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GastronautMN's Profile

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Jfood hits Craftsman (MSP) - Fantastic

JFood thanks for the heads up on the rabbit. Outstanding dish. Wifey's venison was also good, but not as good as said bunny.

I have to say I was really impressed with their cocktails. We both had the gibson with the house pickled spring onion. Dirtied with the pickling juice. GREAT cocktail.

The creme brule using maple brown sugar was just the right note to end the meal.

Service was exceptional. We told her we were trying to to make a movie and they got us 3 courses in 50 minutes. A shame to rush such a wonderful meal but it still paced out comfortably.

We had such a good experience we set our Valentine's day reservation before we left!

MSP-Kings Wine Bar 46th and Grand

Service was really slow, food took forever, and when it got there it was bad. French Onion Soup was more of an onion paste. My crepe that had prosciutto was awful. The prosciutto was in half inch cubes, tough nasty little cubes. Whoever was in the kitchen didn't have a clue what they were doing. I hope for their sake it was a chef's holiday and that was not a true sample of how they prepare food, becuase I can't believe they are going to last.

MSP Take Out and Delivery

SPS Good Tip- I went there last week and I will be back again. Love Greek, and they do a good job with it.

MSP Take Out and Delivery

I recently moved from Minneapolis to St. Paul and have been seeking out good take out near Highland. Searching old boards, there didn't seem to be a list focused on take out or delivery for MSP.

Besides the Grocery Stores, BBQ and Pizza there is pretty slim pickings on this side of the river (and yes Minneapolis seems pretty weak in this regard too). Even good bad chinese seems to be hard to find.

Anybody have any hidden gems?

MSP: Cecil's on Cleveland

I can't help but order the Just Like New York- Hot Pastrami and Cole Slaw on an Onion Roll. I have wanted to work my way through their menu but I always find myself ordering the JLNY and never regretting it.

We get thier cole slaw by the quart in the summer. I don't think I have ever had better.

Personally I've never had a problem with the owner. It seems like he is ever present and takes pride in his business. I'd like to hear more about how he ruined the experience.

need help locating kitchen supplies MSP

Big Bell Ice Cream, the company that runs the bulk of the ice cream trucks in town, sells dry ice and they are on 32nd St and Snelling Ave in Minneapolis ( 1-2 blocks east of Hiwatha and 2 blocks south of Lake Street).

Sea Salt (MSP)

Almost all restaurant walleye in MN is from Canada and I would bet the majority of it has been frozen, even that which ends up in good restaurants.

There is a lot of seafood on both coasts that is flown in. I'll bet you with few exceptions in major cities that the seafood at high end restaurants in Minneapolis is less than a days difference form the coasts and that the vast majority of middle market restaurants there is absolutly no difference in freshness if the restaurant is in California, New York or Chicago (insert your favorite midwest metropolitan area here).

Sea Salt (MSP)

Catfish is going up in price because the cost of catfishfood has gotten so high that many cat fish farms are emptying the ponds and shutting down. The industry in the south has been devastated.

As for those that have had bad experiences at Sea Salt I am sorry for you but at least my line may be a little shorter next time. I am not worried about them going out of business anytime soon.

I do think their service regularly seems disorganized and a little clueless. Sometimes it looks like they send a van down to the youth shelter and ask "who wants to work today? " In many respects I kind of hope it is something like that.

What is minneapolis's signature dish?

At least we don't have a bad signature dish, like Cincinatti's Chili. Even the locals admit that it is only good when you are drunk.

Ikasu sushi in Edina (MSP)

Ikasu sushi is no more. They were ok but really didn't have it together. I officed near there and they did not get the idea that the average business lunch is not an hour and a half (they would do this even ordering off the abreviated lunch menu). The sushi was pretty solid, but they suffered from low volume and an obscure location.

The location was just recently made into a Core Power Yoga studio or some such thing.

MSP - La Chaya Bistro?

I went their with the fam last week on an early weekday evening and will not be rushing back. They had a pretty limited menu and we wanted something fast so we ordered a couple of their pizzas and a kids chicken plate. I was envious of my daughter. Her chicken was well grilled with very good mashed potatos and a few spears of grilled asparagus. The pizzas were totally forgetable. The dough was more bready than crusty and the ingredients were pretty mediocre ( for example the prosciutto on my pizza was kind of sinewy, like the cheap prosciutto from Costco). Two Pizzas, a kids dinner and 2 beers and it was nearly $50 after tip.

On the bright side they should get an award for recycling an old KFC next to a gas station. The place looks great.

I am leaving the neighborhood soon and I will be sticking to El Rey d'oro (or hwatever it's called now) Ena and Victor's if I need a little latin flavor in the neighborhood.

MSP- best burger ? (not jucy lucy)

Ciao Bella's Bella Burger is as good as any I have had in town, yes even the Nook ( I would hazard a guess that the last time I visited the Nook was an "off" night). Yes it's chainish, but WHATEVER.

Cafe 28's Burger also deserves a consideration. They use thoudsand hills beef and have great beefy flavor. Go with the Fisher Bacon and Cheddar and try and tell me how much better your burger is. I dare ya'!

MSP: Bizarre Zimmern does MN

I like both of them for different reasons.

AB has sort of fallen into the media life as a result of his memoir/expose which is great read. His programming is nearly as much anthropology and gastro-ethnography (I am sure there is a proper term but I am too lazy to look) as it is a food program. He defitnitely has and edge to him and is the first to say that at is peak he was not a great innovative chef, but that he was good at managing a solid french bistro. Usually his show is good but there are definite uninspired bombs.

AZ is someone who sought out the media path and good for him that he has seen such success. I think bizzare foods will probably only run a couple of more season before people tire of a focus on what's weird and not just whats good. However it is a launching pad for bigger and better thing and a future show. I am sure he needed an angle to pitch the TC and Bizzare is what appealed the TC execs. I also think that AZ is very frank about his roots in NY and adoption of MN. Besides at this point are most people in MN from somewhere else? I am from here but left in Kindergarten and didn't come back until after college./'

Best Cookware for Camping (Car camping, not back-country)?

Two great pans for one pot camping cooking are an old beaten up teflon coated pan and a cheap wok. Every couple years I "retire" my large teflon pans once the non-stick surface gets beaten up. These are great for camping as they are usually aluminum and typically pretty large. I also keep a cheap old well seasoned wok. This is subject to hot spots, but if you are stir-frying the food it should be moving around pretty quickly anyway. It can also be used to fry for doing a shore lunch. These would not work for ultralight camping stove, but for bigger Coleman stoves or fire grates they work great. Thay are also both easy to clean up. Nothing is a bigger pain in the but than having to scrub camping pots wihtout spilling the detrius all over your campsite while using a flashlight.

Also a set of nesting pots for boiling water, making soup, oatmeal etc. is critical and can be the thin camping type since I usually use these for liquids.

Mar 27, 2008
GastronautMN in Cookware

Gross and Unsafe Highchairs

We take our toddler daughter out to a variety of restaurants from family oriented to fine dining. I find that almost universally highchairs are frankly pretty gross and obviously uncleaned. Is this something unique to the Twin Cities or is this just par for the course.

I personally feel that if a server brings a unclean high chair for my pride and joy that's akin to bringing an obviously dirty plate or a glass with lipstick on it.

I've also seen some downright unsafe chairs that look like they are about to fall apart, pinch the child or they have broken/missing straps. If you get so much wear and tear on your high chairs that they are beaten up doesn't that mean it's a significant portion of your business that should be catered to?

I'd love to hear what other people do and if they think it is appropriate to reduce your servers tip. I'd also love to hear what servers who post think.

I know it's a hassle to deal with kids and that they frequently leave a mess. But I am always concious of that and always tip better and pick up after my kid (yes the floor too).

I'd also love to hear what people think an apporpriate tip is for diners out with kids.

Mar 26, 2008
GastronautMN in Not About Food

Most Controversial food opinion MPLS/St. Paul Edition

For Ted Cook's consider getting the sauce in the side a la Memphis (although if I said anything like "a la" in Memphis BBQ joint I am taking my life in my hands) and ask for Jojo Potatos extra crispy.

There is plenty to pick on with Famous Dave's. I have had meals that were damn near perfect and many more where they were not. I used to live near the Uptown one in the Mid 90s and I think they had a real high attention to detail since it was right around the time they were launch nationally and it was their flagship. The rib tips and fries used to be the best deal in town.

I know have my own smoker so I don't go out for BBQ as much as I used to.

Another BBQ joint to avoid is Scott Jamama. I really would like to love this place, but they are really hit and miss and I think their BBQ sauce tastes like raisins and molasses.

Most Controversial food opinion MPLS/St. Paul Edition

Generally you are right except I have to tkae issue with your tkae on Ted Cook's. Over the years I have eaten there a lot and I have only had I bad rack. I regularly order the Beef ribs so that may be the difference.

Famous Dave's is hit and miss. I have had some truly great ribs at FD and some jerky on the bone. I think the Uptown flagship is pretty reliable but osme of the Suburban locations are probably being staffed by people who have never had good BBQ and have to rely on their experiences there.

MSP: Bizarre Zimmern does MN

I was at Ingebretsen's on Saturday and they had little cards advertising their being featured on Zimmern's show tonight 3/25. The episode is all MN. Do you think he got per diem money on that shoot?

Where to get Harissa in MSP

I just bought a jar at Clancey's about 3 weeks ago. Small jar for $6. It will last me ages though.

MSP - Marketing

Premier Cheese in Edina - Good but not huge selection of cheese and better prices than you would expect for 50th and France

Clancey's Meat and Fish in Linden Hills - They will not always have exactly what you are looking for but everything they sell is top notch

Kramarczuk's for sausages and Eastern European specialties- Get yourself a loop of the Krakowska

I'm partial to Broder's deli for Italian cheeses, salamis, breads, olive's ( Cosetta's is a bigger version of the same thing except I think the prepared stuff at Broder's is better )

Haskell's- I only go for their big sales and I always feel like I've gotten a good deal and been steered to some good cheap wines. (Note: I rarely spend more than $15 a bottle and am not a super refined palate )

MIDTOWN GLOBAL MARKET- It's got a little bit of everything and you can nosh your way around the globe

Places we go to despite the food (MSP)

Macaroni Grill is in my office building and I eat there way too often. Every time I eat there I regret it but it is just too convenient.

Cafe Ena, another convenience. There food is ok but I have never had anything that wowed me and plenty of pretty bland, forgettable dishes.

Corner Table: I really want to like it more than I do. I love the local vibe and pretty reasonable prices but I only like about every other thing I've eaten there.

Sunsets in Wayzata. It is amazing how bad you can be in the suburbs and be an institution.

Champps at least you won't go away hungry. The pinnacle of mediocrity.

Nominate: Best Pizza in Minneapolis-StPaul (if you say Dominos, you are banned from chowhound 4 good)

Dulonno's is best served with a side of Bluegrass.

Lake Harriet is the besrt delivery pizza I can get (they are delivery only). They have a really good spicy sauce and I dig it.

Punch is the best dine in Pizza in town, but I think it sogs out in the box with that super thin crust.

I love Galactic Pizza's mission and their Pizza is good. I ocassionally order their delivery because my daughter really likes their unitard and cape clad delivery drivers.

Pizza Luce is so overrated. Last time I ordered delivery from them it took forever and was just plain bad. Last time I went in to eat I felt out of place since I didn't have a bone in my nose, and the pizza was not much better then. I used to love the downtown location at 2 in the morning after a show at First Ave, but that was usually in a different state of mind and after having sucked down a pack of Marlboro reds. Can beergoggles apply to food too?

Heidi's- Woodman's new resto in MSP

I hosted a dinner for 18 people there last week in the back room and it was a fantastic experience. They gave us a short "greatest hits" menu that included the Lamb Shank, Sea Bass and the Carrot and Spring pea shoot Risotto for entrees and a variety of the appetizers and desserts. Everything was spot on. It was a little loud but I could hear guests the whole time except for a couple of short moments but this was a table of 19 people.

The service was great too. Attentive without being fawning. They checked in with me about timing of courses and everything worked like clockwork. I have run many events like this and this really was the easiest to execute, and most importantly my clients loved it. I was getting love letters from clients for days afterword.

I would highly recommend this place for entertaining.

Bialetti Espresso/Moka pot funk

I have a Bialetti Moka stove top pot that every time I clean it gets weird deposits in the reservoir chamber. If it is unable to dry they look gelatinous if it air dries they look like little white crusty dots. I have the aluminum version and I have tried using different soaps or just wiping it out and it doesn't seem to make a difference.

Anybody know what this is? or have a solution to prevent future funk?

Mar 14, 2008
GastronautMN in Cookware

One week in Minneapolis

You could try Cafe Lurcat on Loring Park. They have a substantial bar with an excellent bar menu that would be perfect for a solo diner. If the weather is nice you could take the pedestrian bridge over to the Walker Gardens and check out the sculpture. This would all be an easy walk from the hotel. Nick and Eddie is another place located on Loring that may be suitable for solo dining, I haven't been there personally but it seems there are more positive things said than negatives and they have been around long enough now that they should have worked out the kinks.

If you are willing to cab it try Alma on in NE Minneapolis. You won't find a better meal for the money in MPLS. Not that it's cheap, it's just consistently excellent. For cheap eats try one of the Vietnamese joints south on Nicollet. Personally, I prefer Pho 79, but Jasmine Deli and Quang have their proponents too.

Just an FYI for out of towners. This is not a "flag down a cab" kind of town outside of downtown. If you take a cab someplace, make sure you have a phone number and a cell phone so you can summon a ride back to the Millenum.

Need to find duck legs and duck fat in MSP

Clancey's always seems to have some in stock. If you want to cheat they usually have prepared confit too.

Clancey's Meats & Fish
4307 Upton Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55410

MSP - Driftwood Char Bar- Anyone been?

The former Westrum's has reopened as Driftwood Char Bar. I'm looking to see if any CHs have been in to dine yet. Their website is not up so I have no idea how different there menu is from the Westrum days (mediocre efforts on standard issue bar food). Also curious about the clientelle. It sort of had a reputation of a hard drinkers destination for a bender and would get to be pretty shady place for the post 10 pm crowd.

I know they are supposed to be adding live music and hopefully that will bring in a better crowd. I think a really good pub with solid fare would do really well in the neighborhood.

Feeding a Yen: Foreign Beers You Miss and Can't Find Here

Primus- Perhaps the best beer I've ever had in Brugge Belgium. It may have been that I was particularly parched after a full day of travel but it was a damn fine beer. Never seen it in the states or anywhere else on my travels for that matter.

Jan 26, 2008
GastronautMN in Beer

Top 5 Best 2007 Desserts MSP????

Surly Ice Cream at Pumphouse
Genache Filled cupcakes from Franklin Street Bakery
Frangipane from Rustica
Chocolate pot du creme at Grand Cafe
Choclate truffles from Choclate Celeste

Kansas Citians moving to MN! Need new resturaunts!!

Welcome to the great white north.

1. Jun Bo is on the 494 strip ( not minneapolis proper) and has probably the biggest/busiest dim sum service in town.

3. Pho 79 - on Nicollet- consistently good. Any time I tried some place else I have jonesed for Pho 79.
5. Convention Grill on France Ave (border of Minneapolis & Edina)- They do burgers and malts really, really well.

8. Lucia's in Uptown ( could fall in Category 10 too)
9. Anodyne at Nicollet and 43rd- most Baristas are pretty good and their food is solid
Java Jacks- Coffee Shop that has the bonus of sharing space with the best bakery in the Twin Cities
Gigi's - More of an all day cafe than a straight up coffee shop
10. We are blessed with a bounty of neighborhood restaurant/bistro/cafes in south minneapolis
Grand Cafe, Cafe Margeaux, Corner Table, Blackbird, Heidi's, Broders Pasta Bar, Cafe 28, Cave Vin, Cafe Maude - All good, all have character, all dish up great meals

Bonus Picks- Victor's Cafe on Grand & 38th. Cuban joint that does breakfast/brunch really well. (Can't vouch for their dinners) Mango pancakes/waffles are the bomb.

Ted Cook's 19th hole- It's tough to recommend BBQ to somone from KC but this take out only joint is solid

Pumphouse Creamery- Lot's of fun flavors and all sourced from local ingredients when possible (I have yet to see locally grown vanilla in MN)

Be'wiched- From Scratch Deli- in Wharehouse district. I salivate just thinking about the place