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amgarrison's Profile

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Pork belly... Restaurant which has it on the menu?

In Season has an AWESOME pork belly dish right now. Better than any I've had in recent history. "Crispy Oysters & Glazed Pork Belly with Sweet & Sour Cabbage and Mustard" I'm not a big oyster fan, raw or otherwise, but this really knocked it out of the park.

In Season
5416 Penn Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55419

In Season

I guarantee Don will be willing to come up with some fun vegetarian items for you.

BBQ, Minnesota Monthly, Q Fanatic

You should really make the trek down to Austin for Piggy Blues. I haven't been there in a few years, but I grew up in Austin, and that restaurant was an almost weekly event with my family after it opened. I think they do a really killer job.

John Hardy's is great, too. Always loved the pulled pork, beans, slaw. Good sauce, too.

Sea Change Rest at the New Guthrie

I was there a couple months ago and had a similar experience. Food was very good, not great. My server didn't know many specifics about the menu, tried to steer my girlfriend away from her menu choice (which turned out to be much better than the dish the server recommended to me), and was really flighty, running around her section, didn't pay much attention to any of her tables. It was a Friday night at 8, but her section was half-full at most, so her inattention was pretty inexcusable.

Restaurants everyone loves--except you

Heartland - went for my birthday. Good, but not great. Expected more. I tried all the dishes that my companions had, they ran the spectrum from okay-->good.

Parasole restuarants - won't they release their death grip on Uptown and allow some good restaurants to move in? They've turned Hennepin/Lake into a black hole of restaurants that run by the idea that if you make the surroundings shiny and distracting enough, people won't notice they're paying exorbitant sums for mediocre food. (one exemption - Stella's rooftop patio is my favorite in the Twin Cities, purely for the view of the downtown skyline. I only drink there, never eat.)

Ringo - established test kitchens at U.S. Foods and Sysco while developing their menu. Concept is a higher-end Cheesecake Factory. Antithesis to everything I love about food. Barf. (Forum would have this response as well, but I refuse to go there.)

Masa - underwhelming in a big way.


1070 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403

Cheesecake Factory
2715 Southdale Ctr, Minneapolis, MN 55435

How is Sea Change doing lately?

Was there for dinner last week. Had a similar experience with service staff. Food was pretty good, not great, but our server had a fairly full section and didn't seem to be able to handle it. She was flighty, didn't know the menu very well, inattentive. It was a Friday night at 8:30, and while I understand she was busy, if there's one night of the week where you should be absolutely on top of your game, it's Friday night.

It might be worth a return trip sometime soon. Chef Erik Anderson is debuting what looks to be an AWESOME patio/grill menu. I'm definitely going to head back to check it out.

Solera or Alma? It's Up To You

Alma, hands down. My favorite restaurant in the Twin Cities. The staff is fantastic and highly knowledgeable, and you can tell they genuinely love working there. The open kitchen is fun to watch, and the food is phenomenal. It's refined, but still casual enough where you don't feel out of place if you only dine like that on very special occasions.

Thinking about buying Sabatier Carbon Steel Knife-Any Thoughts?

I swear by Japanese knives. I've got a Masamoto 8.2" Virgin Carbon Steel gyutou, and a Glestain 9.4" Acuto Steel gutou. the Acuto steel is a little softer since it's stain-resistant, but not much. Both are perfectly balanced for their purpose, both hold an incredible edge. I use a diamond steel to hone them both because of their hardness, but I rarely have to steel them at all. When I first got the Masamoto, I wiped it down with mineral oils every night after my shift, but now I just clean it with water and wrap it in a paper towel.

Jan 11, 2010
amgarrison in Cookware

Thinking about buying Sabatier Carbon Steel Knife-Any Thoughts?

It all depends on how much effort you want to put into caring for your knife. If you want to just use it, wipe it off and throw it back in the knife drawer, I'd suggest a stain-resistant one like the Wusthof. I have a high-carbon Masamoto, and I maintain it by rubbing it down with mineral oils at the end of my shifts (I'm a chef). If you do this, your knife will discolor, but won't develop harmful rust, and eventually, the discoloration will develop into a sort of protective barrier that makes it less prone to develop the harmful rust. It only takes a minute, you just have to remember to do it. I've forgotten it every once in a while, and my knife is still fine and holds an amazing edge. So it just depends on how involved with your knife you want to be.

Jan 10, 2010
amgarrison in Cookware

Ceviche? (MSP)

Barrio has some pretty killer scallop ceviche.

Milwaukee dining?

I'm based out of the Twin Cities, though I'm in Milwaukee pretty frequently because my girlfriend is currently going to school there. We''re looking for some dining recommendations for when I visit. I'm a chef, and she's a big foodie, so the more adventurous the better. We're open to just about anything though. So far we've been to Cempazuchi on Brady Street, and and Café Hollander on Downer Ave.. Suggestions ranging from fine-dining to hole-in-the-wall diners would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Oct 12, 2009
amgarrison in Great Lakes

MSP Best Butcher/Grocery for Steaks

I agree completely.

MSP Best Butcher/Grocery for Steaks

I understand the ease of going to Whole Foods versus Clancey's, but I prefer to support the local guy. And in my opinion, Clancey's is of a higher quality. I work in the industry, and it's the best meat I've seen around here. Those guys are really amazing at what they do. I've been there when they get the whole steer in and break it down. It's one of the most amazing things I've seen.

Porter & Frye (MSP)

I've heard mixed reviews of P&F, especially since Steven Brown is gone, but I have never had a bad experience at Alma. It's my favorite in the Twin Cities, so I would definitely cast my vote for Alma. The menu looks incredible right now.

Minneapolis Restaurant Recs.

My favorite restaurant in the Twin Cities is Restaurant Alma, no question. Casual but classy, and I've never had anything that I didn't like there. Right now they've got a pretty awesome-looking ribeye on the menu. I'm stuck in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin for the next month, so I haven't had the chance to try it, but I can assure you that you will not be disappointed it you go there.

Restaurant Alma
528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

MSP Best Butcher/Grocery for Steaks

Clancey's Meat & Fish in Linden Hills, hands down, no question. Eric and Ross are the masters of their trade, and really cool guys.

Eats in Duluth

I concur with pretty much all of my Midwest Chowhounders, I have zero interest in the Keys. But anyways...
The last time I was in Duluth, I ate at the only two places that I feel are appealing high-end restaurants on the North Shore - New Scenic Café and Nokomis. Both are on the Scenic 61 drive, just down the road from each other. Lots of good ideas, not always the greatest execution, but for the most part, very good food. The view from both places is incredible, and the dining rooms and staff are relaxed and unpretentious.

Bennett's is no longer open, though he is the Executive Chef at the Sheraton Hotel's restaurant, where I stayed last time. Didn't dine there, but the menu looked alright.

If you want Beard-quality food, I'd suggest driving down to Mpls/St. Paul and going to La Belle VIe, Restaurant Alma, the Craftman, Heartland, Meritage, D'Amico Kitchen...etc.

Duluth is not swanky tourist hell, so you're not going to find the same kind of restaurant you'd find in the keys.

Sep 26, 2009
amgarrison in Great Lakes

Good eats between Two Harbors and Lutsen [MN]

Just south of Two Harbors on the Scenic 61 is Nokomis and the New Scenic Cafe. Both are very good. New Scenic has a pretty casual atmosphere, Nokomis is a little more formal but still casual, both have great food, if a bit unrefined. Great ideas, but the execution is a little off sometimes.

Last minute anniversary idea... want to try something new - MSP

Vinyl & Vino night is probably the best idea that has even been thought up. I would do that. Not Jensens, IMHO.

Solera - Worth it please? [MSP]

I like Solera, good stuff. Barrio is non-burger if you're going Tim-themed. I really like Victor's 1959 Cafe for some good Cuban food in a little hole-in-the-wall setting. Moto-i on LynLake has quickly become a favorite of mine, as well.

Victor's 1959 Cafe
3756 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55409

Visiting Downtown Minneapolis from St. Louis...staying at the Millennium...

The places I would suggest in Downtown - Koyi Sushi if you like great sushi, Barrio for Latin awesomeness, Bewiched Deli for the best sandwiches you'll ever have, Brasa for some great Southern/Creole food, Restaurant Alma for some FANTASTIC regional/seasonal/local finer dining, The Local for the bar that sells the most Jameson Whiskey in the world, and D'Amico Kitchen (I think it's open now) in the Chambers Hotel. Hope you enjoy your stay in MInneapolis!

Brasa Rotisserie
600 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414

Restaurant Alma
528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

The Local
931 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55402

Koyi Sushi
122 N 4th St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

Bewiched Deli
800 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401

925 Nicolett Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55402

New to MSP--great mid-priced date food near Uptown?

Cheap date night at Barbette!

Last Night in MSP for French Exchange Student - College Age

Brasa - for some awesome uniquely American food.
Vincent - to illustrate what happens to a Frenchman living in the Midwest
Chatterbox - (not the Edina one, it's no good) board games! Nintendo! Midwest pub-ish food!
Matt's, 5-0-8, or The Nook - Juicy Lucy! Twin Cities institution!
Victor's 1959 Café - awesome Cuban food
Restaurant Alma - (not the most kid friendly I suppose) my favorite restaurant in the Twin Cities
Longfellow Grille - patio right by the mighty Mississippi
Chuck E. Cheese - everything evil, overstimulating, and consumer gimme-gimme about American culture... ;)

Dining recomendations for Mall of America (MSP)?

My recommendation would be to not eat there, but since you kind of need to I guess, Crave would be the way to go.

MSP - Going to Alma

Alex rarely is in the kitchen at Alma as far as I know, Bryan and Mike run the day to day. He's most likely at Brasa 2 most of the time right now. Nicest guy on the planet.

MSP - Going to Alma

I was just there a week ago, my date had the Spring Vegetable & Herb Salad, Braised Lamb in Pastry, and the Slow Roasted Pork; I had the Spice Seared Beef Carpaccio, Warm Artichoke "Panzanella," and Pan Roasted Local Duck. All of it was amazing, they sent us a great amusé and a midcourse. Overall I think I liked my date's meal more than mine. The pork was absolutely fantastic, with the bacon saltiness paired with the sweet-tart of the rhubarb compote. The lamb was also great. It was all delicious, but I felt the duck was missing something and the garnish portions were a little off. I was satisfied with it though since it was duck "two ways" and had a good sized chunk of confit. All around very good meal. Alex, Bryan, Hannah, and crew do a fantastic job at all times.

Thai in MSP?

There's almost as many Thai restaurants in the cities as there are Italian restaurants, so there's a pretty huge range of choices. My favorites are King & I Thai (awesome green curry with tiger prawns), Tum Rup Thai, and Roat Osha. Tum Rup and Roat are both in Uptown.

Ramps in MSP

Apparently the season is really late around here. The guy who runs the cheese shop at France 44 Wines has some pickled ones from last year, and said fresh ones wouldn't be up for a while.

MSP- Hell's Kitchen - What to order

Mahnomin (sp?) porridge
Lemon-ricotta hotcakes
Huevos Rancheros

I dream of these things...

MSP: Sunsets in Wayzata

I've been completely unimpressed in the few times I've eaten at Sunsets. It reminds me of typical, bland, country club type food. Standards that never really let you down, but aren't really ever more than average. The price are a little over the top, but you pay for the location I suppose, and their customer base afford it.