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Ginger Hop (MSP)

Chowspouse and I went on Saturday night, just before their one-week debrief.

Ambience - kind of the look and feel of a higher-end French Indochinese colonial space. Nice.

Service - excellent.

Beer and Wine - great selection.

Food - well. We had the smoked duck potstickers, the spring rolls, and the crispy tofu laab salad. The spring rolls were quite tasty. Full of stuff, could have used more shrimp, the dipping sauce was light and flavorful without being gloppy. The potstickers were a disappointment. The innards - the smoked duck - was terrific! Very flavorful. And the sauce was tailored to the duck and not just some generic dumpling sauce. Again, light and not syrupy. But the wrappers were like a quarter inch thick and as chewy as play dough. But there's room for improvement there. When they get the wrapper right, they'll be a heavenly taste delight. The laab was so-so. The crispy tofu at one time had been crispy, but now had gone soft. The rice noodles seemed a little thick and chewy, like maybe glass noodles would have worked better. And the overall flavor was lacking. Both the dumplings and laab seemed to have the texture of having sat around too long before being served, although they both came pretty quickly.

Our comments to them were apparently consistent with what other customers have been telling them. Go deeper into the ethnicity and experience of the cuisine. It's hard to bridge the gap between what some of us would perceive to be the typical nordeast palate, and the intent of an "ethnic" resto. But looking around at what truly constitutes their local clientele, we thought the truly local locals, in the condos and townhomes of St. Tony and the coops and houses on Nic Island and the apartments and lofts of near Downtown could definitely handle a more, well, cultured experience. Not watered down for what some might think the midwest taste buds would like, but really quite punched up.

They were quite generous in comping the dishes in favor of the feedback.

I think it has the potential to be an exciting place. I hope they can capture and maintain the momentum! We'll definitely go back.

Sep 28, 2009
Loren3 in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Peking Duck MSP

Mandarin Kitchen has Peking duck. I have tried one of their other duck entrees and liked it, but i don't know about their Peking duck.

Another place I have tried and found acceptable was Ping's on Nic just south of 13th. It's the old-school Chinese that's perfect for Christmas dinner when everyplace else is closed.

For high quality duck, possibly the best in town, I would recommend Saffron. Not, it's not Peking duck by any stretch - it's middle Eastern. But i would def rate it as world class duck. Duck is one of those things that will forever keep me from being a vegetarian. I've had the pleasure of some amazing duck in Paris, Toulouse, and Hong Kong. The times I've had Saffron's duck, it was world class.

Hopes for a happy birthday!

Sep 18, 2009
Loren3 in General Midwest Archive

Mexican restaurant recommendations in Minneapolis to go with kids?

Second CGG's recommendations for Los Ocampos (Lake Street not MGM) and Pancho Villa. Later in the evening, PV turns into a more adult place, but otherwise yes lots of families celebrating birthdays and such, and amazingly good seafood, esp compared to similar places in Cali.

Was not so fond of Dominguez the one time I ate there. Reminded me of places like Zantigo - deflavorized for the upper Midwest palate. Could have just been the one day I was there, and should probably give it another try.

Sep 18, 2009
Loren3 in General Midwest Archive

Restaurant/Bar near MSP airport with a view of the airport itself?

Fat Lorenzo's for pizza, salads, red-sauce Italian. On a nice sunny day, the approach/departure path for 17/35 is directly overhead. Bring earplugs.

Likewise on a sunny day, Chevy's (I know - you're not going for the food but the fish tacos are passable). Likewise under the approach/departure path for runway 17/35.

You also could bring a picnic and sit in the cell phone lot on Post Road, on the south side of the airport. Lots of planespotters hang out there. Also, picnic out at Taft Park on the southwest corner of Cedar and the crosstown. Not as close to the action, but right under the runway center line. It's also possible to drive well into the airport to the FedEx office. The Airport Police won't be too happy with picnicers in the middle of the airport, but technically it's legal.

The Ikea referenced actually looks away from the airport. More of a view of MOA than MSP! Nothing actually looks out onto the airport itself. It's up on the bluff and surrounded by hangars and the guard base.

Good luck!

Sep 18, 2009
Loren3 in General Midwest Archive

Searching for Vegemite or Marmite in MSP

Ooh! I forgot about TBS mart. I shop there lots, but (for obvious reasons) never for marmite or vegemite.

Jul 03, 2009
Loren3 in General Midwest Archive

MSP-Restaurants open Fourth of July?

All the spots along the river on St. Anthony Main in Minne will be open. Sadly, none of them serve what we would normally call food. Pracna - terrific beer but who needs pigs in a blanket as an appetizer? Tuggs - ... bar food. Vic's - some good apps and starters. Nye's - relish plates. Sigh. And of course they'll all be slammed.

Might call Nicollet Island Inn to see what's up there. I'll see if there's a sign up outside on my ride home tonight.

Jun 30, 2009
Loren3 in General Midwest Archive

Searching for Vegemite or Marmite in MSP

Brit's Pub on Nicollet Mall sells jars of that sort of thing, also.

Jun 30, 2009
Loren3 in General Midwest Archive

(MSP) Northeast Social Club

Chowspouse and I have been a few times during and since Art-a-Whirl. So far, the service has been excellent. It's very family-run, and the family has been very attentive.

I like the food, but I disagree with their names. For example, the gnocchi stroganoff. To me (and everyone else I know) the key ingredients in stroganoff are the sour cream and the paprika. NESocial's seems to be missing both. There was no sour-cream tang, nor was there a robust Hungarian-paprika fire to it. It was a very tasty gnocchi dish, well worth eating. It's just not a stroganoff.

Same with the "Welsh" rarebit. Blue cheese? Again, tasty. But it looked and tasted more like a crostini that a true Welsh rarebit.

Still, we like the place and anytime we're in NE for a good reason, it's a worthwhile stop.

I was hoping Jeremy Iggers whould have blogged about it, but I don't see it anywhere.

Jun 25, 2009
Loren3 in General Midwest Archive

Thai in MSP?

Again way too late for the OP, but fully agree. Most of the other local faves: True Thai, Tum Rup, Roat Osha, Chiang Mai - are all too bland or too sweet, and heavily Americanized.

Sen Yai Sen Lek has become our "go to" place for Thai.

Don't get me wrong. The other places make decent local stops. If you live in Seward, it's nice having True Thai nearby for example. Or if you're catching a movie at the Uptown or Lagoon anyway, then Tum Rup or Amazing is nice to have around. But none of them are worth driving out of the way for. Sen Yai Sen Lek on the other hand IS worth driving up to NE for - it's a unique experience in the twins.

Jun 25, 2009
Loren3 in General Midwest Archive

Best Cheap Beer

Minnesota is the same way. The liquor store must be separate from the retail food store, and they will sell beer to anyone.

Mar 09, 2009
Loren3 in Beer

Which airport in the U.S. has the best food?

Shout out for MSP Lindbergh terminal (DL, NW, CO, AA, UA flights). Many terrific local places have a presence there:

Ike's Steak House
Axels Bonfire steaks, pizzas
D'Amico Italian
French Meadow organic homemade breads, sandwiches, great omelets.

Fortunately, more and more terminals are offering good local cuisine to counter the horrid chain food that has afflicted airport terminals for so long.

Also, there are some chains that seem to be targeting airports exclusively that are offering better fare, such at Tequileria Cuervo. Pretty decent Mexican style food if your other choices are limited.

And believe me, the best you're going to get in a VIP lounge is snacky noshie nidbits. In the World Club it's carrots, celery, Pepperidge Farm crackers and Tillamook cheese and pretzel party mix. In the DL Crown Rooms it's pretzel party mix. As the merger goes forward, the new DL Sky Clubs will revamp their food offerings, but still it'll only be snack food. It's redeeming grace is that it's "free".

Mar 05, 2009
Loren3 in General Topics

I've never had!!

Why on earth would you want crab caked from Ruth's Chris, a national steak house chain?

If you want to try fresh made crab cakes, try someplace like this:

http://www.cantlers.com/

As for me: sushi in Japan. Unagi in Japan. "Indian" food in India. Street food in Taipei. The list goes on.

Mar 05, 2009
Loren3 in General Topics

MSP: source of "organic" turkey wings?

Clancy's in Linden Hills. They have all the good stuff.

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

Mar 04, 2009
Loren3 in General Midwest Archive

MSP: Bar with room rental, good food.

Gluek's has a great space perfectly set up for just this kind of thing. The food's not bad, just not stellar. But then again, neither is the food at Bulldog. Beer is terrific, though.

http://www.glueks.com/parties.htm

Mar 04, 2009
Loren3 in General Midwest Archive

MSP- Best Nachos

That's what I mean by stacked vs. piled. Each nacho is individually stacked with meat/beans/cheese/jalapeno.

Chowspouse and I had nachos at Tejas in Edina a week or two ago. They were very badly piled - a heap of chips with a smaller heap of chicken and a smaller heap of cheese on top of that. I was able to get maybe two complete nachos out of the pile. The barmaid was gracious enough to take them off the bill.

Mar 04, 2009
Loren3 in Minneapolis-St. Paul

MSP - Sam's Wines RIP

Closed as of last Monday. Sad.

Feb 19, 2009
Loren3 in General Midwest Archive

Nordeast Minneapolis: the Modern Cafe

It's a fun and tasty place. I haven't had anything from their current menu, but the last time I had mussels there, they were pretty tasty (I had them hold the chorizo). And I recall their duck confit being good.

Check it out and let us know!

Feb 19, 2009
Loren3 in General Midwest Archive

MSP - Gandhi Mahal

This place? Cool. I have a friend who runs Four Firkins across the street. Combine Indian with a beer run! The Vegetable Green Masala sounds yummy. It looks like no beer or wine, though.

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Best of India
8120 Minnetonka Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55426

Feb 12, 2009
Loren3 in Minneapolis-St. Paul

MSP - Cooking Classes

You might also wish to investigate Mothersauces in Richfield. Quirky little shop with spices, sauces, boxes, and classes, but it's primary objective is the cooking classes, rather than as an afterthought to selling kitchen gear.

http://www.mothersauces.com/

Click the "MOST RECENT POST" button to get the April class list.

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Mothersauces Cooking School
7630 Lyndale Avenue S, Minneapolis, MN

Feb 11, 2009
Loren3 in General Midwest Archive

MSP - Gandhi Mahal

>>quite spicy (as in hot)

I"m calling you out on this one. I ordered my palak paneer Bollywood hot (the hottest they offer), and it was barely zingy. It had a noticeable afterglow, but only noticeable. And the people I was with felt the same way about their dishes. Sadly, none of the Indian restos in the twins (since New Delhi closed) offer truly hot hot HOT Indian food. I guess you sum it up well with your comment that they are geared toward Twin Cities taste buds.

Don't get me wrong. I do think Ghandi Mahal is one of the tastier venues in town. Just not hot enough for me.

Interesting to note that Ghandi was a vegetarian, and the resto offers meat.

Feb 11, 2009
Loren3 in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Maxim Magazine's Beer List (it's bad)

In Singapore, it's served on the rocks alongside satay or chili crab. MMMMMM good.

Jan 30, 2009
Loren3 in Beer

MSP-Where to buy cheap lamb/goat meat with bones in

Cracked bones are great!

There are a slew of Halal groceries along Franklin between Uptown and Seward that may have something. It might also be worth calling Clancy's in Linden Hills.

Jan 30, 2009
Loren3 in General Midwest Archive

Nice dinner in Bloomington, MN

Just curious as to why not Ciao Bella?

Jan 29, 2009
Loren3 in Minneapolis-St. Paul

MSP: "Best" Grocery Store

I'll plug TBS Mart on Portland just south of 494 in Richfield (or Bloomington, I'm not sure which).

Wonderful selection of raw and packaged ingredients to make your own Indian food.

Jan 29, 2009
Loren3 in Minneapolis-St. Paul

MSP: "Best" Grocery Store

I saw a SuperValu truck pulling into the Nordeast Lund's at Central and University two days ago.

Jan 29, 2009
Loren3 in Minneapolis-St. Paul

MSP-airport breakfast

Depends on which concourse. There are two FMBs, one at the crossing next to Ike's, and another around F7.

Another brekkers option if you're down on G is Cuervo Tequileria (I know, I know - a chain. But it's a good one). They have pretty yummy Mexican breakfast staples.

Jan 29, 2009
Loren3 in General Midwest Archive

MSP - Bali Restaurant on Nicollet?

And an earlier review by him when they first opened.

http://www.secretsofthecity.com/magazine/blogs/breaking-bread/2008/10/shhhh-bali-now-open

Jeremy thinks very highly of Tries, the owner. I think you could probably work out something really good, like a rijsttafel type of thing. A rijsttafel is the Dutch Indonesian equivalent of the Indian thali combination meal. There's the rice of course, as the name implies, and small-plate samples of meat and vegetable dishes to go with the rice.

Here's the wiki description:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesi...

I'm jealous of their trip to Singapore. Food-wise, it's one of my fave places on the planet. Last time we got back from SIN, we were craving the food experience, so we went to Peninsula on Eat Street (Bali wasn't open yet). Who do we run into? Jeremy and Carol! A good time was had by all.

Jan 29, 2009
Loren3 in General Midwest Archive

Detroit Airport?

Cynics and poots! Pay no attention to them.

If you're passing throught the McNamara terminal (Northwest Airlines and its affiliates):

Diego's Mexican Cantina under the tram stop by A18. Pretty tasty Mexican, and you might be able to sweet talk one of the waitstaff into letting you order breakfast.

Sora sushi resto near the center of the terminal, a few doors down from the Westin near gate A35.

Mediterranean Grill near A54. Some very tasty falafel and vegetarian grape leaves.

Cuervo Tequileria under the tram stop by A66. Yes, I know they're a chain, but a mighty good one in an airport compared to some of the alternatives. Their salmon quesadillas are quite tasty.

The Irish Pub on the mid-field concourse by B7. I recall pretty tasty wings, and a yummy beer selection (but it's been a while).

Avoid Max & Erma's like death warmed over. I used to work at the one and only original M&E in Columbus centuries ago, and it was a blast back then. Now it's just another abysmal interchangeable striped-awning theme resto like TGITuesdayRubyFridayRuckers.

Jan 29, 2009
Loren3 in General Midwest Archive

MSP- moto-i

love love LOVE Moto-I. Great addition to the MSP food scene. Chowspouse and I had the same disappointment regarding the spice levels in the food. Our waiter - Minnesota farm boy through and through - made some recommendation for "spicy" food that was, well, not. On the other hand, the yakimono is pretty tasty, and the seared tuna is great.

But otherwise, it is a fun place. Sake is great. All local beers on tap.

As for the decor - completely new top to bottom.

By the way, there's a local sake brewers club that meets there periodically! Fun!

Also, according to their web site, they offer an 8-hour seminar on sake making, that includes a book, brewery tour, 20 sake tastings, and lunch.

http://www.moto-i.com/#learn_more

Jan 05, 2009
Loren3 in General Midwest Archive

MSP - Daytime bar stops?

Another idea, consistent with your brewery tour, would be to have (one of) your afternoon bar stops be Great Waters brew pub.

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Great Waters Brewing Co
426 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

Jan 05, 2009
Loren3 in General Midwest Archive