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Returning after a year away, help me put together a must-try list.

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After a year in NYC ill be back in the twin cities for a few weeks this summer, and while ive occasionally come back to these boards, and have lots of friends reports to go on, I wanted to create a thread to solicit recommendations and put together a list of new places (or dishes) that i should look out for in my time back in MN.

I am very excited about going back to lots of old favorites, including saigon, brasa, pho ca dao, manana, meritage, alma, sirena gorda, colossal cafe, ngon, fasika, but definitely dont want to miss out on anything worthwhile thats come on the scene since i've left.

bar la grassa is definitely on my eating agenda, and ive been reading about piccolo too, but id love more suggestions.

if there has been a relatively recent "new restaurant roundup" thread that i didnt pull up in searching, please direct me there ( but like i said, if there are new items or things have changed in kitchens, even if the restaurant isnt new, id like to hear about it)

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  1. Been around for a while, but not on your list:

    Satay 2 Go in Apple Valley.
    Tea House 2 in St. Paul (east of downtown, south of I94)
    Korea Restaurant in Stadium Village

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    Satay 2 Go
    6670 150th St, Apple Valley, MN

    1. Bar La Grassa and Piccolo - yes, although given the wealth of outstanding Italian in NY, BLG might not do much for you purely from a food standpoint. (Although it's one of my favorite places in MSP)
      Haute Dish
      Sea Change
      Bradstreet Crafthouse

      Did you ever eat at Saffron before you left? If not, go there.

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      Sea Change
      806 Second Street S., Minneapolis, MN 55415

      Bar La Grassa
      800 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401

      1. To reinforce your initial thoughts, like others, I think BLG and Piccolo are great choices. In particular, I have found my meals at Piccolo to be very innovative and delicious. I would include Meritage too. I just had another great meal there and here's a recent post on the tasting menu. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/719913

        Lastly, I am anxious to eat at The Heartland in their new venue across the street from the St. Paul Farmer's Market. They re-open on July 22. According to the Star Trib, here's some of what you can look forward to: It's a huge project: An 80- to 90-seat dining room will overlook the farmers market. Russo plans to draw in market shoppers by serving weekend brunch. In addition, an 80- to 90-seat lounge and an exhibition kitchen -- equipped with several chef's tables -- will wrap around the building's dramatic atrium and several adjacent rooms will contain tech-savvy banquet space for up to 200 people.

        The facility also will include a watch-them-work butcher shop that will specialize in house-made charcuterie. A prime corner space will be devoted to a market, where shoppers will be able to purchase locally raised foods, along with prepared products and grab-and-go lunch items produced in the Heartland kitchens.

        Welcome back and enjoy your visit.

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        Heartland
        1806 St. Clair Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

        Meritage
        410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

        Bar La Grassa
        800 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401

        1. Wow, has it been a whole year? Anyway, I'm surprised there's been no mention thus far of board favorite: re-tooled Victory 44.

          Welcome back!

          ~TDQ

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          Victory 44
          2203 44th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN

          1 Reply
          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            I'll second V-44, of course, as well as Piccolo.

            At V44, don't miss the small plates, though the burger is excellent. At Piccolo, the octopus and the desserts are standouts.

            If you didn't have the chance to try Chimborazo, you should. If you go for lunch, they have a generously portioned soup/sandwich combo. Their plantain soup, in particular, is good. Start with the llapingachos appetizer.

          2. welcome back!

            i'm adding nothing new-- my top 3 spots to visit would be blg, haute dish, piccolo

            1. Thanks for the confirmation, recommendations, and warm welcomes from everyone.

              ill be around for a couple of weeks, so i should make it to most of these choices.

              new heartland, blg, victory 44 (i was never there before it was retooled) are all at the top of my list.

              i'm unsure of whether it would be best to report back here on these suggestions and my own adventures, or start new threads which could increase searchability. anyone have any thoughts?