Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 Best of: Sandwiches

This Epic Sandwich project has been an awesome way for me explore the city and try out different foods and different restaurants, much more so then I ever would have on my own. For that, I am grateful. You can find a quick synopsis of some of my local faves from 2009 here. Please continue to follow my sandwich discoveries as we head into 2010.

Happy Eating,


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 Best of: Farmers Markets

The local/sustainable/thoughtful/slow food movement is in full swing and Minnesota is enjoying many of the benefits. Farmers markets are popping up all over and local food artisans seem to be gaining more an more notoriety with each passing season. It's tough to read a menu in this town without a local producer listed, and that's great, but nothing beats going straight to the source and cooking something for yourself.

This may be one of the smaller markets in the area, but the produce and provisions are stunning. The folks that run the market bring in some nice entertainment, events and speakers and the variety of goods is awesome. You can pick up some choice produce, awesome sauces, jams and salsas as well as premium meats, cheeses and eggs. They have a little something for everyone, and the small neighborhood vibe is well represented. Plus those killer cooks from the Chef Shack are always there, providing an ideal and inventive bite to eat with less of a wait then I've observed at the also excellent Mill City Farmers Market.

Runner Up: Your Local Farmer

Nothing makes me happier then stopping by the farms on the way home from my cabin in the summer. I get to meet the folks that work so hard to produce such tasty wares and can stock up on a range of goodies including local cheese, produce, herbs and sustainably raised meat. It just sounds/feels so much better than a crowded grocery store, doesn't it?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2009 Best of: Pasta

For some odd reason Minneapolis seems to have an impeccable pasta scene. I'm not sure what factors contribute to that but there is not shortage of really good, fresh pasta, both traditional and inventive.

The Winner: Broders' Tagliarini di Locanda de Lupo

It's typically pretty easy to hand this distinction off to them, but this year they had some very stiff competition. They've been doing there thing for years and it really shows. Their pasta has always been spot on in my numerous visits over the years. They make killer fresh pasta and adorn it with only the utmost care, and incredible and lavish ingredients. The tagliarini isn't always on the menu, but I'll always want to eat there when it is. An incredibly luxurious combination of prosciutto de parma, truffle pesto and cream is the back bone of this killer presentation and the sauce simply smothers the fresh pasta. It's truly an incredible dish that needs to be tasted, not read about.

Runner Up: Trattoria Tosca's fettuccini

Newcomer Tosca kills it in the pasta department, too. This Linden Hills gift serves a very limited and very seasonal menu, but when what you serve is so good, there really is no reason to complicate. The fettuccinni is rich beyond compare. A combination of rich and nutty grana padano, salty and robust fischer bacon and three, yes three egg yolks make a perfect silken sauce. A sprinkle of fresh herbs and some nice carmel notes from a bit of roasted cauliflower and you've got a really solid dish.

Becker's newest offering is no slouch in the pasta department either, offering an array of inspiring new spins and traditional takes on old pasta favorites. If I'm at a pasta joint and there is rabbit or boar on the menu I am usually sold and Becker's menu was no different the little orecchiette had an amazing texture and held little cupfuls of delicious and delicate braised rabbit, herbs and tomato. This was a truly rustic and comforting dish that is not to be missed, either.

It was a great year for pasta!

Happy Eating,


Epic Sandwich: Crave's New York Pastrami Sandwich

Nothing like a little pastrami to help you chill-out during the holiday shopping madness. Full review here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

2009 Best of: Burgers

I know that writing about the best burger I've had this year is like skipping out onto thin ice. As illustrated by the famous "Best Jucy Lucy" debate, Minnesotans are crazy about burgers and although I won't be as bold as to say that this is the best burger in town (this segment is about the best dishes I've had this year, not the undisputed champs), I will say that it is definitely worth checking out.

Winner: The Kitchen's "Perfect" Burger

I didn't expect to find such a killer burger at such a new and distant restaurant (Stillwater is a bit of a hike from SW Minneapolis), but I loved the surprise. The Kitchen's bacon cheddar burger had all the attributes of a great burger: A nice fat-to-lean ratio for the beef, excellent sharp cheese, thick-cut hearty bacon, and house-made amenities such as pickles, mustard and an awesome fresh baked bun. The folks up in Stillwater know comfort food and this burger was a perfect summer patio pleasure. You can catch more info here.

Runner Up: Cafe Maude's Grilled Burger

Again, another place that doesn't necessarily have a ton of burger cred, but they sure can craft a mean sandwich. It's a bit on the expensive side for the American favorite, but the extravagant topping options make for a more up-scale performance. I like mine with grilled mushrooms and bacon, but if I really wanted to bust my gut I could add on some St. Andre and a fried egg, although the damage to my cholesterol level may far out live the satisfaction of the burger.

Lastly, since this whole blogging thing is about community and sharing, I'd love it if you let me know where/what your favorite burgers were this year!

Happy Eating,


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Coming Soon: Best of 2009

I'll be putting down some thoughts for my "Best Of 2009" list over the course of the next few days. Categories will include, but are not limited to best pasta, best burger (It's MN and we're obsessed with burgers) best breakfast, best Mexican etc. Keep in mind these are only places that I've dined at an by no means represent a holistic view of all the great options we have to choose from. Stay tuned!

Happy Eating,


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Epic Sandwich: Patrick's Bakery

I love merguez sausage, so when I noticed that Patrick's Bakery had a sandwich that utilized this spicy North-African delicacy I had to give it a try. Full review here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Epic Sandwich: Emily's Lebanese Deli

I've heard from several folks that Emily's Lebanese Deli in NE is worth checking out. It's easy to get tired of the same cold-cut style sandwiches, and a burger isn't always a welcome change of pace, so I was happy I found something unique and different enough to feel special at Emily's. Full review here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Epic Sandwich: Edina Grill's Blue Plate Meatloaf

I desperately needed a break from turkey the day after Thanksgiving and decided to see if the Edina Grill could serve up something fun and comforting. Turns out that they were up to the task. Full review here.
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