By Crystal Grobe
Another food-filled month has passed by in the fast lane and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. Between music festivals like Rock the Garden, birthday parties, and beautiful patio weather, there’s always something to fill up the long days of summer.
Speaking of Rock the Garden, if you caught some tunes at the newly renovated sculpture garden, you know it was a very hot day. After hours of standing and walking, we were in need of a place to sit and recharge and headed to 4 Bells, a restaurant nearby. I found myself craving something fresh and cool, like the summer vegetable crudite. Fully expecting simple carrot sticks and celery, I was thrilled to receive something much, much better: thinly sliced watermelon radish, celery, and coins of summer squash and carrots, all tossed with herbs and served with a side of nose-clearing creamy horseradish dip. Wow, this dish completely hit the spot and is one I’ll have to order again soon.
Billi bi Saffron-Mussel Soup at Meritage
410 Saint Peter Street (between 6th and 7th)
Downtown Saint Paul
Meritage is my go-to spot for oysters, a glass of champagne, and a good steak tartare. By the way, Meritage hosts Oysterfest every October and if you’re into oysters, you have to check it out. Or, just order a couple dozen oysters and dine on the patio with some friends and avoid the crowds. Be sure to check out the Amusements menu where items are either $3.50 or $4, depending on what you choose, and is a great way to try a few items in one sitting. Every single thing is delicious (yes, we tried them all), but what I was most surprised by was the Billi bi Saffron-Mussel soup, served in a teeny tiny crock with one single mussel and a whole ton of flavor. One bite offered the saltiness of the sea while another bite gave off hints of saffron and cream and by the time I had the last bite, I knew I had to lick the bowl clean.
Yale Margarita from Betty Danger’s
2501 Marshall Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418
As a longtime fan of Psycho Suzi’s, I wasn’t too surprised when owner, Leslie Bock, announced she was opening another kitschy restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis with a fully functioning ferris wheel. People flocked Betty Danger’s Country Club when it opened and I heard both good and bad reviews. The good: the ferris wheel was super cool, and you could drink on it! The bad: it was packed, the lines were long, the food was mediocre, and the service took forever.
Fast forward a couple of years and I am happy to report that I had an awesome experience! My taco salad was classic, the service was on point, and we even rode the ferris wheel with a drink in hand. A couple of pointers: 1.) Make a reservation! Even if it’s tremendously busy like it was on the Saturday we visited, a reservation eliminates the wait. 2.) Split up! Send half of your party wait in line for the ferris wheel while the other half waits in line for ride tickets and drinks.
Betty Danger’s has an entire menu of margaritas and the ones I tried (Georgetown, Dartmouth, and Yale) weren’t cloyingly sweet, thankfully. If I had one to recommend, it would have to be the Yale with it’s flamingo pink color and smooth, airy texture. What fun!