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Dress Standards @ I Nonni [MSP]

yes, absolutely....I believe that's colloquially referred to as "smart casual". just remember to look suburban.

SE MI: Best Middle Eastern?

Pita Cafe is excellent, as is Jerusalem Gardens in A2, and if you don't mind cafeteria style mostly baked stuff, New Yasmeen on Warren in Dearborn is IMHO the very best in terms of flavors. everything made with love, especially the Za'atar pita bread pizza-type thingys.

Aug 14, 2008
g rote in Great Lakes

Best steak in the Twin Cities

Jim...does an insane hanger steak come from a mad cow?
campiello closed? rebranding by d'amico???

Jul 15, 2008
g rote in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Must-Eat Joints in Michigan's U.P.

well, we leave this Friday and this post is most helpful. Thanks to everyone who contributed. Will report back in a few weeks.

Saturday Lunch in Northfield, MN

I have an engagement in Northfield this Saturday afternoon, and would like to find a relatively kid-friendly place to dine in town. I assume that since it's home to 2 colleges, there will be some interesting and not-too-expensive options. Also, if there's a favorite ice cream parlor or other dessert type place, that would be great as well.

MSP - Hot Dogs - need to buy 10 lbs

Hackenmuller's or the sausage / pork guy @ the very NW corner of the MPLS farmer's market.

MSP-Nicollet Mall Farmer Market

I've been demanding street-side tamales DT for years. Several MGM restaurants are set up on Nicollet @ the XCEL courtyard, kitty-corner from the Nicollet LRT station, and among them is La Loma, whose Oaxacan chicken tamale is one of my favorite single-serving carry-out items in the entire TCs.

There was also a stand from Manny's Tortas and some meh-looking Chinese restaurant. I was told that this is only going on for one or two more Thursdays, which IMHO, is stupid. Ought to be every week. Though I suppose other downtown rent-paying vendors are raising unholy hell to the city council over lost revenue, etc.

But, I have to say, eating that tamale yesterday while listening to the Moroccan music blaring over the speakers on that little terrace in the beautiful sunlight with the crowd buzzing, the train passing by and the skyscrapers all around was one of the most surreally great lunches I've had since moving here 8 years ago. MORE STREET VENDORS, PLEASE!

MSP...Where Can I Buy Chunk Hardwood for Smoking / Grilling?

Stopped @ Hackenmuller's on the way home. Gawt Damn! They have Cherry, Apple, Alder, Oak, Mesquite, Hickory, Pecan...and IIRC it was about $8 per bag. I also got a lb of their house smoked bacon, house made brats, some spicy sticks and a package of Italian Sausage. Will be going back to them whenever I want prime beef cuts for home use. what a great butcher.

MSP...Where Can I Buy Chunk Hardwood for Smoking / Grilling?

I got a brand new 2-chamber smoker bbq grill, and I want to do some slow-smoked meats this weekend. Looking for either oak or apple. What's a good place to go for quality grilling hardwoods in lieu of charcoal? West Metro preferred.

Best Hamburger in Midwest

I've lived in Detroit, Milwaukee and Minneapolis. Here are my best of for those 3 regions:

1) Miller's Bar, Dearborn, MI
2) Solly's Butter Burgers Milwaukee, WI
3) Blimpy Burger Ann Arbor, MI
4) Red Coat Tavern Royal Oak, MI
5) Lions Tap Eden Prairie, MN

also, I just want to let my Twin Citian friends know that Jucy Lucys might be unique, they don't make a great burger. The patties get dried out.

wedding help for friend in MSP

What night of the week? the per-person price they are willing to pay is healthy nad can afford them a great meal, but with just 35 guests you'll find that a lot of places are hesitant to give up their operation on a Saturday for $4000-$5000 minimum. I would guess that from the above suggestions, you'll get the following response if trying to book a Saturday:
-Lurcat: we don't close to the public on Saturday
-Walker: Minimum on Saturday is at least $15,000...probably higher
-CBC: see Walker
-Nicollet Island Inn: Not sure if they would close down to the public.

What they need to look for is a RESTAURANT that has a separate PRIVATE DINING AREA that will work for 40-60 people...they will be able and willing (and thrilled) to accomodate a group of this size.

My #1 recommendation, depending on date, would be Forepaugh's in St. Paul. Right size, great setting, right price's just that they are under renovation and I'm not sure on the reopening date.

Another one that might work really well for a group this size is the Van Deusen Mansion.

Why Can't I Get Tamales for Lunch in DT MSP?

I had a tamale craving at the noon hour today. Had to walk all the way down to Salsa ala Salsa on Nicollet & 14th/15th to get a few...they were ok...but I would be much happier if I could get a simple tamale in DT. any suggestions?

Kosher for Passover Chicken MSP?

Byerly's St. Louis Park on HWY 100 and Excelsior has the most extensive Kosher section in the TCs. Are you talking about he 100% self-contained TV dinner type of dish? Because any un-processed Kosher chicken, whole or parts, will be Kosher for Passover by default.

MSP Bacon Crawl this Saturday

Sorry for the late notice, but some folks on MNSpeak are planning a "bacon crawl" tomorrow, starting with a late lunch @ the Triple Rock. Manny's fabulous bacon appetizer is also on the agenda. Anything else you Chowhounders recommend for spectacular bacon, preferably west of the River?

Here's a link to the Bacon thread on MNSpeak:

The country's best steakhouse?

My favorites:
Manny's (Minneapolis)
Pappas Brothers (Dallas)

Mar 13, 2008
g rote in General Topics

Bombay Bistro Pas Deux (MSP) WTF?

As I was strolling through the Medical Arts building today, I stumbled upon a second (and much larger) space for the Bombay Bistro. It's less than a block away from the original which is on Marquette btwn 8th and the same city block.) I think this was a pizza joint in its previous incarnation, but feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken.

The new space is expansive with 3 different rooms and 2 entirely different buffets. The front room contains seating plus a Southern Indian Buffet...a selection of at least 4 different types of fresh baked breads (including idly, dosai and some little donut-shaped thingy), as well as about 4 different spicy vegetarian curries, a few soups and some desserts.

The room straight in the back has a few fireplaces and is home to a slightly less extensive Northern Indian buffet (tandoori chicken, about 4 curries including veggie, beef, chicken, lamb) as well as lemon rice, and gulub jaman and rice pudding for dessert.

The third room is overflow seating / banquet space with a huge TV and seating for about 40 people.

There were honestly too many dishes to try in one visit, but what I had was VG by local Indian Buffet standards. The cost was $10.50 if you chose just one of the buffets, $11 for both. I'm not certain if they offer an ala carte menu during lunch. On the way back to the office I walked by the original location just to see if they were still open...they are, and they still have the Northern Indian buffet over lunch. I imagine the original one will close eventually.

Filthy Martini

a martini made with vodka is not an "abomination" is simply not a "martini"...martini has lost its original meaning and is now functionally defined as "a cocktail served in a traditional martini glass". Perhaps like with Libertarians (I'm not one) vs. libertarians (I am one) in print we ought to use capitol M Martini to mean the real gin / vermouth concoction as originally intended.

Having said all that...while I do know better, I will still order my drink of choice as a Dirty Stoli martini, extra cold extra dirty up.

oh...and if you are frightened by what might be in the olive bin @ restaurants, you'd really be taken aback by what happens in most restaurant kitchens. Dining and drinking out is a matter of mind over matter.

Feb 15, 2008
g rote in Recipes

Best fried fish in land-locked MSP?

Sea Salt opens April 1. 45 days and counting. It's our favorite place for summer evening family dinners.

Best Hashbrowns in the Twin Cities?

They don't serve breakfast, but the hashbrowns w/ onions @ Manny's are about as good as it gets. For breakfast I like Al's Diner's hashbrowns...or the Potatoes O'Brien @ Mickey's Diner.

Feb 11, 2008
g rote in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Crushed lentil soup in Detroit area?

Jerusalem Garden in A2 is my local favorite. Although the puffy bread for soup dipping @ La Shish is better than the pita @ JG.

Feb 02, 2008
g rote in Great Lakes

MSP- Ethnic food that tastes great to-go?

Thanh Do
Crystal Bistro

MSP-La Belle Vie or Chambers Kitchen?


MSP - Dukem Ethiopian

Too bad. the gate was a great little dive bar (not for foodies) and was a great place to watch Sunday football...especially if you were wearing yellow & black. at least they got to see the Steelers win a Super Bowl.

Feb 02, 2008
g rote in Minneapolis-St. Paul

(Food) Stops between Chicago and Detroit?

It's impossible for Bell's beer to be overhyped. Does anyone remember a Fried Chicken-oriented restaurant just off the freeway in Paw Paw that had a big picture of Jesus on the overhead menu board? In the late 80's it was a must-stop on our biennial road trips between East Lansing and Chicago...never did get the name of it, we just called it "Jesus' Fried Chicken"

Must-Eat Joints in Michigan's U.P.

We're doing a road trip across the UP this summer, hitting all the main geographic/geological points of interest on the way...Porcupines, Lake of the Clouds, Pictured Rocks, Tahquamenon Falls, Whitefish Point, Keewenaw Peninsula, Hiawatha National Forest, Grand Sable Dunes, Mackinac I'm wondering what are the can't miss indigenous eateries that you recommend. I'm sure we'll have pasties and fish fries more than once, so where are the best ones. Any killer burger joints? Ethnic Yooper joints (Italian, Ukranian, Czech, Polish, etc)? Pizza parlors?

Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: MSP

As a MI expat in MN, I've had my share of Blimpies and Jucy Lucy's, and neither one is particularly easy to eat. The meat on the Blimpies does fall apart if you get it dry, but if you get it with cheese it sort of binds it together. For a special treat I like a quad with fried egg and pepper jack.

Jan 22, 2008
g rote in Food Media & News

MSP- vegan wedding cake?

Fishman's Deli is a pareve (non-dairy) bakery, and their cakes look delicious (can't vouch for the taste...I won't eat non-dairy cake on principle)

Hungry Musicians In Detroit...

Foodnetwork's Diners & Dives show is good reason to NOT go to a restaurant. They've exposed 2 of my favorite burger joints to the teeming masses...Casper & Runyon's Nook in St. Paul and Blimpy Burger in A2...and I fear the crowds of stay @ home moms and their hungry offspring that will now descend.

Hungry Musicians In Detroit...

Ghetto Recorders? Say hi to Jim! Just tell the vegetarians to beware...the souls of many dead chickens haunt that place.

The Majestic Cafe is about 8-10 blocks N of where you'll be's open late for grub, musician friendly, vegetarian friendly, has VG hummus, tabbouleh, mujadara, fattoush, and my personal fave the Black Bean's also kinda-sorta where the Detroit Garage Rock re-Revolution of the late 90's took off from (Dirtbombs, White Stripes, Hentchmen, Rocket 455, Detroit Cobras, etc. etc). Also has a bowling alley, pizzeria and 2 concert venues.

The Traffic Jam (Canfield & parents met there in the fall of '68), and the Cass Cafe (Cass & Forest) is also a really veggie-friendly student hangout.

You should hit Motor City Brewing Works, too...but I'm sure Jim will point that out for you.

Seeking your counsel...private party in Minneapolis

Nye's Polonnaise has a few private areas, and while the food is so-so, the atmosphere is perfect for a cross-generational group.