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#1 mongo_jones

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 05:40 PM

i'll be in the twin cities in the beginning of november for a few days. a couple of meals are being organized by the people who are facilitating my visit but there will be 2-3 other meals free with friends in the area. none of these people, however, are foodies. can anyone suggest some decent places to eat (keeping humanities academics' budgets in mind)? say $10-40 per head. any recommendations for good vietnamese food will be particularly welcome.

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#2 Vital Information

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 05:58 PM

i'll be in the twin cities in the beginning of november for a few days. a couple of meals are being organized by the people who are facilitating my visit but there will be 2-3 other meals free with friends in the area. none of these people, however, are foodies. can anyone suggest some decent places to eat (keeping humanities academics' budgets in mind)? say $10-40 per head. any recommendations for good vietnamese food will be particularly welcome.


Have you been? I've been twice this year and find the twin cities really nice places. Here's a quick summary report I posted on LTHForum.com with a few edits/additions.

Minneapolis-St. Paul (and surrounding areas) are fun cities to visit. Surely the good eating helps.

I just love the decor at Ikes, get drinks there as soon as possible and also enjoyed their breakfast. Ike's is downtown, right next door to Minneapolis's famous silver butter steakhouse, Murray's. Ike's is only a few years old but looks like it was built around 1912.

Hell's Kitchen did not falter, and it was nice to have a decent cup of coffee after two days in Western Illinois and Eastern Iowa. Hell's Kitchen is a breakfast/lunch only cafe, also downtown. The emphasis is on local and seasonal products. It's not cheap-cheap, but well above average for this genre.

Of the new places at the snazzy new Guthrie theater complex, we tried Spoonriver. I'd return more for the organic farmer's market Saturday's in this same riverfront area, but Spoonriver was good too for vegetable-centric meals.

The other big restaurant at the Guthrie is Cue (you can read good stories of Cue and Spoonriver here). Cue's father is Lenny Russo, and we visited his first child, Heartland in St. Paul one night. Hearland has a menu much like my beloved Vie. I have to say, however, that I was not fully blown away by Heartland. Some of the dishes, like a smoked baby chicken, really were delicious, others were not. I wonder if Papa needs to visit home some.

The most interesting time, the best of Minneapolis, the thing that pisses me off because I cannot imagine something this cool emerging in Chicago under King Daley is the New Mid-City Global Market (go to this Google page for background). It's a scruffy, not really clean public market a few blocks past the edge of Minneapolis's Uptown neighborhood--the location keeping things real if you know what I mean. No Phil Stefani, no Potbelly, no corporate nothing, just a bunch of interesting and, surely for Minneapolis, authentic stands: al pastor off a spit; Middle Eastern; West Indian, more Mexican, a stand specializing in farmer's goods, etc. Do visit if in Minneapolis for sure.

Ice cream's good there whether Sebastian Joe's, Caruso's or Izzy's (in St. Paul).

We could not find a Vietanamese place opened at 9 AM. Don't they know pho's for breakfast?


Let me know if you need details
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#3 Vital Information

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 06:02 PM

Here's my report from earlier this year, it may make some of the above make more sense.

Of Course the Yak was local (ya!)
The Twin Cities in February


Want to go to Minnesota in February? It will not cost too much money. With some clients in need of schmoozing and great deals—cars from $13/day on Priceline, the Condiment Queen and I took off for Minneapolis last week. We returned mostly well fed if dazed by the non-Euclidian street patterns of Minneapolis (and especially) St. Paul. These are vibrant cities with several pockets of activity, also (from the window of the rental car) seemingly well integrated communities of high and low, ethnic and student, commercial and residential. Minneapolis and St. Paul would not suggest places for repeat visits, but I feel we barely scratched the surface. I hope to return.

The trip started roughly. Of course, a good 2 or so hours of driving frustration on my part resulted from incorrect assumptions instead of standard map reading (abetted however by the failure of Budget Rental Car’s map that did not distinguish color-wise between Minneapolis and St. Paul). So, on Sunday, after taking the slow way into downtown Minneapolis from the airport, we decided to hit St. Paul—on the notion that we’d be in Minneapolis the rest of the trip. My intuition was that downtown St. Paul would be on the opposite side of the river from downtown Minneapolis or at least that the Mississippi divided these twins. Wrong. There is a good deal of Minneapolis east of the Mississippi, and there is no apparent physical boundary between St. Paul and Minneapolis (leaving one to wonder why they had to be two cities in the first place). This logical fallacy on my part kept me, for a long time, in placing us on our simple map. We had decided to visit Bread & Chocolate for a little pause gourmande, based on a nice caramel roll picture on the Roadfood.com site. And we finally arrived after several twists. All this for an OK bun, good if in the neighborhood but not worth the schlep. It did keep us in St. Paul for dinner, where we tried the Everest based cuisine of Nepal and Tibet at Everest on Grand.

After dinner, we asked the pretty Nepalese woman where the yak came from, and we got in perfect and ideal Minnesota speak, “a farmer outside of St. Cloud, ya”. I wish I had a talent for mimicry because I so adored the sound of hearing about the local yak. Honestly, I enjoyed the yak repartee better than the yak meal. The Condiment Queen thinks it was because I was uptight and in a bad mood, a combination of worry over pending meetings and deep annoyance with getting lost. She liked Everest. New to the food of Nepal and Tibet, we ordered a ton (although our overall bill was not too high). We got two types of Tibetan dumplings: steamed (momo) and fried (kothe) with filling, respectively, of veggie and ground pork/ground turkey. They come with a thick green, pretty spicy sauce (achar). The wife and I differed on which dumplings we liked better. She preferred the fried, but I found those a bit greasy. I liked the cleaner flavor of the steamed dumplings. In addition to the dumplings, we ordered a Nepali daal-bhat, a combination of meat, vegetable, dhal, rice and condiments. You pick the meat and the vegetable, and emphasizing the exotic, we got keema yak and breadfruit. Given a choice of heat, we went for the penultimate. Too hot, by a lot, or the food just did not seem to have enough other stuff too balance the chili. I also thought the spices in the ground yak tasted burnt. I did not appreciate the breadfruit, but my wife loved it. Dessert was an iffy fresh cheese in sugar syrup.

I fantasize of owning my own restaurant; perhaps one day. When it does, it will be a lot like a merger between two restaurants in downtown Minneapolis: Hell’s Kitchen and Ike’s. Hell’s Kitchen got the local and the artesian, epitomized by house made jams and bison sausage. They also make an exceptional peanut butter that comes with your breakfast toast or as a side, and squeeze in some tummy room for an order of Mahnomin Porridge, a conglomeration of wild rice, nuts, and dried fruit all tied together with delicious local heavy cream. The house breakfast appears pricy at nearly $10, but the eggs, sausage, and especially the rosti potatoes, a crisp pancake made of shredded potatoes left me feeling not the least bit ripped off, and did I mention the toast and jam? The rest of the breakfast and lunch menu (no dinner) is filled with dishes in the same spirit. After reading about their fried walleye BLT, my wife could not wait to try, and it easily met her expectations. She liked it so much she had two meals there. Ike’s, next to Minneapolis’s hallowed silver-butter steak, Murray’s fooled the hell outta me. My wife first scoped it out, and she knew I’d love it. It seemed expertly preserved, a bit of old Minneapolis left in the land of skyways. Amazingly, this place of well-worn wooden booths, oak center bar and terrazzo tile is not that old, built only in 2003. It is nearly exactly the décor I imagine for my future restaurant. I cannot comment on the food, but we liked the drinks, including the Minnesota custom of serving a small beer chaser with a Bloody Mary. We would have sampled something from the nicely priced happy hour menu, but they estopped the deals because of a Timberwolves game that night. I can say that the burgers passing by smelled good.

Our other dinner was at a place called Barbette. We got to Barbette by accident, the result of some pretty awful preparation on my part. Yes, I remembered Minneapolis was known as the only place in the USA with an authentic Sri Lankan restaurant. Yes, I had read the thread where GAF mentioned its passing. No, I did not bother to think of this when planning our dinner. Moreover, there were red flags, including lack of mentions in guide books and local magazines. I meant to call…Oh well, our trip to the edge of Lake Calhoun and back brought us near the sexy, French looking Barbette—more well done terrazzo! It was like dining inside an Edith Piaf song. Unfortunately, the service matched the tempo of much of her singing. The combination of handling one price fixe dinner for her and just an entrée for me for the kitchen’s new chef was just too much. My wife’s courses came out intermittingly and my dinner arrived before her entrée. The double upside, some complaining got us a round of drinks on the house and a huge tray of ripe cheeses. On top of that, the food was very, very good. We wrapped up the night with ice cream at Minneapolis’s famed Sebastian Joe’s.

The advantage of getting lost is you run into things. If you look here you can see why I decided to stop for a burger at the Ideal Diner, a hand formed not too thin good diner burger to boot. I ran into Minneapolis’s house bakery Wuollet after picking up cheesecake at Muddy Paws, liked them both. Our final meal came from the Ukrainian combo deli-cafeteria, Kramarczuk, where we got assorted sausages and dumplings (varenyky) to eat on the plane. We passed a lot that seemed worthy of stopping with more time (and maybe strolling weather). Upper Central had a bit of Da’Bomb to it, including a Patel grocery store. University across Dinkytown well into St. Paul, I believe this area is called Frog Town, was block after block of things that appeal to me, from used book stores to (a lot of ) Vietnamese restaurants. Like I say, I’d like to return.


Bread & Chocolate
867 Grand Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105

Everest on Grand
1278 Grand Ave, St. Paul
651.696.1666

Hell’s Kitchen
89 S. 10th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Ike’s
50 S Sixth St, Mpls.
612.746.4537

Barbette
1600 W Lake St, Mpls.
612.827.5710

Sebastian Joe's
1007 W Franklin Ave, Mpls.
612.870.0065

Ideal Diner
1314 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, 55413
(612) 789-7630

Kramarczuk
215 E Hennepin Ave, Mpls.
612.379.3018

Muddy Paws Cheesecake and Wuollet
Assorted locations including Hennepin in the Prospect Hill area


Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie

Just as long as you leave my "Alinea II: Electric Boogaloo" thing alone. - jinmyo

The Local Beet

#4 Orik

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 06:32 PM

i'll be in the twin cities in the beginning of november for a few days. a couple of meals are being organized by the people who are facilitating my visit but there will be 2-3 other meals free with friends in the area. none of these people, however, are foodies. can anyone suggest some decent places to eat (keeping humanities academics' budgets in mind)? say $10-40 per head. any recommendations for good vietnamese food will be particularly welcome.


Quang is on the low side of $10. I don't know of better vietnamese, although my last visit was somewhat less good than before.

The Sri Lankan place VI mentions was excellent, but has closed a long while ago. Barbette is a nice casual French bistro with some good beers. The selection of beers on tap at Bryant Lake Bowl is great, but do not eat there.

Famous Dave's, a mini bbq chain serves good pulled pork. http://citypages.com.../bestof2815.asp

If you're downtown, the tapas at Solera are perfectly decent.

Don't be tempted into eating Thai food in mpls. There was one good Indian place (where they made their own curry bases, etc.), but I think it is no longer.
I never said that

#5 Orik

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 06:34 PM

Oh, and do not go to St. Paul.
I never said that

#6 SamanthaF

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 06:52 PM

Not to put you off or anything Mongo - but I could be there too. :P
Okay, they can tell me "miso butterscotch" until the cows come home, but I say it's toffee and I say the hell with it. This is the goo an eight year-old wants to find in the middle of a candy bar. No adult in their senses wants it creeping up on their pig parts.
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"God bless those fucking guidelines. Where would we be without them?" - Stone March 2008

#7 galleygirl

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 07:01 PM

And I'll be there Spet.18-20...Thanks for starting the thread, Mongo...
Sounds like I'll miss hitting the market, tho...
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#8 mongo_jones

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 07:03 PM

i think i get there on the night of the 2nd and leave on the afternoon of the 6th. the 3rd is given over to the talk i will be giving at a college and related activities. will be hanging out with friends on the 4th and 5th. if you're there around the same time let me know and maybe we can all meet for a drink--my friends are far more civilized than i am.

i will put quang and barbette on the list. ike's sounds promising as well. is there such a thing as good steak in minneapolis? shurely there must be? is murray's the place to get it?

my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary (current review: highland park 12)

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#9 Orik

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 07:44 PM

is murray's the place to get it?


Manny's, but it ain't Luger (except pricewise).

Also of interest:

http://citypages.com...article8272.asp

And on the high end of your budget spec, but not totally necessary, La Belle Vie (provided you have a healthy sense of humor about the high end dining experience)
I never said that

#10 SamanthaF

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 08:43 PM

i think i get there on the night of the 2nd and leave on the afternoon of the 6th. the 3rd is given over to the talk i will be giving at a college and related activities. will be hanging out with friends on the 4th and 5th. if you're there around the same time let me know and maybe we can all meet for a drink--my friends are far more civilized than i am.

i will put quang and barbette on the list. ike's sounds promising as well. is there such a thing as good steak in minneapolis? shurely there must be? is murray's the place to get it?



Is that to me Mongo?? :P :P :P
Okay, they can tell me "miso butterscotch" until the cows come home, but I say it's toffee and I say the hell with it. This is the goo an eight year-old wants to find in the middle of a candy bar. No adult in their senses wants it creeping up on their pig parts.
Wilfrid at The Pink Pig.

"I'm lost. You shat on the cum-carpet, or you came on the shit-carpet?" - The Wonderful LML 5th Feb, 2008.

"God bless those fucking guidelines. Where would we be without them?" - Stone March 2008

#11 mongo_jones

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 08:44 PM

are you under the impression that i don't like you? i don't even know you.

my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary (current review: highland park 12)

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#12 galleygirl

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 10:30 PM

So, just got back from Minneapolis. Not much time to get out and eat, but I had GREAT sushi at a place called Origami, out on First Strret....A teeny place tucked next to the federal Reserve Building. fairly simple, but exquisitely prepared sushi,a and other Japanese foods. The most perfect dish was a cold appetizer, from the sushi bar. It was a whole mackeral, serve sashmi style. What they didn't say, is that after the sushiya carved each whole filet away, and carefully sliced it into thin slivers, he arranged the fish's intact skeleton, complete with head and tail, on a skewer, so it seemed to be leaping in a graceful curve. Suitable condiments were arranged in a row underneath it...When I had stopped admiring, then finished eating the smooth, buttery flesh, raw, like a good Amsterdam herring, and not marinated like typical sushi bar mackeral, the sushiya said that now, the kitchen would deep fry the whole thing, so I could eat the crispy skeleton. They presented it again, still intact, but flat now, with a lemon to squeeze on it. It was the BEST of both seafood worlds; the resh raw slices, and then the deep-fried crunch to fill that "bad for you" cpompartment.

Locals also steered me to the Midtown Market, and ethnic indoor market in a former Sears Roebuck building, from the deco era. It's only open til 8, but it's down on Lake Street, where there were a TON of mexican places; one actually named Carne Asada. The place I ate was in the Market, called la Sirena Gorda. Everything was Mexican, or carribbean seafood; a line of ceviches. tostadas, soft tacos, salads, stews, all made of seafood. There was a daily special of a whole tilapia. I had octopus soft tacos. Sauteed in a little pico de gallo, this was heaven. I can never get enough Mexican seafood. The market might be a good place for you to go with your colleagues; lots of cheap ethnic choices, a high preponderance of latin American. Some of them have a row of seats, but most groups seemed to be sitting at common seating areas at tables.

Also some other interesting looking Mexican places on the street, from marisqueria's to full'o'meat.

The owner of La Sirena Gorda is also part-owner of a full-service, more upscale place called Babalu, in the mill district, an up and coming area. i had really wanted to go there my second night, but I was just too exhausted,
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#13 Orik

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 11:42 PM

I just noticed the social satire embedded in VI's review:

These are vibrant cities with several pockets of activity, also (from the window of the rental car) seemingly well integrated communities of high and low, ethnic and student, commercial and residential.




:blink:
I never said that

#14 Rail Paul

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 01:53 AM

The Twin Cities area is home to the largest community of Hmong people in the United States

Betcha didn't know that

I didn't locate many Hmong restaurants, though.

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

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#15 Orik

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 03:06 AM

The Twin Cities area is home to the largest community of Hmong people in the United States

Betcha didn't know that

I didn't locate many Hmong restaurants, though.


There are many Vietnamese restaurants run by Hmong.
I never said that