Homesick Friend! Specialty Foods online from St. PAul? [Moved from Midwest Board]
My co-worker is feeling very homesick and I'd like to send her something from St. Paul What are some good stores that I can order online from for chocolate, coffee, or other good specialty foods. OR even foods that local or famous for St. Paul.
Thanks so much!
I am note even remotely knowledgeable about the area. Thanks again.
You can order chocolates online from Chocolate Celeste. They are pricey, but worth every penny....except the shipping. Shipping chocolate in the sumer (or year round to certain states) =extra $$$ www.chocolatceleste.com
A more economical solution may be to ship out a box of Pearson's Salted Nut Rolls. Made locally in St. Paul, they are difficult to find outside of the MSP metro. They have much more economical shipping options. The Pearson's web page offered this link on their website to order their products (Note there are other product's avail on this website that are not made by Pearson's) That website is:
What a nice friend you are!
Me, I'd be homesick for wild rice soup, or anything with wild rice. Mixes are commonly available - like this excellent version from Native Harvest:
Hot dish (aka a baked casserole) is big in the area. Perhaps about a potholder or tea towel of Minnesota Hot Dishes, possibly with a cookbook or a can of Campell's Cream of Mushroom Soup? That would say home to just about any Minnesota expatriot. Here's a link to the tea towel (you can find the can 'o soup anywhere. :-)
Pearson's Salted Nut Rolls are indeed made here in St. Paul, and I love them - though I've seen them in Alaska and many other U.S. states. But if they're rare in your town, you can mail-order them from Target.com as well as from Pearson's.
And there's always the notorious White Castle burgers. You're an East-coaster, so you might be familiar with the legend, but if not... They're beloved by drunken college students and those who are nostalgic for their booze-laden college days. (Me, I used to eat sacks full of sliders down by the Mississippi River after evenings at a notorious Greek nightclub in Fridley ... or is that T.M.I.?) Anyway, I shudder to report that frozen White Castle burgers are available nationwide in major supermarkets, like this one:
Actually, I think your best bet might be a call to St. Paul's nicest gourmet food store, Golden Fig. They usually have a good selection of regionally-made soup mixes, jams, mustards, and coffees - they sell a line of specialty coffee blends from local restaurants. They also carry top-of-the-line local chocolates, like the fabulous B.T. McElrath chocolates and Rogue single-source bars (new in 2007).
Their website isn't set up for online shopping, but I'm sure they'd consult with you on the phone about what they have and what would work.
I echo the sentiments of the others who preceed me--what a thoughtful co-worker you are! And, both of their recommendations are (as always), fantastic. Pearson's Salted Nutrolls are made here in St. Paul. And MN wild rice (the handharvested, handparched stuff) would be one of the things I would absolutely pack my suitcase full of, then order by mail when that ran out, if I ever left the Twin Cities. Cultivated wild rice is easy to get, but not the hand-harvested stuff. And there is a difference. The wild rice you can get from the folks in the link Anne provides is the best stuff.
My very favorite place to send mail order from (and guess what, I do it locally as well as out of state) in the Twin Cities is Hell's Kitchen restaurant across the river from St. Paul in Minneapolis. Their coffee, housemade peanut butter, housemade condiments, and their bison sausage bread are all fantastic. (I know, the sausage bread sounds gross, but it's lovely!) They offer some really terrific gift sets and I've gotten rave reviews from the people I've shipped them to, even people who have never heard of the restaurant. http://www.hellskitcheninc.com/hellsk...
Another place I would absolutely miss if I left the Twin Cities would be the wonderful housemade sausages from Kramarczuk in Minneapolis. http://www.kramarczuk.com/Sausage/Ord... They do phone orders and shipping, no problem.
Another thing screams Minnesota, though not St. Paul in particular, that is a real local delicacy is smoked herring or lake (from the big lake, Lake Superior!) trout. Russ Kendall's is one of my favorites and they ship--their phone number is in the link. http://www.visitduluth.com/members/li... Also, Northern Waters Smokehaus http://www.nwsmokehaus.com/Smoked_Fis...
Finally, my craziest suggestions of all, but, why hold back, eh? If I were homesick for St. Paul, what I would be most homesick for right now, at this very moment, would be the Minnesota State Fair. It is a big deal for Minnesotans and St. Paulites--always the 12 days leading up to (and including Labor Day).
De rigeur State Fair treats are Pronto Pups (like corn dogs, but with flour-based batter instead of corn based), deep fried cheese curds, and just about anything on stick (one of my favs being pork chop on a stick), roasted corn, honey sunflower seed ice cream, a big bucket of Sweet Martha's cookies.
The cheese curds have to be squeaky fresh or there's no point, so, I don't know what to say there... The ice cream is impossible to find. And the corn, well, that might be silly.
I don't know how to get those items to your co-worker, BUT Pronto Pups sells their flour mix online. You could order that and some homemade hot dogs from Kramarczuk's and she'd be all set. http://www.prontopup.net/id12.html http://www.prontopup.net/id1.html
Sweet Martha's cookies are available in the frozen section of supermarkets here. I'll bet a high-end supermarket, like Lunds and Byerly's, could help you get that. http://www.lundsandbyerlys.com/ OR http://www.sweetmarthasstore.com/othe...
You could buy some wonderful local pork from Cedar Summit Farm and suggest your co-worker make her own chops on a stick. I'll get you a link.
re: The Dairy Queen
Here's the Cedar Summit Farms link. I tried to edit it in above and am not sure it worked http://www.cedarsummit.com/pork_cs.htm
A couple more thoughts:
Thomasina's Cashew Brittle, local, though, I don't know that it screams St.Paul or Minnesota unless your friend knows of them:
Another thing I ship to friends and family out of state is a tin of the freshly-made Chicago Mix from Candyland in downtown St. Paul:
re: The Dairy Queen
ooo. or the cedar-summit butter. milk from grassfed cows. or the ice cream, or. . .
i'd want someone to send me the hand-harvested wild rice, some mn maple syrup, a 4-pack of surly beer, one piping-hot cheese curd, one piping-hot cream cheese wonton, a hot bowl of pho or seafood soup from quang, a box of b.t. mcelrath chocolates, a square-cut pizza from mama's, sausages from kramarczuck's, anything from los ocampos. . . oh i'd just miss everything & i'm probably not even being helpful.
the hell's kitchen PB is really really good, a sure winner.
Here are a couple ideas that may or may not be helpful: while I also love Salted Nut Rolls (hey I've been known to have one for breakfast - packed with peanut-y protein!), there's the much rarer Nut Goodie also from Pearson's. An acquired taste and downright icky if you dislike maple candies. But this time of year I don't think they'd ship very well.
Also, the wrong time of year but should you feel the need to repeat your thoughtful generosity in a couple months I suggest Pepin Heights Sparking Cider. I've tried all sorts of sparking ciders and to my taste buds it is far superior. Of course one needs to wait for apple season to start so of little use right now. Still - http://www.pepinheights.com/lake_city...
My sister in law who grew up in St. Paul sends chokecherry jelly to her brother in SF for his birthday every year. To him it says home. http://www.redlakenationfoods.com/pro...
Also along the lines of State Fair fare - if you could manage to sculpt a bust out of butter, well, nothing says State Fair to a Minnesotan more than a butterhead. Even a small one (made with Land O'Lakes butter of course) with a toy John Deere tractor next to it would most definitely warm your friend's heart.
re: The Dairy Queen
I once tried sculpting butter but had to admit defeat early in the process. One really does need to be in a refrigerated case to make something that does not resemble my end-product entitled "A Tribute to the Early Work of Steve McQueen - The Blob." No wonder they sell butter molds.
I attended a corn roast where a former princess donated her butterhead. Seeing people roll corn cobs on her likeness as she stood nearby, at turns laughing and then flinching was surreal.
re: MplsM ary
*picturing own head sculpted of butter.*
**picturing hot corn cobs melting my buttery eyelids and nose.**
***picturing a butterhead accidently left in a hot car, maybe even with a seatbelt on.***
****thinking of the end of "raiders of the lost ark, executed in butterheads rather than wax figures."****
*****picturing a reeeaaaly big bowl of popcorn.*****
re: MplsM ary
Actually, that is very similar to stories I've heard from friends, too. About rolling their cobs in their friend's buttery look-alike at a corn roast...
I've never tried to scult anything out of butter, but, I've been able to successfully get away with "painting" softened butter onto a mold then putting it in the fridge to chill, then pulling it back out to texturize. It can look pretty convincing for a butter sculpture knock-off of the very amateurish variety.
What about a work potluck with a MN theme. Hotdish, fried items on sticks, salads made with Jello, snickers salad, etc? regional beer might be nice as well. Summit?
and ditto on what a nice co-worker!