By Crystal Grobe

Does anyone else feel like January and February sped by? Between subzero temperatures, multiple rounds of sickness, and a strong effort to clear out the clutter in our house, I’ve spent a lot of time inside without much attention paid to the outside world. You could say I’m in mid-hibernation mode, hunkering down with inside activities until the winter is over and the focus turns to outdoor fun.

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My winter eating habits have been focused on hearty dishes like pasta, gnocchi, and dumplings. Pretty much anything that brings comfort (and carbs…and cheese). If you’re craving a serving of comfort, I have 3 options for you to check out.

Schupfnudel at Burch Steak
1933 Colfax Ave S.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 843-1500

Burch is known for its steak (there’s also a pizza bar downstairs), but my absolute favorite thing on the menu is the schupfnudel. It’s on the dumplings menu at Burch and is slightly denser than Italian gnocchi. Burch serves it with indulgent gorgonzola cream sauce and little bits of walnut for texture. If gorgonzola is too much for you, try the fried semolina; it’s also quite amazing.

Mucci’s Gnocchi – Crystal Grobe

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Gnocchi at Mucci’s
786 Randolph Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 330-2245

The first time I went to Mucci’s, I was impressed by toothsome lemon fettuccine with little bits of pancetta and this time I was impressed by the pillowy brown butter gnocchi topped with salty capers and crispy fried salami. Both times I had a seat at the bar with an excellent server, since tables can be hard to get. Don’t want to wait for a table? Mucci’s offers takeout and frozen pizzas and lasagnas to make at home.

Gemelli at Red Rabbit – Crystal Grobe

Gemelli at Red Rabbit
201 N. Washington Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 767-8855

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Every year we get together with friends around Valentine’s Day and celebrate what we call Valenfriends. It’s a fun night to dress up and eat at fun restaurants like Red Rabbit. Since I had never done dinner at Red Rabbit, I ordered quite a few things like pizza, oysters, and pasta. The standout dish of the night was the Gemelli: twisted pasta with ham, peas, creamy cheese sauce, and sun-dried tomato. Rich and decadent, this dish is great to share!