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[MSP] Short "break" from dieting--where in the Twin Cities would you eat?

As many of you might know (not that you care, but you might KNOW anyway) I've been on a weight loss diet for awhile. Lately, I've fallen "off plan". I intend to go back on plan REALLY SOON. But, there's this dinner coming up and that dinner coming up--you know how it is--and I realize that it's probably going to be a few weeks before I really do get back on plan.

Therefore, I realize I might as well just to visit some of my favorite places that have been off-limits for awhile because they are places where it's just hard to be on a diet, such as Little Szechuan and Al's Breakfast and Big Daddy's. I'm not saying I'm going to completely pig out for the next month, but, can you help me come up with a list of those places I ought to try to hit before recommitting to my diet to quiet all of those crazy cravings?

As a general rule, I prefer casual, mom and pop type places--I'm not talking La Belle Vie and Cosmos etc. (as wonderful as those places are of course)...


Thank you muchly!


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  1. A few places I would visit are not so much restaurants as snacks or dessert:
    Syrdyks for a selection of really good cheeses
    Izzys ice cream
    Cafe Latte for Key Lime Cheesecake

    1. As someone who was recently (June) diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, I completely understand your 'cravings' and the need to keep them under wraps. That said, please, if you haven't been yet, give the Bangkok Deli a shot. Order Hor Mok (a fish and vegetable 'custard' served in a banana leaf cup) and a bowl of DooDee Noodle soup (I know, I know...). It's a sour/spicy noodle dish that is pork broth based with lots of chopped spring onions and little herbs, chopped peanuts, and fish cake, pork meat balls, ground pork, and red roast pork. You can dress it up like you would pho or pad thai for that matter and create your own little version of heaven. It's really outstanding. No one else in the TC offers this dish. And those that offer the Hor Mok buy it from Bangkok Deli and re-sell it as their own.

      The Moon Cakes at Keefer Court are worth a splurge too.

      Enjoy your forays...


      1. I'm a big fan of breakfast fare so I would also go with Al's(and maybe Colossal and Maria's).

        as above, snacks would also be on the list. croissants from Trung Nam, eclair from Butter, doughnuts from A Baker's Wife(and mini from Chef Shack), ice cream from Izzy's.

        1. Maybe a luscious grass-fed steak from The Strip Club?

          1. Oh, this very topic has been much in my mind lately! My goal is to eat healthily and moderately, while keeping in mind the adage of "moderation in all things, including moderation". But late summer is when I usually suspend all hopes at moderation because of birthdays, the State Fair, vacations, and other excuses for overindulgence.

            Here's where I would go for that "fabulous but I can't eat like that very often" feeling:

            - Birchwood Cafe - The food didn't used to be so all-pervasively rich, but now it seems they put bacon, cheese, and aioli in *everything* (except, of course, the fabulous desserts). Just sayin' - not complaining!

            - Keefer Court - Perhaps you could order moderately, but I can't resist the stir-fried green beans, the fried fish, and several treats from the bakery case. And oh, how I'm pining for those pork-flavored "tasty cookies".

            - Brasa - I love their spiced braised beef! I can't resist ordering at least three sides. And lots of beer.

            - Ribs from somewhere good - like Big Daddy's or Lee's & Dee's or the well-reviewed Brickhouse BBQ (haven't been here yet - I don't dare!).

            - Southern food - I'd love to try the Bourbon Street Steakhouse (Eric Austin's new place), but I have to wait until I've been especially moderate for a while.

            - Indian food from Gandhi Mahal, Bombay 2 Deli (get the shrikand dessert!), or ... there are so many places to chose from these days! And most of the food is so very, very rich.

            - Any Mexican restaurant with good tortas. (I haven't had a torta for eons!)

            - Salty Tart Patisserie - a treat a day for a week would be my idea of heaven.

            And, of course, Al's, Maria's, and Izzy's, as mentioned above.

            TDQ, have fun mixing moderation with the lack thereof! My advice: Plan for it and enjoy it completely - don't regret a mouthful, as long as it was delicious. Then wake up the next day (or week) feeling indulged, refreshed, and ready to return to your regular diet.


            1. I would truck myself down to the Savoy Inn and order up a pizza and a pitcher of beer. That'll satisfy you for at least a month!

              1. Breakfast: Al's, Colossal Cafe, Key's, Day By Day. Before the Downtowner became Woodfire Grill, I would say to go there for the "heartstopper."

                Lunch/Dinner: Pop!, Modern Cafe, The Nook, Cap's.

                Desserts, Etc: Izzy's, Pumphouse, Latte, Taste of Scandnavia, Chocolat Celeste, Franklin Street Bakery.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Brad Ballinger

                  If you've never had the pleasure... do yourself (but not your waistline) a favor...

                  Triple Rock Social Club.
                  Meatloaf Dinner and Beer.

                  I swear, you will not be disappointed...

                2. Awesome recommendations everyone. Just the kind of things I wanted to be reminded of while I have the chance--I don't know if I'll be able to get to all of them, but this is hitting some combination of these would certainly seem to keep me sated for awhile! HuaGung, sorry to hear about the diabetes diagnosis--I hope that you are able to adjust your diet and exercise easily enough and continue to enjoy some of your favorites, at least in small portions on occasion. Anne--I love that mantra, everything in moderation, even moderation!


                  1. You have been doing core, right? With that in mind, I'd recommend Broders for pasta, the BullDog NE for a hamburger, and all the ice cream you can eat from Crema.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: churchka

                      Yes, core, good memory! So, my particular challenge in eating out while "on plan" is avoiding carbs that aren't specifically whole grain pasta, brown rice or a whole grain like quinoa or barley...so very astute of you to recommend carb-y type places like a pasta bar, burger (with bun), and ice cream!


                      1. re: churchka

                        I would agree with the Bulldog. My sister, husband, and I went there for the first time last week. We always share something-so we tried the Truffle Burger. I haven't had a good burger for forever-I don't even like the places everyone else likes, like Matt's Bar or the Nook-but this was amazing.

                      2. Pizza is my weakness, so I'd head to Cossettas.

                        1. mmm. . . if i were in your shoes i'd make sure to get izzy's & sebastian joes ice cream, and a strawberry-banana malt from conny's. i'd get a square-cut pizza from mama's, ribs from big daddy's, blueberry pancakes from al's, pho and bun salad from *your fave here,* mexican pastries, los ocampos alambres, steak followed by cheesecake at the strip club, the non-pork-o-rama breakfast at triple rock, juicy buns from tea house, the cheese-filled pies at shish, the gnocchi at 112, the fantastic artisan breads & pastries at rustica. . . *man* i just made myself really hungry for carbs!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: soupkitten

                            Looks like you've got the first weekend covered.

                            1. re: MSPD

                              hey now!!! *blush*
                              er. . . i mean, oink oink! :)

                          2. So do you want to be totally decadent and really pig out? For breakfast why not try the German Oven Pancake at the Good Day Cafe in Golden Valley? :-)

                            1. TDQ - I'm with the prior poster - borders for a white carb fest & a bottle of wine and then some izzys.

                              (I love core)

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: St Paul Susie

                                I hate to admit, I've been lurking ... former Minnesotan here, living in Washington, DC, and living vicariously through all your suggestions!! YUM!! But I can't stand the suspense anymore ... what is core????

                                1. re: PeggyD

                                  Core = Weight Watchers Core plan. Here's a post of mine about it from the "Home Cooking" branch.


                              2. This is the first time I've looked on Chowhound in a couple of months because I had bariatric surgery in August. Wow, this thread was the wrong one for me to read!

                                The place I would beeline to if I could would be Town Talk Diner. Grease, glorious grease! Kitchen sink burger, duck bombs, onion rings, those fries, the Bloody Verde, the cheese curds (better than the state fair). Ugh.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: pgokey

                                  Yes, the crazy out of control indulgence thread is probably not the best thread for you right now. Welcome back and I hope your recovery is going well. If you want to start a "healthy eating" thread, I can join you in that now...like, the brown rice and vegetarian dishes at Bravo! Bakery! Or Trotter's Cafe in St. Paul! And so on! Many healthy and delicious options out there, too!


                                2. I would just make a big 13 x 9 pan of tiramisu at home and stay facedown in it for the weekend.

                                  But if I had to go out, add to the suggestions here the pork belly appetizer at Ngon's.

                                  1. Thank you to everyone for your replies. I did have some fun indulgences inspired by your recommendations, including:

                                    ~Peach ice cream cone from Conny's Creamy Cone in St. Paul
                                    ~Breakfast at Maria's
                                    ~Croissants and bahn mi from Trung Nam
                                    ~Bahn mi from Jasmine Deli
                                    ~Nectarine pastry from Salty Tart
                                    ~Pizza from Carbone's on Randolph
                                    ~Perfectly fried catfish from West Indies Soul
                                    ~Cubana Torta from Manny's
                                    ~Fried chicken with JoJo from Skinners

                                    There were so many stops we didn't get to, but I have to tell you, though I expected to hit a lot more places, I really had to pace myself. I thought it was going to be this crazy indulgence-fest. As it turns out, everything in moderation, even immoderation!


                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      Just to clarify...are you talking about West Indies Soul at Midtown, or is the University location open again?

                                      1. re: BigE

                                        Ah, good question. The one in Midtown Global Market... I could be wrong, but I'm not under the impression that the University Avenue location will be re-opening...