Yah, you betcha.!
I'm in the land of 10,000 lakes and although the purpose of my presence here is primarily philanthropic for our foundation, I try to take a few tics on our travels to savor the local culture, fare and flavor.
The first thing that I couldn't help but notice about Minneapolis is the almost absolute absence of fast food franchises. We've been here since, what, Wednesday, and only seen two, and while I'd normally be a big fan of that - the nearest Dunkin Donuts is five and a half hours away in Wisconsin and that makes me a little cranky and suspicious.
Indeed it's a strange yet curious place. (I mean, other than the fact that they had a rassler for governor and stuart smalley as a senator).
But there's some seriously good food here.
Bacio, a giant of a restaurant in Minnetonka, has an excellent stater menu. It's pretty much policy now when I'm at a new and unfamiliar restaurant to just sample the little bites because if they can't do that right, no need to move on to the entree.
And there's was spot on. The parmesan crusted shrimp and tuna crisps both delightful but the two other dishes I sampled deserve their own spotlight. First is their heirloom grain salad, which is just about one of the best damn salads I've ever had - brilliantly constructed, fresh and surprising.
And finally the crab cakes, pictured nearby, an experience I've never had before and I've eaten them just about everywhere. The odd motley of ingredients are what drew me to it: avocado drizzled with EVOO, vanilla bean puree, and sweet and sour chili sauce. Individually, they all have singular distinctness but good god, man, mash them together and it becomes a melody.
Nevermind that the cake isn't even fried. IT'S BAKED. I didn't ask if the crab was dungeness or blue but baby, it was lumpy and luscious.
On Lovers and Sliders
I maintain a profound respect for chefs that make me re-think dishes but this city makes me re-think reality. The twin cities are replete with five star restaurants but the hottest, most exclusive place to take your lover on a valentine date is..... White Castle. Wait what?
Yer Dern Tootin'. Apparently, the one day out of the year that the fast food joint reverse transmogrifies into a high class restaurant where the waitstaff wears tuxes. And get this, there's a two year wait list.