Dish of the Week: Jalapeño Popper

You’re gonna like All Square. They do gourmet grilled cheese — which, ok fine — but almost their full staff consists of formerly incarcerated individuals, meaning the people who took my order, made my food, served my food, and cleaned up after me all served time. Most employers are reticent to hire ex-cons, so a place that embraces the task of educating, employing, and smoothing their re-entry into society is pretty awesome. However, it means nothing if the restaurant itself produces bad food. But I can confirm that the food is real solid. Not, like, the actual food is solid so babies and dental work patients beware, but the “it’s good” kind of solid.

I tried both the Charcuterie and Jalapeño Popper, and the former was great, but the flavors got a bit jumbled in comparison to the peñopop™(that’s my ™btw — you can’t steal that from me, because I know you want to). The ol’ popper comes with candied bacon and… what more do you need? OK, there’s also jalapeños, cheddar and cream cheese. The candied bacon brought the sweet and salty and the jalapeños brought heat. The cheddar was the correct cheese to stand up to those two big ingredients, and the cream cheese added the fat and classic gooiness that tied it all together. As far as I can tell (in my limited reporting), All Square uses the same toasted whole grain bread for at least most of its sandwiches. It’s a great choice — not too bold to drown out the stuff inside, but sturdy enough to contain everything.

Furthermore, it felt like a grilled cheese. With all those sandwiches containing all those ingredients, it’s tempting to think All Square serves, well, sandwiches, of which cheese is an ingredient. But the cheese is the feature here. The sandwich was a little smaller than I wanted it to be, but for $8, I also felt like I got my money’s worth — money I’m happy to spend, doing good for both human society and the society of bacteria (and other science stuff) in my stomach.

If you go: All Square is located at 41st St and Minnehaha Ave in Minneapolis. All sandwiches are $8 or less. Plus, don’t sleep on the fries. Le-git. And for $2, they’re a steal!