Monday, October 13, 2014

Best restaurants in Minneapolis: My top picks for 2014

After every trip to Minneapolis, I start liking this city a bit more and more. Of course it helps that I only visit in the summer. (I made a mistake of going in the winter of 2007 and there was snow up to my waist!)

The Stone Arch Bridge

I love how all the building are built to celebrate their industrial legacy, loved the sleek Guthrie building dedicated solely to theatre, the Walker Art Centre and the gigantic public library. But my favourite is the Stone Arch Bridge encompassing the vast Mississippi river, full of healthy Minnesotans cycling and running on the paths. In retrospect, I should have been one of those active people exercising away given the amount we ate out – but hey I was on vacation and my brother had a whole slew of restaurant recommendations. What can I say he is my brother after all.




The Bachelor Farmer

One of the best meals I had on my trip. With my cousin and his wife (the lovely NoraLeah)  and my brother, all recommending it, I knew we had to check out this Nordic-inspired restaurant. Everything was locally sourced and they even grow their own herbs and vegetables on a small farm on the roof!

The ‘Groaning board’ was a delight – a chacuterie board full of different kinds of pate’s,‘meat cheese’ (which is all the good bits of a piggy head!) and various pickled vegetables. I then had this gorgeous slow cooked pork shoulder with a pork belly confit and greens and my brother had lamb chops which were served these gorgeously stewed aubergines and okra and hazelnuts. Bizarre combinations that all made sense once they hit your palate. It’s owned by the Dayton brothers (who sound as if they are the villains of Lucky Luke cartoon) but actually are from the prolific family of the Governor of Minnesota. All those political connections aside, it’s a fantastic restaurant with a really cool basement cocktail bar.

Pyscho Suzi’s Motor Lounge

I LOVED Pyscho Suzi’s. A self-proclaimed Tiki bar along the river that doesn’t take it self too seriously.  Brilliant for drinks (think fun Hawian style Tiki cocktails) and food that’s so good, you don’t care about your waist-line. We had pizzas groaning with cheese and more-ish Polynesian chicken wings smothered in a tangy sweetish sauce. I consumed them all with pleasure on the patio outside overlooking the river. It’s a lovely place to sit by the river with drinks in hand and while away the afternoon till the sun goes down.

Heyday

Heyday

Their menu is seasonal and constantly changing. I found the dishes playful and interesting – the chefs love pairing atypical flavours together. Some of which work brilliantly like the Chicken Liver tart with toasted shallots, green tomato jam and pickled vegetables. While a few were not really my cup of tea like the Black cod with a sweet corn, mushrooms and elderberry capers. Service was great and they were also lovely about catering for my mum’s allergies.

Lobster Mac n Cheese & a Connecticut syle Lobster Roll

Smack Shack

A food truck turned restaurant success story – I went in looking forward to trying their lobster roll. Now I’ve only ever had the classic chilled lobster in warm buttery brioche bun otherwise known as the Maine Lobster roll but at Lobster shack they also had version called Connecticut-style – essentially warm lobster tossed in butter, lemon and chives. And the verdict is I’m a New England girl all the way. Serving it warm took some of the flavour out and having stuffed myself with amazing lobster rolls at Luke’s Lobster in NYC and Burger & Lobster in London, I’m definitely a fan of the chilled lobster roll.

Smack Shack is fun casual place to hit up if you’re in MSP and a Lobster fan – they have lobster in everything: Lobster Mac n Cheese and even a Lobster Guacamole! Looking at the other tables, it seems the way to go is to order the whole lobster with all the trimmings.




Brasa

A low-key Creole-style rotisserie restaurant serving slow cooked meats and other comfort food. It’s an old favourite of mine that is going still as strong as ever. I had the creamy pulled chicken with candied yams. Delicious!



Izzy’s Ice Cream

Best ice cream ever. With everything you order, they give you a free ‘Izzy’ scoop on top as well!  Oh America – the only place where a regular sized ice-cream scoop is called kid size and gigantic mammoth size for adult.  I couldn't choose between all the flavours and the regular sized scoop was too formidable so I figured out the brilliant combination of 3 small kids scoops of different flavours - salted caramel, peppermint bonbon, chocolate chip cookie dough (actually 4 if you count my izzy scoop of maple nut ice cream!). Right next to the Guthrie and Gold Medal Park – A must visit if you’re in the area.


And that’s the round up of my trip to MSP, a city I’m growing very fond of. Here are my reviews from last trip in 2012. Minneapolis I will be back! :)

Lake Calhoun

The Bachelor Farmer on Urbanspoon

Heyday on Urbanspoon

Smack Shack on Urbanspoon

Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge on Urbanspoon

Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge on Urbanspoon

Izzy's Ice Cream on Urbanspoon

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