[MPLS] NYC hound coming in for labor day weekend
I'm a NYC hound/restaurant business person who used to live in Minneapolis. I'm looking for some places in Mpls/St. Paul area to go to with an old friend of mine for relaxing and charming dinners and drinks over labor day weekend.
What I'm looking for is neither a specific ethnic cuisine nor a price range. I just want to feel the Minneapolis vibe, enjoy good food and drinks that compliment it.
Will you lovely MN hounds give me some suggestions?
As a former Minneapolitan I recommend Lucia's in the Uptown area. It has been there for years and the food is consistently wonderful and interesting. They have a wine bar and sidewalk tables - a great place to watch the people go by and enjoy the cool evening.
There's a wonderful, relaxing vibe at Sea Salt in Minnehaha Park--nothing more Minneapolitan than getting out and enjoying the parks on a gorgeous day. Is likely to be packed on a lovely weekend day.
They also serve Sebastian Joe's ice cream, a local favorite. :)
Also, if you're just out and about and looking for something relaxing and chow'ish and outdoorsy, check out the Minneapolis Farmers' Market in the plaza between the new Guthrie and the Mill City Museum (which is a great museum for the chow-curious, especially on a day where you've unexpectedly encountered lousy weather). There's a cafe on the 5th level ( called Level 5--go figure) in the new Guthrie that I haven't tried yet, but I've popped in there for a look and it could be a fun spot. The Cafe is affiliated with Cue, which is Lenny Russo's new restaurant. Russo--of Heartland Restaurant in St. Paul-- is known for cooking with locally-raised meats and produce.
re: The Dairy Queen
By the way, Sea Salt is a very low-key kind of place. One poster described it as a "shack" and, indeed, it was more or less the city-run "snack shack" before the Coastal Seafoods folks stepped in. It's chowish, but it's very casual.
Another place similar is Tin Fish, the little snack shack at Lake Calhoun. http://www.thetinfish.com/ I like Tin Fish when I want to rent a canoe. It's not as chowish, I don't think, as Sea Salt.
Wherever you end up, please do come back and tell us all about it!
What's with fish? If you want Minnesota fish and drinks go to the Tavern on Grand and feast on Walleye. If you want quintessential Minnesota go to the Nook in St. Paul and have a brew with a Jucy Lucy hamburger. If you want to just relax, have a drink, and maybe some food, go to 10th Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, look around, and pick a place. There are lots--The Local, Brits, the Newsroom,The Dakota, Masa, Vincents, Zelos, to name a few. You will feel Minneapolis there. If you want to feel Minnesota drive out to Excelsior and enjoy Maynards or go a few miles north and try Lord Fletcher on Lake Minnetonka. Both places will give you a feel of what Minnesota is all about--up at the lake.
If you want something charming and quintessentially of the area, I suggest Cafe 128, at 128 N. Cleveland in St. Paul. The food is imaginative and perfectly prepared, and it feels like you're dropping in to eat at a friend's house - a relatively unique experience.
Thank you for all your wonderful suggestions. It was a bit of a pain to find places that were open on Labor Day, but I had such a relaxing weekend. Here's the recap.
My mother and I had a quick lunch at Hong Kong Noodles by the U after she picked me up from the airport. We had her favorites - Japanese style fried rice and ground pork with chives in xo sauce. Yum.
That evening I went out with an old friend to Vino 610 on Lake Street. I was very pleasantly surprised by the reasonable wine prices - not just at Vino 610, but all over the Cities. We had a bottle of red - a Costieres de Nimes - with cheeses and meats and finished the night with some tawny port.
The next day I visited Trader Joe's and a friend's garden to make beautiful sandwitches. You can't grab tomatoes and cucumbers from the backyard in New York. It was such a treat.
For dinner that night, I went out with my mother and my good friend to Broder's Pasta Bar. We had a couple bottles of red, appetizers of roasted garlic and pickled vegetables followed by nice warm bowls of pastas and risotto. We finished the night off with fruit and chocolate truffles and espressos.
What a beautiful weekend! I love New York's restaurant scene, but Minneapolis/St. Paul is definately a Chow-worthy destination. Hope to stay more than just 50 hours there the next time :)