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The Best of Saint Paul

I'm surprised that Strip Club and Frost gets no nods. It has been over a year since we were to either, but JD has always been one of my fav chefs.

The Strip Club
378 Maria Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106

May 13, 2010 in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Ethnic Markets

Ok, I have a pretty good idea for most of these, but you never know what you don't know. Some of the following list have very specific food traditions represented - others may have a strong showing in one area and weaker in others (but still the best we've got)

Best Ethnic Markets in the Metro:

Irish/British Isles
AA/Soul Food
SE Asian
East African
Eastern European
Mexican/Latin America
Russia/former Soviet Block

or just a link if this info exists elsewhere - thx

May 13, 2010 in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Road Trip to Minneapolis from NYC

Murphin Ridge Inn in West Union OH is nice and there is a super cool worker owned restaurant in Athens OH called Casa Nueva that shouldn't be missed >> don't know if those are to out of the way tho. Problem with major highway routes like that is you get a lot of chains along them

2008 MN State Fair

walking tacos are one of my secret guilty pleasures -- I've mainly had them in South Dakota. (at HS basketball games)

Jul 18, 2008 in Minneapolis-St. Paul

GR - which island?

the trip was fantastic! We did spend a lot of time in Corinth (Xeloceriza exactly) We ate a whole lot of super fish this trip. Two restaurants really stood out - one was the Dolphin in Plaka (not to be confused with "the plaka" in Athens) and another was Etherona (something like that in Katakali Corinth... for the Island part of the trip we went out to Zakynthos - Caretta beach is awesome.

Jun 15, 2008 in Europe

MSP - family friendly - but still GOOD food?

On a second thought, there is Swede Hollow Cafe over there and I have always liked that coffee shop. decent pastries and good strong coffee in a pleasant environment. I really like the veggie garden outside in the summer, it is run by Community Design Center kids.

If you are staying downtown SP it would be worth a breakfast trip up 7th Street with the heir apparent, he could run around the fountain and you could read the paper in peace (ha, we both know that never happens!)

GR - which island?

Great suggestions! thanks. I'm still in the mood for a little Island hopping, but just found out from a friend in Athens that we can have his house in Corinth for the entire trip! Any suggestions out that way? with the crappy-and I mean crappy- dollar to Euro exchange I'm looking to save a little $. His country house is supposed to be lovely (something like 9 bedrooms!!!) Anyway with the savings I can spend a little more on food, krassi & ouzo. Yea!

I think I've been to Kifisia, family live on the North Side of Athens in Pefki, I'll ask about Kioupia.

I'm just ichin to get going - put on a linen shirt and hang out on a veranda somewhere with a view!

Apr 19, 2008 in Europe

MSP - family friendly - but still GOOD food?

took Mr. Sidekick to Brasa for lunch- he was like a rip saw through cheap paneling with the roasted chicken! He loved the cornbread (we ordered an extra one to take-away) Really laid back place but excellent food and there were a number of children there while we ate..

I bought lunch for Dad and Sister too, and the tab was under 40 including tip. (no beer on that trip)

And I know it isn't new to you, but new to us is the Strip Club in St.Small. Cool view, good cocktails and a creative menu... sorta like tapas (not spanish at all) and a couple great steaks with a dozen "sauces" to choose from. The night we were there they had a special osso-bucco for two.

I wouldn't suggest looking in that neighborhood for a move tho- there are some nice pockets of homes, but more areas where there is a lot of congestion and homes that need much attention. (prices are super on the otherhand!). We live over in the Selby/Dale neighborhood and love it's attractions and nearby restaurants and proximity to a good co-op.

Hurray, Spring: Mpls Farmers market open this weekend

St. Paul Market has been open all winter with meat, cheese, hydro tomatoes, honey... you get the idea (one cool trick is they have olive oil - not local, but the woman who sells the oil is part owner of the farm in Italy where the oil comes from-very tasty!) but it will be nice to get back to a full on market. There are no morels yet in Minnesota, I spoke with one of our Green Routes destinations Dunromin' Park in Calidonia about it just a couple days ago because we are planning a Wild Food show in the next month and she said no way and we should not expect them until May 5th at the earliest. I'm going down to the farm (near Zumbro Falls) tomorrow and will nose around in the woods to see if anything is popping up like fiddleheads, but I kind doubt it this early - cold spring and all.

Midtown Market starts on the 10th-same as Mill City

[MSP] Quiet dining suggestions?

Sapor Cafe in Minneapolis has always been quiet when I've been there. Also, going early will usually get you in and out b4 the larger crowds start showing up.

MSP - Nice Dinner for 30 Guests?

The Happy Gnome has redone the upstairs and may work for you. It looks pretty nice. Their chef was the sous for Russ Klein from WAFrost-now Meritage(I may be wrong on that) but I've had some pretty decent food there. The menu lists to the "bar food" side, but it changes often enough and usually has some interesting choices. The price point is good and the beer list is excellent.

happy nups!

MSP-On the hunt...

Athenian Chicken that the basic taverna style chicken with thyme, lemon and potatoes? or something else? My fav. for local organic Greek fare is Gardens of Salonica. Chef Owner Anna--knows authentic Greek cookery and I don't remember if she offers a greek chix on the menu, but what she cooks is great!

MN: Road-trip 1-1.5 hour radius from MSP- hole-in-the-wall bistro?

Bayport Cookery would be a good choice.

MSP - Ngon Bistro

I see it has been discussed at some length... but it was my first time and I had to tell someone (you win!)

no clumping noodles at our table

and there will be a quiz on children's names at the end of the show.

MSP - Ngon Bistro

Went there for lunch today with Axel. WOW that was great. the pho broth was so rich and smelled like, like... well good enough that my 4yo at it! I really wish he had been around when we were putting together the Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook - not that they would have parted with the recipe for this magic soup. The lettuce wraps (although a little salty for my taste) were great too, skewered 1000 hills beef grilled to a tender medium rare and served with my vote for the best peanut sauce in town. (A- wanted me to order another plate of it) I also had the soup of the day which was a slightly spicy, lemon grass and tomato bisque. couldn't convince Mr. Tag-along to try it... so you will have to take my independent word that it was good too.

This guy is the king of spice in St. Paul! everything was balanced and light slightly sweet, where the flavor of the food could show through and be just touched by anise, or coriander, or pepper, or whatever secret ancient SE Asian potions he is adding.

It was bright and airy and the wait staff were informed and very welcoming. Having a 4 year old with you is a very good test of this.

I asked if the pork was local, and the waiter said "it must be-Hai (owner) tries to get everything as local as possible." In fact the menu mentions the farms where the beef and duck are sourced. I remeber talking to him at the St. Paul FM last summer and giving him a couple ideas where to look for proteins - I don't know if it made any difference, but he has really made a great effort to do the local thing. Great beer choices as well... Axel didn't have those either ;)

Where to get Spaetzle? (msp)

I had them at Alma a couple years back - a special of some kind, don't know if he usually has it or not.

Handmade Spaetzle with Local Sweet Corn, Berkshire Black Pepper Bacon and Fresh Sage

I know you don't want to make them, but I have Alexander's recipe and could post it if you want

GR - which island?

I've only been to Naxos, Santorini, and Crete. But we will be back again this spring and I need to decide on an island for a 1 week stay. I generally like to stay in one place for a week more than jumping around. Naxos was a good food island more rustic and genuine. The south side of Crete and the mountains were nice too, but Santorini and Crete on the north side were too expensive and skewed to the English and German tourists.

Extended family in Athens have a house on Chios, and thought about going ther with a side trip to Turkey if time allows...


Mar 25, 2008 in Europe

Milk from a Dairy - purchased @ dairy? MSP

PastureLand has the best butter!!! it is only made in the summer when the cows are out on pasture--none better.

Cheese--that is so easy. Shepherds Way. Steven and Jodi (mostly Jodi) make some world class cheeses. (blue) the sheep milk blue is special and the (fresh) queso fresco (sp) is so light and creamy.

Unwashed rind has to be LoveTree Farms Trade Lake Cedar (WI) ugly, moldy, funky just how my 4 and 8 year old children like their cheese (no kidding


When you get here try the new alpine cheeses (washed rind) from PastureLand - I was lucky to try some of the early wheels -- they have developed some cheeses that 1. have charming names (Søgn, Berne, Thoten) and 2. are super for being cow milk (I really prefer sheep cheeses to cow or goat


I'll second the Cedar Summit rec. Dave Minar has developed a very special heard of cows and the milk from his dairy is unlike the milk from any other dairy in the world... I teased him about it in an interview I did early this year, but it's true.

Welcome to Minnesota, but wait about 2 months... uggg the winter is seeming to go on forever.

Milk from a Dairy - purchased @ dairy? MSP

My guess is it may be the Kappers Big Red Barn Dairy in Chatfield.

...from an article I wrote in '05...

Kappers Big Red Barn Dairy

One month into bottling their own milk on the farm, Bob Kappers is increasing his capacity to deliver fresh milk to customers in the Chatfield area. He said the whole operation cost nearly twice what he thought it would, but would do it all again and the people in Southeastern Minnesota are grateful.

Selling through markets in Rochester, Harmony and Preston are potentially more profitable, but Bob likes the home delivery part of the business best. You can hear in his voice that it makes him proud to be selling his own milk directly to the people who are going to drink it. “People around here like driving by the farm and seeing the cows out in the pasture and knowing where their milk comes from,” remarks Bob. “I really have to keep an eye on the quality.” He knows that is what will make him successful.

The Kappers have been milking Holsteins for along time but “with the bulk milk market the way it is, we had to do something,” says Bob “ we were only licensed to milk 45 cows, and that’s not enough to make it financially.”

There is something nostalgic about having your milk delivered directly to your house, but the thing that will keep the Kappers in business is the taste. Look for one of the Kappers at the Farmers’ Market in Rochester this summer. Fresh milk in glass bottles direct from the farm, there is nothing like it.

MSP - Marketing

Sam's wine shop-not sam's club--sorry about the confusion (I usually only go there if I'm at MCFM on a saturday). And I haven't been to Global in a while, but I'm on my way over there right now to get new passports and do a little shopping. I'll report back

MSP - Marketing

oops, I forgot Ingebretsens, only go once a year for the sylta!

MSP - Marketing

Favorite places to source your food, pantry, cellar...

St. Paul Farmers' Market
Mississippi Market
Bills Import Foods
El Burrito Mercado
United Noodle
Coastal Seafood
Golden Fig
Solo Vino
France 44

What markets am I not going to that I should be? Good sources for Indian would be good, I remember one along time ago in NMpls on Central.

[MSP] Your favorite eggs (by the carton) in the Twin Cities?

In the winter I'll eat any organic - cage free eggs... they all taste just about the same. but in the summer there is no better eggs than those from Mike and Linda Noble (Farm on Wheels - St. Paul Farmers Market) Sun Kissed? I suppose, but there is nothing like true free range chicken eggs. IMHO

The yokes are sunset orange and stand up almost like a super ball standing in a pool of goo.

perfect for poaching.

here is a photo of a winter FoW omelet with DragSmith micro greens and hidden inside is some goat cheese - note the pale yellow color

Family visit to Paris and Vaison

Any suggestions for good places to go with 8 and 4 year old children?

I know Paris is for lovers, but Parisians must have children from all that loving and they must go out for dinner once in a while--right?

In the south, I feel it will be easier, because everyone seems a little more nonchalant.

Mar 24, 2008 in France

Paris - staying in the 7th (first time visitors)

I will need to look back in old journals for the name, but my wife and I went to a wonderful Indian place in the 7th a few years ago. Great food! really top notch and cheap by 7th standards. totally back street "hole-in-the-wall" type place. I could walk you to it when we get there the first week of June, but I'm guessing that will be too late. :)

Is Ledoyen in the 7th (must not be too far) and is it still regarded as good? I remember the location to be very nice.

Mar 24, 2008 in France

MSP- best burger ? (not jucy lucy)

have not been there since the move, but the blue cheese/rosemary burgers at The Dakota were pretty good.

Mar 10, 2008 in Minneapolis-St. Paul

MSP hounds: standard recs for the unadventurous (help me, please)

Signature Cafe is good, Pot roast on the menu! not a foam or terrine in sight!

MSP - Looking for Pork Back Fat

You may be able to order it from Pastures A Plenty.They produce some of the best pork in the state. Fisher Farm and Hidden Stream Farm are two others with premium, heritage, humane, and sustainably raised pork in MN but I don't know how they work with selling to an individual on a custom processing basis. Lastly I'd try Lorenz Meats, they are a custom processor who would know which farms that they had cut fat back for in the past. (maybe)

Mar 07, 2008 in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Who Makes Trader Joe's Food?

Here in Minnesota I know that they are contracting with Sno Pac for packaging frozen foods- not all, but I think the Soycatsh is the same.

Mar 06, 2008 in Features

MSP - Local Food Hero - radio show

AA, I finally loaded them all up on the site! whew, a little out of my skill set, but who said you can't teach old dogs new tricks.

Mar 02, 2008 in Food Media & News