Heavy Table Hot Five: Sep. 23-29

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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

James Norton / Heavy Table

1-new - oneBanh Chao Quay from Ha Tien
The Banh Chao Quay at Ha Tien, a Vietnamese-by-way-of-St. Paul spin on a classic Chinese doughnut, is a modern miracle. Graced with a lightly crisp exterior and a chewy, tender interior that directly recall a classic beignet, this pastry — plus a bit of powdered sugar and some coffee — would make a lovely breakfast for three to four people, for $1.59. And it’s kind of marvelous to look at, too.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from Instagram by James Norton]

James Norton / Heavy Table

James Norton / Heavy Table

2-new - twoCrispy Shrimp with Sticky Rice by PinKU via Local Crate
We didn’t know how close we’d come to a PinKU dish when we started making this Local Crate Crispy Shrimp with Sticky Rice meal. Despite being developed in conjunction with the restaurant, a recipe can lose quite a bit in translation. But by the time we were done grating radishes and frying shrimp, we had a spot-on rendition of one of the most craveable entries in the realm, a harmonious mix of tender rice, lightly crunchy shrimp, spicy mayo, scallions, and black sesame seeds. Now to reverse engineer this sucker so it’s available whenever we want it.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from Instagram by James Norton]

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

3-new - threeSzechuan Chicken Dumplings at Tea House
We’ve raved up the best-in-the-metro kung pao at Tea House before, but on a recent return trip, it was the house-made Szechuan Chicken Dumplings that won our hearts. Tender and delicate with a pronounced but balanced lingering heat (plus a Szechuan peppercorn buzz) and complemented by green onions, these are easily among the tastiest dumplings in a city full of them. Along with Hong Kong Noodle, Tea House has shot to the top of our chart for Chinese-American food.
[Last Week on the Hot Five: #3 | Submitted from Instagram by James Norton]

red river kitchen cubano

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

4-new fourCubano at the Red River Kitchen at City House
Red River’s Cubano is excellent, and a pretty traditional version of the sandwich. Ham and shredded pork combine harmoniously with melted Swiss cheese, subtle mustard, and fresh pickles, all of which are surrounded by the crunchy pressed halves (buttered and browned on all sides) of a roll. Good Cubanos are hard to find, and this one is exemplary.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from a review by Ted Held]

James Norton / Heavy Table

James Norton / Heavy Table

5-new -fiveJoia Spirit Greyhound
The new canned cocktails by Joia, makers of subtle, beautifully mixable local soda, are a light-on-their-feet tour de force — well balanced and easy to sip. Our favorite was the Greyhound, which expressed its grapefruit content mostly through aroma as opposed to an aggressive citric bite. Its finish was a mellow whisper of chamomile. And while the box touts cardamom, it’s only subtly present, and definitely not out of balance.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from a review by James Norton]

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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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