits: an ideal restaurant for anyone and any occasion
When I first began writing this column, I considered writing about George’s Fine Steaks and Spirits, located at 301 North Minnesota St. in New Ulm. But, I thought, writing about George’s was too obvious. Everyone I know loves George’s. Everyone has at least heard of it. So, writing about George’s was predictable. Lately, however, I wondered how sad it would be if someone in New Ulm, or nearby, didn’t know about George’s? Maybe I could reach out to that one person who may have just moved here or lives in a cave or hides under a rock and open their eyes and mouth to some truly amazing food.
Claud and I stumbled across George’s a few years ago. It was early evening, before the dinner crowd came in. We were impressed by the open kitchen and long wooden bar. Everything was so clean. We sat at the bar and George Cottom served us. Instantly, we felt like one of his good old friends. George has a way of making every customer feel like he or she is the most important person in the room, and it’s genuine. I don’t see how he could fake his warmth and hospitality every single time I have been in the restaurant. He seems to enjoy the company of everybody who walks through the glass doors. In fact, I have never been to George’s and not been greeted by George.
Maybe George loves the restaurant and his clientele so much because he gets to work alongside his wife, Karen and his two daughters, Erin and Sarah. I know George values family, as well as food, because he told me his and Karen’s concept for this restaurant is, “good fresh food with family in mind.” I believe this is true because I have seen small children nestled in the booths with their parents enjoying “Pssghetti” or ribs from the children’s menu. At the same time, a couple on a romantic date will sip wine and eat lobster tail and filet mignon. I have witnessed anniversaries celebrated with large groups of people of all ages upstairs in a room that is designed for private parties. We sat upstairs one night when the restaurant was crowded and it was really just as pleasant as sitting downstairs. One night, just before Christmas, Claud and I were at the end of the bar, near the entrance, and we couldn’t believe how many people were coming in to buy gift certificates. This place is so special that you will want to give the experience as a gift to someone you love.
Now, let’s get to the food. The cover of George’s menu reads, “’There is no love sincerer than the love of food’ –George Bernard Shaw.” It’s wonderful to have a charming family greet you and make you feel comfortable, but the food is really what you are coming to enjoy, right? You will not be disappointed. Karen and George buy the highest quality meats and locally grown produce. Their recipes come from Karen, George or George’s mom and they are unbelievable. I think I have tried almost everything on the menu and, because everything is so good, I don’t know where to begin.
First, you start a meal with bread and honey butter. You will have to control yourself so you don’t make this your entire meal; it’s that good. The appetizers are to die for. My mouth waters on the drive to George’s when I think about “Erin’s ‘Shrooms” which are beer battered fresh mushrooms served with hot sauce and ranch. Sometimes, when the kids are at Rock on Ice on a Friday night, Claud and I will go into George’s for a date. We belly up to the bar and order a glass of wine for me and a Shell’s Firebrick for Claud and we each have an appetizer. We always have so much fun meeting new amazing people.
Whenever we have family out from California, we take them to George’s for dinner. In fact, when my mom is here, she insists we have at least one meal there. The entrees at Georges are so tasty and start at $13.95. However, I would be remiss not to say that the soup which precedes the meal is good enough to stand on its own. The lamb chops are seasoned to perfection, the baby back ribs are tender and messy, and Claud says the steaks are the best he has ever tasted. There is an Italian section of the menu featuring shrimp scampi and pasta with meatballs.
If you are steering clear of large meals, George’s also offers a lighter option to his dishes. He tells me that customers are encouraged to ask their server to suggest light options to the entrees. For example, you may substitute a Newman’s Own light dressing on your salad or have them replace the butter with olive oil. Also, the menu offers George’s salad with steamed fresh veggies or Bob’s Salad with a fresh cut wedge of iceburg lettuce. You may even want to try the chicken breast sandwich which is boneless and skinless. If you aren’t counting calories, you will want to end the meal with one of “Karen’s Dessert O’da day”. Go to www.georgessteaks.biz to view the entire menu.
I didn’t want to pry any of George’s traditional family secret recipes out of him; but, he did say that if anyone was trying to adapt something they were making at home, he or she could call him for advice or information on how to cook it. He is happy to assist.
George’s is open Monday through Saturday at 4 p.m. and for private parties anytime. Also, they are open for Valentine’s Day which is on a Sunday this year. You can make a reservation at 507-354-7440.
George did share his recipe for the creamy delicious honey butter:
1 lb butter
1 lb honey
1 C. heavy cream
Blend together and serve on warm fresh bread.
It’s that time again and football season is in full swing. Minnesota takes their Vikings games very seriously. Fans wear purple jerseys and some hang Vikings flags from their homes. Many people get together on a Sunday night to drink bear, eat snacks, and watch the game with friends.
The easy solution is to throw some chips or pretzels into a bowl next to a bowl of store bought dip. However, with a little bit of effort (not too much), there are some delicious and simple snacks which are sure to please any football fan. Invite some friends over for the next Vikings game and serve one or all of these snacks. You will be the best host ever!
6 eggs, hard boiled, cooled and peeled
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. celery, minced
½ onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Dash of hot pepper sauce
1/8 celery salt
Salt and pepper to taste
3 sprigs parsley for garnish
Dash of paprika for garnish
Slice the eggs in half and spoon the yolk into a large bowl. Combine mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, vinegar, celery, onion, garlic, pepper sauce, celery salt and salt and pepper. Mix well. Spoon this mixture back into the egg whites. Sprinkle the paprika over the finished eggs and top with parsley for garnish.
5 Layer Bean Dip:
2 cans black beans
2 C. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 onion, chopped
1 C. Salsa
½ C. sour cream
Place one two cans of black beans into an oven ready dish. Pour the cheese over the beans. Cook in a preheated 350 degree oven until cheese melts and beans are warm (about 15 minutes). Layer the onions, salsa and sour cream. Serve with tortilla chips.
1 loaf French or Italian bread, sliced in half lengthwise
2 cloves garlic sliced in half and 1 Tbsp. minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
¼ C. Parmigiano cheese, freshly grated
1/3 C. basil, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. balsamic
Salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat the broiler and place the rack six inches beneath broiler. Rub the sliced garlic onto the face of the bread halves. Drizzle the olive oil on the bread. Top with the cheese. Place this into the oven until golden brown (about ten minutes). In a separate bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, basil, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Stir. Once you take the bread out of the oven, cut into desired sizes. Top the bread pieces with the tomato mixture. Serve.
Every day is a celebration of the day I married Claud. We never put much effort into celebrating anniversaries. One year, we forgot it all together. We were having lunch with some other couples when somebody mentioned the date. I stopped eating and said, “Hey, honey, today is our anniversary!” He smiled and hugged me. We both laughed. Then, we picked up our Mai Tai’s and toasted our marriage. We happened to be in Tahiti. Sometimes, we are so lucky. It ended up being a very memorable anniversary…by chance.
This year, my family was flying out here from California because my sister was scheduled to deliver her baby a few days after our anniversary. I couldn’t think of a better time to have a party. I’d have my parents and both of my sisters together. We could invite some really nice friends. Claud agreed and we began making the plans.
The first thing on my mind, obviously, was the food. We had to cook dinner. What were we going to make on a budget? I imagined a sit down three course dinner with corn chowder, a mixed green salad, and Bent River Cheese stuffed chicken. I also considered lobster sandwiches which would be fun and easy. However, while the list of friends grew larger our budget remained the same. In the end, we thought fajitas would be a terrific idea. Not only are fajitas tasty, they can be made ahead of time so you can mingle with the guests. The ingredients: vegetables, chicken, tortillas, cheese, etc… are pretty inexpensive. Furthermore, you can lay everything out buffet style and allow people to create their own. That way they have the perfect meal made with what they want.
Claud and I prepared the food early on the day of the party. We marinated the chicken, cooked peppers and onions, and made salsa.
I made a spicy sour cream to go along side the regular sour cream. We also made green chili for those of us who love spicy food.
We cooked Spanish rice too. Everything was so colorful and festive and didn’t take long to prepare. Once the chicken was grilled and taken off of the bone, we were finished. When people arrived, we would heat it all up, along with some beans and tortillas and cheese, and set it out on the table. Simple!
My sister arrived first with her little girl, Ivy, and her husband, Dusty. It was so nice to have a little bit of time for just family, including Dan and Kathy. They are honorary family. Jessica looked so beautiful in her final days of pregnancy. I couldn’t believe we would have that little baby in our arms in a matter of days. Everyone was so excited.
Soon people arrived and it was time for cocktails. There is a great website you should visit which teaches you how to make many cocktails. Margaritas would be brilliant with fajitas. Visit: http://extratasty.com/ for other drink recipes. Many people brought me wine. Am I that obvious? Scott came with some of his homemade wine, which was delicious (as usual). My mom gave us a cookbook, Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
We set out some chips and salsa and greeted everyone as they arrived.
Claud and I couldn’t believe what a gorgeous evening it turned out to be. Throwing a party with outdoor seating in Minnesota is hit or miss. But, this was one of the most beautiful Fall days I remember experiencing. The sun began to set just as our friends found a seat on the deck and sipped their drinks. I was very happy.
Claud and I heated everything up for dinner and set it out on the table. There were different tables filled with people eating, talking and laughing. The kids were running in and out of the house, grabbing snacks or pops as they ran through the dining room. Boys chased girls. Actually, I think it was more girls were chasing one boy, sorry Spencer.
I made a toast to my husband trying to tell him how much I love him. I couldn’t remember much by the time I recited it. It was getting pretty late. So, it wasn’t that good. It ended up being more comedy than romance. That’s okay, I like a romantic comedy. Finally, at the end of the night, when some people left, the food was eaten, and much beer and wine had been consumed, we cranked up the speakers on the I pod and danced…kids and adults alike…on the tables into the wee hours of the night.
Three days later, my family stood together at a glass surrounded room, peering into the newborn nursery, watery eyed and smiling at what could possibly be the most beautiful baby girl ever born.
Her name is Harper Ellen Briggs. Congratulations Jessica and Dusty.
We love you. And remember, while each day is the best time to celebrate life, love, and happiness, a party every now and then doesn’t hurt either. Here is a short film of our anniversary party:
Prep Time: 3 hours (including time for chicken to marinate)
1 glass of your favorite wine
3 5lb. bags of quartered chicken on the bone
4 cups of marinade (your favorite or my recipe on my blog)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
10 yellow bell peppers
10 red bell peppers
5 large onions
3 cloves of garlic
Take a sip of your wine. Wash and dry the chicken. Place it in a large clean tub and completely saturate it with the marinade. Set this aside overnight or for at least two hours. Slice the peppers and onions and garlic. Heat olive oil in a pan, add the peppers, onions, and garlic and cook until tender. Cook the chicken on the grill until cooked through. The grilled meat and veggies are the main components of fajitas. Once these are done, you can put out olives, chili sauces, our cream, cheese, beans, rice, guacamole, or whatever you want. Heat up tortillas and fill them with the desired ingredients. Enjoy!
Here is the ever evolving Foodista recipe:
I wanted to give everyone a heads up on a festival. It will be on October 2-3 and October 9-10. You will not want to miss Oktoberfest in New Ulm, Minnesota. Follow this link to read all of the details. It is sure to be a blast. http://www.newulmoktoberfest.com/ If you can’t be in Germany for Oktoberfest, you might as well be in this beautiful German town. If you can’t be in New Ulm or Germany, check the web for Oktoberfests near you.