Farewell to Minnesota tour
- Jordan Mar 16, 2009 05:27 PM
So... we're leaving Minneapolis for Los Angeles this summer. (Job reasons. Darn this recession/depression.) It's a good move in many ways, but we'll miss Minnesota.
Obviously, we're not exactly going to the chow-hinterlands. There will be plenty of great restaurants and food finds out there. The year-round farmer's markets alone are making me salivate.
However, here's my question. If you had just a few months left in Minnesota, where/what would you want to eat on a farewell tour? Your top five, please...
Heartland, The Nook, Alma, for sure. These didnt take me two second to come up with. Could you double up on hearland and alma for a total of five?
In all seriousness, your thousand hills beef is just gonna be 2000 miles farther from home in LA, so maybe the strip club? Id also say you should either eat some vietnamese or ethiopian or maybe hit up bangkok thai deli, though none of those foods will be all that hard to find (i think of those options bkk thai deli would be my choice because it could possibly compete with thaitown la food, but then again i dont know how close to fairfax you will be living, so i might go with ethiopian).
Oh, also, please please please enjoy a Langer's Pastrami sandwich for me. Please.
Edit: since i see youre not leaving till summer, though the food isnt particularly "minnesota" id do a barbette meal outside in the summer when the people watching is good, not that there wont be any tight pants, ironic sunglasses or vaguely ethnic scarves to be scene in la :)
Heartland, Cafe Levain, Colossal Cafe for breakfast, Alma, and wherever Don Saunders ends up..
oh man, im hoping you suggested five as a limit to keep the thread tidy, and not because you'll only get to hit five of these before your gone. Craftsman, colossal, are obvious omissions on my part - Al's maybe, too? I will agree, as well, that Quang, Fasika and Dulono's are iconic representational foodstuffs, but i've never cared for Dulono's pizza, and I think you'd be able to find equally good to better examples of vietnamese and ethiopian when you move. In this vein i think that loc ocampo is one of the better taquerias ive enjoyed, but im not sure i would go there before moving back to california -- maye i would, who am i kidding.
Its interesting that with the common roots comment above, plus craftsman and the nook it would seem that hamburgers represent a significant minnesota food. I think its a good symbol of the cities, especially when rounded out with some excellent immigrant ethnic cuisines.
Dulono's is hands down my favorite pizza in Minnesota and it will not be replicated outside of Minnesota. If you don't like Dulono's feel free to replace it with any other square cut, thin crust pizza joint. You will not be able to get it in CA.
Also, the beef in CA will not compare to the beef here. They may produce a lot of beef out there, but it doesn't compare to what we have here.
My top five are a bit lower class:
The most obvious is getting a Juicy Lucy (my favorite is at Matt's Bar).
Have a bloody mary breakfast at the CC Club.
Get in your car, drive up to St. Cloud, and get some awesome pancakes at Pete's Place.
Drive up to Lake Superior and snag some smoked fish.
Last, but not least, White Castle. You'll be gaining In N Out goodness, but losing the White Castle gut-bombs.
Jordan, we hardly knew ye!
In order of priority, although, #1 may have to come after #2 and some of the others(sorry, I can't do only 5, but I tried to consolidate & prioritize):
1. I'm not sure if you're leaving before the season, but: RUSS KENDALL's for smoked lake trout. RK is between Duluth & Two Harbors [stop at Fitgers en route for a house-brewed beer and their awesome wild rice burger. If you are so inclined, head all the way up to Betty's Pies in Two Harbor for rhubarb pie.] Russ Kendall's does do shipping, though it's very limited by season.
2. As soon as the season hits, as many MOREL MUSHROOMS as you can stand. Pick them up from the co-ops and farmers' markets and cook at home. Make a trip out to Bayport Cookery or Old Village Hall in Lanesboro. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/392214 If you're in Lanesboro, hit up Das Wurst Haus. If you go on a weekday (they are only open on weekdays during the time of year that morels are in season), hit up Whalen Pie Shop--see if they have rhubarb pie.
3. RHUBARB EVERYTHING that you can get ahold of, jams and jellies at the Farmers Markets, or at Golden Fig on Grand in St. Paul, maybe pie at Betty's Pies in Mahtomedi (or in Two Harbors while you're getting your smoked lake trout at Russ Kendall's). Betty's does ship. I don't know how good it is.
4. Al's--pancakes or the benedict
5. Hell's Kitchen--wild rice porridge, lemon ricotta pancakes, huevos rancheros, bison sausage bread, peanut butter. [Note, HK ships their PB, bison bread, hot chocolate, coffee].
6.Heartland. Stop at Izzy's on your way home.
7. Cheese curds somewhere (TTD or Conny's Creamy Cone if it's open).
8. The Nook for a Molitor. On your way home, pop into Kopplin's for a Rogue Chocolate bar and a Rustica croissant. [Rogue does ship].
9. On your own grill--Kramarczuk's sausage on Rustica rolls. [Kramarczuk's does ship].
10. Ngon Bistro--order something made with Thousand Hills Beef. Make sure to have a Surly while you're there.
11. Once it's open for the season Dari-ette in St. Paul for a hot dago sandwich. Get spaghetti on the side. If you are moving before the season starts, DeGidio's hot dago is a good back-up.
Take a box of Pearson's salted nut rolls and lots of wild rice with you, and, since it looks like you'll miss Honeycrisp apple season, the phone number of an orchard that ships Honeycrisp apples. Don't forget to order White Earth wild rice online once your supply runs out.
re: The Dairy Queen
Looking at my list above, I might prioritize rhubarb a little lower if you have a good mail order source for jams and jellies and such. The ground needs to freeze for rhubarb to grow, which is why I'm worried you'll miss it in CA.
Oh, and if you haven't had it yet, before you leave you must go to Cafe Finspang at Midtown Global Market and get some lutefisk (it's frozen, you'll need to ask for cooking instructions and prepare it at home). People will ask you about it, so you might as well have an opinion, good or bad. While you're there, get some lefse and any of the pastries that look appealing (lots of wonderful choices.). Another fun option (that I've always wanted to try and would do if I could before I left) to do once if you don't have other plans is the Mothers Day smorgasbord/brunch at American Swedish Institute.
Make sure you try Somali food once before you leave, if you haven't already done so. You could do that at Safari while you're at MidGloMo (though I don't think that's your best option as I think it's just generally African, but I realize time is short) or Hamdi next door to MidGloMo or Qoraxlow on Lake a dozen or so blocks East of MidGloMo.
Also, again if you haven't tried them, the Danish aebleskiver at St. Paul Winter Farmers market. Go now, before the "winter" season ends and you don 't know where to find them.
I see 112 Eatery on zataar's list below. Oh no! I would so miss 112 Eatery.
There will be plenty of outstanding Southeast Asian and Mexican in L.A. as well as lots of other great chow. There's a poster on the LA Board who was on a campaign to eat a different cuisine every day, consecutively, until he ran out of cuisines. I think he made it 4 months. I think his blog was man bites world, though, I can't be sure.
We haven't been to the TC since our daughter moved from Minneapolis to Seattle two years ago. The places we had to hit before the move:
French Meadow Bakery - I know, not everyone's favorite, but it was 2 blocks from our daughter's place and we have good memories of morning coffee and scones.
I know there are more. We left off high end places to get to more places.
I don't post much, but this one caught my eye. I say Craftsman, Broders, The Egg & I (on Lyndale, I know it's not a board favorite, but I do love it), Quang, Grand Cafe. You can probably find great versions of all these in LA, but still good MN food.
Well Runyon's of course.
I would also want a weekend at Canoe Bay in Chetek, Wisconsin both for their dining and the accommodations.
A trip up to Grand Marais for Chez Jude and weekend at Sweetgrass Cove would be another.
I'd probably want to get a to-go order from the Russian Tea House too.
Town Talk (satisfy my cheese curd fixation), The Nook, Punch Pizza, White Castle, Ah Sah Wan (this dumpy place in the skyway that serves my favorite crab rangoons!!!). This is unique to me--I'd never recommend Ah Sah Wan to anyone for anything but the crab rangoon.
You have to get a combination of locally sourced goodness and the unique places.
Let me start by saying that my experience with the more culturally diverse cuisine (Eat Street, the various Asian and African flavors, etc) is limited at best. So, I'll leave those to the people that know them better than me.
Personally, if I was getting ready to move, this would be my 'bucket list'
In no particular order...
1) Alma - Still my favorite meal in town. Great food with a focus on local sourcing.
2) Heartland - On par with Alma in every respect.
3) Al's - One of those special places that you just can't find everywhere. One last Jose with a short stack of wheat wally blues. :)
4) Hell's Kitchen - Huevos Rancheros and lemon ricotta pancakes. Can't miss those two.
5) A Juicy Lucy somewhere. My personal favorite is at the Nook.
If we need 5, those would be my choices.
Wow! What a great set of replies – with some real insights into how different people would approach this challenge. You’ve given me some items for my list, as well as spurring thoughts of my own.
Several people listed White Castle. While I love California’s In n’ Out Burger, I’m not a fan of the Castle. Likewise, a lot of recommendations for Alma – people may have forgotten that I have always been underwhelmed by Alma.
For places pretty unique to Minnesota or just special in their own way, I appreciate the reminders that I should get back to Ngon Bistro, Izzy’s Ice Cream, the 112 Eatery, Hell’s Kitchen, Solera, and Broder’s.
I should definitely get a good square-cut Midwestern pizza or two. My personal favorites that are close to home include Carbone’s and Jakeeno’s. I think I’ll also add Pizza Nea to the list – I prefer it to Punch.
Burgers (Jucy Lucy or otherwise) came up a lot. My favorites include Town Talk Diner (also good for dinner, in general), the Nook, and one place that wasn’t mentioned – the Bulldog NE.
Some local ingredients were mentioned. I will miss the Honeycrisps, but I’ll be sure to pick up some wild rice and maybe a box of Pearson’s Nut Goodies (far superior to the nut rolls). Thousand Hills beef is good, and I should get out to the Strip Club, but I think I’ll really miss Fischer Farms pork. Fortunately, Ngon Bistro can hook me up there.
French Meadow Bakery is also on my list – I have many good memories from that place, from all times of the day. I think my first post on Chowhound was to recommend their Valentine’s Day dinner, way back in 2003 or so.
And I’ll definitely try to visit Don Saunders wherever he lands. We were there for his last week at Fugaise. Nobody mentioned La Belle Vie – another amazing local gem that I will miss.
Thanks, everyone! We’ll miss you and the Minnesota chow scene.
Jordan, not necessarily worthy of absolutely-must-have-before-you-leave, but if you like the burgers at Town Talk and the Nook, I would encourage you to have a burger at the Good Day Cafe before you split town.
I listed The Nook for the top-notch burger, but also because it, along with the others I listed also have non-food qualities that I love. But I've recently felt more and more that the burger at GDC has surpassed the Nook as the best in all of MSP.
In no particular order
Birchwood - probably several times, especially for Sunday brunch. So in love with this place!
112 - anything
Holy Land - chicken gyro combo plate and I'd basically buy up all their hummus and Landry's hot sauce
French Meadow Cafe - love the tempeh reuben and the BBQ tempeh wrap!
The Nook - for the Paul Molitor
Psycho Suzi's - for a few rum drinks and a deep dish za
I'm not sure if you have a taste for such things, but have you considered the regional foods that you will never have outside of Minnesota? Like lefse, klub, pickled fish, lutefisk? I also doubt you will have the sausage shops every few miles like you have in Minnesota. Also, try some cheese from your neighbor to the east. Especially cheese curds.
I'm from Indy, but my brother lives in Minneapolis.
If you don't know of those things, at least try them on your way out. You won't get them in LA.
...and it may not be exactly a restaurant, but it is food related. For heaven's sake take a trip into Northeast Mpls and hit a bar that's having a meat raffle. Have a few drinks, propose a few toasts to Minnesota, and walk out with a mediocre cut of meat to haul out to California with you.
Oh, and maybe take a bag of cheesecurds from Rybicki's (Mall of America) Cheese Shop out to California too. I used to take them all around the South when I traveled for work. I can still hear the reactions..."That's a cheese h-what?" Those southerners do toss the H-sound in front of their W's!
And who knows, perhaps you'll be happy to be shut of them, but as always I champion cream cheese puffs/wontons. There are two places that make very good versions of these bewildering little deep fried cream cheese pillows, though you really won't find much else to love at these places I've attached places links.
If you can find chokecherry jelly or syrup, you should pick some up. It's usually easier to find in late summer though so you'll probably have to get via mailorder once you've moved. Again, if you like it.
For old school Minnesota you might enjoy a steak at Murray's? Or maybe a trout at Jax Cafe?
Edit - rats! My link to New China Wok didn't stick:
5033 France Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55410
Chiang Mai Thai Restaurant
3001 Hennepin Ave Ste A, Minneapolis, MN 55408
Sounds like you have plenty of good suggestions. But here are my recommendations for a soon-to-be-ex Minnesotan:
- Al's Breakfast
- Something with cheese curds (maybe at Town Talk, Blue Door, or Groveland Tap)
- Tater tot hotdish at the Hot Plate Diner (I've never had it, but it's the ESSENCE of Minnesota!)
- Square-cut pizza (I like Vescio's, but that's because I was weaned on it)
- Sausages from Kramarczuk's
If you have any extra time, I'd recommend visiting all the premium ice cream places in town: Izzy's, Pumphouse, Crema, Sebastian Joe's, Grand Old Creamery, Liberty Frozen Custard, ...
P.S. We'll miss you!
Ice cream season in minnesota is an amazing thing. its puzzling to me that there are so many high quality ice creameries in a place where a sane person only wants cold things three months a year, if you were gonna do it right it would take some commitment.
ice cream is good, and quintessentially mn summer, but dont forget your frozen custard. think of that as you grab a pinkberry.
My last five Minnesota restaurants would be, in order of how much I love them:
1. Tanpopo Noodle Shop for Kitsune Soba
2. Little Szechuan for Kung Pao Tofu and the green beans
3. Ngon for tofu bun and shrimp egg rolls
4. Punch in Highland Park for the Margarita Extra and Punch salad
5. Abu Nader Deli for a falafel sandwich
I never get sick of these places, and I feel very grateful to live in close proximity to all of them. I'd definitely be sure to get my fill of cheese here, because cheese in California just tastes weird.
I'd go with 5 from St. Paul:
1. Ngon Bistro
3. Punch Pizza - Cleveland Ave.
5. Taste of Thailand
You can get Asian, Latino, ice cream, pizza, hamburgers, etc. in Los Angeles. Unless you already have a must have of those here in Minnesota I would not worry about them.
What you will not find in Los Angeles is the fried walleye sandwich and Tavern on Grand in St. Paul should be where you ought to go although you can find worthy ones in a lot of bar/grill restaurants.
You might also want to seek out a good old fashion fish fry at a church, lodge, community fundraiser, American Legion, etc. That's a Midwest thing.
Find a good wild rice soup. California grows more commercial wild rice but I don't know if they generally serve it and if you can get the Ojibwe native wild harvest variety it will be much better.
You will probably be hard pressed to find a deep-fried cheese curd in California. So indulge before you go.
Not particularly Minnesota, more Iowa, but a good deep-fried breaded pork tenderloin sandwich barely exists in California. Many can be found in the Twin Cities and the north half of Minneapolis serves them uniquely on toast and battered instead of breaded.
I said not to worry about hamburgers but there are two varieties you won't have and that is the Jucy Lucy and White Castles. If you haven't had either, you need to, because you will be asked about them.
Hotdish, Lefse, Lutefisk? Unless you are Scandinavian it is more stereotype image than fact. We don't have a populace that is seeking that food in droves in very many restaurants. Good lefse is hard to find unless you know someone that knows how to make it in the home. Hotdish is nothing but casserole found everywhere. The tater tot, hamburger and mushroom soup variety is a gimmick promotion to poke the Minnesota heritage.
You can find good to great restaurants everywhere but I think Minnesota has an abundance of casual chef driven restaurants that serve locally grown, harvested, caught, raised and gathered foods in creative ways. You might want to make your rounds of 112 Eatery, Restaurant Alma, Heartland, Lucia's and others of similar style. They probably serve differently with a different sensual arousal even if you can find similar places in LA.
Long time lurker and born and bred Minnesotan from St. Louis Park.
Trying to keep within the boundaries of "Minnesota NIce" I take offense to Davydd's attack on the Hotdish, I've noticed he has done the same on other threads too. I know that many of my fellow brethren choose to take tradition and shove it under the rug in place of Applebees or whatever the new Yuppie Ethnic trend is, but regardless of that I'm proud of my Northern Midwest Heritage.
First of all, Hotdish is not Scandinavian, I'm Polish and grew up on Hotdish. Available outside of Minnesota, yes, but I doubt you'd find it outside of Wisconsin or the Dakotas. Casserole is a very different animal in the rest of the country. My wife's Scandinavian relatives in Montana and out Seattle way don't know Hotdish from Hooplah- they've never heard of it.
Hotdish is far from a gimmick, not only is it quite real and very unique to our region, but walk into just about any family restaurant in the Cities and you're bound to find at least one Hotdish Special on the menu, and always Tuna Hotdish on Fridays.
I grew up on hearty homestyle stick to your ribs midwestern food and I'm not going to dismiss it as "bland and boring" just because we've turned into an ultra trendy follow the next guy society. I've seen too many local restaurants close because of that.
One more thing, I too love a Juicy Lucy, the Nook is my favorite, however I will sadly relent and say it's not unique to us, yes, we deserve credit for coining the term Juicy Lucy, however you can find a stuffed cheeseburger at just about any bar and tavern all over the country. I remember enjoying one at a business lunch in New York City back in the 1970's.
re: sooo hungry
OK, I'll say it again. Hotdish is a local name for casserole. If you have lived in other areas of the country you'd know that, especially tuna casserole cited that I grew up with even in Indiana. Hotdish has been poked fun of frequently in radio shows like Prairie Home Companion and Howard Mohr's "How to Talk Minnesotan" book and play. There are several books by local authors devoted to Hotdish in some ways tongue in cheek to take advantage of the notoriety. Minnesotans have just promoted the name to a higher level of cultural consciousness. But what is absurd is outsiders have this image that it is what we frequently eat in restaurants because of all our over the top cultural promotions, and I was responding to the OP's farewell restaurant tour. Family restaurants are not all that ubiquitous. They very well may serve it, but it is a homemade dish for the most part and not restaurant centric. But other than that if a restaurant puts it on its menu it is to take advantage of that cultural lore. I know that Grumpy's Bar serves a tater tot hotdish that I am aware of and that definitely is less heritage and more a tongue in cheek cultural poke similar to the hotdish on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair. I'm not aware of any place else. Out state maybe? So help me out on that if I am wrong. I probably could come up with more restaurants that serve an Iowan inspired breaded pork tenderloin sandwich, a Philly cheesesteak, Wisconsin cheese curds or a shepherd's pot pie in the Twin Cities. None of which are very unique to Minnesota.
On edit: Found one! Millie's Deli in Chanhassen serves a tater tot or hamburger hot dish for lunch. :)
I agree that Minnesotans have raised Hot Dish to a higher level of cultural consciousness but that's just because we have so many cold nights to create new recipes for Hotdish. I understand what you're saying, they're homemade, and so are other dishes that you're likely to find in most restaurants. I can go out for a burger or hot dog, but I can prepare them at home too. Same thing with Turkey or Pot Roast
So we make a big deal about Hotdish but thats not all we eat- are we really different from other folks? My wife and I visited Maryland's Eastern Shore a few years back on vacation- they make a big deal about crabs there too- I think we even saw a joke book about that in one of the local book stores however, I doubt that Marylanders eat crab all day.
As I said before, you won't find Hot Dish as a fixed menu item at most restaurants., it's a revolving daily special more or less. Currran's and The Square Peg come to mind. I believe Keys does too.
I had dinner with a friend last night who was in town after living in San Francisco for the last year. He says that Californians cannot do pizza, sausages, and deep fried food.
As for pizza, he couldn't put his finger on it, but he does not like it as well as Minnesota pizza. He's a big Pizza Luce and Davanni's, if that matters.
Sausages. We went out last night to Black Forest Inn. He said he knows one butcher that has sausages and no restaurants that do them. He missed them.
Deep fried bar food. Again, he isn't sure why, but deep fried bar food isn't as satisfying, but says it is not.
the one thing he doesn't miss is anything Asian. He made it sound like that is all he eats.
TDQ's list is going to keep me busy for the rest of the calendar year. I'm from New York and if I leave, I think of some specific dishes I would miss.
1. Pho from Pho 79, haven't found any place in LA quite that good.
2. Corn pancakes from Maria's, although it may not taste the same above zero.
3. Sauteed peatips from Mandarin Kitchen, winter gives it just the perfect bite.
My guilty pleasure in LA is the Stinkin' Rose. You start with roasted garlic and Italian bread. I don't actually care about the rest of the entree.
Have fun and feel superior whenever the temperature drops below 50
Alma and/or La Belle Vie
Maverick's and/or Wally's
(You'll get really good Korean and Mexican in LA, probably good Vietnamese too).
I can't understand why so many recommend Heartland. In my two trips, it's not been bad, but it hasn't been outstanding either. And I'm geographically inclined to be biased towards it because it's within walking distance from my house.
Blue Nile for a Gosa-Gosa C
Deli Supreme in Bloomington for a spicy Gyro w/ feta
A road trip to the New Scenic Cafe in Two Harbors for whatever is on the menu, which would hopefully include sashimi tacos
O'Donovan's for a Traditional Irish Breakfast
Surabhi in Bloomington for lunch buffet, but only on Monday, becasue that's when they have butter chicken on the buffet.
Delmonico's Italian Grocery in NE Mpls for the housemade pastas, sauces, spicy Italian sausage.
The Nook in St. Paul for a juicy nookie and fries.
Mackenthun's market in St. Bonifacious for the spicy, string beef jerky.
Chindian Cafe in NE Mpls for the Pork Hoagie.
Hell's Kitchen, DT Mpls, for the wonderful hot chocolate, peanut butter, caramel pecan roll and the hash.
PMS pizza at Red's Savoy near DT St. Paul.
The Philly Steak sandwich (OG Style) at Savoy in Uptown with provolone.
Pot Roast at the Modern Cafe.
Panino's fries w/ranch at Panino's in North Oaks.
Have a great day, k?
1500 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414
89 S 10th St, Minneapolis, MN 55403