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MSP - got a car this Wkend, where should I go?

I've been without a car for over the last year, but this weekend I'll have one and I'm trying to decide how to make the most of it. There are a lot of parts of town I don't get to much because I don't feel like taking 3 buses or the weather (until now, ahh spring!) has not been something I want to mess around biking in. So I'm thumbing through my mind for places to go to that are south of Minnehaha creek, west of the lakes, north of northeast Mpls, and aren't on University Ave in St. Paul.

I just can't decide! Anyone want to help me make up my mind? Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack and any cuisine is fine. I'm sort of steering away from $$$, birthday dinner type places, but maybe the right recommendation will sway me.

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    1. re: The Dairy Queen

      Tea House II is a great choice. Here's the places link so you can read all the posts about how wonderful the juicy dumplings and scallion pancakes are.

      -----
      Tea House
      1676 Suburban Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106

      1. re: AnneInMpls

        You gals know your stuff! Tea House II is the best Chinese in the Twin Cities -- maybe the least known. The owner of the Tea House empire always goes to Tea House II for their dan dan noodles.

    2. If it were me, I'd trek out to Apple Valley to try Satay2Go. That's a really long trip just for food, so I might also go to the zoo. (Or I might just eat.)

      If I was in the comfort-food mode, I'd head up north to Carol's Restaurant in Blaine. They have the best stuffing on the planet. The turkey and gravy is great, too. And they have pie.

      Slightly closer in, there's a great strip mall on Portland at 494 that has two Indian restaurants - Kabobs is hallal, and India Cafe is mostly vegetarian - and a nice little Mexican place called La Mixteca. All are good, and are extremely inexpensive and casual.

      Buon Giorno deli is a nice place for casual lunches or ingredients - it's in Lilydale on Hwy 13 at 35E. If you really wanted a $$$$ dinner, the restaurant here (I Nonni) will definitely use up all your money. But I'd stick with the deli. They have great cheese and amazingly fabulous spumoni ice cream.

      Have fun exploring!
      Anne

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      Kabobs Restaurant and Meat Shop
      7814 Portland Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55420

      TBS India Cafe
      7826 Portland Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55420

      Mixteca La
      7822 Portland Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55420

      Satay 2 Go
      6670 150th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55124

      I Nonni
      981 sibley memorial hwy, Lilydale, MN 55118

      Carol's Restaurant
      11888 Aberdeen St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55449

      2 Replies
      1. re: AnneInMpls

        Ooohhh Buon Giorno--good choice. Also, El Burrito Mercado and the little pocket of places over that side of town. Or this pupuseria place Manana MSPD mentioned that I've never made it to... http://www.chowhound.com/topics/398467

        For breakfast, maybe Capitol View Cafe. (I've never been to Carol's, but it seems like you might have to go there for breakfast first. Capitol View Cafe would be on your second day with a car...).

        ~TDQ

        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          I can vouch for the pupusas at MaƱana. They're delicious, though the cole-slaw-like stuff that goes on them might be even better.

      2. How about Modern Cafe? Lots of choices from the traditional pot roast to something seasonal and fresh.

        1. Are you paying for the gas? If you are open to the low cost fare, come to the Five Corners area of St. Paul (where Dale, Como and Front meet). Schroeders (the place with the mural) and John's Pizza Cafe. Everytime I go to John's there is always a cop, firefighter, or some city official in there. Must be for the Lasagna, Calzones or the creative pizza toppings. Aesop's Table during the week has great lunch specials. Abetto's for pizza, albeit a bit greasy pizza.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Mess Hall Bob

            I drove past Aesop's Table today and noticed it for the first time. What kind of food do they have and how is it?

            1. re: karykat

              Aesop's Table is a BBQ/deli type place (and yes, indeed, a favorite spot for local law enforcement), though I've always thought they had more of a weekday than a weekend focus (I've not been on a weekend, but that's always been my impression.) Maybe mess hall bob can expand on that. They also offer catering--their pig roast has always sounded fun to me. http://www.aesopstable.com/door/

              Here's a photo of their pulled pork from the BBQ chowdown... http://www.chowhound.com/topics/44877...

              ~TDQ

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                I'm not sure where this fits in with a "weekend focus" but my one experience with Aesop's table involved ordering a whole hog, which came out quite well.

                of course, i had intended to do one myself but when the situation wouldnt allow for it they came through with a pretty respectable product. no comment on any of their other stuff. i suppose if you were looking more for a sandwich on a weekend and less for a whole pig this may not help you, but who knows? perhaps your hungry or have a lot of friends? it certainly would be easier taking your whole hog home in a car than on the bus (though i can't actually remember if they delivered it to us or not, in which case the car would be optional)

                1. re: tex.s.toast

                  By "weekday" focused I meant I understood that a lot of the stuff they have on weekdays --like the ribs--aren't available on the weekends. Catering, of course, is a whole other thing. I'm glad to hear that the whole hog was a thumbs-up. Was it a giant mess to clean up after?

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    tdq, like any good pig pickin' no one left our event thirsty. as such i can't be exactly clear on the details of how things got cleaned up, but it wasn't particularly onerous, as i fuzzily recall.

              2. re: karykat

                I've never been there on a weekend either. They do catering a lot and I'm not sure if they are open on the weekends. I responded to the Phillysteak sandwich topic at how I normally get the Philly Dip there. They have a small eating area inside, and outside when the weather is warm. It is sort of a no frills neighborhood sandwich spot, but they do have ribs and specials throughout the week. They have frozen pizzas made on the premises, and an assortment of glass bottled pop. Don't be too surprised to see one of the cooks waiting on you with a stained apron. They do box lunches and that sort of thing. There is plenty of parking too. I live about a mile away, so I can walk there on a nice day. If you want to get a feel and a taste of what a blue or gray collar worker eats and where they go to get it stop by some time before 6pm. They do weddings I hear.

            2. Try Khyber Pass on Grand Ave at Snelling in St Paul. Their cilantro chutney is spectacular with pita. Also the eggplant bharta, unusual and delicious.

              1 Reply
              1. re: DianeStPaul

                Here is the link to Aesop's - http://www.aesopstable.com/

                They expanded their hours a little bit because I remember I used to swing by there after work on Friday and they were already closed. Their website says 6, but I swear it's til 7. Whenever I drive by on the weekend, it's not open. They still have great value and good food. They're always happy, they get the lunch rush in and out -and now that the weather is turning up - people can utilize a few tables outside (or what the business folk do - eat in their cars...pretty messy!)