This week we decided to get all digital—not so digital that this edition will be delivered by Holographic Tupac, mind you, but rather digital, all of the questions for this week’s segment came in over Twitter. Play along! I am @DearDara, and The Current is @TheCurrent, Mpls.St.Paul Magazine is @mspmag.
@TheEuroConnect Wanted a Grand European tour, without leaving the Twin Cities: “Which restaurants in the Twin Cities offer the most authentic European experiences–ie. German, Scandinavian, Eastern European, and Turkish.
Okay! For German, that’s got to be the Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter in Stillwater (strolling accordion players on Friday nights! gasthausbavarianhunter.com) or Minneapolis’ own Black Forest Inn, for the great imported beers and don’t forget: Spargelfest (that is, asparagus-fest) kicks off May 18, and should include the spargeltini—yes, I do mean an asparagus martini. (blackforestinnmpls.com)
Scandinavian: Café Finspang at the Midtown Global Market (very modest home-style take-out, but authentic), Ingebretsen’s (ingebretsens.com) for the do-it-yourselfer, or the Bachelor Farmer (thebachelorfarmer.com) for very well made but modest Swedish meatballs, gravlax, and so forth.
Eastern European: Kramarczuk’s! (kramarczuk.com) The cabbage rolls are divine, the goulash is one of the great undersung wonders of the Twin Cities, the varenyky are tender and good. Moscow on the Hill, (moscowonthehill.com) too: Ukrainian dumplings, best borscht in town, and, of course, chicken Kiev—made with Wild Acres local chicken.
Turkish: The Black Sea in St. Paul! Cheap, a little weird, it’s like a Turkish diner, not fine dining, but really so good. The mercimek red lentil soup is fantastic, sour and deep tasting, and the yumurtali ispanek, a sort of sauteed spinach with poached eggs, is comforting, healthy, and altogether good. (blacksearestaurant.com)
It’s supposed to be pungent, peppery, and dusky, a little like mustard, and a little like saffron. But it goes bad! When it gets old. Then it tastes a lot like dust. If you’ve got some in a cupboard that’s two or three years old, it’s done, it’s just dust now. Sorry. If you want some that’s really really fresh, here’s a hot tip. There’s actually a wonderful chef here Rhagavan Iyer, he’s written a book called 660 Curries, and he has recently launched a line of spices called Turmeric Trail, which has incredibly fresh spices. The turmeric-based one is so fragrant you can smell it across the room, when it’s still in its packaging. Buy it through his website, turmerictrail.com, or at local shops, including Golden Fig and the Minnesota Arboretum gift shop.
Finally, several people wanted to know: Are there any good outdoor patios with good happy hours that serve till 6 p.m.? (Some restaurants don’t offer happy hour deals on their patios, some restaurants only have happy hour till 5.) This answer goes out to Molly @in2bizarrefoods, Maggie @bodicegoddess, and Sharon @shrnhnngn:
Answer: There are plenty!
In St. Paul, the Salut on Grand Avenue has happy hour every day, on the patio and everywhere, from 3 to 6 p.m., $4 well drinks, $3 pommes frites with béarnaise, $5 for a couple of sliders, and $3 profiteroles—that’s some good eats. (salutbaramericain.com) Right in downtown St. Paul, Great Waters, the all-too-often-overlooked brewpub has $2.50 pints both in and outside from 3 to 6 p.m., as well as $5 Rasta Wings, and nachos. (greatwatersbc.com)
In Minneapolis, let’s start east, and move west. n Northeast: Psycho Suzi’s! Happy Hour every day from 3 to 6 p.m., and $3 tap beers—of course this includes the patio, with the gorgeous Mississippi River and downtown Minneapolis skyline views. (psychosuzis.com) Now to LynLake: Moto-I (moto-i.com). A snazzy and chic rooftop deck, and the happy hour pricing is offered on all 3 floors from 2:20 till 6 p.m. Half price (house made) sake, and $3.50 taps—and not just any $3.50 taps, but 12 local Minnesota craft brew taps, including Surly Furious, Summit’s Unchained series, and Harriet Westside. Urban Eatery, across many lanes of traffic from beautiful Lake Calhoun offers Happy Hour pricing from 4 to 6:30 p.m.; $3 tap beers and those sliders are pretty great—a good place to meet groups, there are 100 seats on the patio. (myurbaneatery.com/happy_hour.html)
Finally, to the western suburbs: Lola’s Lakehouse sits on the water in beautiful Waconia, and offers a happy hour daily from 3 to 6 p.m., with $2.50 taps, and happy hour food such as fish and chips and mini Kobe beef burgers. (lolaslakehouse.com)