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Japanese grocery items

I think United Noodles and Kim's are the main local spots for items from the old country. I only stop at Kims for the sukiyaki beef as it is miles better than that at UN.

A little off topic: If you are travelling towards Chicago there is a small Japanese grocery in Madison called the Oriental Shop.. The owner sometimes has homemade sort of Japanese items (and her unlabeled but clearly factory made gyoza (potstickers) are the best I have ever had). Maybe a smaller selection of Japanese items, but a number of items not found in MPLS including a small selection of great fish.

In Chicago proper there is a Mitsuwa .... think of a united noodles mostly filled with Japanese items, plus various restaurants.

Feb 04, 2015
toshio in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Dockside - Grand Marais, MN - shout out in the NYT

May 20, 2013
toshio in Great Lakes

Duluth - Nokomis on the Lake Closing Oct 28th

Sad to see it go, the best food, the best view in Duluth:

Catch it if you can.

From their website:

"All good things
must come to an end.

Nokomis will close at 
3pm on Sunday, October 28, 2012

We are going to miss the opportunity to provide you with great food, excellent service and a spectacular view of Lake Superior. 
We’ve loved it all… the daily business, the special events, the wine tastings.

But two of us are getting old… Rondi and Sandy are retiring.

Sean and Jennifer are ready to offer their talents in new settings in the Northland. 
You’ll be the first to know where you can find Sean “next” 
when we announce it at the end of the month.

If you have unexpired Nokomis Gift Certificates, please use them in the restaurant or wine shop by October 28th. (No Wine Shop sales allowed on Sundays.)

Open every day at 11am (through Oct 14)

Beginning October 15 we will be closed on the remaining Mondays and Tuesdays .

We are open Sunday the 14th, and reopen for lunch at 12 noon on Wednesday, October 17. "

Oct 08, 2012
toshio in Great Lakes

Duluth in November

I I have to put in my vote for Nokomos on the Lake, winter hours are limited but the view of the Big Lake is great and Chef Shawn has such a great touch with food. Service can be iffy due to the staffing that is required in a tourist town, but get over it! The food is better and you pay no more than mediocre offerings.

Jun 25, 2012
toshio in Great Lakes

Duluth in November

Hey Queen,

The Neopolitan place is not in the old Hell's Kitchen location, they are in the old Northern LIghts Book Store location next to the Cariboo Coffee on Canal Park drive not South Lake Avenue. While I haven't tried the 'Za I have peeked at it coming out of the oven and it does look good. More of a personal size, quick trip through the oven, nice Neo looking product.... but I have no idea how it tastes. (I walk by on my way to Northern Water's Smokehouse)

The Hell's Kitchen location spent a short time as a hells burgers but is now a Grizzly's Wood Fired Grill. A popular chain, pobably not on a Chowhound's list.

Jun 25, 2012
toshio in Great Lakes

Duck in the Metro

So what did you like? I assume the Co-op duck was preferable but you dont sa. Also, what made the better (or different) duck better (more different).

Dec 13, 2011
toshio in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Duck in the Metro

I am usually in the 'Cities during the work week so while a good idea, not something I can easily do.

Dec 13, 2011
toshio in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Duck in the Metro

Can anyone point me to to a source for 4-6 pound duck (organic/free range better) suitable for roasting in the 'Cities. Center city preferred as I am just doing some business before returning to Duluth. We want to try the crispy skinned duck recipe in this week's Times.

Dec 13, 2011
toshio in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Washington Ave.

I checked out Zen Box Izakaya a couple times last month. Once for lunch and once for dinner. Over the course of the two meals I have the white rice, pickles, and chicken kara-age lunch set for lunch and crab korokke,short ribs, age dahsi tofu, grilled rice balls (saved for breakfast) for dinner (along with a couple of japanese beers, the tap asahi is great).

I enjoyed the lunch best of all. A nice variety of flavors. Weirdly the pickles came first, without rice so you couldn't eat them with rice a typical Japanese thing. The way the rice comes in the lunch set makes it difficult to eat, the sauces un-sticky the rice so you can't pick it up with chop sticks and it's not ina bowl so you can't pick it up and scoop like you would in Japan. The gyoza have that wield overly hard texture some places give them, I like a bit more chew in the noodle wrap. But overall nice and a bit more calming than fighting the crowds and parking for the skywalk location.

For dinner I was less impressed, fine good atmosphere. As I ordered a few small plates, I should have ordered a bowl of rice and none was suggested so the overall experience was a bit lacking. They were out of the fried oysters so I substituted the korokke, again the weirdly hard fried crust, not tender as I would expect a hard to eat as you couldn't really break it up with chopsticks.

People having the noodles seemed to be enjoying them.

Overall much better than Wasabi (nearly across the street) so I would think about stopping it I were in the area... However I'm really digging Masu right now (Had the Wagu beef burger set dinner last week, wow) and since I'm usually driving around for lunch anyway my go to places are Masu and Obentoya (If parking were better I would add Origami) as it's easy to get in and out and park.

In the end, much much better than

Dec 06, 2011
toshio in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Ramen at United Noodles UniDeli

This seems to have become about three different Threads so:

1) Had the ramen a couple weeks ago - great - not quite up to Tampopo for noodles, but super good for ramen and available at lunch time when I'm often in the 'Cities. (I sure miss lunching at Tanpopo during the work week, but there is Masu)

2) Great Soy sauce, I think I know the one you mean, however I really recommend Kamada Dashi Soy. It comes in a little milk carton like container and is just super say on some just cooked spinach or green beans. They have a web site for mail order and are great to order form. (They were once in Canada importing to the US, but got catch up in 9/11 food regs and had to create a US office - offline for a year or more - hard to take from a consumer side) My favorite product is the noodle base, but since moving to the US they don't offer it alone any longer.

3) I do try and hit Mitsuwa when in the Chicago area, it's right by the airport and there are a couple great japanese restaurants in the area (avoid the in store places unless you are in a hurry or whan so easy takeout). It's very similar to the CA versions of the chain. If you are in Madison there is a little hole in the wall called the oriental shop 1029 S Park St.
Madison, WI that is Japanese only - more stuff than United Noodles and some fresh specialties such as Sakura mochi and mitsucashi (sic) mushrooms in season. I agree that they have cut down on certain Japanese items (I am really missing my favorite canned pickles right now) and the varitiey of instant ramen and ramen bowls is quite a bit lower. If they would just say they can't get it anymore that would be something at least.
My half breed family used to shop for Japanese goods at Kim's Oriental grocery on Snelling, north of University. They still have some things, including the best Sukiyaki meat you can get in the 'Cities (from Chicago) but they tend to hold onto things past there expiration date so I don't seek them out except for the Sukiyaki.

Dec 04, 2011
toshio in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Anyone else try the homemade frozen pizza in "American Pie?"

I note that Peter Rienhart in his "American Pie" has a recipe for creating a homemade frozen pizza crust that he claims is far and away better than commercial frozen. I made up a batch (4 untopped crusts) over the weekend, but probably won't try to cook one until next week. You are supposed to be able to throw it in the oven after topping just like a supermarket one.

My first try was a bit too loose, I'm sure I should have use a tad more flour. I also tried to thin the center, but this browned a bit too fast, so the "good" ones were of uniform thickness.

Anyone else try this out?

Oct 27, 2011
toshio in Home Cooking

Your Help is Needed - Homi Restaurante - St. Paul

Was in St Paul yesterday so I stopped for lunch. I had the chil.... chopped up corn tortillas in red sauce with pork al pastor cheese and chilantro, something I've never had before. Ym. Thanks for the heads up on the Guac, nice and spicy. Definetly a family vibe. I will try and get there again when I've had my fill of Japanese (was hoping Tanpopo was open for lunch again, no joy). Good tip on the parking!

Aug 03, 2011
toshio in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Grand Marais, MN - FOODTRUCK!!!?

Yep, there it was, tucked between the Beaver House and the East Bay Suites in the alley: "Alyce's"
None of the fancy big city offerings (or of the fancy pants places right in Grand Marais) , but competent made to order grill type food. Some plastic lawn chairs and tables allow for some sit down eating, the usual wait is about 5 minutes. The menu includes burgers, hot dogs, and the signature "squealer" pork tenderloin sandwich. On a recent northbound trip through town I had the Squealer, nicely spicy with an abundance of good lettuce, tomatoes, a spiced mayo sauce and hamberger dills on the side. I had a great chili dog, grilled bun, homemade chili with beans on top on my southward journey. There are offerings of french or sweet potato fries, but I didn't go there.

Sounds like Alyce plans to be there until freeze up and it's a great quick stop as an alternative to the pizza by the slice at Sven & Ole's or the DQ (no not the DQ that posts on Chow).

Sven & Ole's
7 W Wisconsin St, Grand Marais, MN 55604

Jul 07, 2011
toshio in Great Lakes

msp to duluth to the canadian border..road trip recco requests

I still say Nokomis or the Rustic are unappreciated spots along the North Shore near Duluth.

Depending on your route towards the range don't forget to tray a pasty (or two).

K&B drive-in on US53 just outside of Eveleth makes them most days. The owner will try and point you towards the BBQ he does there, but the pasties and my favorite the porketta sandwich are great.

If you get as far west as Grand Rapids, Pasties Plus on US2 is a little grimy hole in the wall that makes great pasties of several varieties is a must stop. No real sitting and depending on the tie of day they could be out of "hot" ready to eat ones. Your wife might want to try the "german" pasty, made with bratwurst.

Pasties Plus
1405 Northwest 4th Street
Grand Rapids, MN 55744
(218) 326-2234
Open Weekdays 9am-7pm; Sat 10am-5pm

Nokomis Restaurant & Bar
5593 N Shore Dr, Duluth, MN 55804

Pasties Plus
1405 NW 4th St, Grand Rapids, MN 55744

Jun 08, 2011
toshio in Great Lakes

Eating in Duluth [Moved from Minneapolis-St. Paul Board]

This will probably get moved to the general Midwest board in with Detroit and Cleveland, but: you can not go wrong with Nokomis, about 14 miles up the shore towards Canada. Great combination of ingredients and a view of the Lake. Try the brunch menu on Sunday at Pizza Luce' very flavorful and some different things. The Duluth Grill takes good honest food and adds local and organic spin basic items prepared well including breakfast all day.

Also mentioned by others: at Sara's table, Belisio's, The New Scenic Cafe, Fitger's Brew Pub, Lake Avenue Cafe, or for a sandwich to go definitely try the Northern Waters Smokehouse.

If it clears up as it is supposed to, the reviling restaurant at the Radisson can be worth the view for dessert or a drink- skip the food - a nice bird's eye view of the zenith city of the unsalted sea

Apr 28, 2011
toshio in Great Lakes

What's new in Duluth?

Most has been said before: the Northern Waters Smoke Haus in the Canal Park area is great, I've been enjoying chunks from a link of their home made chorizo with breakfast for the last few weeks and I do like their sandwiches, IMHO the best foodie breads on a sandwich in Duluth.

Stopped back at Nokomis for just a dessert and a nightcap last week - yum, but I do miss the sampler of different Ice creams he used to do.

I have heard good things about the Ziegiest Cafe (associated with our new art movie house downtown) and the revised Lake Avenue Cafe .

If you are up this weekend you can probably forget about the Canal Park restaurants as it is Blues Festival weekend and they will be busy (at least for Duluth).

Have fun and tell your friends about Duluth!

Nokomis Restaurant & Bar
5593 N Shore Dr, Duluth, MN 55804

Lake Avenue Cafe
394 S Lake Ave Ste 107A, Duluth, MN 55802

Aug 12, 2010
toshio in Great Lakes

What's new in Duluth?

The Pickwick is being remodeled and under new ownership. I always go for Nokomis over the New Scenic, I just feel the chef has a bit better hand at putting together dishes, Nokomis can be a bit understaffed as it is feast or famine on the Shore. Just had a a few items from the new summer menu and they were spectacular - gnocchi with duck confit and a cheese plate with grilled peach and fig were highlights - the outdoor deck and half price wine didn't hurt (Thursdays).

There is a new outpost of the Cloquet Mexico Lindo in the Fitger's complex that has gotten good reviews and my daughter claims the makeover of the Radisson rotating restaurant to JJ Astor is a real success, better service , better atmosphere, and much much better food.

I say the Rustic Inn in Castle danger has better pie than Betty's in Two harbors, well worth the additional 10 minute drive.

No decent homemade ice cream that I know of, but the Portland Malt Shop next to Fitger's does a good job with malty tasting malts.

Lots of folks with local fish - herring sandwich at the Pizza Luce on Fridays a good bet. (I think they have almond crusted walleye at the JJAstor).

Watch out for traffic - no problem if you are used to TC traffic, but for us locals the ten extra minutes to get up the shore is an eternity.

Nokomis Restaurant & Bar
5593 N Shore Dr, Duluth, MN 55804

New Scenic Cafe
5461 N Shore Dr, Duluth, MN 55804

Pizza Luce'
11 E Superior St Ste 100, Duluth, MN 55802

Jul 19, 2010
toshio in Great Lakes

Japanese Groceries

United Noodles has drastically cut down on the variety of Japanese grocery items in the store. Still plenty of frozen and refrigerated items, but less sauces and noodles. Any other suggestions? Used to go to Kim's on Snelling - but the whole Korean/Japanese WWII angst was a bit too much. Chicago's Mitsuwa is a bit too far to go.

United Noodles
920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN

Jun 10, 2010
toshio in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Dinner in Ely, MN

I just heard that Bernard Herrmann's son just reopened the Mantell House, this should be good! See for more about Bernard. -

Jun 06, 2010
toshio in Great Lakes

What's new in Duluth?

Sad story with Kippis, Ari lost his green card due to some delays getting paperwork filed, so he's back in Finland - partner to join him in a year or so. Takk for Maten now operating all day?

Takk for Maten
11 E Superior St, Duluth, MN 55802

May 27, 2010
toshio in Great Lakes

No more short ribs

I would also expect to find good short ribs at places like United Noodles or Kim's oriental market on Snelling .

United Noodles
920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN

Snelling Cafe
638 Snelling Ave N, Saint Paul, MN 55104

May 25, 2010
toshio in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Hatch chiles? [Milwaukee or nearby]

I mispoke the source I've used its:

Superbly Southwestern ~
2638 6th St. NW Albuquerque, NM 87107 800.467.4HOT


Nov 08, 2009
toshio in Great Lakes

Salt - New in Boulder - Brief Report

We were at Salt last Sunday night (4th) fairly busy so we waited in the grotto like bar downstairs, nice place to hang while waiting. The food was great though and worth the wait. My wife got the special, pan seared scallops with balsamic reduction, green beans, and fingerling potatoes, I had the smoked pork chop with Colorado peach and fried polenta, our friends got the Tavern Burger with homemade fries.

The scallops were the best ever had in a restaurant - done to a turn with a nice crispy crust and slightely pink inside. My pork chop was done med rare as I had asked, jucy, perhaps a bit more smoky than some would like.

They have already cut back on some of the bar creations and seemed to be controlling labor/kitchen costs by shutting things down as needed, so they have a chance of making it.

BTW we also shared a chocolate caramel salt tart that was also great.

Good price n 18 year old Macallen ($18) for those of you who like single malt, served in a Riedel scotch snifter.

Oct 10, 2009
toshio in Mountain States

Good eats between Two Harbors and Lutsen [MN]

Forgot Bluefin Bay and the Lutsen Resort proper. I used to always get the bluefin sandwich at the bar at bluefin when I had business "up the shore", fried but good. Good with the beere battered onion rings and horseradish dipping sauce. Batter style, not cornmeal covered. My daughter likes the place on the other side of the "harbor" the Coho Cafe, but we've never warmed to it.

The main dining room at Lutsen is old time Skandahovian lodge, old and really neat to see, with a pebble beach to walk off the food. Food is fine, a little pricey. This is about location and history.

Good eats between Two Harbors and Lutsen [MN]

Up dere I'd say the Rustic Inn at Castle Danger. It once was merely a consistent local place with American cooking, turkey dinner on Sunday and all that, but the new generation (the owner's son) is doing a good job in the kitchen. Little touches like the home pickled onions on the salad and the to die for turkey sandwich on cranberry bread make this worth your while to stop. I don't much go for the local favorite, cheese immersed sandwiches, way too much cheese for me but the more "modern"dishes are great - supposed to be a higher end dinner, but we always go for lunch. This place is much better than the more well known Betty's pies and even the pies are better.

There is also the dining room at Grand Superior Lodge, lots of wild game dishes on the menu. Great deck with a view of the lake and I would expect the service to be pretty good too as it is run by the same group as Ledge Rock (between Two Harbors and Duluth) My brother and his crew spent a week ordering only the black bean burger while they were doing a condo remodel as they liked it that much.

I wouldn't go to Betty's Pies unless it was for the people watching, lots and lots of Metrolanders go there, maybe your neighbor?

Forget Kamloops at Superior Shores, not worth your time.

Not a lot of other places, some small places in Beaver Bay and Silver Bay, but nothing to write home about.

You could pick up some smoked fish and crackers at Lou's in Two Harbors and do a picnic along the shore too.

Hatch chiles? [Milwaukee or nearby]

I know it didn't work out for you , but have you tried "Simply Southwestern" for your chile fix? I have used Pam for years to get chile and I just got a card in the mail a week ago or so about fresh roasted chile.

Aug 25, 2009
toshio in Great Lakes

Grand Marais, MN

The Gunflint Tavern has a really nice Bloody Mary and a nice variety of "pub" style food. A bit too wide ranging, but feels like a good local bar in the Metro.

Aug 17, 2009
toshio in Great Lakes

Food stops between duluth and mpls?

The Red Shed has been gone for a couple of years now - no doubt a victim of the increasing number of chain fast food found along the corridor ( south of Hinckley). North of there are a number of home town spots good for burgers and fried food. Moose Lake, Barnum, Carlton (Cozy Cafe) and the aforementioned.

Ely Minnesota

good reports on burgers and breakfast from my daughter:

Stony Ridge Resort
60 West Lakeview Place
Ely, Mn 55731
Phone (218) 365-6757

Just north of downtown past the lumber yard, resort owner operator (and cook) - local as you can get.

Duluth - Nokomis in WSJ (rave)

Nokomis got a nice review in the Wall Street Journal last week:

Glad to see the review, as not only are they the second closest retaurant to my house, but I think they offer a great experience and Big Lake view. Service can be a bit slow on a busy night, the usual problem with the Shore places that can't afford to keep high numbers of staff on in anticipation of nice weather. (Of course I just had a slow service experience yesterday lunch at Obeno-ya in Minneapolis, and they should be able to have enough staff



Jul 08, 2009
toshio in Great Lakes