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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Saturday, March 02, 2013

Revisiting Benders Sports Pub in West Bend, Wisconsin

By definition, pub grub foods are not gourmet.  Most can be recreated at home which is one reason to stop in for a few new ideas.  They tend to be on the inexpensive side.  In general, pub grub foods involve greasier types of food as well as snacks but that all depends on the pub.   Some pubs give you complimentary popcorn or peanuts and while this makes you feel good, the pubs know these salty freebies will get you drinking more (usually beer) where they actually make their money.  Most pubs offer daily specials, weekly entertainment and other incentives to get you in the door.  They even encourage this with low priced or two for one drinks during happy hour.  For the most part, pubs are just pleasant places to spend a bit of time.  With that in mind, pubs are still one of the best values for your eating out dollars. Oh and many pubs are kid friendly as well.

I shared our experience vising Benders Sports Pub in West Bend, Wisconsin in 2011.  On that visit the focus was on their famous jumbo garlic wings as it was lunchtime but I had a feeling this pub had a bit more to offer.  We had the opportunity to stop there again with the kids a couple of weeks ago.  So, we stopped in for dinner on the Sunday of our visit for dinner.

Benders appetizers
We ordered the deep fried cheese curds ($7.99) with ranch dressing and 20 boneless wings ($14.99) with three different sauces, ranch dressing and celery.  The deep fried cheese curds were amazing!  Their wings are rather good too.   Chicken wings tend vary in size considerably.  One place we frequent has good wings one week but the next week they are over cooked and quite small.   We certainly were not disappointed in flavour or quality at Benders.

Quesadillas have become typical pub grub fare that are easily duplicated at home.  The nice thing about quesadillas aside of being easy and inexpensive to make, is they are very versatile.  You can use any meat, go meatless, with or without cheese, and the dipping sauce possibilities are endless. 

My husband ordered the quesadillas with steak ($9.99).  It was made with a blend of cheeses and steak sandwiched between two large flour tortillas.  It came served with fresh lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sour cream and salsa.   It was declared good and really when you are eating out that's all that matters. 

chicken tacos
Sunday is taco night at Bender's!  One of our kids ordered the chicken tacos at $2 each.  The soft tacos consisted of chicken, lettuce, chopped tomato, topped with cheddar jack served on a soft taco.  Sour cream and salsa were included.  The filling was quite generous making this a very inexpensive yet tasty meal. 

This is another easy and inexpensive dish to recreate at home that can even use left over shredded or sliced meats.  Tacos make for a quick meal as well so if you are rushed, they are something to consider.  I like keeping cooked meat, shredded cheese and other toppings on hand just for this very purpose.

mushroom and swiss burger
One of our kids ordered the Swiss mushroom burger ($8.99).  Strips of marinated portabello mushrooms topped the burger pattie that was smothered with Swiss cheese sandwiched between a toasted bun. It was served with lettuce, tomato and Benders homemade chips.  The burger quite looked delicious!  You really can't go wrong with that combination.

Homemade chips are very easy to make with thinly sliced fresh potatoes and a deep fryer.  If you want a healthier version, you can bake them in the oven.  This lowers the fat content but still gives crispy results.  You can easily control the sodium content by making homemade chips either way.

spaghetti with marinara sauce
Spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce served with a side garden salad and soft garlic bread stick is a odd offering for pub grub food so I ordered that.  I was in the mood for pasta and besides how bad could it be?  The salad was the average iceberg lettuce with a couple of cucumber slices, tomato wedges and onion slice served with choice of dressing.  The pasta itself was just a bit over cooked for my liking but the sauce had a nice flavour.  Overall it was a rather decent meal for $8.99.

We really enjoyed our second visit to Benders Sports Pub.  Most of their dishes do make use of that gorgeous Wisconsin cheese.  The atmosphere was nice, the food good and the company stellar.  I know I'm a bit biased but any time I get to spend with my kids is always going to be a good time!  We don't get to see the kids in Wisconsin as much as we would like.  Facebook, texting, Facetiming and calling are all great but in person is better.

Our one kid immigrated to Wisconsin when married so there are some things missed about Canada, especially certain Canadian foods.  I taught them how to cure a pork loin for pea meal bacon and even brought the Morton's Tender Quick which was rather amusing at airport security - white substances even in their original packaging do draw attention.   We brought three large canisters of Tim Horton's coffee with us something that customs usually checks.  I also brought home canned salsa for a taste of home.  We brought back some lovely Wisconsin cheese.  It was a wonderful visit filled with lots of great food.  I can't wait until our next visit!

1 food lovers commented:

Anji said...

It all looks great - I'm really hungry now.

there is nothing nicer than a family meal out.