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.
Chili Cheese Dog at Revival St. Paul
Attention all lovers of Revival’s cheeseburger! The newly opened St. Paul Revival has a chili cheese dog that is easily in the same class as the cheeseburger. A hot link with red flecks of chili and a charred, snappy casing, is topped with smoky, beefy burnt end chili. The whole mess is covered with melted cheese and a couple of giant pork rinds. In the bottom of the bowl is a pool of cheese sauce that soaks into the bun. Like the game-changing cheeseburger, we hope to see imitations popping up on menus across town.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from an upcoming review by Ted Held]
Return of the River Monster at Thai Garden
We always worry that our favorite tiny independent spots are going to up and change on us, so it’s a relief when they haven’t. Nearly a year ago, we went bonkers for the River Monster — a whole red snapper swimming in tom yum soup — at the then newly opened Thai Garden. We went back on one particularly cold day last week and found that things are still humming at this University Avenue gem; the food took a while, but it was worth the wait, and the chef checked up on us to make sure everything was excellent. And it was!
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by James Norton]
Queso Fundido at Pajarito
Although the melted cheese in this classic Tex-Mex dish is plenty rich, it’s also surprisingly light on the palate. There’s nothing grossly greasy about it; it’s just pure dairy pleasure. But that’s only half the story of the Queso Fundido at the newly opened Pajarito in St. Paul: The warm, thick, fluffy, tender tortilla rounds that accompany this stuff are perfectly suited to the task. It’s a decisive one-two punch.
[Last Week on the Hot Five: #1 | Submitted from a review by James Norton]
The Annual Panettone
In Northern Italy, at Christmastime, every good bakery turns out a light, buttery panettone that bears little resemblance to the ones available in boxes. To get a fresh, real-ingredient flavor, we make our own, and while we’ve tried three or four recipes, we always go back to Paul Bertolli’s from Chez Panisse Cooking (recipe at the bottom of this page). But we add a half teaspoon of fiori di sicilia, which makes it taste authentic, and we bake it in a paper panettone form, which makes it look authentic. We produce our own candied peel (but you can buy some), and we soak it and the raisins in Grand Marnier (that goes back to an old Craig Claiborne recipe). All in all, panettone is a delectable treat well worth baking at home. Try it spread with mascarpone, as Italians often do. It’s also supposed to make fabulous bread pudding, but we can’t imagine having leftovers.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Jane Rosemarin]
We picked up this soup while living in a heavily Portuguese and Brazilian neighborhood in Cambridge, Mass., and it has become our go-to cold-weather buster. It’s a simple mix of chorizo, potatoes, kale, onions, and stock, but the flavor is deep and gets sublimely creamy and rich the day after you make it. We got our super-flavorful and funky chorizo at La Alborada, but you can make it work with standard-issue supermarket chorizo — it’s a hard soup to mess up. Check out the Instagram post for the recipe.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from an instagram post by James Norton]