Friday, February 06, 2009

Top Ten Fridays - Food items that prove the Twin Cities are legit

We've all been there. Your snooty cousin from the coast comes in and wants to know what to eat, reminding you that items like "lutefisk" and "hot dish" are not in their culinary repertoire. Well, take their condescension in stride, and show them what this city has to offer. Here are ten very cosmopolitan, decidedly Minneapolitan, items to show up your Bennington graduate friends.

10. Cheese Empanadas - Los Andes

Minnesota does Ecuadorian. Minnesota also does fried cheese. Put them together, and you get the most absurdly decadent appetizer ever. These crispy cheese pastries are coated with sugar (cause why not?) and accompanied by an absurdly complex sauce that may well originate from Mars. Also, wine is cheap, and the entrees are never boring.

9. Gran Torta - Manny's Tortas

Mercado Central is awesome in general, but Manny's is the claim to fame here. For $7, you get a sandwich with every type of protein (flora or fauna, pre or post embryonic) imaginable. Each item is fried individually, and there is no better sandwich in this country. And they're the perfect size to stick in the mouth of your friend who complains that we don't have a Jewish deli.

8. Adult Milk Shake - Town Talk Diner

In cities with liquor licensing that resembles sanity, the "adult" diner is a culinary staple. So take your friends to Town Talk, and show them that arbitrary blue laws can't keep a good man down. As an added bonus, order the cheese curds with the homemade ketchup.

7. Samosas - Everest on Grand

Nepal is to left-leaning city girls under the age of 30 as Mecca is to Muslims. From their early teens, these women are told that there is something exotic about Nepal that makes you vastly more interesting for having been there. Something about going without toilet paper is liberating, I think. Also, the Samosas really good. Win-win, I say.

6. Ice Cream - Crema Cafe

So is any part of this place called Sonny's anymore? No matter, you know what I'm talking about. Take your gelato-snarfing friends here to let them know what real dairy tastes like.

5. Cranberry Curry- Gangchen, Thanh Do, etc...

In other cities, "Asian Fusion" means either thai-french hybrid cuisine or nebulous greasy crap. If any metropolitan area is going to redefine the genre, it's ours. The owners of the Azia family of restaurants have done just that, with a homey touch. The Cranberry Curry sits somewhere between Vietnamese and Thai on the sweetness-spice-thickness continuum, but adds a punch of tartness to make a uniquely Minnesotan dish.

4. Red Hot Passion - Chambers

Personally, I think Chambers is a bit overwrought, but this cocktail is fantastic. Most cocktails in this city are simply deluded date-rape drugs (see: screwdrivers, greyhounds, Cosmos). A good cocktail is meant to be sipped and enjoyed. At $8 a splash, you can actually afford two of them, and the scenery is to die for. Seriously, who has an art museum in their bar?

3. The Ribeye - Von Hanson's

There are a lot of food items for which it makes sense to pay for expert culinary skills. The ribeye is not one of them. For under $10, you can pick up one of the most exquisite pieces of meat on earth (dry-aged no less), pop it on your grill, and eat like a king within fifteen minutes. This is one piece of meat that is virtually impossible to screw up. Also, you can treat your NY friends to that exotic frivolity known as a "lawn"!

2. The Borgata - Punch Pizza

One of the joys of big city living is affordable, outstanding pizza. So treat your friends to what Meryl Streep calls the best pizza she's ever had. Your friends will have heard of Meryl Streep as she was once in a Holocaust movie. Vegetarian, healthy, and served alongside microbrews, this pizza is everything a white-bread transfer from the commonwealth should love.

Uh-oh, I seem to have run out of numbers... Looks like we have a tie.

1. Lamb Chop - Heidi's

The best entree under $20 in the Twin Cities. Period.

1. Beef Curry Pho - Quang

I'll let Quang act as a stand in for the capital of Pho that is the Twin Cities, though there is nothing wrong with Jasmine Deli (or its sexy cousin, Jasmine 26). Quang, though, has an especially cosmopolitan flavor to it. It's always (and I mean always) busy, and they'll happily sit you at the same table as another party if they're packed. If your big city friends make a fuss, just give them that (gee, I thought you'd be cool with this) look that they are always giving you when they drag you to some gay bar with $9 Budweisers.

2 Comments:

Blogger Jerad said...

Now I need a part-time extra job. And more time to go to the gym. Thanks.

7:41 PM  
Blogger Kevin Sawyer said...

Nah. All the items combined cost about $85, and are easily splittable. Take the breadwinner out for a night on the town once in a while.

7:59 PM  

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