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.
Smoked Whitefish Tartine at Cafe Alma
In a city that is (in this writer’s opinion) woefully short on fishy breakfast delights, the Smoked Whitefish Tartine at Cafe Alma ($10) is a sleeper hit on a daily breakfast menu that has a lot to offer. Perched atop a slice of Alma’s sturdy house loaf is a gently fried egg and a generous schmear of smoky, herby whitefish salad shot through with whole-grain mustard — all of it prettily garnished with a handful of cool, crisp shaved veggies. Get the velvety egg yolk involved, and you’ll walk away happy that such a thoughtfully executed and refined dish is available every morning for so little money.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Peter Sieve]
Homemade Jerk Chicken
Properly made jerk chicken is kind of a production. It involves splitting a whole chicken (we used one from Kadejan), an overnight habanero and herbal marinade, 24-hour-soaked bay leaves and allspice grains (for smoking over the coals), and a carefully built and maintained charcoal fire. Is the effort worth it? Unequivocally, yes. It’s got a beautiful heat and char, and a full, rich flavor, with a nice textural contrast between the crispy blackened exterior and the tender meat. Since making it (using an excellent Serious Eats recipe), it has been reincarnated as two lunches: wrapped up in an Al Amir Iraqi flatbread; and served on a bed of coconut-cream-infused red beans and rice. And we’re looking forward to having it for lunch again, today.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by James Norton]
Sour Soup at Kolap
The sour soup at the increasingly and rightfully celebrated Cambodian hole-in-the-wall Kolap may be one of the best soups in the state. It’s got lovely sour kick, but that note is supported by deep, layered herbal flavor, crisp veggies, and properly cooked shrimp. Stellar!
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from an Instagram post by James Norton]
Sea Snails with a Nettle Emulsion at Tullibee
Snails, like mussels, are really just a show-offy excuse to eat more butter. Add nettles, and you can almost pretend you’ve ordered a salad. One bite and you know better: This is a creamy pool of risotto that’s more butter than rice, with a generous layer of electric green nettle puree (more butter) and tiny, briny forkfuls of snail throughout. Tullibee’s menu changes daily, inspired by what the butcher likes the look of. If you see the snails, you know what to do.
[Last Week on the Hot Five: #2 | Submitted by Tricia Cornell]
Cake Doughnuts from Franke’s Bakery
As much as I love some of the more exotic doughnut offerings around town — I’m talking about you, Glam Doll — sometimes I crave simple. And then it’s the humble Plain Cake Doughnut from Franke’s Bakery in Montgomery that fits the bill. Small, unpretentious, lightly sweet; slightly crispy exterior and a light, melty interior; kind of like a hug from Grandma. Perfect for dunking.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by James Norton]
This story is sponsored by Shepherd Song Farm.
Eat.Drink.Dish MPLS and Red Stag Supperclub are partnering up to bring you an Exclusive Foodie Dinner experience on Sunday, March 26, with the help of Peterson Farms, The Fish Guys, Shepherd Song Farm, Fulton Beer, BET Vodka, and Baker’s Field Flour & Bread.
Looking for the perfect dinner date or an excuse to get together with the gal pals, or wanting to check out the foodie scene? Join us for an evening of Instagram-worthy, chef-inspired dishes at Red Stag Supperclub!
Enjoy a 5-course dinner by Chef Sarah Master curated especially for this event, along with a complimentary welcome cocktail from BET Vodka and Fulton beer pairings with each course.
Check-in — 5:00 p.m.
1st course served — 5:30 p.m.
Activities during dinner:
Instagram photo contest — three winners will be announced toward the end of the event for best photos, and each will take home a grand prize!
Click here for the map.
Seats are limited and will be arranged in tables of 8; get your tickets today!
I love the cognitive dissonance created by pouring a glass of Modist First Call Cold Press Coffee Lager. If you read the words “cold press coffee” in a beer context, your brain immediately shuts off — you know that the liquid will be dark as tar, possibly equally thick, and swamped with a smoky, roasty, coffee-powered maltiness.
But no: Modist has made a coffee beer that pours golden amber in color. On the nose, it doesn’t even present as heavily coffee-driven. It’s got a bit of funk and brightness, preparing you in no way for what happens when this 6.5% ABV liquid hits your palate.
In fact, depending upon where the beer hits your tongue, you’ll get markedly different results. Up front, you’ll taste an almost fruity brightness and more hops than you might expect for the brew’s mellow 20 IBU. But as you roll the liquid around your mouth, you’ll get a serious coffee kick, one that shows up somewhere in the middle of each sip and grows dramatically as you swallow.
Is it refreshing to drink? Is it satisfying like a good cup of joe? Is it a clash, or a complement? This stuff is complicated enough to open up real debate. If someone said: “I can’t drink that stuff. It’s confusing and weird,” that would be a reasonable conclusion. If someone said: “I’m drinking this stuff non-stop. It’s delicious, and no one else is doing anything quite like it,” that’s legit as well.
If you’re easily confused, try your first glass blindfolded. It may help. Then again, it may not. Either way, it’s worth giving a try. It’s newly out in tallboy cans and guaranteed to get the beer people in your life talking (in, we suspect, a generally good way).
This week in the Tap: A look ahead at upcoming restaurants, 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.
- Black Stack Brewing, 755 Prior Ave N, St. Paul | Sharing a complex with Can Can Wonderland (above).
- Randle’s, 921 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis | Rooftop bar, Asian fusion, steaks.
- Bellecour, 739 E Lake Street, Wayzata (former Blue Point Location) | A second restaurant for the much-heralded chef owner of Spoon and Stable. This one is a French-inspired bistro and bakery.
- Copperwing Distillery, 6409 Cambridge St, St. Louis Park
- Brunson’s Pub, 956 Payne Ave, St Paul
- Island City Brewing Company, 65 E Front St, Winona
- Hennepin Steam Room, 116 1st Ave N, Minneapolis | Reboot of the closed Tangiers by the same owners.
- Bottle Rocket, 1806 St. Clair Ave, St. Paul | A reboot by the Blue Plate Restaurant Company of the former Scusi space with craft cocktails. Our review here.
- The Lexington, 1096 Grand Ave, St. Paul | After a years-long odyssey, the newest incarnation of the Lexington has arrived.
- Geno’s, 12 4th St SE, Minneapolis | Italian sandwich shop from the owners of Lyndale Tap House.
- Ziat & Za’atar, 1626 Selby Ave, St. Paul
- Mercado by Earl Giles, 2904 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis | Jester Concepts taqueria, coffee shop, and cocktail spot.
- Utepils Brewing, 225 Thomas Ave N, Minneapolis | Large-scale (about 60 percent of Surly’s capacity) new brewery.
- Byte, 319 1st Ave N, Minneapolis | With a Geek Bar, of course, plus a casual menu and baked goods from Patisserie 46.
- Bad Waitress (second location), 700 Central Ave NE
- Can Can Wonderland, 755 Prior Ave N, St. Paul | Artist-designed mini-golf with beer, noshes, and Bittercube cocktails.
- Jun, 730 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis | Szechuan gone upscale in the North Loop.
- Pad Ga Pow, 811 LaSalle Ave, Suite 207, Minneapolis | Skyway Thai from the daughter and son-in-law of the owner of the lovely On’s Thai on University Avenue in St. Paul.
Get too far out of the metro’s Minneapolis-St. Paul heart and you’re tempted to grade on a curve — “it’s good for White Bear Lake,” or “it’s pretty solid for Richfield.” More and more, however, A-games are diffusing throughout the region, and you’re seeing stuff like the excitement of Lyn65 (and its upcoming Popol Vuh and Central offshoots), the whole Travail / Rookery / Pig Ate My Pizza mishegoss, and the ongoing shock wave of militarily managed hype (and probable excellence) that is Bellecour in Wayzata.
Less splashy but also deserving of mention is the newly opened Station Pizzeria in Minnetonka. Located in a converted gas station, the restaurant is putting out some good pizzas and great accompaniments in a casual but tastefully decorated (hello, giant photo portrait of Prince) space.
The team behind this spot, owner Ryan Burnet (Barrio, Burch, Bar La Grassa, and more) and chef David Ellis (Bar La Grassa, 112 Eatery, Piccolo) are heavy hitters, and it shows. The menu is tight and focused, the decor is sophisticated and fun without being overbearing, and the food is, by and large, right.
Our Barrio Pizza ($17.50) was the closest we came to going off the rails. This combination of grilled chicken, pleasantly smoky bacon, red onion, tomato sauce, and mozzarella was so overloaded with fiery jalapeño slices that it begged for some relief; a barbecue-style sauce would have been an obvious fix. When we reheated our leftovers at home, we topped them with chunks of pineapple, and the result was a great slice of pizza. This was a concept one ingredient short of being a balanced pie. Heat notwithstanding, the pizza had other good qualities, chiefly a crust that was a deftly balanced blend of crispy and chewy. We’d give the reigning champs, Hello Pizza, the edge for a legit New-York-style experience, but Station pulls even with other credible local establishments such as Andrea Pizza.