Friday, February 19, 2010

Top Ten Fridays - Eat These While You Can

Originally, this was going serve as my annual list of dishes to impress your big city friends. In light of the yesterday's depressing events, this is now a list of Twin Cities eats you must try before they are gone. Without any further adieu, and in honor of Shefzilla and the staff of Heidi's and Blackbird, my list:

Pho - Quang: Minnesota doesn't have a cuisine to speak of, but we have instead adopted Vietnamese. Quang is the place that does it best, particularly as it relates to the famed Vietnamese noodle soup.

Fish Tacos - La Sirena Gorda: Midtown Global Market is a rare gem, and you can't go wrong with any number of selections (it's impossible not to mention Los Ocampo here, so I just did). But the fish tacos at La Sirena Gorda are the best I have had. Normally a dish that over-relies on deep frying or (blech) charring, this version is rich and powerful by way of actual cooking.

Pastrami Sandwich - Be'Wiched: I've gone on and on about Be'Wiched, and I'm not going to stop. The North Loop staple is producing the best sandwiches in the cities. If you haven't had a real pastrami sandwich, you really should, and you should get it at Be'Wiched.

Sai-Oua E-sane (the sausage appetizer) - Lemongrass Thai: For my money, the best item on the best Thai menu in town. Worth a trip up north in and of itself, and the rest of the food does not disappoint.

Dessert - Heartland Restaurant: The menu changes daily, based on what the chef is able to order in fresh, so there isn't any one go to dish (except for all of them). One thing is for sure, you have to stay for some of the most cutting edge desserts you will find anywhere.

Grass Fed Ribeye - The Strip Club: It's hard to get a quality steak for under $30. Fortunately, TSC delivers with one of the best steaks in town for only $26. The key is that the place knows how to prepare grass fed meat (it should be cooked much rarer, so if you don't like pink, stick with lima beans, woman) and knows how to pair it with a simple vegetable. Of course, if you go, you'll want to try the Devil's Eggs as well. They're a hoot.

Gnocchi - 112/Bar La Grassa: Whichever of chef Isaac Becker's locations you prefer, the gnocchi is an unqualified hit. Gnocchi is a notoriously tough pasta to cook, and often comes out rubber, flaccid, or bland. Becker shows you what a great chef can do with a difficult starch.

Noodles - Tanpopo Noodle Shop: The broth is a special kind of savory, the noodles are perfectly done, and your chosen adornments will be well balanced. This restaurant is proof that a simple, elegant menu with affordable prices can result in an outstanding dining experience.

Yellow Dal Soup - Gandhi Mahal: Best $2 you will ever spend.

The Perfect Burger - Victory 44: The place is moving in a more progressive culinary direction, but the outstanding burger remains. It is one of the many dishes worth the trip to NoMi. Victory 44 is a gem.

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