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Jan 11, 2007 05:58 PM

Top Five TC Eateries

If for some reason you were limited to eating at just five Twin Cities restaurant for the rest of your life. Which would they be?

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  1. Sakura for sushi. In reality I would like more sushi variety over a lifetime but if I had to pick one place...

    Pho Tau Bay for Vietnamese. While not the best for specific Vietnamese items, it's the best overall I believe.

    Town Talk Diner for fun food and friendly atmosphere. Plus those alcoholic shakes are to die for.

    Holy Land - good for something healthy or completely stuffing your face :) Plus we love their take out rotissere chicken dinners when we're not up for cooking.

    India Palace for when you need filling, spicy foods.

    As you see, I'm an Asian foods kind of girl. I might replace 112 Eatery with one of those for their creativity and for something that feels a little more special.

    1. The original comment has been removed
      1. Do Midtown Global Market and Mercado Central each count as one?


        1. Saigon Star in Roseville
          Jerebek's Bakery in St. Paul
          Pineda Tacos in West St. Paul ('cause its close)
          The Nook in St. Paul
          Al's Breakfast in Mpls

          16 Replies
          1. re: Sven

            Jerebek's bakery is in St. Paul? How is it that I've not been to this place? I thought I'd explored every nook and cranny of this town. What's especially good there, Sven?


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              The cream puffs are wonderful (when fresh), they have some of the best (and most adffordable) chocolate cakes around and the apricot kolaches are outstanding. Plus, you can pick up little something for your favorite 20-something Hipster Chick in the adjoining vintage clothes room.

              Jerabek's (otherwise known and The New Bohemian Cafe) is located on Styker and Winnifred just up the hill from St. Matt's on the West Side.

              1. re: Sven

                I can't really imagine where that is, except, I think I've had AYCE fish fry in the basement of St. Matt's during Lent. Hmmm...will need to investigate.


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  That's because unless you live in that neighborhood there would be no other reason to be there. Unless you were a Brown Derby patron. I've heard they make a mean pancake but I've never been. Let me know how it goes.

              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                Oh you have to go to Jerebek's. The problem, if you don't live in West St. Paul, is the inconveience. Man, try the pasties. Homemade. They have a variety of baked goods and also meal-y things like soups. All baked goods are homemade and coffee shop baked goods are completely my bugaboo. They almost always take like a chemical melange to me because that is, in fact, what they are. Another friend calls coffee shop cookies lard cookies.

                But not at Jerebek's. And they have crumbles such as blueberry and actual crockery they serve it on and antique tables and chairs, so you feel as if you're eating in your grandmother's kitchen (well, not my grandmother's).

                But the best, very best, is the vintage clothing and other oddities (wacky cookbooks and mismashed dishes) for sale around the fringe of the two-room shop. It's really wonderful. Now I wonder why we don't go there more often (the inconvenience).

                But my husband, a UPer, or however you say that, from the upper peninsul of Michigan, swears by the pasties and he's very hard to please.


                1. re: jeanmt

                  I believe the correct spelling is least that's what I learned in my time @ Michigan State.

                  1. re: g rote

                    Good to see another Spartan in the TC. Now, any ideas on where to get an official Detroit Coney here?

                    Go Green!

                    1. re: fruitbooter

                      Fruitbooter...are you from metro Detroit or parts W or N? The best coneys I've had here are Bullwinkle's, Bulldog, and best of all the Gopher Bar on E. 7th in St. Paul. I don't eat them sober, so my take on which is best is unreliable...but if you pressed me I'd say the Gopher. Now if we could just get a Topopo Salad or Bilbo Sticks!

                      1. re: g rote

                        I grew up in the north Metro. I've heard a few reports on the Gopher Bar, I'll have to make it there at some point. I finally broke down and order a National Coney Island kit. It provided a quick fix but I've never been a huge National fan.

                        I miss Bilbo's. I was back in EL a couple years ago and I was astonished to see it gone. I hung my head and took solace in a bucket at Crunchy's.

                        1. re: fruitbooter

                          NW Metro...School & Year? I'm wild guessing you're from Troy or Rochester and graduated high school about '90.

                          1. re: g rote

                            Really close. Rochester and 96. You?

                        2. re: g rote

                          I've yet to try the Gopher Bar. Isn't it kinda unreliable as to hours? I've seen it closed on some regular bar nights.

                          A friend was in Gopher Bar while she waited for another appointment in downtown St. Paul. The bartender was enjoying a few right next to her. A friend of the bartender hopped over the bar to get a beer for my friend. Rather casual atmosphere, but enjoyed.

                          Meaning to have one of those coneys one of these days. Is drinking a pre-requisite to enjoying them?

                    2. re: jeanmt

                      "Another friend calls coffee shop cookies lard cookies. But not at Jerebek's."

                      That's because Jerabek's is first and foremost a bakery. And they have been, in the same location, for 100 years. The coffee shop idea came later to attract the goatee crowd.


                      1. re: Sven

                        And I'd read something somewhere (Minnesota Monthly?) about how a hipster chick inherited the bakery from her grandfather (or something) and implemented the coffee shop/hipster do'ings. I'm getting this kinda wrong, but that's the general idea. She knew how to get the hipsters in.

                      2. re: jeanmt

                        I love Jerabeks and am glad that they are celebrating their first 100 years this year. Be aware that they have chosen to shorten their hours so this is a before 3pm kind of place. I like most of their food but my mother really dislikes their tortiere or, as we call it, touché pie. Not good spicing and wrong kind of pork for her. I was there last week and my friend raved about their lunch torta. The beef barley soup was homemade and quite good, if a bit salty. Their coffee is adequate, but go for the pastries. They also make Bohemian specialties at Xmas time, but you have to know to ask for them/order them. They make a stunning looking (although a bit dry for my taste) Bohemian Christmas egg/fruit bread called "hoska" also known as "vanitcha". That thing is almost the size of a baseball bat and elaborately braided.

                  2. If I were limited to five restaurants (oh, what a nightmare!) it would have to be my everyday take-out or casual-drop-in places.

                    - Birchwood

                    - Punch

                    - U Garden (I'm addicted to the orange chicken and the chinese brocolli in garlic sauce)

                    - Puerta Azul (another addiction - this time, to the black beans)

                    - Midori's for the grilled mackerel or salmon dinner

                    But this leaves out some of my very, very favorites that I don't get to that often, like Alma's, True Thai, and Jasmine Deli. I'm not sure I could survive without them. And Al's Breakfast, which I almost never go to because of logistical reasons, but which I love passionately.


                    6 Replies
                    1. re: AnneInMpls

                      I think the "5" restriction is too severe. We live in a harsh climate; I think we should be allowed "5" per season.

                      Then you could have all your warm comfort food soup places, like Saigon Star and Little Szechuan and Tanpopo and such, AND your breezy, farmers-markety summery food places like Sea Salt Eatery, and the patio at Longfellow Grill, and Izzy's and such.

                      112 Eatery can stay on my list all year long.

                      And, I think we should all get VIP passes (so reservations and waiting in line are not issues), plus some kind of Star Trekish beaming technology so the exhausting drive between Minneapolis and St. Paul isn't a factor. I mean, why not?


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        TDQ - I love 112 Eatery - I recommend it all the time to people who want a new place to go. My only complaint (and this is why it is no longer in my top 5) is that their menu is so small but it doesn't change frequently enough for me. I get bored with it too easily. However, their burger is the best I've ever had and if that's all I could eat for the rest of my life, so be it.

                        my top 5:
                        JP American Bistro
                        Town Talk Diner
                        Sushi Tango

                        1. re: Pip

                          I love that burger. Also, the cauliflower.


                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            The cauliflower is amazing. Did you ever try the creamed corn? They had it on their menu probably a year and a half ago, maybe 2 years I can't remember. It was the most delicious version of corn I've had. It was cooked like risotto and it was dairy free - made with fresh sweet corn.

                            I wish they would bring that back.

                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                          "plus some kind of Star Trekish beaming technology so the exhausting drive between Minneapolis and St. Paul isn't a factor."

                          For some of us, the exhausting drive from Wayzata to ANYPLACE where there are good restos. LOL!

                          Granted, there are a couple of decent places out here - and Punch is opening up an outpost here (YAY!), but it tends to be a major excursion to go to any of the places that are regular recommendations here... (I have yet to make it too 112 Eatery... don't tell anybody)

                          1. re: djohnson22

                            Do we need to have a Chowdown at 112 Eatery? Ha!

                            I actually don't understand the dearth of good restaurants out Wayzata way, but I agree with you that it's slim pickings.