So, Dara got a call from Chicago this week—would she tell Rick Bayless where to eat in Minneapolis? Oh, Rick Bayless, globetrotting personality from TV’s “Mexico: One Plate At A Time” and five-star Chicago chef? Coming here? She also got a note through Facebook from a listener looking for where to take a good friend, who had moved to London and been living an “unimpressable expense account lifestyle” ever since.
Every city has their gold-standard restaurants. The place that out-of-towners with big wallets can get the best steak, the best seafood, the best wine, the best service, etc. And Minneapolis is blessed with several of those from Burch to Manny’s to La Belle Vie and many more. But what about that unique twist on food you can ONLY get here? What about showing off what we do better, different and exceptionally delicious? What would impress the celeb chef who already travels the globe and has tasted the most exotic of Mexican Mole!
Here’s what Dara came up with, to impress any foodie elite who is taking a whirl through town. It’s Dara’s Top 5 Places She’d Take Rick Bayless To Eat!
Hmong Markets in St. Paul
650 Rice St
St Paul, MN 55103
Tucked away on Rice Street, just behind the Minnesota State Capitol, is a gem of Asian cooking and shopping, many of you probably don’t know exist. It’s the Hmong Marketplace and maybe the best spot in the city to forget…..that you’re in Minnesota! The Hmongtown Marketplace is a fascinating destination for experiencing the vibrant Hmong American community and a glimpse into the street market life of Southeast Asia. It’s without question one of the most interesting cultural experiences the Twin Cities have to offer.
4552 Grand Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55419
Well known on “lists” especially when it comes to best bakeries, Patisserie 46 knows their way around the baker’s table. With a name like Patisserie you know you’ll get the french twist and they don’t disappoint. But look beyond the Chocolate Croissant (if you can…their croissants are ridiculously good) and you’ll find delicious sandwiches and lunch specials daily and more. Need more proof? How about a National Geographic list of the World’s Best Patisseries? Not Minnesota, not the United States, the World! Eat your heart out Paris. Sounds like a great place to take a great chef.
Heartland Restaurant and Farm Direct Market
289 E 5th St.
St Paul, MN 55101
There’s nothing we can say that hasn’t been said about Lenny Russo’s magical Farm-to-Table restaurant (and market) in Lowertown St. Paul. The fact is, during this renaissance of fresh and local food, Heartland continues to do it better and more efficiently. The new-ish space they’ve created is warm and welcoming, the food is an ever-changing journey and you can’t find a meal that gets to you any more fresh than this. Don’t skip the chefs tasting menus. There’s the flora (vegetarian) or fauna (meat) and both are typically spectacular.
50 N 2nd Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55401
The “speakeasy” looking space below Bachelor Farmer in the Warehouse District of Minneapolis has rightfully become a raging hot spot. The art of the cocktail is taken to new heights at Marvel. We loved the Oliveto, a gin-based cocktail made with olive oil and egg whites (we know, just trust it). The Old Fashioned is so classic and so terrific (plus the 170 kinds of whiskey to choose from). They offer a weekly punch plus other rotating punch drinks you can get by the mug or the bowl.
What about a snack too? They make their own Cheetos. Take that in for a second. There are marinated olives and pickled eggs prepared upstairs at Bachelor Farmer. Don’t miss the G.O.R.P. either. You might know it by it’s other name, trail mix. But you don’t know this version. It’s made with pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, peanuts, dried cranberries, dried cherries, and chunks of Valrhona chocolate, all spiced with a mix of cayenne, paprika, and cinnamon. Something has to soak up those cocktails!
Finally, we’ll head to Nordeast Minneapolis where in the last year plus, breweries have sprung up like crazy. All offering fabulous craft beers, it’s a wonderful way to hop around on a mini pub crawl.
At Dangerous Man you can sample the Matchbox Coffee Porter, a Peated Scottish Ale plus a an IPA and a couple of other ales. They welcome you to bring in your own food too (they’re close to Anchor Fish and Chips which would make a fabulous meal to share with one of their heavier brews).
Sociable Cider Werks makes a different kind of cider than you’re likely used to. Normally made from three types of apple (sweet, sharp and bitter), Sociable mixes it with the more traditional beer ingredients, hops and grain. The result is tart, dry and flavorful and another great example of Minnesotans doing it their own way. Expect to find food trucks here on the weekend so you can get your eat on. You’ll find their food calendar here.
It’s possible nobody is making a better beer selection in the Minnesota Craft Beer scene than Indeed. Their taproom is always busy and their beer is always so well thought out, balanced and tasty. Their two flagship beers are the amazingly good Midnight Ryder, an American Black Ale and Day Tripper, an American Pale Ale. They’ll rotate in several special beers and seasonal beers. Trust us, you’ll find something you like. Keep an eye out for their Hot Box Imperial Smoked Pepper Porter and the Burr Grinder Beer Coffee Ale. Another taproom that depends on food trucks, find their lineup here.
Finally, on our Nordeast beer tour, lies 612 Brew on the corner of Broadway and Central. Another taproom that is always packed, 612 is built in an old warehouse and the atmosphere is without question “party time”. Their Rated R is one of the best local IPA’s. Zero Hour is an aggressively hopped Black Ale for those who like a little bitter and darkness in their brews. Six is an American pale ale with a light hop aroma. It is named after the local bus number that runs past the original 612 Brew test brewery, where the beer was first brewed. It’s a really great session ale you’ll love. 612 Brew also depends on food trucks. Find them here.