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.
Barbecued Pork Banh Mi at Ha Tien Market
The barbecued pork banh mi is worth a special trip to Ha Tien’s deli. With a ruby-red exterior, the moist meat is slightly salty and sweet. This sandwich (like its roast pork sibling) is a delightful combination of savory meat and bright vegetables and herbs. A drizzle of a jus-like concoction provides the finishing touch. When we inquired, the banh mi master only smiled and said, with mischief, “It’s special sauce that makes it taste better.” Touché.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | From a review of Ha Tien Market by Joshua Page]
Cherry Vanilla Pie at Spud Boy Lunch
The cherry vanilla pie at the Spud Boy Lunch diner in Lanesboro is representative of the authenticity of the food coming out of this unlikely dining car. This isn’t tourist food; the pie’s incredibly flaky crust and tart, spiced cherries is unforgettable. Spud Boy is a place to enjoy again and again, for breakfast or lunch.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Paige Latham]
Mezze Platter at Filfillah
Mezze, a collection of small tastes from the Middle East, can be done lazily, or basically, or sloppily — and often is. At Filfillah on Central Avenue, they’re done with love and care — fresh, lively tabbouleh, handmade falafel that is tender and flavorful (not rock-like and bland), rich hummus with bright olive oil, and dolmades that are really quite good (if not as excellent as their cousins over at Basha.)
[Last Week on the Hot Five: #4 | Tweeted by James Norton in advance of an upcoming Central Avenue Checklist]
Vanilla Rose from the Swedish Crown Bakery
We had no expectations whatsoever when Swedish Crown Bakery popped by with some samples, but we were walking on air after trying their Vanilla Rose confections. To understand what they are, start with a cinnamon roll. Strip off the icing and cinnamon and goop. Replace it with a gentle infusion of cardamom-vanilla cream and bit of crunchy sugar. These things are soft-spoken but sweetly brilliant.
[Last Week on the Hot Five: #1 | Submitted by James Norton]
Cypress Blanc Beer from Schell’s
The Schell’s Noble Star series continues to bang out hit after hit. Cypress Blanc, a dry hopped Berlin-style American lager, is tart (but not overly sour), dry, lightly bodied, and refreshing without being insipid — this bright, gently hoppy brew has layers of flavor and an elegant sense of balance.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Tweeted by James Norton]