Each Friday, this list will track five of the best things Heavy Table’s writers, editors, and photographers have recently bitten or sipped. Have a suggestion for the Hot Five? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Hot Five is a weekly feature created by the Heavy Table and supported by Shepherd Song Farm.
Mango Sticky Rice at On’s Thai
Is this the best mango sticky rice in St. Paul … ? We’re thinking so. On’s Kitchen Thai Restaurant serves up perfectly ripe mango and dense, toothsome, lovely sticky rice to round out a meal of excellent savory dishes.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from an Instagram post by James Norton]
Apple Streusel Pie at Dave the Pie Guy in Kingfield
Apple streusel is the top-selling pie at Dave’s, and it’s a beautiful example of its type. Dave Hulett always uses a variety of apples for the filling — in this case Granny Smith, Gala, and Golden Delicious — to get the right flavor and texture. the apples were warm and fragrant, and the streusel had a tender crunch. This is a one-man cafe run by a guy who lives and breathes pie, and Hulett’s dedication shows in the result.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Jane Rosemarin]
The Salty Tart’s Banana Cream Pie
The banana cream pie made by The Salty Tart has all the elements of the classic without any unwelcome modifications. It’s served as a miniature whole pie in an aluminum tin, adding to the nostalgia. We enjoyed ours at The Hasty Tasty, where a rotating selection of pies is available. This banana cream has an ideal balance of crumbly graham cracker crust, banana filling, and rich whipped cream. There are even some fresh banana pieces inside.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Paige Latham Didora]
The Japanese Combo Breakfast at JK’s Table in Edina
The Japanese Style Combo Breakfast at JK’s Table in Edina is traditional, something that you might eat at home or at a simple restaurant in Japan. The charm of a Japanese breakfast is that you can take a bite here and a bite there to experience the flavors in various combinations. JK’s version — which included rice, grilled mackerel, two salads, a daikon pickle, and miso soup — was delicate but filling.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from a review by Jane Rosemarin]
Mirror Universe Hazy IPA from Fair State
The latest local hazy IPA release (in a can, at least) is by Fair State, and it’s called Mirror Universe. It’s a bit wet-and-juicy, but it’s not a tidal wave, and while some hazy IPAs luxuriate in mango or pineapple richness, this one is comparatively restrained. There’s some bite and some astringency, but overall it’s a fairly minimalist example of its style, with a lingering but mellow bite that follows each sip. It’s reasonably strong at 7 percent ABV, but like most hazy IPAs, you’re not likely to pound this beer. It’s a sipper.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from a review by James Norton]
JK’s is located in an office building in a land of office parks. With its synthetic, bare tabletops, plastic chairs, and tile floor, it has the feel of a short-order canteen, but at lunchtime, it serves hordes of hungry workers freshly prepared, tasty rice bowls, noodle dishes, and sandwiches.
And from 8-10:30 a.m. on weekdays, there’s Japanese breakfast.
The Japanese Style Combo Breakfast ($10) is traditional, something that you might eat at home or at a simple restaurant in Japan. We’re also nostalgic for the elaborate — also traditional — ryokan breakfast (see photo at the end of the article), but that’s another thing. The charm of a Japanese breakfast (elaborate or simple) is that you can take a bite here and a bite there to experience the flavors in various combinations. JK’s combo had a good assortment of dishes to work with and was delicate but filling.
We began with a classic Miso Soup. It was warming and calming, simply garnished with green onions and seaweed.
The grilled mackerel seasoned with salt (Saba Sioyaki, usually spelled shioyaki) was well-cooked without being dry, and although mackerel is an oily fish, the flavor leaned more toward the fresh and mild than the strong and “fishy.” The skin was tasty but might have been crisper. The fish, sampled along with the Daikon Oshinko (pickle) and a drop of soy sauce, made for a bright flavor package.
The rice came sprinkled with gomashio and bits of nori and was a good companion to the fish. The topping was loaded with umami and gave the rice enough interest to eat on its own.
I’m not sure avocado is the best choice of vegetable for a gomaae dressing (made from ground sesame seeds, soy sauce, and a bit of sugar). It’s about texture. The dressing is thick and rich, which fits my description of an avocado. I would have loved the crispness of green beans here. But the flavor of the avocado came through, and overall, the Avocado Gomaae was delicious.
This post is sponsored by Shepherd Song Farm.
Recipe by Alan Bergo of Forager | Chef
A roast leg of lamb makes an impressive traditional display on any Easter table. A roast leg of goat is every bit as striking, and in my mind, qualifies as an even greater delicacy.
But in today’s busy, grab-and-go world, cooking any piece of meat larger than a steak or a chicken breast can feel intimidating. Let’s be honest, there’s a reason special-occasion dishes are reserved for special occasions. Feastworthy meals can be time consuming to produce, and for most of us, serving up a hefty leg of goat or lamb on a weeknight just isn’t practical.
Big chunks of meat also tend to be pricey, and the idea of investing in something you can’t be certain will turn out right can be enough to make you think: “Hmm. How about chicken wings?”
What a lot of home cooks don’t realize, though, is that prepping and cooking a big cut of meat can actually be easier and more forgiving than working with smaller cuts. You just need to know a few basic principles and a have a simple trick or two up your sleeve.
So below I share my favorite method for serving up a flawless roast leg of goat or lamb on your first try. It employs a surprisingly simple kitchen hack known as the reverse sear.
This method, popular for steaks, is something I learned while cooking at Heartland in St. Paul, where I needed to be able to produce perfectly rested cuts at a moment’s notice. Serving up big roasts on a daily basis, I was able to fine-tune a method I’ve found to be virtually foolproof, even for beginner home cooks.
When working with a whole lamb or goat leg, this method requires deboning the meat first, but fear not: As long as you have a super-sharp knife, it’s not nearly as hard as it sounds (see pictures and detailed directions below).
From there, the rest is easy: You cook the meat at a low heat (I like 250°F). When the meat comes up to the desired temperature (see guidelines below), you take it out of the oven, rest it thoroughly, then sear it in a hot pan on the stovetop and serve. The result is a perfect, evenly cooked rosé interior and a beautifully browned crust.
This week in The Tap: A look ahead at upcoming restaurants in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, notes about spots that have closed, and about those that have recently opened.
The Tap is the metro area’s comprehensive restaurant buzz roundup, so if you see a new or newly shuttered restaurant, or anything that’s “coming soon,” email Tap editor James Norton at email@example.com.
- Geek Love at Moon Palace Books, 3032 Minnehaha Ave S, Minneapolis | The bookstore has moved two blocks north from its original location and its Geek Love restaurant is now open.
- Prime Six, 609 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis | A mishmash of everything upscale from around the world, plus a dance floor. In the old Rosa Mexicano space.
- Holman’s Table, 644 Bayfield St, St. Paul | A restaurant at the St. Paul Airport.
- Sweet Chow, 116 1st Ave N, Minneapolis | Counter-service pho and veggie-friendly fare.
- just/us, 465 Wabasha St N, St. Paul | An ambitious looking new spot in the suddenly closed Red Lantern space.
- Biergarten Germania, 275 E Fourth Street, St. Paul | Schnitzel, pretzels, brats, and other German standards, plus beer. Here’s our first look.
- Fig + Farro, 3001 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis | Vegetarian food in the semi-cursed former Figlio’s space.
- Sound, 132 E Superior St, Duluth | An ambitious new spot by Chef Patrick Moore (above), formerly of Silos at Pier B.
Not all hazy IPAs are alike. There has been a glut of them on the market lately, and a lot of that can be chalked up to their novelty: What was once viewed as a brewer’s error has been embraced as a stylistic choice that fills the drinker’s mouth with a sometimes funky blast of juicy flavor.
The latest local hazy IPA release (in a can, at least) is by Fair State, and it’s called Mirror Universe. It’s a bit wet-and-juicy, but it’s not a tidal wave, and while some hazy IPAs luxuriate in mango or pineapple richness, this one is comparatively restrained. There’s some bite and some astringency, but overall it’s a fairly minimalist example of its style with a lingering but mellow bite that follows each sip. It’s reasonably strong at 7 percent ABV, but like most hazy IPAs, you’re not likely to pound this beer. It’s a sipper.