It’s not as if the Twin Cities was facing a dire shortage of quality coffee and tea purveyors. Even so, Wesley Andrews, near Eat Street, has carved out a unique niche in that market, and it’s doing good work.
The shop’s tagline is “Conversation Complements,” and that goes both for the customers, who can enjoy a quality, hand-crafted beverage and for the owners, Johan Podlweski and Jared Thompson, whose approach to sourcing involves getting to know farmers and making sure they’re treated fairly and humanely.
All of which is lovely but doesn’t mean much if the beverages are secondary to the shop’s mission. That’s not the case with Wesley Andrews. The menu is somewhat more limited than the average coffee/tea shop’s. While you’ll find add-ons like chocolate and honey, what you don’t see is an extensive line of vanilla-caramel-pumpkin-spice whipped-cream lattes and frozen drinks. The choices are clean and simple, and more oriented to the savory than the sweet, with the menu divided between coffee and espresso drinks and a variety of teas and kombucha. The shop doesn’t offer food items, but if you want a pastry with your coffee or tea, you’ll be fine; Glam Doll Donuts is just two blocks away.
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.
Cold Chasoba at Kado no Mise
Green-tea-infused soba noodles are the heart of cold Chasoba, a feather-light vegetable-and-noodle soup that might be the world’s best entree for warm summer weather. Kado no Mise has a light touch, and that sort of minimalism really works with a dish like this. All the flavors are mild, the textures delicate, and the overall impact is calming and cooling.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by James Norton]
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms from Cherry Tree House
No, it’s not a tribble. It’s a lion’s mane mushroom, available (occasionally) from Cherry Tree House Mushrooms at the Mill City and Kingfield farmers markets. The lion’s mane is a slightly sweet, rich-tasting mushroom, almost lobsterlike in texture and flavor. It works well as the base of a stir fry or pasta sauce, but it’s also delicious simply sauteed in butter until crisp.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Amy Rea]
Cafe Miel at Botany Coffee
Botany Coffee recently opened at 38th and Cedar Ave and the space is beautiful. With specialty, single-origin beans and a purposeful selection of espresso beverages, it’s a welcome addition to the neighborhood. Try the Cafe Miel, with moderate sweetness and excellent balance. You’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into Instagram with a warm beverage in hand.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Paige Latham Didora]
Arugula Salad at Delicata
Nothing quite cements a pizza place in our hearts like a great salad. It’s one of the reasons we fell so hard for Black Sheep Pizza back when it opened. St. Paul’s Delicata offers an arugula salad that doesn’t look like much on the menu. It’s just arugula, roasted grapes, almonds, and a Kalamata-based dressing — but it’s so nicely seasoned and balanced that it’s absolutely irresistible. And the sweet, tender impact of the grapes is such a perfect offset to the tartness of the vinegar and the richness of the olives that it’s a wonder they’re not standard issue in salads everywhere.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by James Norton]
Tomato and Mayo Sandwich with Loon Organics Tomatoes and Rustica Bread
In the children’s classic Harriet the Spy, the overly nosy Harriet insists that her nanny, Ole Golly, make her the same lunch every day: tomatoes and mayo on white bread. I re-create this every summer, upping Harriet’s game with good bread (in this case, a baguette from Rustica) and heirloom tomatoes from Loon Organics at the Mill City Farmers Market. Is there anything better than fresh tomatoes in the summer? I think not. Turns out Harriet was onto something with her lunch, if not her snoopiness.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Amy Rea]
This post is sponsored by Chef Camp. Tickets for Chef Camp session 2 (Sept. 8-10) are available to all at a special price for the next week.
Join us for an exclusive 3-course preview dinner on the Meritage terrace. Created by Executive Chef Jason Engelhart (above), the dinner will feature a whole roasted goat provided by Lowry Hill Meats and dishes sourced from our local St. Paul Farmer’s Market. The goat will be studded with garlic and the cavity stuffed with rosemary, oregano and lemon. It will be spit roasted over charcoal and served with roasted bell pepper chimichurri and black olive oil.
A $55 ticket includes three courses, service, and gratuity, and a $50 discount on tickets to session 2 of Chef Camp (which can be used in addition to the reduced price available this week). Does not include taxes or beverages. Inquire within for Chef Camp discount.
Chef Camp is a wilderness culinary retreat. For two weekends in September, we’ll cook and hang out with top chefs from Minnesota and beyond at a classic summer camp in the north woods. Our (grown-up) campers take wilderness cooking classes, forage, and find their inner kid with activities like archery, canoeing, and crafts.
Chef Camp: A Preview Dinner with Meritage
Date: Sunday, Aug. 13
Time: 6 p.m. arrival; 6:30 p.m. seating
Location: Meritage terrace
It’s hard to be truly excellent at just one thing. Being excellent at a half dozen things is a lot trickier.
The Lynhall, a stylish new eatery in the Calhoun-Isles neighborhood of South Minneapolis, bills itself as a “market-inspired cafe, event space, kitchen studio, and incubator kitchen.” In one fell swoop, The Lynhall sets out to do quite a lot. In scope, space, and concept, it’s ambitious. To the everyday diner, this translates to a counter-service restaurant and bakery that offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily — along with an espresso bar, and wine, beer and cocktail service. There just happens to be a TV kitchen studio on site, and half the restaurant is sometimes shuttered for private dining events. Overall, we found The Lynhall to be a bit of a mess — but a sometimes appealing one.
Let’s start at the front door. Step into The Lynhall, and you’ll find yourself in a restaurant of some kind. What that restaurant is, and how it works, is a little mysterious at first glance.
We found out, after a long period of oafish gazing, that you order food at a counter in the back — but first you must “enter through the gift shop,” as it were. On our initial visit to The Lynhall for dinner, we were greeted by a fully realized brand, hard at work. Aesthetically, the space is a meticulously curated Pinterest board come to life, teeming with Stuff White People Like: brass accents and white tile, marble, bold light fixtures, reclaimed wood, shelves full of brass and copper knickknacks that look straight out of a West Elm catalogue, flat paint finishes, candelabras, and creamy shades of green-gray. Upon entry, you are welcomed by a table full of merch emblazoned with The Lynhall’s motto (Eat. Drink. Gather. Grow.), and a sign exhorting you to “Join our online community!” Their Instagram handle and preferred hashtag are featured prominently.
A greeting like that inspires our bullshit antennae to extend rigidly, expectantly, longingly. And yet with a concept as overflowing as The Lynhall’s, perhaps we can give it the benefit of the doubt, and not immediately assume that the mission-driven language and community-building goals described on its website are a cynical attempt to acquire a Scrooge-MacDuck-sized vault’s worth of free PR via its customers’ endless ‘Gramming. After all, it takes a lot of time, energy, and passion to create a place like this. And money. And while it’s clear that a lot of resources were poured into the space and the concept, the flavors of the food itself don’t yet live up to the promise held within the meticulous design and branding. After all, you can’t lick a light fixture. Or at least not without some kind of social penalty.
So, let’s talk about the food. For dinner, we ordered what seemed an appealing variety of dishes. The menu is divvied up into Sandwiches, Salads, Sides, and From the Rotisserie. First up was the Brioche Open Faced ($11), essentially a gussied up avocado toast. Beautifully composed, with thinly shaved raw veggies and pickles, it looked the part, and we spied other diners snapping photos of the selfsame dish with their phones. But its flavor fell flat. Avocados need salt, and this sandwich was not seasoned. The raw veggies were watery. The pickled veggies were few and lacked the punchy zing we hoped for. The brioche that supported this beautiful mess was dry and tough. A total miss that an Instagram filter can’t make taste better.
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.
- Delicata, 1341 Pascal St, St. Paul | A pizzeria and gelateria by Matty O’Reilly, J.D. Fratzke, and Noah Barton.
- Kaiseki Furukawa, 33 1st Ave N, Minneapolis | Classic kaiseki (progressive small courses) dining at Kaiseki Furukawa, sister restaurant to Kado no Mise. $168 per plate (including gratuity and tax.)
- Barrel Theory Beer Company, 248 E 7th St, St. Paul | As per the Growler: “A partnership between Surly Brewing Company’s former director of technology Brett Splinter, former Surly brewer Timmy Johnson, and CPA Todd Tibesar.” Our preview is here.
- Hoops Brewing, 325 S Lake Ave, Duluth | Expectations have been high for this new brewery, a project of Dave Hoops, formerly of Fitger’s. Our tasting notes.
- 12welve Eyes Brewing, 141 E 4th St, St. Paul | Summer | Brewery and taproom the Pioneer Endicott Building in Lowertown. Our overview coming soon.
- Portillo’s, 8450 Hudson Rd, Woodbury | First Minnesota outpost of the famous Chicago hot dog empire. Here’s our take on it.
- 510 Lounge & Private Dining, 510 Groveland Ave, Minneapolis | Private event space and open-to-the-public lounge run by Chef Don Saunders (The Kenwood).
- Gray Duck Tavern, 345 Wabasha St, St. Paul | “Comfort food from all over the world.”