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Heading down to Minneapolis this weekend

Ariel Schor

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At Pho Tau Bay, I would be tempted to order a bhan mi sandwich and a bowl of soup; and split them.

But, as long as you are in the area, stroll up the street to Penninsula Malaysian Cuisine for an appetizer of Spicy Golden Tofu. This dish elevates tofu to an entirely new level. Creamy house-made tofu, deep fried, nice and spicy.

Should you wish to pursue the ethnic theme (and want to do some grocery shopping), there's Central Ave. NE. Of note: Sen Yai Sen Lek (for Thai noodle dishes on no other menus, plus miang kam (sp?), Holy Land -- which features not only groceries but a great restaurant (think more of a counter, waiting for your food and taking it to a table), and Patel Groceries, the Twin Cities premiere Indian grocery store.

For those of us "looking forward" to college tuitions for teens, these sorts of places provide a ton of bang for the buck.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Nobody answered your question on Cosmos and Heartland.  Both are excellent restaurants.

I also notice very little on cheeses.  I would enthusiastically send you to Premier Cheese Market in Edina (50th and France neighborhood). 

Unsolicited advice (if you're looking for these foods) -- get to the intersection of Marshall Avenue and Cleveland Avenue in St. Paul (only a few miles from downtown Mpls) and stop in Legacy Chocolates and Izzy's Ice Cream, which are a few doors apart.

I am not a big fan of Izzy's (another place that the food channel has visited). I personally am partial to Grand Ole Creamery. Grand Ole Creamery is not too far from Marshall and Cleveland and in the middle of a bunch of good restaurants.

Another great ice cream place that makes it's own is Hometown Creamery in North St. Paul.

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Thank you all for the prompt replies! I feel like i'm going to be spending a few "happy hours" at barrio. Al's breakfast goes on the list (Though i'll skip on the eggs benedict...i've cooked thousands of them, and sitting down to a pair is not the same) as do Bradstreet Craft house and the mexican market.

Barrio is totally awesome place to go the food, the tequilla, the atmosphere and the bartenders are all awesome

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"

Oscar Wilde

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
My brother and I will be in town from the 15th-20th of February, mainly to check out the restaurant scene and art museums. We have done some research and have narrowed down our restaurant choices to:

La Belle Vie


Little Szechuan

112 Eatery


Hell's Kitchen

Town Talk Diner


Pho Tau Bay

Any other suggestions? Also looking for somewhere to find good local cheeses.

La Belle Vie, Alma, 112 Eatery and Saffron are definites.


I'm making a point to put Saffron on my list the next time I venture that way. I regret not having made time for it on my last trip.

Going to Cosmos for my 40th March 25th. My dad is going to be visiting and he's staying at the Graves. I was there a few years ago and enjoyed it, I see lots of good reviews of Cosmos with the current chef. The Tea House in St Paul is the best Chinese food I have ever had. I want to try Heidi's as well.

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  • 6 months later...

My Apologies...I completely forgot to post the write up of our trip...This dates back to last March.


Ok...it's been quite the trip, and we return home tomorrow. I am not looking forward to going back, as this city's culinary scene blew me away. Great food, properly priced and extremely hospitable service will be missed. As promised, here's a breakdown of where we ate, what we had and a few lines on each place.

First evening in town, after the 7hr drive from Winnipeg was @ 112 Eatery

- Roasted Spicy Nuts and Marinated Olives placed on table, as well as Ciabatta-style Bread

- Pate Bahn Mi

- Crispy Veal Tongue with cold Noodle Salad

- Foie Gras Meatballs on Tagliatelle

- Cauliflower Fritters

Bahn Mi and Veal tongue were sublime, expertly preparated. The Foie dish was a revelation...i would have never thought that Foie and Reggianno worked together so seamlessly. Cauliflower fritters were also delicious. Service was very relaxed and very attentive, some of the best in the trip.

We headed to Solera right after that and were truly dissapointed. We were actually mad when we left due to the overpriced food and the chain-like atmosphere. Oddly enough, my brother and I got flashed by a pair of drunken customers at the bar. Did not enjoy it.

The next day we went for lunch @ a Crepe joint on nicollet which only had room for 6, and barely enough room for a dishpit and a makeshift kitchen, all in the open. I had a perfect whole wheat crepe w/gorgonzola, sausage, tomato and creme fraiche, while my brother had a ham and gruyere crepe.

Later on we headed towards Calhoun square to hit up Penzey’s for some spices. Found some lovely bay leaves, nutmeg and Szechuan peppercorns. Went to Pho Tau Bai for dinner that evening.

- Fresh Spring Rolls (Pork and Shrimp)

- Pho Tau Bai (Flank, Tendon, Tripe, Meatballs)

- Bahn Mi (Fried egg, Pate, Charcutes)

- Vietnamese Coffee

Every item was insanely fresh and truly delicious. A bargain at a mere $26. The Broth in the Pho was out of this world.

The next morning we had a hearty and delicious breakfast at Hell’s Kitchen, conveniently 4 blocks away from our hotel.

- Fingerling Potato + Corned Beef Hash w/sunny side up Eggs

- Over easy Eggs w/Bison Sausage and Rosti Potatoes

After spending the remainder of the morning in Ikea, we headed back towards Calhoun Square for a snack of oysters and calamari @ Stella’s Fish Café. Frozen Mignonette served with the oysters was a great twist.

Went back to the hotel after Stella’s, then headed out again for dinner at Saffron, where we had:

- Hummus + House baked bread

- Lamb’s Brain w/Tomato Confit

- Eggplant dip w/Piquillo Peppers and Pomegranate Molasses

- White Anchovies w/Preserved Lemon + Radish

- Grilled Haloumi w/Black Onion Seed and Tomato Jam

- Sheep’s Milk Feta w/Fennel, Oregano + Pink Peppercorn

- Beef Kubbeh, Cucumber Yogurt + Mint

- Winter Greens, Lemon and Olive oil

- Beef Carpaccio, Truffled Brown Butter Vinaigrette, Hazelnuts

- Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake, Brown Butter Ice Cream, Caramelized Banana and Tamarind Caramel

Wine: Montes Alpha Pinot Noir


Turkish Coffee

This was defintitely the most enjoyable meal of the trip. Every dish we ordered was spectacular, especially the brains, grilled haloumi and the greens. I recommend this restaurant to anyone who travels to Minneapolis for a true taste of refined middle eastern flavours. Our waiter was knowledgeable, passionate and very attentive, which just made the night for us.

Woke up late the next morning, and picked up a quick coffee at Dunn Bros. Headed to the Walker art Center for a tour of the exhibitions, then went for lunch @ Town Talk Diner.

- Sourdough Onion Rings

- Pulled Pork Sandwich, Parsley Garlic Fries

- Truffled Mac ‘n Cheese, Ham and Peas

Onion Rings and Pulled pork were delicious, and the fries as well. The Mac n Cheese lacked a lot of truffle flavour, and the cheese sauce was not what I expected…it tasted processed, and I’ve had better Mac N Cheese than that from a box. Homemade Iced Tea was great.

Off to La Belle Vie for Dinner that night in their lounge.

Tasting Menu

- Gougeres

- Seared Scallops w/Meyer Lemon and Fennel

- Lobster and Salsify Soup, Lobster Foam and Black Truffle

- Skate Wing + Rock Shrimp w/Brown Butter Vinaigrette, Caper Emulsion

- Grilled Lamb Tenderloin and Braised Shoulder w/Celeriac Puree, Sunchokes, Arugula and Moroccan Spiced Jus

- Chocolate Gateaux, Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta, Cava Sorbet, Mascarpone Semifreddo

Wines: Oloroso Sherry, Charles Heidsick Champagne, Napa Meritage, Late Harvest Monastrell

Food was excellently executed and very refined. The Lamb and Dessert were my favourites, and the wine pairings were great. Service, on the other hand, rather inconsistent. I wasn’t expecting to get served as well as if we had sat at the restaurant, but it really put a damper on the evening. One particular sour note was the runner that delivered most of the courses to our table. He carried the plates not in steady hand, but with his arms slightly swinging, as if he was strutting with plates in his hand. As a cook, it hurt…

Went for a walk around downtown later on that night, for a drink at Bradstreet Crafthouse.

- Pimm’s Cup (Pimm’s, Tanqueray, Watermelon, Mint, Strawberry, Cucumber)

- Bradstreet Cocktail (Jameson, Egg White, Lemon, Jasmine)


- Sea Bass Ceviche (Green Curry, Crispy Skin, Watermelon Espuma, Basil)

- Grass-fed Beef Sliders w/Local Cheddar, Homemade Ketchup + Pickled Onions

Impressive décor and lovely drink selection. The Pimm’s Cup was a great choice with my Ceviche.

Lunch on our last full day in the Twin Cities was at Brasa.

- Chicken and Pork Platter, Guacamole, Collard Greens w/Smoked Turkey

- Pork and Beef Platter, Corn Grits w/Cheddar, Collard Greens w/Smoked Turkey

- Cornbread w/Honey Butter

Another delightful meal….after all that fine-dining of the prior night we were craving some comfort food, and honestly, I can’t thing of anything more comforting than braised meat, grits, greens and cornbread. Another place I recommend to everyone that goes to the Twin Cities.

Our last night was spent @ Barrio, where we picked a bunch of things to share off their menu.

- Crab Empanadas w/Avocado and Salsa Verde

- Barbeque Pork Sopes w/Habanero Pickled Onions

- Diver Scallop Ceviche w/Orange, Grapefruit, Cilantro and Avocado

- Queso Fundito w/Roasted Poblanos and Chorizo

- Pork Carnitas Taco w/Serrano Chile Salsa

- Grilled Skirt Steak Taco w/Roasted Poblano Rajas

- Churros

- Tres Leches Cake

Highlights of the night were the Queso Fundido (Gooey melted cheese and beers…how can you go wrong?) The Ceviche and The Tacos. Churros were really great, but the Tres Leches cake was dry.

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