Bizarre foods quest
My 11 yr. old daughter has become a huge fan of Andrew Zimmern, and is getting very interested in food. She's not quite ready to start eating bugs or brains, yet, but is definitely interested in trying some more interesting foods in and around the twin cities.
We already are huge sushi and asian food fans, but looking for a place where we can try some of the more interesting bits/animals in a controlled environment. e.g. pig cheeks, alligator, rabbit, frog legs, etc. I think I would prefer to avoid the asian restaurants for this sort of thing, since they often involve a significant spice/heat factor, which she won't go for . . .
And, although I have pretty respectable kitchen skills, I'm not sure I want to dive into preparing this sort of thing on my own, until we've eaten some already. Any suggestions for a place or places to go to get some off the beaten path food items?
Thanks in advance.
I'm surprised no one has suggested Heartland. That restaurant actually appeared in an episode of Bizarre Foods, due to Chef Russo's love of using everything from nose to tail.
Mind you this is not the cheapest option. But it has its advantages. If you call ahead and let the chef know what you're looking for, and that it's for your daughter who is just getting into exploring this stuff, he's likely to custom craft some courses for you.
Thanks for all the great suggestions. We are definitely going to head to Travail, and serval other places mentioned in this thread. So glad I found this site. Thanks for all the help, and keep them coming, if you think of other places to try. I'm starting a nice list.
By the way, very cool that your daughter is interested in trying new foods. Wasn't until my 20s that I began to pay attention to food.
Travail in Robbinsdale would be a great option. Current menu has charcuterie plate, rabbit, octopus, sweetbreads, pork cheek, oysters, beef tartare... And the chefs would get a big kick out of your daughter coming into challenge herself.
You can see their latest menu on FB under "Travail Kitchen and Amusements." Lunch or early dinner may be a good option for you to avoid a long wait.
The Bulldog in St. Paul has an "game" sausage every day. Yesterday it was rabbit sausage with lingonberries. I didn't try it, but I've had elk sausage on a previous visit.
As far as bringing an 11 year old to an upscale beer bar - I'd have no problem taking my niece or nephew. If you go for lunch, it's a wholesome (albeit noisy) place. Don't know if it turns more bar-like in the afternoon and evening.
Tai Hoa Barbeque on University in St. Paul offers a variety of "non-traditional" barbecued foods, which will help avoid the heat factor. It's been a while since I've gone, but you'll probably need to go early since they seem to sell out of popular items quickly. You also may have to convince the folks behind the counter that you know what you're ordering and that you're at least likely to eat it.
I cannot think of an Asian eatery that doesn't dumb down the heat to "Minnesotan" (below mild) by default, if not by request.
Things I've heard of, but have no idea what they are:
Boat Soup @ Bangkok Thai Deli
Larb @ Bangkok Thai Deli
Many Asian grocers carry Durian, which is about as far out as one can get. Zimmern spat it out.
You mention sushi, have you tried uni / sea urchin "roe" (reproductive organs) yet?
LOL. I think reproductive organs falls in the "brains and bugs" category.
As far as larb goes, anything with tripe is going to be tricky for younger palates (it's tricky for mine, and I'm a brains and bugs kinda guy). Also, BTD's flavors are extremely intense. Just a word of caution.
The rabbit dumpling at Ngon seems like a perfect fit. It's not spicy at all, and the curry is mild.
I haven't had frog legs at Cave Vin, but I'd have to think they do them well. Their escargot is superb, and almost certainly kid friendly.
Victory 44 and Travail are good places to hit up in general. They almost always feature something with foie, as well as some unique part of a pig (cheeks and trotters are frequent guests). Travail has an octopus of the day. Both have very affordable charcuterie plates.
Pig cheeks and alligator are also available at the State Fair. The latter is quite good, I think.
Ceviche at La Sirena Gorda, or octopus tacos would be lots of fun to try, and Midtown Global Market is a great place to take her if you haven't already been.
Midtown Global Market
920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407
La Sirena Gorda
920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407
5555 Xerxes Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55410
2203 44th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN