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Designing a complete foodie experience.

I'm getting in this game well after the fact, obviously, but saying Hammerheart is worth visiting because you are already in Marine? It's the same distance from DT Minneapolis to Hammerheart as it is from Marine. Just for reference.

And as someone who has been there a bunch, I would agree that it is interesting, but not necessarily memorable.

Had I known you were in Marine (especially if you were staying there), I would have steered you toward LOLO in Stillwater for cocktails. Maybe next time.

Jun 09, 2015
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Parlour burger

I would say absolutely go there solo...I've done it a few times, and never had a problem getting a seat or feeling out of place (I have no issues sitting at a bar by myself, FWIW).

This has been my favorite burger in Minny since I first had it, but I'll say that Revival gives it a serious run. I need to try Nighthawk next.

And I'll echo the statement that I've never been asked about temp before. If I have one *tiny* quibble with the burger, it's that they could use a little more crust on it. Minor complaint overall.

Jun 09, 2015
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

The Salt Cellar

For reference, if anyone would like to read it:



Feb 19, 2015
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Northern 'Burbs Help

I work in WBL, and can say that Ingredients would be worth a shot. I really like their burger.

The guys behind Acqua (arguably the best restaurant in the NE burbs) recently opened a deli type spot right off Hwy 61. http://meetmarketwbl.com/ Good for a quick bite.

I can't think of anything worth while in Maplewood, honestly. Technically still in Maplewood, D-Spot does lunch on every day except Monday. Although known for wings, I really like their burgers too.

Dec 23, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Burgers Rated 1 to 10

My favorite is, and has been for some time, the burger from Parlour.


-Meat - Not sure where it's from, but the blend is delicious, and it is beyond juicy.
-Cheese - White American, melts into a sauce. Nothing else needed on top, and I normally add things.
-Bun - Soft, but stout enough to hold up to the juiciness (most of the time).
-Double - This is the clincher. The meat to cheese ratio you get with a double puts it over the top. It is almost impossible to find one anywhere else. If someone knows of another good one, I'm all ears. The Supreme and Matt Birk at Nook/Shamrock would be second place, and the only other one I know of.


-Sear - Lack thereof, for my tastes. Acquiring a sear/juicy thin-ish burger combo is tough, but can be accomplished with a ripping hot griddle. Having a crispy crust on the outside would put this burger into an untouchable stratosphere, but it isn't quite there (consistently). Still, this is far and away my favorite burger in town.


Dec 04, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Spoon and Stable - Anyone been?

I've heard surprisingly little about this monstrous opening; maybe I just haven't been paying attention.

Any reports at this point? Food, drinks, crowds? Anything?

Dec 03, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Where do you like to buy whole chickens?

I get Kadejan birds, either from Kowalskis or River Market in Stillwater.

Nov 30, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Chicago style pizza in MSP?

I agree with this. I've had it a few times, and it is the best representation in MSP, in my eyes. I like DiNoko's as well, but the sauce is just too sweet for me.

Nov 30, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

35W - What are your can't miss gems?

Ha...amen to that. I was up there last weekend, and we had no intentions of stopping there.

And add me to the list that says you might as well make the whole drive. There are some good spots in Duluth, though it has most certainly changed from when I graduated from UMD in '06.

Oct 08, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Bayport BBQ - New Restaurant Review (Unable to post as such. Their locaion is the former Bayport Cookery and Chowhound hasn't been updated.)

For the last 2+ years, I've lived 2 miles from this place, and I've only been there once. I haven't tried the buffet...just saw the Nashville Fried Chicken on the menu.

I'll have to make a stop sometime soon.

Oct 08, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

The Best of Nordeast Minneapolis

Do we have a consensus on Butcher Block? I seem to see generally positive reviews on it, but I've still never been.

All of mine have been mentioned. Alma and Brasa are always near the top of my list, and the variety of other places makes this one of my favorite eating 'hoods in town.

Oct 08, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

reviews of The Rookery in Robbinsdale

My sister and brother-in-law went last week (for their first visit to any of the Robbinsdale empire), and they gave it rave reviews.

Sep 30, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Jerry's Rainbow

I love Seward Coop. Great meat counter, and always a fun variety.

The Wedge is reliably awesome too.


Might as well throw our favorites into this thread...

For me, no one has topped Parlour's double cheese. Something about a thin double with an obscene amount of cheese really appeals to me, over the thick pub burger. The ONLY thing that would make it better is if they got more crust on the burgers.

Runner up would probably be the Nookie Supreme.

Sep 18, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Elk Meat - Recommendations/Experiences?

It's too bad none of the local(ish) farms make it to the STP Farmer's Market. I've been loving the pork, beef, and lamb recently, then stopping at Heartland for various other carnivorous wonders.

I'm probably going to contact some of the local farms and inquire about parts vs. quarters. It's a ton of meat, but it's worth it. If I remember my last research correctly, some of these places are selling for $4/lb hanging weight.

Sep 18, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Elk Meat - Recommendations/Experiences?

Anyone a regular consumer of elk meat? I love it, but haven't found a good source, either farmer's market or otherwise.

I'd be fine with ordering 1/4 of an animal if need be, just looking for any recommendations based on previous experience.

Sep 09, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Heavy Table's Out of Towner's Guide.


Good stuff. Maybe we could just pin this guy for the inevitable "where do I go?" threads.

Sep 02, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Hot beef sandwich

Carol's in Blaine serves a great, classic hot beef (the hot turkey is worth it too).

Jun 13, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Travail/The Rookery

Most of the madness happens on the Travail side. If you went over to the Rookery side, it would be (slightly) less raucous. Music might still be overwhelming though, depending on the time.

May 19, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Who's firing out the best food right now?

Can't go wrong with LBV, Meritage, or Piccolo. The latter is much different the former two. Classic French vs. New Age...whatever they feel like. All are great.

Apr 08, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

First Erik Anderson returns, now...

Gavin Kaysen is leaving Cafe Boulod to come (back) to Minneapolis.


Goodness. We might just be a new foodie destination...or something.

Apr 01, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Roast Beef: Maverick's vs. Wally's or other?

A few things:

-I was at Maverick's a few weeks ago, and they are as good as ever. Not sure the large sandwich is worth $9, but it is quite good.

-Broncos continues to be top notch. If you haven't checked it out, do so if/when you're in the northern 'burbs.

-I've been to a handful of recommended Italian beef places in Chicago, and none have done anything for me. Bland and mushy in every case.

Mar 27, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Who's firing out the best food right now?

I'd put in a second for Borough too, though I've only ever eaten at Parlour (downstairs bar).

Best burger in town, hands down.

Mar 26, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Visiting Champlin in May

For breakfast, Fat Nat's is great. Not exactly Champlin, but worth the short-ish drive.


Mar 24, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Who's firing out the best food right now?

My favorite meals recently have been at Travail/Rookery, Corner Table. Tasting menus at both, but the reservation issue at the former.

In the new-ish/under the radar group, I like Gray House. I went a few weeks back and had the tasting menu. $20, 3 courses. Star of the show was a flank steak with steel cut oat 'risotto'. Excellent deal...nice, cozy spot in the midst of Uptown/LynLake madness. My only knock on the place was pacing. I was by myself, and I was still sitting for 20+ minutes between courses, with ~10 other people in the restaurant. The FOH needs to do better communicating that, IMO. If I was there with someone else, it wouldn't have bothered me as much.

Mar 24, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Your Favorite Source for Roasted Coffee Beans.

Good morning friends,

I recently returned for a two week trip to the Kona coast on the Island of Hawaii. Aside from escaping the hellish winter we've been enduring here, one of my goals for this trip was to start drinking coffee. In my life, my coffee consumption had totaled maybe 1/2 cup, but I figured there was no better place to start. Nearly every day, we made the short trip to Greenwell Farms (HIGHLY recommended, if you're ever on the Big Island) and I tried out most of their offerings. I ended up taking some beans home, bought myself a hand grinder, a Chemex setup, the whole nine. I'm loving it, but I'm running out of Kona stock.

What I'd like to find is a local spot for freshly roasted beans. I live in Stillwater, but I don't mind making the drive somewhere on the weekend. I've heard good things about Peace Coffee, and I've actually seen their beans at Cub, but I assume those aren't the most freshly roasted. All recommendations are welcome.

For the record, I don't need much in terms of volume. I'm using ~32 grams of beans a day, enough to make one travel mug worth.

Mar 21, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Chicken & Waffles

Cub's fried chicken is surprisingly good, actually. Try this, if you're heating it up later...


Travail/The Rookery

Ah. The vegetarian part would make it more difficult, yes.

As I said, the Rookery is what the old Travail was with a la carte, though in (sometimes) smaller plates. Even the proteins aren't very big...it's all on the order of Piccolo-like portion sizes.

Feb 10, 2014
BigE in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Travail/The Rookery

This is correct. And to clarify what getgot said, the menu at Rookery does NOT (to my understanding) overlap with the Travail menu. Different kitchens, different chefs, different food. But yes, you can get a tasting menu of sorts for $75.

To say that you won't ever go again because it doesn't feel the same is silly. It feels exactly the same, just bigger. The Travail side doesn't look much different at all; same bar on the kitchen, same hot tub table, same number of tables (maybe minus one). It just happens to have another side for cocktails and small plates.

I sat on the Rookery side (there is no actual division, for what it's worth), had 11 dishes, and it felt the same as sitting at the high top bar at the old spot. They just happen to have another 8-10 tables beyond that, composing the rest of the Rookery.

Travail/The Rookery

After seeing a few Facebook posts in the past two nights from the Travail crew regarding no line, no wait, open tables at the new joint, I thought I'd check it out. I couldn't believe that they wouldn't be on fire already, given the anticipation during their hiatus.

As I turned down Broadway at ~8:30, I saw Pig Ate My Pizza completely packed, including folks waiting for tables. I assumed Travail would be the same, or worse. Much to my surprise, I walked in to a less than half full establishment. I guess it must be a combination of a few things. I think some people don't know they're back yet. The rest (like me) probably assume they're crazy busy already.

Here's the setup for those of you that aren't familiar (I wasn't). The first thing you notice is how huge the space is. High ceilings, lots of windows, and a huge amount of kitchen space. The collective kitchen/bar/prep areas take up probably half of the space. There had to be 20 chefs going last night. It's really an amazing show, just in that respect.

Half the building is Travail, which only serves their tasting menu. The current menu is 10 courses (plus a bunch of other amuses and fun) for $110/couple, $55 single. This price goes down to $90/45 on Tuesday/Wednesday, which is crazy. There are tables, along with a bar on the kitchen, similar to the old style.

The other half of the building is the Rookery. Food is a la carte, with ~20 dishes ranging from $2-10. Seating included the more traditional high top bar (where I ended up) and more tables. The bar is fun too; it curves back and forth the whole way, so if you come with another person, you will actually be facing them. A nice touch. Overall, there are twice as many seats as the old place.

To the food and the rest of the vibe. The guys haven't missed a beat on either front. It's a party atmosphere at all times, and you can't not have a good time while you're there. It's absolutely infectious. Even as they were cleaning up at the end of the night, they're blasting music and the crew is dancing and singing along.

The food is right on too. Here is what I had last night:

-Pate: Pork pate (two slices), grilled bread (two pieces), whipped bone marrow, gremolata. Goodness, what a start. Charcuterie whiz Geoff Hausmann is back with the Travail crew, and I think this might be his creation. The pate is great on it's own, but when you use whipped bone marrow along side...forget it. Ridiculously good.

-Tofu: Tofu, soy pearls, mushrooms, broth poured tableside. I don't remember all the details on this one, and there were a bunch. Either way, I've never had tofu before, so I figured there was no better time. I knew the boys made the tofu in house, and I spent a few minutes after my meal talking with James about it. For my first introduction, I really enjoyed it. I can't compare it to anything else, obviously, but I would recommend it.

-Egg: Soft scrambled egg, mushroom, chives, served inside an egg shell. Simple, but delicious.

-Gnocchi: A single ~2" piece (definitely bigger than normal) of gnocchi, seared, topped with shaved parm, and mushroom (this seemed to be a trend for the night, which was fine).

-Agnolotti: Four pieces, stuffed with cheese (I think...didn't hear the type), topped with vanilla butter and fried capers.

-Beef tongue: Slider style, topped with a beet chip, queso fresco, avocado, cilantro, with a few tortilla chips on the side. Rich, tender as can be...just delicious.

-Oxtail: Not sure how to describe this one...it was seared patty, mixed with brunoise carrots. An Asian broth is poured tableside. The whole dish works well together. A little more simple than the rest, flavorwise, but still good.

-Duck rillette: This one was fun. The rillettes are stuffed into a waffle cone, mixed along with arugula and a sauce that I didn't hear. I thought the sweetness of the waffle cone wouldn't work, but it was just fine. I'm a sucker for rillettes, so I would probably get this everytime.

-Lamb: Shoulder, potato, chimichurri. I love all these things, and I loved this dish. Not much fuss involved here, just everything done right.

-Churro: Dessert time. A nice, piping hot churro served alongside a small cup of ancho hot chocolate. I'm not normally a hot chocolate fan, but this worked. It actually left a nice heat in the back of the throat by the end.

-Zeppole: Two fried pastries; doughnut holes, basically. Both had a ricotta filling (not very noticeable), and were sitting on a vanilla sabayon. I could have eaten about 50 of these things. Nice ending to the night.

I didn't get into the cocktail side of the Rookery, but the menu sets up perfectly for a few drinks and some small bites. If you decide to go for a few things only, my recommendations would be the pate, beef tongue, either pasta dish, and lamb from the savory side. Both desserts were great too.

As I was leaving, I told the guys that I can't wait to come back to do the Travail side, but I'm worried that it will be crazy packed. Given what I saw last night, maybe not. I can't believe that they aren't. For what they are (still) producing, 10 courses for $55 is the a steal of epic proportions. You can order the entire Rookery menu for $75...not sure how that stacks up to ordering it individually, but it would get you about 20 courses. I walked out last night at $58 for 11 courses and two beers. Worth every penny. Get there. Quickly.