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Lake Avenue Café, Duluth, Minnesota

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We just came from dinner there, and I have to say this place is worthy of a long detour. Their foods are locally sourced as best they can do, but even better, everything we had was delicious. DH and I weren't up for a big entrée, so split a bunch of dishes - beef tartare, Ceviche, onion soup, and a pizza.

We're from the Los Angeles area, this place could hold its own among the best Southern California restaurants. Even their bar features small, local producers of beer (Broken Paddle ISP and -- get ready -- Surly Furious) and whiskeys. We sat at the bar and talked with the executive chef (who was reading a Harold McMillian's book on cooking); late on, another of the restaurant's chefs came in to have a beer.

We're actually considering a second night in the area just so we can eat there again.

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  1. and forgive the typo above - it was Harold Magee's book. I doubt Mr. McMillan ever wrote about cooking.