Colossal Cafe’s Breakfast Sandwiches

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

It probably goes without saying, but we love breakfast sandwiches. Really, who doesn’t? When done right, they’re like a supergroup — outstanding individual ingredients that produce an even better whole. And they’re portable!

And Colossal Cafe is one of our all-time favorite spots to nab some breakfast sandwiches. We fell for them back before there were two Colossal locations. On weekends (and even some weekdays), the wait for a table in the tiny Minneapolis spot was (and is) incredibly long — the patience of diners a testament to the quality of the food. So we’d grab a couple sandwiches and cups of coffee, find some wall to sit against, and chow down. (In the winter, we’d hustle back to a heated car for grubbing and glugging.) Before long, we’d order one of the half-dozen or so sandwiches even when we lucked into a table.

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

We recently headed across the river to check out Colossal’s newer, significantly larger and shinier, location in St. Paul. We’re happy to report that the sandwiches we’d come to love taste great in both of the Twin Cities.

Egg and Cheese on Biscuit ($4.50)

One of our diners described this filling and delicious treat as “the most satisfying meal you can get for five bucks.” The main components — scrambled eggs, thick cheddar cheese, and a crumbly homemade biscuit — are all first class. Together, they’re top gun. After a couple bites it’s difficult to imagine eating them separately.



Lake Superior Flavors: 12 Outtakes

lake-superior-flavors-325-heightThis post is sponsored by the University of Minnesota Press.

Incomplete information, thematic differences, plain old lack of space: These are just a few of the reasons good stories don’t make the pages of the books that unearthed them. Here are a few of our favorite outtakes from Lake Superior Flavors: A Field Guide to Food and Drink Along the Circle Tour, which launched this week.

Join authors Becca Dilley and James Norton at Kitchen Window tomorrow night for a special “Behind the Pages” presentation and food sampling. And the authors will also appear Monday, April 21 at 7pm at Common Good Books in St. Paul.

Becca Dilley / Lake Superior Flavors

Becca Dilley / Lake Superior Flavors

The Copper Harbor Can-Can

NORTON: “The Harbor Haus in Copper Harbor, at the tip of the Keweenaw, has an absurd but charming ritual: Whenever a ferry from Isle Royale cruises past the restaurant, the servers all drop what they’re doing and run outside to wave and dance a can-can for the passengers. It slows down service a bit, but it’s worth it for the sheer silly spectacle of the thing.”

Becca Dilley / Lake Superior Flavors

Becca Dilley / Lake Superior Flavors

Teatime on St. Joseph Island

DILLEY: “We enjoyed this quiet traditional high tea on an island outside of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The setting was beautiful, the food was tasty, the experience was cozy and comfortable. “

Becca Dilley / Lake Superior Flavors

Becca Dilley / Lake Superior Flavors

Superior’s Icy Cold Hand of Watery Death

NORTON: “Our dawn trip out past Knife Island with herring fisherman Steve Dahl was, hands down, one of the most beautiful experiences of my life — the interplay between birds and sky, fish and net, and boat and waves was constantly engaging. It was also, for a weak swimmer like myself, totally terrifying. Dahl’s skiff sat low enough in the water that it felt as though there were just a couple old centimeters of wood between myself and certain death in Lake Superior’s icy grip. But, yeah. Very beautiful, too. Above, you can see me trying on one of the numerous shades of green I modeled that morning.”



Deconstructing Rye Deli, Local Breweries Win at World Beer Cup, and More

Becca Dilley / Lake Superior Flavors

Becca Dilley / Lake Superior Flavors

Heavy Table is named the readers’ choice for Best Blog over at City Pages for the fifth year running. Rick interviews Rye Deli owner David Weinstein about the restaurant’s closure and TC Jewfolk interviews Rye critic Andrew Zimmern. (Here are our takes on Rye: a sunny initial review and an attempt to interpret all the critical furor, both positive and negative.) Lake Superior Flavors is featured on MPR (our own Becca Dilley files a narrated slideshow), on The Current, and in the Star Tribune. Well Fed Guide to Life heads out to Digby’s. A number of Minnesota breweries did well at the World Beer Cup. And Irony or Mayo does a fish fry and old fashioned tour on the street I (practically) grew up on: Monroe Street in Madison.



Upper Midwestern Oils and Vinegars for Spring Salads

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Spring  is coming – chives are beginning to peek up through the muck, and mounds of lush greens will soon be piled high in market stalls. But in the meantime, thank God for those stalwart farmers who have been coaxing lovely lettuces from their hoop and greenhouse flats. DragSmith Farms (Barron, WI) and River Root Farm (Decorah, IA) are delivering micro-mixes of broccoli, mizuna, choi, mustard, purple cabbage, kale, amaranth, beet, spinach, kale, sorrel, arugula, and sweet pea shoots to co-ops and eateries across the Cities through this bitter season.

Though delicate, these greens are power-packed with phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals, and they’re delicious dressed with local oils and vinegars.

Bruce Manning / Heavy Table

Bruce Manning / Heavy Table

Driftless Organic Sunflower Oil, pressed from organic sunflowers in Southwestern Wisconsin, is light yellow and tastes of sunflower seeds. It retails for $11.60 per bottle and is generally available at the Twin Cities Natural Food Co-ops and some Whole Foods. It’s always in stock at the Wedge and Seward, and Grassroots Gourmet, Midtown Global Market, and Local D’Lish. (Also see our story on Smude’s Sunflower Oil, pictured above.)

Omega Maiden Camelina Oil, from Lamberton, Minnesota, is a more viscous, nutty tasting oil with lush golden hues. It retails for $13 per bottle and is available at most Twin Cities Natural Food Co-ops, especially the Wedge and Seward, Grassroots Gourmet, Midtown Global Market, Local D’Lish, and online.

Hay River’s Pumpkin Seed Oil, from Prairie Farm, Wisconsin, is a rich, dark brownish green with a distinctly pumpkin-seed flavor that works beautifully with whole grains. It retails for $19 per bottle. It’s available at the Twin Cities Natural Food Co-ops, Grassroots Gourmet, Midtown Global Market, and online.



A New Lexington, Bistro La Roux, and More

Becca Dilley / Lake Superior Flavors

Becca Dilley / Lake Superior Flavors

Josh Thoma and Kevin Fitzgerald (Smack Shack) and Jack Riebel (formerly of Butcher & the Boar) will be taking over and reviving the Lexington. The respectably authentic Cajun 2 Geaux food truck team is opening a restaurant called Bistro La Roux in Circle Pines. Interviews with our editor on MinnPost and KARE 11 about Lake Superior Flavors. It’s Barrel Aged Week at Town Hall. A close look at the current (exciting) brewing situation at Thirsty Pagan in Superior (above). And: salt cured egg yolks.