Pat’s Tap has many lovely qualities.
If you can forgive Pat for preferring the Packers, you’ll appreciate her generous happy hour, Skee-ball machines and a patio welcoming to pets.
Oh yeah, and the food’s good too.
What I’m here to talk about today is cheese curds.
It’s easy to make OK versions and hard to perfect. Deep frying battered cheese so that it has the ideal taste and texture is a complicated and beautiful thing.
Not all bits of fried cheese are cheese curds. Cheese balls are not cheese curds. Mozzarella sticks aren’t cheese curds. Only cheese curds are cheese curds.
High quality cheese curds are the heart and soul of the dish.
Texture matters. The cheese should be stringy and chewy and seeping with milk fat.
Batter is integral. The batter or coating can go wrong in so many ways, blemishing a perfectly good curd. Mass-produced, previously frozen, nuggets are usually afflicted with dense, sandy breading. Some fresh batters begin with good intentions but end up too thick or too tough.
Service temperature is essential. They’re magical served molten hot from the deep fryer.
And then there are dips. Cheese curds have to be served with some type of dip. It doesn’t matter what it is and it doesn’t matter if you use it. What matters is that the dip is there (because someone will want to dip their curds) and that it’s good. Ranch dressing, marinara sauce, funky fruit ketchups, hoisin sauce can all work.
Pat’s Tap serves cheese curds that taste as good as our favorites from the MN State Fair. We’ve never found cheese curds we like as much as the MN State Fair’s until we visited Pat.
3510 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Can you mail me some? I have a hankering. With a side of ranch, please. Thank you.
Mmmmmmm… Cheese Curds… (insert Homer Simpson sound effect here)
It should also habe that squeak factor, know what I mean? Squeaky between your teeth? Mmmmm, cheese!
Yes! This is vital.
These look delicious! But, I’d also like for you to take me to the best cheese curds at the fair!!
One of the places closed this year, but we have always visited the Mouth Trap.
I’ve never had cheese curds, but I mean they’re made of cheese so I can’t imagine not liking them. I will make a mental note to demand sauce if I ever have the opportunity to try some! 😉
Never? They’re so delicious. Maybe you’ll find some when you travel back to the states soon:)
You know your cheese, that I can tell. I’ve actually been to pat’s Tap when I discovered it online, and I thought it deserves a lot or recognition. Funny thing is, I got it confused with a bar in Iowa. I guess you can never have a rare enough name.
But anyway, you are absolutely spot on about Pat’s Tap serving just the right kind of cheese. I appreciate the dip mention. Not everyone actually understands how important it is. I can argue that it may actually matter what exactly the dip is, but this is too much of a subjective topic.
Thank you, it was a very nice read.
Thanks for your kind words Tariq!