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Week No. 11 • RJ's Tavern on Main

This is just half of the one-pound Artery Blocker burger at RJ's Tavern on Main in Hastings.

Well, I did it. I don't think I should have. But I did. It's too late to turn back now. I think I'm starting to hallucinate. I need to go to bed.

I ate a one-pound burger at RJ's Tavern on Main in Hastings on Friday. Oh, it was good. It was loaded with pepperjack cheese, jalapenos and bacon (my wife was gone over the weekend, so nobody got hurt in this experiment). The hardest part about eating the burger was simply ordering it. It's called, after all, The Artery Blocker. I kinda stumbled at first, then mumbled as I ordered it. Just saying it hurt.

"Do you want fries with that," the waitress asked.

And at that point, all reason had left me and I got it with fries.

As I write this, less than a half-hour has passed since this monstrosity of a burger went down the hatch. I'm feeling OK right now, but I have asked staff here to check on me periodically to make sure I'm still alive.

All kidding aside: RJ's has burgers for normal people, too. There are 12 half-pound burgers to choose from (not counting the garden burger).

There is the Juicy Lucy (a burger stuffed with cheese); there is the California Bleu (bleu cheese, tomato, raw onion and mayo); Grandma's favorite (stuffed with cream cheese and sliced green olives); and the Investigator (bacon, jalapenos and American cheese), to name a few.

Most burgers are priced at around $6.25. You can add fries for $1.25, seasoned waffle fries for $1.75 or onion rings for $2.25.

Don't miss

RJ's is a good place to watch Vikings games. They have a 25-cent taco bar, a $3 Bloody Mary bar and buckets of domestic suds (5 for $10).

Don't like burgers?

RJ's has sandwiches and salads in addition to the burgers. There's a four-cheese grilled cheese (American, Swiss, cheddar and pepperjack) and the Inferno Chicken sandwich (a grilled chicken breast in Louisiana hot sauce with bleu cheese, lettuce and tomato).

For dinner, RJ's offers a 10-ounce flat-iron steak, fettuccini and shrimp, in addition to the burgers and sandwiches.

Want some good fries? Get the tavern fries, an RJ's special. They are seasoned waffle fries topped with melted cheddar cheese.

What Christina says

Regina Medical Center dietician Christina Gapp looked over RJ's menu and had this to say about healthful options there:

"As I am preparing to donate blood, I am thinking about iron. When Chad eats the burger every week, I am reminded of iron sources and how I might find good iron sources everyday to meet the need for iron. Most of us eat enough iron, but some of us are challenged to eat well everyday.

"Iron carries oxygen in our blood. Tiredness could be a sign of low iron. If you loose your appetite or have trouble chewing, you might need more iron, since 5 to 10 percent of us have low iron levels after age 45.

"Choose iron-rich foods, such as fortified cereals, dark green veggies, and baked beans or other dried beans and lentils. Order chili, bean soups... and for more absorption of the iron, choose vitamin C rich items from menus. Examples: spaghetti and meat sauce, chicken and broccoli, and order OJ with your peanut butter sandwich.

"You don't have to be a vampire to get your iron!"

As always, if you have ideas, comments or suggestions about this piece, please let me know. My phone number is 651-437-6153 and my e-mail address is crichardson@hastings