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El Taco Riendo, Central Av. NE

Love that place. I'd skip the sopes (the ones I had a few months back came out of a bag rather than being made from fresh masa) but everything else I've had was great. They are super-nice people and the tacos are delicious.

Aug 04, 2011
fendel in Minneapolis-St. Paul

What's your fix when the Heat Index tops 95 degrees?

Fruit smoothie. Not the healthy kind with bananas and yogurt, no: the 110%-sugar fruit-mix-and-ice kind from Dunn Bros or Wilde Roast. Mmmm. Guilty pleasure.

Jun 30, 2011
fendel in Minneapolis-St. Paul

I love Seward Coop

Agreed! I would add: very good meat department, reasonably-priced dairy products from Ivy Farms Creamery (non-organic but non-bgh and tasty), Rochdale Farms butter, a solid produce department, and whole-milk Fage yogurt (it's hard to find!). And I love it that they ask to round up at the checkout; it's a totally painless way to give a little to a good cause.

Jun 04, 2011
fendel in Minneapolis-St. Paul

the Smack Shack Downtown Minny Food Truck

Their menu lists a "King Roll" with double the lobster for $18. I haven't been yet, but that sounds like the way to go.

May 27, 2011
fendel in Minneapolis-St. Paul

MSP Airport Restaurant Madness

Holy smokes. 13 restaurants? If I could wave a magic wand, I'd put a couple of those in the other airports I fly to/through when I travel. I've had some truly depressing meals in Vegas, DC, Charlotte, Chicago....

But for people who are catching a connecting flight at MSP and have a couple hours to kill, this is going to be fantastic.

May 20, 2011
fendel in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Passion fruit juice/concentrate

A friend of mine had a gorgeous passionfruit tart at Victory 44 a couple of days ago (and he got the last one, so I could only sit and stare hungrily). So they must have a source...

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Victory 44
2203 44th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN

Apr 12, 2011
fendel in Minneapolis-St. Paul

4 nights in Minneapolis--got the basics, looking for input

Stopped in last week and got a quart of Pumphouse Creamery's sea salt caramel praline. Devoured it in a couple days. It's my favorite local ice cream.

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Pumphouse Creamery
4754 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407

Apr 06, 2011
fendel in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Dining up and down University Avenue

I stopped in a couple of weeks ago and had a good bowl of pho that I thought was comparable to Quang and Saigon. Super-nice people there.

Apr 06, 2011
fendel in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Restaurants I haven't heard about lately

Adam's back! We've been back a few times since then and he's breathed new life into the place again. Love the prix fixe on Sunday nights. Had a really nice hanger steak with barley risotto last weekend.

Apr 06, 2011
fendel in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Bar La Grassa

Went there for the first time a few weeks ago. Wasn't bowled over by the spaghetti carbonara, but the grilled prawns... OMG, the prawns. If anybody can tell me what spices they use on those, I'd be hightailing it to Penzey's in search of them. I stopped talking to my dinner companions and fell into a blissful food trance until the prawns were gone.

Apr 06, 2011
fendel in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Good new Chinese takeout, uptown Minneapolis (MSP) - "Chinatown"

I've been ordering from a new takeout place at Lagoon & Dupont, by the new CVS. So far I've had a decent rendition of beef-with-vegetables and some good egg rolls, but the really happy surprise has been salt-and-pepper shrimp.

First time I ordered it, it was pretty good... big shell-on shrimp on a bed of onions and peppers. Needed a little salt, but that was easily remedied. Got slightly soggy in the covered takeout container by the time it was delivered. I still wolfed down the whole order.

Got it tonight and it was really excellent. Sufficiently salted, abundantly peppered, and the shrimp had a thin coating on them (reminded me of the lobster-ginger-scallions at Shuang Cheng). The counter person looked surprised when I ordered it. Not a big seller, I guess. It should be.

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Chinatown
2929 Dupont Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408

May 07, 2010
fendel in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Victor's 1959 Cafe (MSP) - Is Jfood missing something?

I ate there a few times and was never really impressed. The nadir may have been when my friend asked for lemon for her water, and the server brought over a little plastic condiment-cup of bottled lemon juice. (I know ReaLemon, or its generic equivalent, when I taste it...)

Oh wait. The nadir was actually the very last time I was there. My friend and I were lingering over coffee for a few minutes after breakfast. (I know, tiny place, few tables, not nice to hog a table. We were wrapping up the conversation.) This big guy, I don't know his role there, strode over, leaned over our table, and barked "Get out." We thought he was kidding. He most assuredly was not. I've never experienced that kind of jaw-dropping rudeness from restaurant staff before or since.

Nov 05, 2009
fendel in Minneapolis-St. Paul

No Mas - Jfood gives up on Chinese in MSP

Oh, you do not wanna go there. I tried it. Place was dirty (god knows what was on the pepper shaker I picked up) and the food was ... well, I couldn't finish it, and that's saying something. Shrimp rubbery and weird. Sauce gelatinous and flavorless. Not going there again.

Oct 30, 2009
fendel in Minneapolis-St. Paul

MSP- Tosca Review- Fantastic!

Thanks for this great review... We still haven't gotten over there -- on the rare occasions we let ourselves spend money on a meal out, we keep going back to Levain (had a beautiful dinner there Sunday). I too am a big fan of Adam's mushrooms: somehow he gets a lot of the moisture out of them and it concentrates the flavors.

I may follow your example and ask for chef's choice when we finally go.

Sep 08, 2009
fendel in General Midwest Archive

Pls. advise: Heartland, Craftsman, or Levain - MSP

I never notice a noise problem at Levain. We go on Sunday nights whenever we can, the prix fixe menu is always really great. I'm sort of a picky eater with a few food aversions, but I've learned to put my trust in the kitchen there.

Feb 15, 2009
fendel in General Midwest Archive

Braised Fresh "Bacon"

Very, very rich. I halved the recipe because I was cooking for two, and we only finished about two thirds of the dish. It could have used a fruit sauce or something to cut the richness. Delicious though.

Jan 12, 2009
fendel in Recipes

MSP: Where can I buy short ribs?

Tex, the "riblets" were at the Rainbow in Richfield (at the Hub)... after I posted, I saw a picture of Korean kalbi online and they looked a lot like that.

I just noticed I can attach a photo (click or mouse over the tiny thumbnail). Here they are in their chilled not-defatted-yet braising liquid, bones mostly removed. Not exactly pretty, but for a super-cheap dinner-for-one I can work with these.

Jan 08, 2009
fendel in General Midwest Archive

MSP: Where can I buy short ribs?

Thanks tex & g_rote. Good to know about Widmer's. G_rote, do you recall the Clancy's price for short ribs?

Today I found "beef riblets" in a different Rainbow for $1.99/lb. They look like flanken style short ribs except rather thin-cut and with smaller bones. My guess is there would be small morsels of nice meat amidst the connective tissue--not something I'd want to serve to anyone (even my non-picky husband), but since I'm doing dinner-for-one later this week, I figured what the heck, I'll try them.

Jan 06, 2009
fendel in General Midwest Archive

MSP: Where can I buy short ribs?

Hope people don't mind if I resurrect this thread, I'm on a short ribs quest.

What kinds of prices are you guys seeing out there? So far I have seen English-style short ribs for $4/lb at the Uptown Rainbow and $6/lb at the Edina Cub; and flanken ribs at SLP Byerly's for $9/lb. (In each case, the meat case only had one kind of beef short ribs, i.e., no choice between English style and flanken anywhere that I've been). I bought the Rainbow ribs and was dismayed to be paying that much for something that was mostly bone and connective tissue, but when I started shopping around I realized the ribs cost even more elsewhere. The 1.5 lbs I bought yielded two smallish portions -- barely -- which I suppose is acceptable for $6.

I saw "boneless beef ribs" at Rainbow that seemed to be basically rib-shaped chunks of chuck roast -- they did not resemble the real short ribs -- am I right in assuming I'd be disappointed with those?

I'm interested in hearing what people are paying for short ribs at butcher shops. (Yeah, I could call and ask, but I'm shy.) Am considering checking out Everett's and Ready Meats, and maybe Finer Meats at 38th & Nicollet since I live close to there. I love Clancey's but they are way out of my price range until I find a job (and probably even then).

Jan 05, 2009
fendel in General Midwest Archive

Why does organic milk taste "richer" than non-organic milk?

A nice summary -- my tastes are the same.

Most commercial non-organic milk is from confinement-raised Holsteins that produce vast quantities of somewhat watery milk.

Sometimes I buy Organic Valley whole milk, where the cows are (a) on family farms, (b) probably mostly on pasture, and (c) sometimes breeds with richer milk, like Jerseys and Guernseys. My local food coops carry the regular pasteurized Organic Valley rather than the "ultra" pasteurized.

When I can get it, I buy raw whole milk from a local farmer who has 100% grass-fed Dutch Belted cows. The milk is impossibly creamy, a beautiful pale-golden color, and absolutely delicious. It looks and tastes very different from supermarket milk.

I bought a half gallon of BGH-free store-brand supermarket milk to try it, since my fresh milk source is drying up somewhat for the winter. We'll see how that goes. If I can tell the difference -- and I expect I can -- then I'll probably switch back to Organic Valley despite the higher price.

Nov 26, 2008
fendel in General Topics

Sunday night prix fixe at Levain (MSP)

Hope it's OK to bump my own thread, I wanted to post a little update. We've been to some more of the Sunday suppers at Levain since I originally posted this, and they continue to be wonderful.

Honestly, the reason I haven't been coming back and posting a rave every single time is that I rarely eat out anywhere else these days (my husband & I are both unemployed, so a good meal out is a rare treat)... and I'm afraid if I continue to post nothing but raves about the same restaurant, people will think I'm somehow biased. But what can I say, Levain has become far and away our favorite restaurant.

Tonight we had -

1st course - a lovely Provencal soup with local vegetables, a ratatouille garnish, a crisp crouton, and for us carnivores, mussels. I never cease to be delighted by the soups at Levain.

2nd course - a big seared scallop on a salad that included fresh corn, julienned chiogga beets (neat!), tiny melon dice, and mizuna.

3rd course - was described on the menu as "pork sirloin" (Fischer Farms, I'm pretty sure it said) - reminded me of my mom's schnitzel from my childhood, only better. So tender and rich! We had our mostly-vegetarian brother-in-law with us who decided he would try a little piece, since we were making little happy noises and he was curious; he said, "This could make me into a porketarian." Great potatoes, capers, and greens with this.

Dessert - Valhrona chocolate torte - an intense chocolate experience.

The guys loved the wine pairings as well. Our porketarian raved about the carmelized brussels sprouts in his third course.

Once my job situation improves, I hope to return there more frequently. I notice they've added the fried chicken to the regular menu, a bargain at $12, so even on our current austerity budget, we could probably handle that now and then. We had the chicken during one of the Sunday suppers about 2 months ago, and it was impossibly tender and delicious. My husband is not usually a fried chicken fan, but he still talks about that meal.

Sep 07, 2008
fendel in General Midwest Archive

"Fancy" Fried Chicken [MSP]

We had the fried chicken too, at the Sunday night dinner... really delicious. They posted a new (regular) menu last week and the fried chicken is on it...

Jul 28, 2008
fendel in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Best steak in the Twin Cities

It looks like the TH ribeye is now on the regular menu at Levain.

Jul 28, 2008
fendel in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Sunday night prix fixe at Levain (MSP)

We went tonight and had another excellent meal... I thought I would pass along this report for those who might be curious about what's been on the Levain tasting menus, or who need a nudge to go try the Sunday night dinners.

First course was "local kohlrabi soup" -- kohlrabi! Who knew? I've never even had kohlrabi before, but it was a beautiful soup, full of subtle flavor, with pea tendrils and shreds of Fischer ham. This is one of the reasons I love the tasting menu. I would never have said, with a regular menu, "Hey! I'll have the kohlrabi soup." But it was fabulous.

Second course was salmon with peas and haricots verts in a sauce that had capers... my husband loved it and said it was very tender. They were kind enough to substitute a gnocchi course for me (wish I liked salmon! but no), and it had carmelized brussels sprouts, pea tendrils, and morels. Wow...

Third course, hanger steak with local greens and mushrooms, and some fingerling potatoes that were perfectly cooked, with a lovely flavor I couldn't quite place...

And of course, slices of baguette with this amazing chive aioli (which is right up there with their sublime basil aioli in my book).

The a la carte menu, as I recall, included the soup, the salmon, a burger...

More and more local ingredients are showing up, now that the Minnesota growing season is underway. I have got to get back there more often.

Jun 29, 2008
fendel in General Midwest Archive

[MSP] - Kin Dee, a new "Thai" restaurant

I recently had equally sweet pad thai in two Thai restaurants in Washington, DC, so I was assuming it wasn't just Minnesota.

Jun 26, 2008
fendel in General Midwest Archive

Buying Truffle Oil in Twin Cities

I bought some at the Minneapolis Whole Foods a while back -- it was in an odd location, not with the other oils (as I recall, it was near the meat counter).

Jun 26, 2008
fendel in General Midwest Archive

Chinese Buffet suggestions - MSP

I've had some good meals at Great Moon Buffet on Robert St in West St Paul. I've enjoyed the Mongolian barbecue and the shrimp options at dinner.

I've had a couple of good lunches at New China Buffet on Yankee Doodle in Eagan, but the key is to get there early in the lunch period. Once I arrived at about 2 and the food had been sitting in the steam trays for a looooong time, not good.

Jun 26, 2008
fendel in General Midwest Archive

MSP former My T Fine-- now Agri? scoop?

Jeremy Iggers had an interesting piece on Rakemag about Agri... (are URLs allowed here? rakemag dot com...)

Jun 26, 2008
fendel in General Midwest Archive

MSP former My T Fine-- now Agri? scoop?

Jordan, I'm with you. I can think of a number of places in town where I can get a burger made from locally raised, sustainable beef.

They claim "local, homegrown Minnesotan ingredients"; would that be the jicama or the pineapple? Eggplant? Mango? Tofu?

"Our focus is eating great food grown locally using sustainable methods." I don't see much local food on that menu right now. And "seasonal fruit" in late May in Minnesota is an oxymoron. It boggles my mind that someone is trying to do a locavore pesco-vegetarian restaurant in a climate where nothing green grows between October and April.

I hope they find their audience. It's not me... Minnesota-grown mangoes (in May!) aside, I find the food combos pretty freaky: "Hazelnut Asparagus & Seared Maple Tofu / Tamari, citrus, chipotle and kiwi marinade, coconut purple rice." The place is five blocks from my house, so I have been fervently hoping for the best, but this is not my kind of menu. Major bummer.

May 30, 2008
fendel in General Midwest Archive

MSP former My T Fine-- now Agri? scoop?

I parked the car and walked over to check out the menu (get a website, willya...). There were 5 or 6 each of starters, entrees, sides; other than a trout entree it was basically vegetarian.

Bummer... if you're going to focus on sustainable food in Minneapolis, it seems a shame to ignore the beautiful locally raised, free-range, organic meats and poultry we have here. Indeed, this time of year, if you want local food, that's most of what's available. Eggs, beef, pork, chicken, turkey, eggs, cheese, honey. Oh yeah, and ramps, asparagus, and mushrooms. The list starts to look pretty skimpy if you omit the meat.

May 30, 2008
fendel in General Midwest Archive