One week at a time, we’re settling into our new life in St. Paul, Minnesota.
New house, new jobs, a job search, and yard work; it’s all a little much. I’m finding myself considering things I’ve never considered before, like grocery delivery and those meal kit things. Just the other day, someone left me a comment indicating that she thought I still lived in Iowa. I wanted to mock her for not knowing where I lived until I remembered that I can’t always remember either.
Case in point, a typical conversation:
“Hey, Jake, I’m going to Hornbachers. Do you need anything?”
“You just said Hornbachers.”
“Wait, what? I’m going to Hyvee, I mean Schnucks. Sigh. I’m going to Cub”
Occasional disorientation aside, we’re basking in this Minnesota fall. Here are some of my favorite Twin Cities food experiences I haven’t shared here yet:
Mucci’s Doughscuits, St. Paul, MN
I’m a doughnut snob. Last year I worked at a scratch-made doughnut shop and became really picky about doughnuts. Of course I still enjoy doughnut-mix doughnuts topped with icings from big, industrial plastic pails. But I know and they know they’re just not the same.
Mucci’s weekend doughnuts are housemade and really, really good. We especially like their new doughscuits, a doughnut-biscuit hybrid. These pastries especially perfect for those who don’t like sickly sweet desserts; the outsides are crisp and the inside layers are flaky and moist.
You can always find classic cake and yeast doughnuts, plus creative, rotating flavors, too like pineapple upside cake, blood orange, and fried chicken. Each week Chef Chris transforms a fan’s request into a special flavor. On this weekend, we found ginger-nutella. Get your doughscuit fix at Mucci on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. until noon (or sold out).
Bangkok Thai Deli
We love Bangkok Thai Deli. We’ve always loved Bangkok Thai Deli. Back when Jake and I started dating, it was located in the back of a small Asian grocery store down from its current location on University. The shiny, mosaic chimney indicated where to turn.
Now, the restaurant’s housed in a larger location where a former Burger King used to stand. The same family operates the restaurant and the food is as good as it’s always been. Our typical order consists of pad thai, grilled beef salad, and red curry. Some visits we mix it up with a whole fried fish or stirred shrimp and eggplant.
Here, extra spicy means extra spicy. And if you can’t season a dish to your liking with a condiment from the extensive condiment tray on your table, you’re just not trying hard enough. Prices are reasonable and portions are large.
I’ve visited the Hi-Lo Diner a few times now. Naturally, I enjoyed some items more than others. What I would recommend without hesitation is their Po’ Boy Dough Boy Hi-Top, a round puff of fried dough topped with fried shrimp, adobo slaw, and cilantro lime aloe and the fish and chips.
Fried fish can go wrong in a multitude of ways. It can suffer from overcooking, undercooking, low quality fish, greasy batter, and tough batter; I’ve encountered them all. Hi Lo’s fish is none of these things. In fact, it’s the opposite. Finally, Jake wants to add that favorite dish is the Pastrami Silo sandwich.
Like everyone else, we were sorry to hear about Heartland closing December 31st. Four years ago, we had a small family wedding and celebrated afterwards at Heartland. Residents again in Minnesota, it only seemed right to toast to four years at Heartland.
Giddy, with aquavit and a pickled shallot in my cocktail, I happily traded bites of my roasted potatoes with kimchi and succulent trout with crispy skin for Jake’s tasting menu of venison meatballs and fish chowder. We split the slice of chocolate-coffee cake in half.
A pleasure as always.
When we lived with my in-laws in East St. Paul before finding a house, I broached the idea of visiting every restaurant along Payne or Arcade. I loved driving along Arcade and Payne mapping out all of the restaurants I wanted to visit.
This man beat me to it. As of December 2015, his blog post illustrates how he really did visit every restaurant in East St. Paul.
One Friday night, I rounded up Jake, his brother and my sister-in-law for an outing at the Cherry Pit. The bartender warmly welcomed us and we unwound on the patio sipping cocktails from plastic cups and sharing a variety of crispy fried appetizers.
The chicken wings were meaty with crisp skin served with a memorably good blue cheese dressing. Fries looked hand-cut. I was especially amused that the broccoli bites are shaped like little broccoli florets. The gooey insides tasted like Panera broccoli cheddar soup (or Bread Co. to all you St. Louis readers). If you are like me, this is not a bad thing.
The center bar thing burst into flames when the sun set. We curiously watched a man lean against the flaming bar with a cocktail balanced on his head. It didn’t appear like he was trying to show off, but more like he considered the top of his head, simply, another surface to place a drink.
We had a great time, we ate delicious fried things and we will return.
And finally, a really soothing bowl of noodle soup from Midori’s Floating World Cafe.
Wishing you a happy daylight savings time, sunny fall week with lots of crunchy leaves, and good food. Take care of yourselves this election week.