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May 13, 2008 12:21 PM

Mid-month dining out highlights MSP

I would like to see these summaries back on the board- I enjoy them- I will try to keep
mine succinct -

Common Roots Cafe- I had some excellent fish tacos made with walleye and a delicious
creamy green sauce, served with warm corn tortillas. Also really enjoyed several baked
goods- a honey oatmeal raisin cookie that had a nice honey flavor and very buttery as well,
and an almond apricot rugala that was good, not super rich though as I expected for those,
also enjoyed a roasted root veggie salad and a special with pounded chicken strips and
arugula- a dinner type salad called Chicken Paillard. I did experience one slightly surly
counter person but everyone else was quite friendly (I went two days in a row).

Jasmine 26- I ordered 2 salads- a green apple one that seemed marinated in fish sauce-
and one with fried banana blossoms that seemed too sweet, came with fish sauce dipping
sauce with chili peppers floating in it. Both looked nice and sounded interesting but I would
have preferred more control over the level of sugar and fish sauce in them. Chicken was in both salads, and was dry. have been there in the past and enjoyed the popular salt and pepper tofu appetizer and a veggie crepe.

Salsa ala Salsa downtown mpls-
I am on a hunt for good tamales- tried a chicken one and a veggie one- not great, the veggie one had bits of cooked corn and not much else in the masa. Very good homemade corn chips and homemade salsas, green and a chunky tomato one, came with the order.
I could tell they didn't put the amount of lard in that La Loma does- didn't have that
seductive flavor depth in the masa. I'd love to hear any other places recommended with
good tamales.

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  1. Hmm...let's see. I also enjoyed my fish tacos at Common Roots the other day. I posted the lengthy story somewhere. Mine were definitely NOT walleye though...they had flavor and texture. The menu says marinated tilapia which sounded about right. I wonder if they change the fish types (?)

    I finally got around to trying the burger at Vincent (with braised short ribs inside). It was extremely disappointing. Fries weren't remarkable either. All in all, a ripoff. I didn't even want to post about it.

    My wife and I tried the new wine bar in downtown Lakeville on Friday (Mainstreet After Hours). They offer 25 "craft beers" -- I'm not into beer but the list seemed more interesting than their wine list. My (forgot the brand) Nut Brown Lager from Ashland, Wisconsin was very tasty. That said, I'm the worst judge of beer quality. Most of the list was somewhat local.

    I've been enjoying a number of products from Golden Fig and gave my wife a nice assortment of BT McElrath and Lovehandles chocolates for Mothers Day. I could guzzle B-grade maple syrup and they seem to be the only place I can find that ever carries it.

    I've also had good gelato at Luxury Sweets in Apple Valley and Papa's in North Minneapolis. I'm not a big fan of banana flavored stuff, but their roasted banana gelato is really addicting.

    I had a great chicken tinga sope and some tacos from Los Ocampos in the MGM a while back. Nothing new there -- they always do a good job.

    I posted a good review of my Brasa redemption a couple weeks ago.

    And the reign of "best carrot cake in the South Metro, and possibly the whole metro" now goes to Chianti Grill in Burnsville. It's enormous (like those gigantic cakes at Coffee News on Grand) and excellent. The previous leader at Roasted Pear in Burnsville, which used to be among the best carrot cakes in all of MSP has gone downhill over the last year or so.

    And finally, my CSA shipments from Harmony Valley just started last Thursday. Hooray for ramps (which I lightly sauteed into some spinach). I can't wait to get the first fruit share and coffee share shipment this week (I think).

    That's all I can think of from the last couple of weeks aside from McD's and whatnot.

    5 Replies
    1. re: MSPD

      Thanks for chiming in mspd- re: Common Roots fish tacos- I noticed the printed menu said $7 while the blackboard said $7.50 for them, and asked about it-
      the counter guy told me he thought they had recently changed to a better
      tasting fish that cost more, and he said they switched to walleye. In my opinion, good walleye is much nicer than tilapia- Tilapia is always farmed whereas walleye is wild, so maybe that means walleye is going to vary in taste more than tilapia. I would say walleye has a more delicate flavor but when it's good I vastly prefer it.
      I kind of agree about the Vincent burger- I tried a bite of a friend's and it
      seemed like the smoky flavor predominated- kind of weird for a burger-
      although I suppose it gets points for creativity-
      And I still really like Luce's carrot cake- pineapple, good walnuts, not too
      sugary, and a great cream cheese icing. No silly orange dyed carrots....

      1. re: faith

        I'll have to try Luce's carrot cake when I'm in the area at dessert time. Thanks for the rec.

        As for the fish, mine for sure wasn't walleye -- wrong color, wrong texture and wrong flavor. I guess I'll have to go back and find out what the deal was. Darn.

        1. re: faith

          Where is Luce? That carrot cake sounds interesting, with the not too sweet and inclusion of pineapple. The 3rd criteria I have for c.c. is moist but not at all oily--how would you say this one does, faith?

          1. re: Enso

            Enso, I am referring to Pizza Luce in downtown Mpls, at 4th St and
            2nd Ave N. There are a couple other locations as well, but I've only
            bought the carrot cake downtown- and yes, no oiliness- it's perfect,
            plus it's a nice big slice. I have to add that I am not a huge fan of their
            pizza which they are more known for-a slice is ok in a pinch though,
            and it does have the merit of some whole grain in the dough. They sell
            some decent salads to go and for eating in, with pretty good dressings,
            that I get occasionally.

        2. re: MSPD

          One of the vendors at the Minneapolis Farmers Market sells B-grade maple syryp, extremely chuggable. He's from Wisconsin, I think his name is Keith, and his tiny table is in one of the middle aisles in the northern half of the market. Look for the little maple lollipops. yum.

        3. We went to Osteria I Nonni for the first time and really enjoyed it. We both had appetizers, a pasta dish, a glass of wine, and dessert. All were excellent-- my Orecchiette alla Barese (with spicy sausage and rapini) were yummy, though a bit too sausage-dominated I thought. Her Lemon Tagliatelle with Shrimp were very good (so she said). The strawberry rhubarb panna cotta was fantastic, I thought. Service was good. All in all a nice evening out.

          We had Mother's Day brunch at Vincent. It was pricey but superb. Great food, wonderful service, I love that place! We've now been for lunch (during Restaurant Week) and brunch, and can't wait to go for a fancy dinner sometime...

          1. The only thing new or noteworthy I've had recently was the Bloody Verde and Duck Bombs at Town Talk. Bloody Verde is a bloody mary but made with tomatillo puree and tequilla instead of vodka and tomato juice. LOVED IT. The duck bombs - think gut bombs made out of duck. Very, very delicious. Happy hour special at the bar. $5 for 3. Moist, of course, not at all gamey, well seasoned, grilled/toasted buns. Duck makes for superb burgers, it turns out.

            Going for the tasting menu at Sanctuary on Monday. Will report back.

            1 Reply
            1. re: pgokey

              ok, pgokey, you jogged my Town Talk memory- I had a very good Caesar salad
              there with toasted garlic bread crumbs- kind of like the world's smallest croutons-
              and one of the happy hour items- a curried chickpea croquette- that was quite
              delicious and prompted my comment to the server that they could do a nice
              Indian plate if they wanted- would be a good addition to the vegetarian offerings
              on the menu.

            2. Pardon the interruption folks, but please refer to The Chowhound Team post in this link for a refresher on the guidelines for posting in these "monthly update" threads Thank you.

              Because it was a lengthy and thorough report, we split this post about Heartland into its own, deserving thread.

              1. We've been to Levain twice recently, and really enjoyed the luscious burger, short ribs, and charcuterie (chicken liver pate and beef tartare). I really like the chef's eagerness and passion to offer innovative items. Order anything that gets you charred greens. This week we went to 112 late night and had their mussels with shellfish veloute (the sauce was worth every finger-licking drop, so smooth and velvety). I also tried the veal tongue with soba noodles in peanut sauce. If you tried either component separately, they were out of balance (tongue too rich and fatty, noodles too vinegary), but when you ate them together they complemented one another quite well. Also ate at Red Stag, but enough has been said about that on a separate thread.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cheeseguysgirl

                  I have to admit I'm not a fan of the charred greens thing, but I too enjoyed the Levain burger. The leftovers, eaten cold right out of the fridge late that night, were even more delicious somehow. I'm discovering that while I love Levain's mushrooms hot, I love them even more chilled.