Happy Halloween! We'll be starting our Live Chat at noon today, but post your questions now to get at the top of the list. There is plenty of news in the restaurant world, and we'll be starting out with that. See you in a bit.
We're back. Any questions to scare us?
Hi everyone. Happy Halloween. Instead of candy, my desk is covered in cookies (test-drives of the recipes we're featuring in our cookie contest), and man, they're pretty great.
On the actual day, I'm at home, handing out candy (our neighborhood has a crazy Halloween tradition, and we get around 1,000 trick-or-treaters, no exaggeration). But if that wasn't the case, and I had a kid, here's where I would go: Burger Jones (burgerjones.com), where children under 12 eat free (when accompanied by an adult, and the adult is buying an entree) when they're decked out in their Halloween finery. Oh, and the burgers? Pretty great.
Plenty. You could start at the Birchwood Cafe (birchwoodcafe.com) and Spoonriver (spoonriver.com), those are the obvious choices. But I also really like Common Roots Cafe (commonrootscafe.com) in south Minneapolis, and there's always something delicious and meat-free at Lucia's To Go (lucias.com) in Uptown. If you're looking for a big night out, consider Heartland (heartlandrestaurant.com), where chef Lenny Russo always has an imaginative and hyper-seasonal three-course vegetarian dinner on the menu, and the menu changes daily. I think it runs around $35.
Of course you should go. If I lived in the southwest metro area, I would be a frequent customer. It's in an oddball location -- part of an industrial park near the intersection of Hwy 169 and Valley View Road -- so it's not exactly on the retail shopping radar. But owner Fred Mische, one of the nicest guys you'll come across, knows his way around flour and yeast, and he turns out beautiful breads. Lovely croissants, too, and I'm an instant fan of his sea salt-flecked chocolate chip cookies. Great prices, too. (fredsbread.com).
Well, that's never going to happen, as I am far too lazy to ever find myself laboring inside a food truck. I have such admiration for food truckers (and restaurant folks), who demonstrate on a daily basis what hard work really is. But when my imagination goes into overtime, I think I might tempt fate and launch a truck that specialized in breakfast, since that seems to be an underserved market. And since I'm such a doughnut hound, I might think about a doughnut truck. I've already got a name for it (based upon my waistline, of course): The Spare Tire.
What a great little cache to have hanging around the house. I'd spend it at Manny's (mannyssteakhouse.com), where they're currently featuring some amazing aged steaks, including a 65-day aged bone-in New York strip that is pretty much out of this world (it should be, it's $65). I'd start with cocktails at Prohibition, upstairs in the Foshay Tower, one of the loveliest places to knock back a Scotch in the Twin Cities.
It's a phenomenon that's clearly here to stay, all over the country. You can tell it's part of the culture when large chain restaurants start setting aside places on their menus for listing the local ingredients they're using.
If you're referring to Olive's (https://www.facebook.com/OlivesWBL?ref=stream), I'd say from the looks of it they're on the right track. And it also looks as if they're going into the old Margaux space, so there's the aura of good food already built into the building. I'm putting it on my list.
I'd say, lucky White Bear Lake.
I'm crazy about the brunch that chef Paul Berglund and his staff put together every Sunday at the Bachelor Farmer (thebachelorfarmer.com), but there's one caveat: the (lovely, four-star) restaurant doesn't accept reservations for its brunch service. If you feel the need for a reservation, I'd say you should consider Lucia's (lucias.com), which in my mind is where I'm taking my mom for brunch this weekend (sorry Mom, maybe sometime in November, but I'm booked this weekend). It's lovely, the menu changes weekly and you can't beat the dessert tray or the calm, friendly service.
If you're in the mood for top-flight cooking, book a table at intimate Sanford (sanfordrestaurant.com). I've always appreciated chef Dan Van Rite's work at Hinterland (hinterlandbeer.com), a modern gastropub. You have to have a drink at Bryant's (bryantscocktaillounge.com), the city's best old-school bar. And if you're making a plan to visit the city's gorgeous art museum, have lunch at Cafe Calatrava (mam.org).
I should have mentioned Three Brothers, a classic Milwaukee restaurant. And yes, the Bartolotta group is the city's version of the D'Amicos. Their Lake Park Bistro is lovely.
Why not do both? For a memorable low-key meal, how about booking a table in the back dining room at the Lynn on Bryant (thelynnonbryant.com) and sink into one of chef Peter Ireland's beautifully prepared meals. I love that place, and I'd be thrilled to spend my 50th there.
I'm not familiar with Clive's, I'm sorry to say. Anyone? Two non-chainers that I've always had affection for are Carol's and the T-Box (tboxbarandgrill.com)
I'd would think that Paul Berglund at the Bachelor Farmer, Jamie Malone at Sea Change and the talent trifecta at Travail (Mike Brown, James Winberg and Bob Gerken) will continue to generate lots of attention.