In August of 2015, Joe, Tony and I traveled to Minneapolis to experience the rich culture of the mid-west and to visit our dear friend Liz. We found ourselves at the Minneapolis Art Fair. As we were strolling lazily through the crowd, I smelled something amazing. “What is that smell?” I asked. Our friend, the Minnesota native replied in two syllables, “Cheese curds”. That was the beginning of the end. We ordered the fried cheese curds (pictured above) and never looked back.
Once I returned to the West Coast, I knew I had to find these delicious morsels again. What I found, however, was that this was a difficult task unto itself. Although fried cheese curds have not “hit it big” with folks on the west coast they could still be found sprinkled in random restaurants, pubs, and dive bars. Below is my review of the fried cheese curds that I have experienced on the west coast so far.
First Place – Saraveza – Portland, OR
These cheese curds are the closest thing that I have come across to the Minneapolis cheese curds that graced the presence of my mouth. The secret is definitely in the batter. Cheese curds should have a light but crunchy batter that doesn’t make the cheese curds too heavy. These are dangerously easy to eat and have the best batter and flavor.
Second Place – Yard House – San Jose, CA
I did not expect to like these as much as I did. But I loved these curds and I thought that the Yard house did a great job with both the batter and the flavor or the curds. I thought the dipping sauces were a little weird, but beggars can’t be choosers.
Third Place – Peter’s – Portland, CA
These cheese curds were good. The batter is a bit too heavy, but the cheese was gooey and delicious. The basil mayo dipping sauce was fantastic and a nice addition.
Honorable Mention – Forge Pizza – Oakland, CA
Overall, I am happy that an attempt is being made to bring cheese curds to the west coast. I hope to see these cheesy morsels grace the pages of many more menu’s to come!