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  • Post #31 - November 19th, 2008, 3:01 pm
    Post #31 - November 19th, 2008, 3:01 pm Post #31 - November 19th, 2008, 3:01 pm
    I want to say thank you to BuddyRoadhouse for the Tea House rec. I wish I had my camera to take pictures of the lunch, sorry. I had to resist two urges first the pure gluttony of a buffet and the urge to order a meal of offal. I knew I was going to have a good lunch when I saw the chalkboard when I came in with various preperations of pig stomach and intestine! I ended up ordering the chungking chicken on the reccomendation of the waiter. We had a communication problem to work through so I was afraid he was suggesting the chicken for my weak American palette, but if he was I do not regret it. I don't know how, but the chicken was cut in small chunks of dark meat that were fried perfectly crispy on the outside and still remarkably juicy on the inside. It was stir-fried with onions and peppers in a salty, spicy, oily sauce. Now I just have to convince more people to come with me next time so I can try more stuff.
  • Post #32 - November 19th, 2008, 5:24 pm
    Post #32 - November 19th, 2008, 5:24 pm Post #32 - November 19th, 2008, 5:24 pm
    Glad to help, gtomaras. I wish I could do more. The only other place I can recommend that is even remotely in your area is a pretty good 'Que joint called Baker's Ribs. They are a small chain based out of Texas, with Eden Prairie being their only foray outside of the Lone Star State. They've gone to a lot of trouble to bring Texas BBQ to Minnesota, going so far as to import a huge custom made smoker made in their home state.

    I won't say this is the best Barbecue I've ever had, but it is, in my opinion, the best Barbecue in the Twin Cities; easily beating out the long established local favorites, Rudolph's, Market Bar-B-Que, and of course, Famous Whatisname.

    Now if you indicated that you were interested in some places that were closer into the downtown areas of both Minneapolis and St. Paul, I could open up with a plethora of strong recommendations. For now, this is the best I can do for the west and northwestern suburbs.

    Once again, very happy you enjoyed Tea House. Keep checking their "specials" board for a constantly changing list of authentic and exciting choices.

    Buddy

    Baker’s Ribs
    8019 Glen Lane
    Eden Prairie, MN
    (952) 942-5337
  • Post #33 - December 29th, 2008, 10:03 pm
    Post #33 - December 29th, 2008, 10:03 pm Post #33 - December 29th, 2008, 10:03 pm
    As is my usual routine, I was in Minneapolis for Christmas with the in-laws. Since my mother-in-law seems to be intimidated by anything more adventurous than LeeAnn Chin's, dining out is always a chore. I've learned to mostly go with the flow and have adopted the Borg creed of "resistance is futile, prepare to be assimilated."

    Upon arrival in the frigid city, it was a balmy -3 on the Monday before Christmas, I checked into the Radisson (it's a long story and would be glad to share with anyone interested) and then the better wife and I headed to the Blue Point in Wayzata for some liquid fortification before going to her Mother's. The Blue Point is an all time favorite with a fantastic wood paneled bar and one of the best bar tenders in creation. A couple of Hendricks martinis and a dozen oysters was just the ticket necessary for the trip to Donna's. By the way, the fresh fish at the Blue Point is fabulous and this is an absolute sure thing if you're ever in the TCs.

    Tuesday night we had tickets for White Christmas at the Ordway in St.Paul. Since I waited until Tuesday morning to try to get dinner reservations, choices were limited. We went to Matty B's Supper Club. Mistake. It was cold, literally. There's nothing like eating dinner with a parka. But at least the menu was limited and the service non-existent. Three of us had pasta and the mother in law a shrimp salad. Everything was specatacularly mediocre. Add to this a very limited wine list, meager beer list and the aforementioned poor service and you have a place that is not worth the time to even research.

    By Christmas Day my wife still had not recovered so we persuaded the MIL that it would be a good idea for me, the MIL and some friends to go out to dinner rather than eat left over Christmas cookies and toffee. Surprisingly, there were several restaurants open and since we didn't want anything too extravagent or expensive, our friend (who has been in the food biz for 20 years) suggested the Monte Carlo in the Warehouse District of Minneapolis. A good choice. This place has been around for 100 years or so and has a fine, warm atmosphere. Best of all, they have an excellent bar with a nice selection of Scotch. This is very important when I'm entertaining Donna without my wife. So, a couple of Laphroig 10s sure helped as a starter.

    The menu is simple with some traditional dishes and pub type food. I had a perfectly prepared salmon fillet and salad. My friend's wife had great fried chicken and Donna and my friend each had steak sandwiches. All was excellent and not intimidating, which is important. They also have an interesting, varied wine list that is quite reasonable. A dynamite dinner and nice wrap up to this year's Minneapolis visit.
  • Post #34 - January 1st, 2009, 6:46 pm
    Post #34 - January 1st, 2009, 6:46 pm Post #34 - January 1st, 2009, 6:46 pm
    This sounds so familiar. My family is in Minneapolis. Through long experience my wife and I worked out a strategy similar to yours-stay in a hotel, and find a decent bar to visit on the way to a get together. Helps a lot. We have found the Twin Cities to have a wealth of really god awful restaurants, but if you look around there are some good choices. And people dress funny too, you notice?
    trpt2345
  • Post #35 - January 2nd, 2009, 7:15 pm
    Post #35 - January 2nd, 2009, 7:15 pm Post #35 - January 2nd, 2009, 7:15 pm
    trpt2345 wrote:This sounds so familiar. My family is in Minneapolis. Through long experience my wife and I worked out a strategy similar to yours-stay in a hotel....... And people dress funny too, you notice?


    I'll embellish a little. We drive with our dogs, a couple of unruly mutts. My mother-in-law moved into a condo several years ago that does not allow dogs so I and the dogs stay at the Radisson while my wife stays with her mother. I have the better end of this deal. Especially since my MIL likes to keep the temp in her condo right around 90 degrees. My wife sleeps with the window open at night even when it's -10 outside. People also talk funny and they don't think that Fargo was an amusing movie.

    But, we've found some great eating there, when we have the chance. Some favorites are Pazzaluna and the St. Paul Grille in St. Paul. There's a dynamite tapas place in a trendy hotel in downtown Mnpls, but the name escapes me. As I mentioned, the Blue Point in Wayzata is fantastic. And I've been wanting to try Psycho Suzie's ever since I saw it on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.
  • Post #36 - January 3rd, 2009, 4:31 pm
    Post #36 - January 3rd, 2009, 4:31 pm Post #36 - January 3rd, 2009, 4:31 pm
    I must defend my hometown. Yes, my dad's wardrobe mainly consists of camoflouge pants, bright orange hunting hats and Vikings/Gophers sweatshirts like many Minnesotans, but there are some pretty good eats and great bars to be found. VI has mentioned a few in his posts. Just a few that come to my mind:
    In Nordeast - Kramarczycks Deli, Mayslacks for roast beef, Crescent Moon for Afghani, Psycho Suzies good tiki drinks and good pizza. Holy Land bakery has excellent Shwarama and Falafel. Jaros' for a greenie (delicous and dangerous cocktail). Surdyk's for beer/wine, cheese and salami.
    Dinkytown - Camdi for cheap delicious Cambodian, Al's for breakfast
    Downtown- Pizza Luce, probably my favorite pizza joint, fresh interesting toppings, great beer selection on tap. Gluek's is fun during the holidays for a beer, they have various Surly selections.
    South Mineapolis- Matt's bar for a juicy lucy and delicious shoestring fries and fresh Summit on tap. Harry Singh's for Caribbean, he makes his own roti daily and its fantastic. Red Sea and Blue Nile for tasty Ethiopian.
    There are many others, Mexican, Vietnamese that I can't remember the name of, but overall the Twin Cities do have very good dining options, in my opinion. We also go back "home" every other Christmas and we look forward to trying out new places since we have free babysitters :D
    Oh, and Fargo was funny. And people in MN are very nice.
    GO VIKINGS!!
    LO
  • Post #37 - January 4th, 2009, 5:10 pm
    Post #37 - January 4th, 2009, 5:10 pm Post #37 - January 4th, 2009, 5:10 pm
    We've been in Minneapolis a few times over the last six months and found good eats with some guidance. I really liked Nye's Polonaise Room, in Northeast.

    Nye's Polonaise Room
    112 East Hennepin Avenue
    612-379-2021

    Had a phenomenal meal at the Red Stag Supperclub, also in Northeast. Bone marrow with toast points was insane.

    Red Stag Supperclub
    509 1st Avenue NE
    612.767.7766
  • Post #38 - January 12th, 2009, 2:51 am
    Post #38 - January 12th, 2009, 2:51 am Post #38 - January 12th, 2009, 2:51 am
    crrush wrote:We've been in Minneapolis a few times over the last six months and found good eats with some guidance. I really liked Nye's Polonaise Room, in Northeast.



    LO had the correct spelling, it's Nordeast.
    trpt2345
  • Post #39 - January 12th, 2009, 8:25 am
    Post #39 - January 12th, 2009, 8:25 am Post #39 - January 12th, 2009, 8:25 am
    trpt2345 wrote:LO had the correct spelling, it's Nordeast.


    I stand corrected. I haven't been to Mnpls enough to parse the language. :)
  • Post #40 - January 12th, 2009, 11:53 am
    Post #40 - January 12th, 2009, 11:53 am Post #40 - January 12th, 2009, 11:53 am
    Andy's Better Brother wrote:
    I'll embellish a little. We drive with our dogs, a couple of unruly mutts.


    Chips off the old block. They say a pet takes on the characteristics of it's owner, and-well I guess nothing else needs to be said.
    "I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day." Frank Sinatra
  • Post #41 - January 19th, 2009, 10:09 am
    Post #41 - January 19th, 2009, 10:09 am Post #41 - January 19th, 2009, 10:09 am
    This weekend my wife and I went to visit some friends in Minneapolis. For lunch our friends recommended Victor's 1959 Café. It's a very small Cuban restaurant and we enjoyed the food. I do not however have a basis of how good Cuban food should be, to compare it to. The sandwich I had was loaded with shredded pork that had good flavor and the bread was really nice. The Yucca fries were different but good. I also tried a Cuban pork tamale, which seemed to be a bit doughier than the tamales I am used too.

    The star of the lunch meal might have been the banana pancake that my wife had. It was huge (hanging over the edges of a large plate), fluffy, yet to airy, and very well browned. My wife could not finish it, so luckily I got to eat half. If I lived in the area it is a place I would go back to without any hesitation. However it is very small and cramped, you are likely to wait for a table. It has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

    http://www.victors1959cafe.com/
    3756 Grand Avenue South
    Minneapolis


    In the afternoon we went to a bar called the Chaterbox Pub which has three locations, we went to the Highland St. Paul one. A quirky little place where you can play board games or nintendo and lounge on some couches while you hang out, have some drinks and eat some food. The only food we tried was the chocolate fondue which was ok at best. If I had already had 4 or 5 of their tall beers, it probably would have been awesome. They have a 2-5pm happy hour on the weekend where beers and drinks are half price. $3 for one of their tall beers is a great deal. My wife and friend enjoyed a couple of bloody Marie's. The rest of the food that I saw being delivered look like pretty standard bar food.

    http://www.chatterboxpub.net
    800 Cleveland Ave S
    (651)699-1154


    For an anniversary dinner we chose to eat at Restaurant Alma and we were not disappointed. The only thing I didn't like at Alma was non food related. The wait staff is allowed to dress in jeans and whatever. A few of them just looked like they shouldn't be waiting tables at such a nice place, they wouldn't have looked good on casual Friday at an insurance company. However, as I said that is non food related. The food, was just wonderful. All four of us decided to do three course tasting menus, and at $45 it is a great deal. I do not eat high end very often, but the value was terrific for the quality of food.

    All four of us were happy with each dish that was delivered to us. We also sampled bites from each other, and I didn't taste anything that I thought was bad. The breads that were delivered to the table were some of the best bread I have had in a long time. I wont go into describing each dish because I am not great at describing food, but I will mention the dessert that I had. I really enjoyed the Chevre-Rosemary Cheesecake. It was unlike any cheesecake I have ever had before. The first flavor you tasted was the Rosemary and after you swallowed your bite your mouth would fill with the flavor of the Chevre. The sauce, pears, and gingerbread praline went perfect with it.

    At Alma you get the opportunity to watch the kitchen if you are seated in the right spot, and I was able to watch all night. Everyone in there was so professional, working very quietly and calmly. Even the dishwasher was quiet. No banging pans, no screaming, no running around like mad. It was very fun to watch such a smooth operation. Alma was easily one of my favorite meals/dining experiences of my life.

    www.restaurantalma.com
  • Post #42 - January 21st, 2009, 8:38 pm
    Post #42 - January 21st, 2009, 8:38 pm Post #42 - January 21st, 2009, 8:38 pm
    Seconds for Alma and Victor's, particularly the crepes, duck, and desserts at the former and the aforementioned banana pancakes at the latter, almost a Caribbean Dutch Baby.

    Chatterbox really has to step up with the food, but the free 8-bit video games and board games are a thing of beauty, and would really hit it big in Chicago, I think.

    Other current faves are Craftsman, Jasmine 26, and Mill City Cafe, which is one of my favorite restaurants in the country (Minnesota's version of The Brown Sack, with a more entree-weighted menu and every Surly brew on tap).

    http://www.craftsmanrestaurant.com/
    http://www.jasmine26.com/
    http://www.millcitycafe.com/

    I love to eat in the Twin Cities - there really is something to the northern work ethic and local produce.
  • Post #43 - January 29th, 2009, 8:54 am
    Post #43 - January 29th, 2009, 8:54 am Post #43 - January 29th, 2009, 8:54 am
    the Blue Door pub in St. Paul is a great new addition, featuring a strong local beer selection, several MN fried oddities(pickles, spam bites with pickle and cheese and of course cheese curds)
    he main focus of the menu is what they call a "blucy" which is a blue cheese and bacon stuffed burger which is a riff on the local jucy lucy, s cheese stuffed burger, or a cajun blucy which is stuffed with pickled jalapenos and either pepper jack or american cheese. minor details like cheese type and bun fluctuate from place to place. definitely a great time.

    The Blue Door Pub
    1811 Selby Ave
    St. Paul, MN 55104
    (651) 493-1865
    http://thebluedoorpubmn.com/
    He was night putting, Danny. Just putting at night
  • Post #44 - February 10th, 2009, 1:53 pm
    Post #44 - February 10th, 2009, 1:53 pm Post #44 - February 10th, 2009, 1:53 pm
    The peanut butter at Hell's Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis is quite possibly the best I've ever had. The peanuts are roasted and ground on site and mixed primarily with honey and brown sugar. I've had a few meals at Hell's Kitchen in the past and the quality has always been great, particularly when any of their various house-cured meats are involved. In their new location, their prices have gone up and the portion sizes have gone down.

    But they still serve free peanut butter with every breakfast entree. They also sell it by the jar.

    Hell's Kitchen
    80 S 9th St.
    Open 6:30am to 10pm
    (weekends 7:30am)
    612.332.4700
  • Post #45 - April 6th, 2009, 8:44 pm
    Post #45 - April 6th, 2009, 8:44 pm Post #45 - April 6th, 2009, 8:44 pm
    Hi all, I'm going to be in Northfield with my daughter visiting St. Olaf and Carleton. Anything you'd recommend that wouldn't be too far for dinner? We'd prefer higher end, but are open to ideas.

    Thanks!
    "Living well is the best revenge"
  • Post #46 - April 7th, 2009, 10:39 am
    Post #46 - April 7th, 2009, 10:39 am Post #46 - April 7th, 2009, 10:39 am
    Chapati is by far the best restaurant in Northfield, if you like indian food, of course.

    Chapati
    214 Division Street
    Northfield, MN 55057

    Otherwise, your best options will be in minneapolis/st. paul, which is not too far a drive from Northfield. I just had a great meal at the Red Stag Supper Club (recommended somewhere in this thread).

    Red Stag
    509 1st Ave NE
    Minneapolis, MN‎

    In between is mostly chains. Go Ole's!
  • Post #47 - April 8th, 2009, 5:44 pm
    Post #47 - April 8th, 2009, 5:44 pm Post #47 - April 8th, 2009, 5:44 pm
    Ok, we're headed to La Belle Vie in moments. Will report back!
    "Living well is the best revenge"
  • Post #48 - April 9th, 2009, 9:25 pm
    Post #48 - April 9th, 2009, 9:25 pm Post #48 - April 9th, 2009, 9:25 pm
    La Belle Vie is about as good as it gets in Minneapolis. Good choice.
  • Post #49 - June 10th, 2009, 8:47 pm
    Post #49 - June 10th, 2009, 8:47 pm Post #49 - June 10th, 2009, 8:47 pm
    Vital Information wrote:I was in Minneapolis last winter. My knowledge of the city is not exactly deep, but I do know that my wife and I very much enjoyed Hell's Kitchen. It's downtown and features local products. The downside, it's only open for breakfast and lunch.

    Hell's Kitchen is now open for dinner, with live music no less. They also have a restaurant in Duluth now. The dinner menu is pretty much the lunch menu with a few additions (mostly fish). I had wanted to go for breakfast but couldn't schedule it. So, dinner it was—a Walleye BLT with a small Mahnomin Porridge for dessert. Not bad, not bad at all (but, man that porridge is rich). I have a feeling, though, that breakfast remains their strength.

    http://www.hellskitcheninc.com/

    Vital Information wrote:The most interesting time, the best of Minneapolis, the thing that pisses me off because I cannot imagine something this cool emerging in Chicago under King Daley is the New Mid-City Global Market (go to this Google page for background). It's a scruffy, not really clean public market a few blocks past the edge of Minneapolis's Uptown neighborhood--the location keeping things real if you know what I mean. No Phil Stefani, no Potbelly, no corporate nothing, just a bunch of interesting and, surely for Minneapolis, authentic stands: al pastor off a spit; Middle Eastern; West Indian, more Mexican, a stand specializing in farmer's goods, etc. Do visit if in Minneapolis for sure.

    Midtown Global Market was a lot of fun to visit but a cursory examination of the food on offer as well as one meal (see below) suggests there are better places to eat in Minneapolis. Very cool setting in the old Sears store (the yellow awnings are the MGM).

    Image

    Vital Information wrote:Me, I'd say that Minneapolis (and I guess St. Paul) are a bit like Chicago in the sense that there are pedestrian friendly areas, but to really take in the city, you need a car.

    It might be worth mentioning that I thought the public transportation system is by far the best of any US city of similar size.

    chezbrad wrote:(VI, The name of the Somali place is "Safari", though I think you went to "Safari Express.")

    I don't think VI went to Safari Express (or Safari) but I did. If you look at his post in another thread you'll see that the restaurant he went to is (was?) across the street from Midtown Global Market. Safari Express is in the Market.

    In discussions of Somali restaurants in Minneapolis, the name Safari comes up over and over again. From what I understand the original Safari on Nicollet has closed but Safari Express is open for business. I wanted to see the Market and was worried I might not otherwise be able to squeeze in a Somali meal so I ate at Express.

    Image

    Image

    I should have chosen another restaurant. Nothing too terrible but it was pretty uninspired steam table food. The texture of the chicken meat and carrots in the curry reminded me exactly of airline food. The Beef Solan was considerably better. I wasn't even offered a banana.
  • Post #50 - June 15th, 2009, 10:39 pm
    Post #50 - June 15th, 2009, 10:39 pm Post #50 - June 15th, 2009, 10:39 pm
    In another thread, Rene G posted on Hmong Food and Culture in St. Paul MN.

    Although I have not been there for a few years, the Minneapolis Farmer's Market has a large number of vendors (240) participating, and I suspect a number of those vendors are from the Hmong community. I do not recall a large number of prepared food options, but there certainly was a nice selection of produce the last time I was there. The Minneapolis Farmers' Market was established in 1876 at another location, but the current marketplace has been in the same location on N. Lyndale Avenue since 1937.

    Here is their website:
    http://www.mplsfarmersmarket.com

    From the website:

    "For the week of June 15
    Currently Monday to Thursday at North Lyndale the availability
    of homegrown produce isn't known until that day.
    Please call 612.333.1737 and ask about what you're looking for." **

    Minneapolis Farmers Market
    312 East Lyndale Ave North
    Minneapolis, Minnesota 55405
    612-333-1718
    Fax 651-457-3319
    "Fresh & Local" radio show EVERY Saturday at 8 a.m. on AM950

    ** Someone from another state must have written the copy for the website, because there's no explicit written apology for this state of affairs. I'll bet they apologize personally if you call, though.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #51 - August 21st, 2009, 1:31 am
    Post #51 - August 21st, 2009, 1:31 am Post #51 - August 21st, 2009, 1:31 am
    The Hard Times Cafe is a West Bank, Minneapolis institution that is worth going to for the French-press coffee even if you don't care that you're in the epicenter of Minneapolis weirdness. Professors, punks, East Africans, real life hobos, as in white-haired white-bearded train-hoppers, idiots and geniuses are all regulars. They also have greasy vegetarian food. They're employee-owned and almost everything they buy comes from other employee-owned companies, even the delivery drivers and the cabs they call. 1821 Riverside Avenue near Cedar, on the West Bank. Also, the Bedlam Theater is close, they have great seating outside and inside, some good beers on tap, as well as some ok food. They're even next to the light rail stop. The Wienery is a Chicago-style hot dog shop in the neighborhood and also, Chili Time, Odaa, and the Red Sea Club make up a decent assortment of East African food that won't blow your mind, but is delicious.
    "The life of a repo man is always intense."
  • Post #52 - September 16th, 2009, 12:36 am
    Post #52 - September 16th, 2009, 12:36 am Post #52 - September 16th, 2009, 12:36 am
    I just got back from a business trip to Minneapolis and was staying near the airport/Mall of America. I almost always seek out a Thai restaurant when traveling and have found some gems.

    This time, I Googled Thai restaurants and came up with two by the name of Naviya's. One was called Naviya's Thai Kitchen and it had good reviews, but was very, very closed. The parking lot was potholed and the location looked like it had not been used in years. Bummer. So, I drove to what Google said was Naviya's Kalico Elephant and found that the location had a new owner/management. It's now called Joys Pattaya Thai Restaurant and I think that's a good thing based upon my dinner and subsequent lunch.

    It looks like the place had just opened and I was the only diner there. So, I was a little worried until I ordered the Spring Rolls and received a plate of nicely presented rolls stuffed with vegetables and a nicely spiced sauce with crushed peanuts. The only issue I had was the rolls had small little shrimp in them which I think could have been left out. A few sweet Basil leaves instead of the shrimp would have added a nice note and avoided the "what the heck is did I just eat?" feeling I got when I first bit into one of the rolls where a shrimp was present. I had just had very similar rolls at a restaurant in LA and they did not have the shrimp but did have the basil and I think those were by far superior. Overall though I was not disappointed.

    I then ordered Thai Fried Rice. Not adventurous by any means, but what I was in the mood for. This had to be one of the best examples of the dish I have had. It was nicely presented as well and loaded with vegetables with a mild heat to it and very good taste. The rice was really fried and by that I mean it wasn't a warmed up rice that was turned brown by soy sauce, but it was really cooked to get almost a char but without the crunch of overcooking. There was a ton of Thai Basil in the dish which I very much appreciated. I cannot even write this without craving it again.

    The next day after my meeting, I had some time before my flight so I stopped by again for lunch. They did not have the same fried rice on the lunch menu or I would have ordered it. Instead I ordered the Green Curry and it came with an option of salad, egg roll, or (I think) cream cheese wonton. I got the salad and again was impressed by the mixture of flavorings. The salad had a mix of greens and a dressing that is tough to describe. It was a little sweet, a little hot and maybe had some peanut aspect to it. I was short on time so I did not ask a lot of questions. The salad also had some blueberries and strawberries and on my first bite, I did not see how the dressing would complement the berries. How wrong I was! They played together perfectly and I found myself wanting another one just about the time my Green Curry was served.

    With the Green Curry, it was served on a plate with a good portion of vegetables including eggplant, peppers (orange and I think red), carrots and I cannot recall what else but again they all played well together. The curry sauce was excellent, having the right amount of heat with some sweetness that really made my day. The eggplant soaked up a good amount of curry sauce, so eating this was like heaven. Again, a good amount of Thai Basil added to the flavor.

    The lunch was around $8 (no drinks) while the dinner was around $17 with entree and appetizer (no drinks).

    Overall, I'd recommend this new restaurant and hope they do well so I can get back there for another try next time I am in town.

    Joys Pattaya Thai Restaurant
    7545 Lyndale Ave. S.
    Richfield, MN 55423
    (612) 866-0660
    (off 494, just a few miles west of the airport and Mall of America)
  • Post #53 - December 31st, 2009, 12:23 am
    Post #53 - December 31st, 2009, 12:23 am Post #53 - December 31st, 2009, 12:23 am
    Three spots turned out to be particular family hits on our holiday sojourn in the Twins:

    Market Barbecue, owned by the same family since 1946, is what Russell's should be - old school "dry bones" meat that has actually come into contact with real woodsmoke, in a hand-built brick pit. What it lacks in complex slow-cook perfume, it makes up for in quality cuts and a refreshingly un-sweet, cumin-heavy sauce, served by default on the side. The downside is that this is a pretty damn expensive barbecue menu (half-slabs of four ribs are $16+) in a city where most other dining seems like the deal of the century. I recommend the tips, a pound for $9, and the beans, with an enviable meat-to-bean ratio. The wood-paneled dining room is somewhat off-putting; this is not the quick in-and-out operation you might expect.

    http://www.marketbbq.com/index1.html

    Northeast Social is a great tin-ceilinged speakeasy with a deftly programmed Italianate menu, plates complimenting the wines and craft beers that are clearly the focus. Particularly noteworthy was a $6 cheese plate with about $20 worth of spectacular mineralized Wisconsin farmhouse swiss, fresh bread, caramelized onions, and salad. Desserts included a pitch-perfect chocolate cake, well-executed creme brulee - thankfully without a designer flavor (some housemade peanut brittle accompanied), and a rosemary panna cotta with local honey that would make Gaetano himself jealous (and full).

    http://www.northeastsocial.com/

    Ngon is a Vietnamese restaurant concept I'd covet for Chicago, a spacious, lofty rehab with great art, family chefs, and locally-sourced meats and produce, including some succulent Fischer Farms pork. Appetizers and soups/noodles are traditional; "big plates" are French (and Minnesota) influenced, including steak frites, elk medallions, and duck cassoulet. The shrimp-yam croquettes with fresh herbs and sauces were stellar, and I don't think I've had better lettuce wraps thanks to that grill-charred pork. The pho was irresistible on a 4 degree night, and tasted just as slowly and lovingly cooked as the menu promised, with ideal garniture, whole spices, and rare carpaccio-quality beef. This place was a steal, with most substantially-portioned dishes well under $10, and a full list of $5 brews from Surly, Summit, and Brau Brothers (the single batch Ring Neck Braun was a revelation, I thought about airmailing a sample to nr706 for analysis since we're not likely to get it here for a while).

    http://www.ngonbistro.com/
  • Post #54 - July 20th, 2010, 9:40 am
    Post #54 - July 20th, 2010, 9:40 am Post #54 - July 20th, 2010, 9:40 am
    We did a quick weekend trip up to Minneapolis to see the White Sox play the Twins. Taking Amtrak up and flying back was a great way to do it.

    Saturday morning breakfast was at Peter's Grill, the oldest operating restaurant in Minneapolis. Oddly empty at 10:00 AM, it was perfect for our small group. The standards were done well (eggs over easy, pancakes, hash brown done crispy as requested, plentiful coffee refills.) In the heart of downtown, it was an easy stroll from our hotel and easy on the wallet.

    We didn't really have lunch. After tooling on Lake Calhoun in canoes, we had smoothies from Tin Fish, but didn't end up eating there because we ran out of time. The fish tacos sounded great.

    Pre-game libations and food was at J.D. Hoyt's Supper Club in the Warehouse District. We started on the patio, but had to move indoors as a storm moved through. I had the crab corn chowder and the catfish bites. The chowder had good flavor, but didn't have a lot of noticeable crab. The catfish bites didn't really do it for me. I was expecting bite-size pieces of catfish -- they were breaded strips. Mr. X had a buddy bowl: Layers of red beans, dirty rice, our homemade creole sauce (tomato sauce, celery, green pepper and onion, with andouille sausage and chicken), topped with cheese and baked. He had it with the blackened catfish on top. It was a bit of a gloppy mess, but tasted good.

    A local had recommended we seek out Kramarczuk sausages at the ballpark and I was not disappointed. The polish sausage was great, covered with grilled onions and sauerkraut. There was a stand that had hand-carved roast beef that looked fantastic. I understand there's fried walleye available too. Target Field definitely has good food options.

    We had brunch at Hell's Kitchen on Sunday. I made a reservation on Opentable for six at 9:30. Walking in with that size group would have guaranteed a long wait. The food did not disappoint. The lemon-ricotta pancakes are one of the best things I've eaten lately. I was lucky to get a taste of Mr. X's huevos rancheros. (I liked my pancakes better.) A friend shared bites of his portabello benedict (grilled mushroom cap filled with warm, shaved pit ham, topped with a poached egg, and served with wild mushroom hollandaise sauce plus a side of toast.) The benedict was unconventional, yet delicious.

    It was a great weekend trip and I hope to go back some other time to experience more of what Minneapolis has to offer.

    Peter's Grill
    114 8th St. South
    Minneapolis, MN 55402
    612.333.1981
    http://www.petersgrill.com/

    Tin Fish Lake Calhoun
    3000 Calhoun Parkway East
    Minneapolis, MN 55408
    612.823.5840
    http://www.thetinfish.net/LC-MN/index.htm

    J.D. Hoyt's
    301 Washington Ave. N
    Minneapolis, MN 55401
    612.338.1560
    http://www.jdhoyts.com/

    Hell's Kitchen
    80 S 9th St.
    Minneapolis, MN 55402
    612.332.4700
    http://www.hellskitcheninc.com/
    -Mary
  • Post #55 - July 20th, 2010, 12:57 pm
    Post #55 - July 20th, 2010, 12:57 pm Post #55 - July 20th, 2010, 12:57 pm
    A couple of minor notes; Peter's Grill has actually had a couple of different incarnations. The current location is their second spot, and actually not as "diner-esque" as the original, if you can believe that. Also, this is the second go around for this location, the first having closed a few years back and recently reopened.

    The food is good but not great; rather the total experience is what you're after here. The dark wood paneling and art deco fixtures are reminiscent of the original Winstead's location on Brush Creek In Kansas City, MO, if that means anything to anyone. Huge picture windows looking out onto 8th Street provide prime people watching opportunities making Peter's a true big city diner.

    Kramaczuk's sausages are indeed a delight. However, if you only had them at the ballpark, you missed a great bet. They also have a full butcher shop and cafeteria style restaurant in Minneapolis, across the street from another local Polish institution, Nye's Polonaise.

    The dining room at Kramarczuk's is a real throwback. The floor first caught my eye. Small white hexagonal tiles with the occasional blue accent tile reminded me of my grandmother's bathroom floors in a long gone building in Humboldt Park; also, if anyone has seen it, the delicatessen in Sergio Leone's "Once Upon A Time In America".

    Again, this is good food served in large quantities by people who are very proud of their product. No fine dining options here, but plenty of traditional, gut filling, stick to the ribs Polish and Ukrainian specialties.

    Buddy

    Kramarczuk's Sausage Company & Deli
    215 E. Hennepin
    Minneapolis, MN
    (612) 379-3018
  • Post #56 - July 20th, 2010, 1:18 pm
    Post #56 - July 20th, 2010, 1:18 pm Post #56 - July 20th, 2010, 1:18 pm
    We were there over the weekend to see a Sox game too!

    Can second the rec for Hell's Kitchen. The lemon ricotta pancakes were incredible, among the best pancakes Ive ever tried. Also amazing was their homemade peanut butter. Had a solid eggs benedict with thick piece of real good ham in it. Did not like the "sausage bread". Waitstaff in PJs was cute. Live jazz music at 9:30 am on Saturday was nice touch.

    We not only had the Kramarczuk sausages at Target Field, we visited their store and cafeteria which is just over the River on Hennepin at the beginning of "Nordeast" Mpls. a cool neighborhood to explore. Sausage heaven, literally two dozen fresh and smoked types. They also run a cafeteria next door (awesome stuffed cabbage). They were just featured on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives, for what it's worth.

    A bonus is that Surdyk's liquor store is across the street and they have a great selection, including the amazing Surly Brewing Co. beers, which come in four pack tall boy cans (unpasteurized only sold in the fridge case). Kind of like MN's version of New Glarus, just outstanding beer in a variety of styles.
  • Post #57 - July 20th, 2010, 4:18 pm
    Post #57 - July 20th, 2010, 4:18 pm Post #57 - July 20th, 2010, 4:18 pm
    Buddy-

    Thanks for the additional history about Peter's Grill. I was just echoing what's on the first page of their website. I will say that people watching wasn't terribly exciting on a Saturday morning. Not a lot of foot traffic to see then. For what it was, I thought the food at Peter's was good.

    On a next visit, a trip to Kramaczuk's is in order. This wasn't really my trip to plan.

    Mr. X was so taken by the peanut butter at Hell's Kitchen that he purchased a jar to bring home. The TSA agents were not as impressed and confiscated said peanut butter at the airport. Word of warning for anyone wanting to bring some home.

    -Mary
    -Mary
  • Post #58 - July 20th, 2010, 4:33 pm
    Post #58 - July 20th, 2010, 4:33 pm Post #58 - July 20th, 2010, 4:33 pm
    Mary,

    I've got no quibble with the food at Peter's Grill. We've eaten there several times in its past life at the same location and always enjoyed it for what it was. I just don't think the food itself constitutes a draw. Relocated to a more ordinary environment, Peter's grub would be, well, ordinary. As it is in a vibrant, urban diner setting with classic, tasteful fixtures and a whole bunch of history, it is worth visiting at least once. Keep your expectations well tempered and you will have yourself a fine time.

    Buddy
  • Post #59 - July 20th, 2010, 6:34 pm
    Post #59 - July 20th, 2010, 6:34 pm Post #59 - July 20th, 2010, 6:34 pm
    Peter's Grill is nothing like the old location that was a block away in an old building. It was my luncheon place of choice back in the early 70s when the waitresses were already ancient. It back then sported a central grill with a huge U shaped counter, aisle and the walls lined with booths. It was dark woods and no windows except for the front entrance wall. Most orders were "plate" lunch specials back then instead of the typical diner menu items of today. It was real comfort food.

    Hells Kitchen has also relocated to more upscale digs. I used to frequently go to the original location on 10th also in a grungy old building since it was a half block from my work place. I haven't been to the new location and wonder if it too will have lost something for me.
  • Post #60 - July 23rd, 2010, 10:12 pm
    Post #60 - July 23rd, 2010, 10:12 pm Post #60 - July 23rd, 2010, 10:12 pm
    BuddyRoadhouse wrote:The dining room at Kramarczuk's is a real throwback. The floor first caught my eye. Small white hexagonal tiles with the occasional blue accent tile reminded me of my grandmother's bathroom floors in a long gone building in Humboldt Park; also, if anyone has seen it, the delicatessen in Sergio Leone's "Once Upon A Time In America".

    Again, this is good food served in large quantities by people who are very proud of their product. No fine dining options here, but plenty of traditional, gut filling, stick to the ribs Polish and Ukrainian specialties.

    Buddy

    Kramarczuk's Sausage Company & Deli
    215 E. Hennepin
    Minneapolis, MN
    (612) 379-3018



    Agree completely. My major regret is that I did not order the Chicken & Wild Rice Soup which looked superb.

    One place that rarely gets mentioned is Kowalski's Market. They have some of the finest bakery products that I have seen in the Midwest. We never plan to grab a meal there but generally always do.

    I have never had much good food at the Midtown Market. And it looks like there are fewer and fewer tenants in the place each time I visit.
    Taqueria Los Campos across the street is a pretty good taqueria that serves a good meal.

    And our usual meal at Old Chicago.

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