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Heading there in advance of business meetings. Have Saturday night open and Sunday brunch/lunch.
Looking for recommendations!
Saturday night: Price no object. Open to drive as far as need be if its worth it. Was thinking super fresh ingredients, not overly prepared but rather respected. Near/on water would be nice (e.g., would drive to Newport Beach or Laguna if its worth it). Any cuisine - though fresh fish/seafood always a favorite.
Sunday: have less time to drive but equally willing. Any great breakfast/brunch experiences welcome - would love a classic place.
Thanks in advance.

Oct 07, 2010
crazycook in Los Angeles Area

Afternoon tea/coffee and pastries in Mpls???

Thanks - these are all great suggestions. I'll try to fit these in and report back to everyone.

Afternoon tea/coffee and pastries in Mpls???

Thanks for all the suggesitons. We were tempted to do the tea service at the St. Paul hotel but the timing wasn't quite right so we ended up in Mark VI in the Marquette for a nice cocktail instead.

I've noted all the suggestions, though, and look forward to trying all of them - esp. Lady Elegant's.


Afternoon tea/coffee and pastries in Mpls???

My friend and I want to have a proper afternoon tea w/ pastries in Minneapolis area and can't think of a suitable setting.

looking for best restaurant in Minneapolis - money no object - client dinner

I endorse all of the suggestions above. If you can narrow down what kind of client, what kind of industry - I can narrow down the options.

But, short of that, let me try to help:

if client is a corporate type and a foodie, La Belle Vie and Chambers are the spots: LBV is amazing food; one of the best rooms in town but not crowded - so might be good b/c you have privacy to land the deal. Chambers is hotest seat in town right now: see comments on JG above. In a brand new boutique hotel that will likely feel familiar to you (Mpls version of Mercer), with Damian Hirst works in the lobby. Very chic. Very upscale. Very "now" for Mpls. Coming back from NYC only a few years ago and still in withdrawl, I'd recommend either of these two highly.

Cosmos is chic-looking; food is trendy and nothing special but inventive menu, usually.

D'Amica Cucina is the granddad of all of these: food is reliably good (has spawned many of Mpls' leading chefs - including that at Cosmos), room is wonderful, bar is oak and overstuffed seats w/ piano and bass in the corner some nights. GOod spot for a manhattan.

if client is a foodie, Alma and Auriga - of these Alma has better atmosphere.

if you want a quieter but consistently excellent meal - simply, go to Lucia's in Uptown.

Hope this is helpful.


Hi - stoppping in Chicago next weekend to see a friend. Background: I usually hit Avec and/or more casual spots with excellent ingredients, attention to detail but no foams (e.g., overly prepared food - give me good ingredients prepared well, please).

That said, any comments on Butter? Haven't been... wondered whether its worth the one night I'm in town for dinner. If you're not a fan, what do you suggest instead?


Sep 29, 2006
crazycook in Chicago Area

Last Minute Help for Minnesota Trip

I agree with jgshiff above - you're going to be pretty desparate for chow on the route to Mille Lacs. Talk your brother into swinging into Surdyk's cheese shop (for great everything - best selection of cheese in the state; olives, salamis, bread, crackers, etc); surdyk's wine shop (for the obvious) and kramaczuk's (brats and buns at a minimum; they have great selection of italian salamis too).
I'd stock up and take it all with you - or brace yourself for a dire situation.
Still, weather is perfect so have fun.


And, since you were near enough to go to Blackey's, you're not far from Kramarczuk's (yes, the (best) sausage/meat shop) and they have kolachy's... I can't vouch for them but guessing from the quality of the majority of their bakery items, they can't be bad. If you're there, be sure to pick up their brat buns (egg bread dough - the best) and, of course, some sausage.

In search of small wedding ceremony/reception MSP

as a lifer who helped planned a similar wedding recently: biggest determining factor is budget. Since it sounds like a September or early October wedding, I'd encourage you to take advantage of the lovely weather. If that's not a major worry, here are some ideas:

--walker sculpture garden greenhouse for ceremony and could cater in the greenhouse if you'd like, but gets expensive quickly for such a small group.

--walker sculpture garen greenhouse for ceremony and walker skyroom for reception/dinner (beautiful view of downtown from 4 stories up). catering is strong (not excellent). see the walker art center website -
The skyline room is great for views but may be a little big for your group. The Walker, if you don't follow art circles, has a new addition and its wonderful.

--walker greenhouse + trolley to la belle vie (food is best in the city). sure to be spendy but always worth every dollar.

--for all in one place: Nicollet Island Inn is nice but not as charming as one might think because you can't actually see the river from anywhere in the place. It is definately "charming" inside - slightly victorian. Food is solid yet fairly conservative.

--VanDusen manor- see Kind of a quirky locale - esp. for folks coming into the city from Maple Grove - but an architecturally interesting place with a charming little garden.

--If you opt anywhere that requires catering, I'd highly recommend D'Amico catering.

--As for other suggestions on this page: Forepaugh's food is not good. Zander is not reliably good. You might consider Lucia's - wonderful food, reliable and the staff is extremely professional, warm, and accomodating. I don't know if they'll do a wedding, though. Auriga's food is lovely but the space is not as welcoming as these other options.

Hope these are helpful: if you need details or have questions on other places, let me know - happy to help.

Cosmos restaurant in Minneapolis? Anyone been? Is it the nest in the area?

Manny's - definately - for best steak. For best steak house experience, Murray's.

Roasted Tomatoes

Being a Midwestern, I freeze them - make sure you've got enought olive oil, and freeze in 2 or 4 cup portions for use out of season. There's nothing quite as good as the pure tomato flavor you'll enjoy at that time of year when the store-bought tomatoes taste like cardboard.


Aug 16, 2006
crazycook in Home Cooking

Anniversary Dinner Tonight...Help me avoid a catastrophe!

Presuming you have access to good ingredients...

I always think great ingredients, simple prep is best for special occasions (and easier on the cook). If the guest of honor likes it, feature shellfish: lobster or king crab legs (even sweeter than lobster) with drawn butter.

You could start with the caprese salad, then serve shellfish (steams in oven in 20 min. or plunge in boiling water for a few minutes, split open and grill for a few minutes with a little high quality butter), whatever freshest vegtables are available, and a good crunchy baguette.

Finish with a cheese course and choc-dipped strawberries or whatever fruit is freshest with creme fraiche or whipped cream. Champagne, of course, makes it all the more special.

All of this is low-cook time, fresh and delic.

Aug 16, 2006
crazycook in Home Cooking

olive oil

I agree that Zoe (Spanish) is very good for the price. Another really decent-for-the-price general purpose one... I hesitate to recommend ... is the Whole foods private label extra virgin. Its slightly fruity but balanced. Great for homemade pizza dough, salad dressings, and breads.

Aug 16, 2006
crazycook in General Topics

Lobster Birthday Dinner Twin Cities

Was just at the lobster fest in Rockland ME two weeks ago and there's nothing like a great lobster.

I vote heavily for OCEANAIRE as the best in the twin cities - bar none. M&S is not good here - don't know why. OCEANAIRE does it right. But, do insist on the 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 max size. Lobsters any bigger are not as flavorful.

Also, I think the cook-at-home route is always best, if you're up for it. Its super easy but - given its your bday, completely understand wanting wait staff.


Cosmos restaurant in Minneapolis? Anyone been? Is it the nest in the area?

Cosmos is definately cool - its pretty - its pricey and its good. The bar area is a really nice place to have a drink and people watch on most nights. Its one of the those places that draws the see and be seen crowds. The food is good but not great.

Jordan is right: La Belle Vie is far superior, and Vincent's is far more authentic. If you want a fancy night, make a reservation at La Belle Vie for a slightly later seating: the first round (starting around 5/6) is usually slightly older crowd and dressy - the second seating (starting around 7:30/8) is younger/hipper yet appreciates the amazing food and strong wine list. The bar, on weekends, fills up too.

Friday night in Mpls

Oops - in the steak house recommendation above, I meant to type MANNY'S as the best option. Sorry for the typo.

Friday night in Mpls

As a lifer in Mpls and a downtown resident, I can only reiterate Loren3's comments above. Among the non-chain options - and there are several - I'd recommend:

Murray's for steak - but only if you like those places that over-hype their history (old red leather booths, etc). The best steak in town, bar none, is Marry's in the Hyatt Regency. A little bit of a hike and very much a traditional steak house that serves outrageous portions, but still the best. A close second is a chain - yes, a chain: Capital Bar and Grill, which is within 3 blocks of Target Center.

Best seafood and fish- again head and shoulders above any others - is Oceanaire. Its also in the Hyatt (right across from Manny's). Sitting at the oyster bar is a fun start to the night: you can order from the full menu there too. The McCormick/Schmick's in town is dismal compared to others in other cities; I don't know why. I would highly recommend skipping it, unless you only want to capture their cheap apps during their happy hour (none of which include fish/seafood save salmon cakes).

The Hyatt is about 10 blocks from Target Center - easily walkable if you enjoy it. Park by Target and walk over to Nicollet Mall, and stroll down to 12th or hop the bus down Nicollet for, I think, 25c.

If its a nice night, consider sitting outside on Nicollet Mall: you could try Zelo (still a little trendy but the food is fairly reliable, and they usually have a decent fish feature), or just have drinks at any one of the others (not great food anywhere else with a patio).

If you want sushi: Origami is better food than NAMI Loren3'S suggestion) but NAMI has better atmosphere. Sit at the sushi bar at Origami for best selection/service.

Cafe Brenda is wonderful: not entirely vegetarian but no beef on menu. Reliable high quality ingredients.

Ike's is a pub feel - with great food. Don't expect frou-frou prep but do enjoy: everything I've ever had there is above average... including their drinks.

For German, Black Forest Inn is your best bet. Definately try this on the night after the Target Center - its too far to walk and a totally different feel, anyway.
You might also check out places in NE Mpls... this area was once a strong Polish community and is undergoing a renaissance. Most places are a bit trendy but some serve still serve good food with slavic and germanic influences. I'd also recommend, if you're doing any food shopping, a stop at Surdyk's wine and cheese shop: the best selections of both - at the best prices in town.

Hope this helps.