MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The 2012 Summer Olympics are now underway in London, and WCCO-TV’s resident gourmand Jason DeRusha has been moved by the spirit. In this week’s edition of DeRusha Eats, he is handing out Gold Medals for excellence in a few different categories: coffee, food trucks, bartender, and new restaurants. Here is DeRusha’s winner’s circle.
Gold Medal: Food Truck
This has to be Hola Arepa. Birk Grudem and Christina Nguyen deserve a ton of credit. Don’t miss their slow-braised pork arepa. The pork is local, braised in spices for half-a-day. It’s so juicy, tender, delicious. Arepas are cornmeal patties, a cross between a corn tortilla and a pita. These guys are gold medal all the way.
Gold Medal: Bartender
This is a tough call. Pip Hanson at Marvel Bar is amazing. There is also Nick Kosevich at Eat Street Social, Johnnie Michaels at La Belle Vie, Dan Oskey at Strip Club St. Paul. I do want to continue being served drinks in this town, so … forget I said anything. I’m not awarding a medal in this category.
Gold Medal: Coffee
Let’s talk coffee. I’ve got a gold medal of a coffeehouse for you: Victory 44 in north Minneapolis is where I had the best latte in my life: the Salted Caramel. These guys are hard-core coffee geeks. If you want, for $20 you can get a growler of cold press coffee and enjoy it at home.
Gold Medal: New Restaurant Of 2012
Lots of worthy contenders, but I have to award the medal to Butcher & The Boar. Gorgeous design. Amazing house-made sausages. The desserts are fantastic. Chef Jack Riebel and his team had a lot of pressure, and a lot of hype before the opening, and they just got down to business and put out great food.