Oh, Minneapolis. How I love thee between the months of May and August. But even when you happen to snow in April, your food scene makes up for the chill in my bones.
As I’ve mentioned before, I was able to go home to Minnesota for a few weeks. One week I was on the rooftop in shorts and a tank getting sun burnt, and the next I was bundled under 7 layers of blankets because snow was falling out of the sky. That’s Minnesota for ya, dontchya know? All of that aside, I had to share with you some of my favorite restaurants in Minneapolis as my first travel post. Because seriously, there are so many good eats in Minneapolis. Let’s start with brunch…
Haute Dish – a play on words for the typical Minnesota “hot dish”. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ll sum it up as a bunch of random things thrown together, mixed with a cream of whatever soup or cheese and baked. Hot dish is basically a casserole. Back to this fantastic restaurant, click on the link about to read more about Haute Dish’s history, but let me tell you, this place will make you rethink stereotyping Midwestern food or that awful description of hot dish I just gave you. HD takes traditional Midwestern dishes, amps them up, and turns them into masterpieces. Most of the dishes are just too pretty to eat; they’re plated so perfectly, but after one bite you’ll be over feeling guilty for breaking the beauty. For example, last Thanksgiving I had an amazing soup that was served in a pumpkin. Who does that? Haute Dish does, and they do it so well.
This time around we went for brunch. Before I tell you about the deliciousness we had this time, I need to tell you about the Chicken and Waffles, because apparently they are incredible. And they come with bacon maple syrup. Whaaaat? Yes, I said it, bacon maple syrup, because why serve plain maple syrup when it can be infused with bacon?!?
The Chicken and Waffles isn’t the only star here though. I had The Patt Starr, which is an amazing mix of garlicky hash browns, roasted veggies, and fried eggs. Oh, and loads of perfectly melted cheese holding it all together. A-ma-zing. But first, we had this:
I don’t need words for it, do I? No, this picture is worth a bajillion words – but I’ll fill you in anyway. This visit to HD was my first time having their Caramel Roll. I am so ashamed to say that, because one should never pass this up. I got the fruit plate as a brunch appetizer last time (which is beautifully plated, delicious, and has a perfectly tart and sweet sorbet served with it…) but this Caramel Roll. Whoa. Lick the plate good. And the mascarpone on top – so creamy, so delectable, so fitting with this caramel roll. I could go on for days.
Unfortunately there aren’t any pictures of anything else, because I was still too busy licking the Caramel Roll plate when our meals came. Bottom line – you can’t go wrong brunch or dinner at Haute Dish. The menu changes seasonally, too, so you’ll have something to look forward to come the snow.
Last summer was the first time I tasted heaven.
Smack Shack is all about lobster. Yes, I’m still talking about Minnesota. Yes, I’m talking about lobster in Minnesota. I know, I didn’t believe it would be good either. But let me tell you – my socks were blown off.
Smack Shack started as a food truck, then began serving their food at a dive bar. At this time they were featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. I happened to see this Triple-D episode a few months after I first had their Lobster Mac & Cheese and I knew I had to get back to MN ASAP to have it.
We started out having the Lobster Corn Dogs with Lemon Chive Aioli. The corn batter was clearly homemade, perfectly fried, and wrapped around a large juicy piece of lobster. The corn dogs were paired perfectly with the light, creamy, and tangy Lemon Chive Aioli.
Oh, but I almost forgot to show you Smack Shack’s Bloody Mary. Look at this – the shrimp, the cheese curds, the sausage, the pepperoncini. Never have I ever seen such a sight.
The Lobster Guacamole was also another must-do for our appetizers. I mean, I don’t need to tell you how superb guacamole is, but add in big fresh lobster chunks, and you’ve got yourself a whole new level of guacamole.
Now, what I’ve really been dying to tell you about. This Lobster Mac & Cheese. Although I must admit I’m a little afraid to begin thinking about it and looking at the pictures, because I’m going to be far too tempted to buy a plane ticket out of here and head straight to Washington Ave. N.
The stars were aligned for me too, because I intended to order the “side” portion, which comes in this adorable little pot and is just the right amount in the sense that you don’t feel like you just ate a ridiculous amount of mac and cheese. Instead, I was served the full order. WHICH WAS SUCH A GOOD THING. Of course I initially thought I couldn’t eat it all, but had I really taken a moment to reflect, I would’ve known I was wrong. And after that first bite…
After that first bite there was no stopping me. The creaminess…oh, the creaminess. Then a little crunch of bread crumbs to mix it up. Every few bites or so a piece of corn or two sneaks in as well. You may wonder what corn is doing in there, and let me tell you, it is in there because it is delicious. The corn adds a nice sweet and crunchy touch to the mac & cheese; it’s the perfect addition. As for the lobster chunks… so juicy, so tender, and sooooo yummy with the noodles and the cheese and ohhh I could go on for days. Seriously, days. Go to Smack Shack and get their Lobster Mac & Cheese. You MUST do it. When you do, don’t get the side portion either, go big or go home. You won’t regret it. And then tell me how amazing it is and how you too have no words for it. I’m not kidding people, trust me on this one.
Parlour is the downstairs bar of the restaurant Borough. This trip to the M-S-P was my first time here, and it was specifically for the burger, lovingly referred to as the “Parlour Burger”. My family and friends have raaaaved about the Parlour Burger for some time now. I’m not a big meat eater, but I was craving a burger. When I told my dad this, he immediately jumped at the thought of taking me to Parlour. I could’ve totally gone for a Juicy Lucy, but I’ll save that for a different post. This burger is so simple, but really, can you argue with simple? Two patties that are made with 3 different cuts of meat, plus lots-a melty cheese, a perfectly toasted bun, and plenty of juice dripping down your hand as you
shove it in your mouth take delicate bites. This ketchup lover didn’t even use ketchup. I’m telling you – that tasty. No need for condiments or toppings. Parlour has been on many top 10 lists for burgers in the Twin Cities, like the list here (heyyyy Haute Dish – see, I’m not kidding about these restaurants. Go. Now.). All I have is an iPhone pic of this burger because that’s all I could manage as I was licking juicy cheesiness off my hands (see that juice dripping down the plate…the deliciousness is so real).
I’d never been to 112 before this trip back home. Let me tell you – my life is forever changed. I kid you not (have I been trying to convince you this whole post? I just don’t think there are enough words in the world to convey my thoughts). Every. Single. Dish. at 112 was to die for**. Even the foie gras meatballs. Yes, if you’ve read this far (thank you) then you’d know I don’t really eat meat, and you’re probably thinking “foie gras – you don’t eat meat but you’ll eat duck/goose liver?!?!” RIGHT?! I had the same thought. But I had to try it. They were served with tagliatelle, WHICH WAS THE BEST PASTA I’VE EVER HAD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. And I’ve had some pretty good pasta in my days. It was cooked perfectly, the texture was spot on, and the noodles held their own – they didn’t need a heavy sauce to cover them up, just some butter and herbs. They were like whoa. Everything I ate here I want to remake, well, except maybe the foie gras meatballs. My small bite was enough for now. We had a cold green bean dish mixed with coconut, and a green goddess dressing. Also had the gnocchi, which was pan seared in butter and topped with parmesan reggiano; again, so simple, but excellent execution. They were light and fluffy pillows of perfection. We actually started this meal with 112’s Mussels in Guajillo Broth. HOLY COWOLY. So I learned that guajillo is a chilli from Mexico, and that it is amazing. We asked for extra bread (oh, and the bread, fresh made baguettes and focaccia, need I say more?!) three times while waiting on our other dishes in order to continue soaking up this broth. The flavors in the broth were out of this world…SO AMAZING, so much depth. Gimme more now.
Last but not least, we had Nancy Silverton’s Butterscotch Budino. The icing on the cake, so to speak. I made this later that week because it was that impressive – so silky, so smooth, so rich and creamy. Budino is pudding in Italian, with a caramel layer and topped with whipped cream mixed with creme fraiche, sprinkled with sea salt. Everything is so yummilicious. I’m normally a go-to chocolate fan, but this budino was incredible, so, so, soooo incredible. Unfortunately, my version still has some work to do but DAMN (pardon my french) 112 Eatery has it DOWN. Go here and order everything. You will not be disappointed.
Again, no pictures here at 112 because I was too busy shoving my face. Oh, and they welcome you with a little tray of olives and almonds covered with some deliciousness. With your check they bring you caramel popcorn. Seriously – top notch.
**112 Eatery is perfect for sharing many dishes with the table, which is exactly what we did. It was fantastic for trying so many dishes, which clearly made my tummy very, very happy.
I could talk for days about my favorite Minneapolis and St. Paul spots. Have a place I need to check out next time I visit? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment here, on Facebook, or find me on Instagram. And definitely let me know if you end up trying one of these fabulous restaurants, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Don’t forget to enjoy a bite for me if you do!