Heavy Table Hot Five: March 2-8

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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 editor@heavytable.com.

shepherd-song-banner-ad-horiz-3The Hot Five is a weekly feature created by the Heavy Table and supported by Shepherd Song Farm.

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James Norton / Heavy Table

1-new - one - hot fiveTacos at La Alborada
We tried three tacos at La Alborada on East Lake Street – cabeza (beef head), longaniza (spicy sausage), and asada (steak). The asada was exemplary, packing an incredible amount of umami-rich steaky punch into each tender little cube of meat. The cabeza was mellower than the asada, and richer, with a streak of fatty intensity to it. We’d expected the longaniza to be a one-for-one with chorizo, but it was more complicated than that – there was a cinnamon-like spicy depth to it that was both surprising and enjoyable. All the accoutrements (hot sauces, lime slices, grilled onions) were right, and the tacos rank among the most enjoyable we’ve tried. And we’ve tried … a lot of tacos.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from an Instagram post previewing a future East Lake Checklist by James Norton]

James Norton / Heavy Table

2-new - two - hot fiveNoodle Salad with Egg Rolls at iPho by Saigon
Complex-yet-balanced flavor profiles are the hallmark of much Southeast Asian cuisine, and the bun (noodle salad) with egg rolls and pork at iPho by Saigon is no exception: It’s a mix of salty, crunchy, chewy, earthy, bright, and — as you burrow through the layers of pork bits and noodles and hit the lettuce that supports the strata above — remarkably refreshing. iPho’s our go-to for lunch, and every time we branch out (as we did with this dish), we’re rewarded with a new twist on a beloved formula.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by James Norton]

Paige Latham Didora / Heavy Table

3-new - three hot fiveFalafel at Fig and Farro
The falafel at the new Fig and Farro is delightful. The texture is an ideal combination of creamy and crunchy, and it’s substantial but not heavy. It makes a filling snack or side and is served with hummus. We enjoyed the combination of fresh herbs and savory spice.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Paige Latham Didora]

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

4-new four hot fiveXalwo at Halwo Kismayo
The xalwo (East African halva) of Halwo Kismayo was a cluster of rich, assertively rubbery blobs of sweetness, somewhere between a lightly spiced clove-and-cardamom jam and a mildly fruited gummy bear. Spread on the dry butter cookies that came on our plate, the stuff was downright addictive, and we had to check ourselves lest we get completely full on the first plate of the night.
[Last Week on the Hot Five: #4 | Submitted from the East Lake Checklist by James Norton]

Paige Latham Didora / Heavy Table

5-new -fiveNaked Poke Crunch Style at Aloha Poke
Aloha Poke, now open in the Minneapolis skyway, offers a simple but fresh menu — seafood or tofu with a few bases and toppings. It’s the Chipotle of Hawaiian-style seafood. A medium size makes a hearty lunch. We tried the poke naked (not marinated), “crunch” style (crisp vegetables and edamame), and with a brown rice base. It’s a revelation in skyway seafood and is clearly distinct from sushi or salad.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Paige Latham Didora]

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James Norton

James Norton is editor and co-founder of the Heavy Table. He is also the co-author of Lake Superior Flavors, the co-author of a book about Wisconsin’s master cheesemakers, and a regular on-air contributor to Minnesota Public Radio.

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