Thanks to buffetbuster and nagle for the support. Everybody else done fighting now? Cuz here's the second installment of Crawl candidates. Minnesota “Heritage Food”Hell’s Kitchen
: This place has been a Twin Cities hot spot
since the day they opened. Initially started as a breakfast only operation, they’ve since expanded into lunch and dinner with an extensive Sunday brunch menu too
. They’re a little on the high end of reasonable, price-wise. But consistently good reviews tell you folks love Hell’s Kitchen (including here on Roadfood
). They're very well know for their Wild Rice Breakfast Porridge
and Cornmeal Pancakes. Black Forest Inn
: Contrary to wanderingpublic opinion, the Germans were the first Europeans to settle Minnesota
extensively, and still maintain a 9.4% edge in population over the Norwegians and Swedes, combined
. So for a real Mpls/StP Heritage food experience, we need to visit a German restaurant. Just so happens, Black Forest Inn fits that bill.
We’ve visited BFI many times over the years. The lunch
menus are 100% authentic, and the food and service were always excellent. The ambiance is an eye-popping
combination of warmth
. There's also an outdoor garden if the weather allows. Recent reviews indicate the food may have slipped a little, but I’m hoping our local advocates can verify or deny those reports before we make a final decision. Kaffe Stuga
: Ah, the point of so much needless contention, so let’s get right to it. This place looks like it’s quaint
, and full of small-town charm
. It is a total
Roadfood find. wanderingjew swears by the food
and has even arranged for them to cook up a true Minnesota Norske Feast not usually found on the regular menu.
The other side of the coin is that it is located 48 miles north of downtown St. Paul. It’s a 50-minute drive each way, plus an hour at the restaurant. In other words, we’re looking at an almost three-hour time commitment and just shy of a hundred-mile round trip for this meal.
Before anybody’s blood pressure pops, I’m not trying to convince you we shouldn’t make this trip. In fact, I’m trying to tie in one of wj’s other suggestions, along with other geographically outlying candidates, to put together a sensible day outside the Twin Cities metro area.
Let’s look at the other possible stops falling into the same “Heritage Food” category… Carol’s Restaurant
: A bit more suburban than Kaffe Stuga, but still highly regarded for their food
, Carol’s is well reviewed here on Roadfood
. All the breads and pastries are made in-house
and all the comfort food staples
are the real thing, not some off-the-back-of-the-Sysco-truck phonies.
Carol’s is on the way to Kaffe Stuga, giving us better value for the time spent driving. But wait, there’s more… Eichten’s Market & Grill
: Eichten’s is on the way back
from Kaffe Stuga. Their menu
includes meals made with their very own cheeses, and bison grown on their farm. There’s also a marketplace
selling specialty foods, cheeses, prepackaged locally made sausages and jerky. Taste of Scandinavia
: Another Norske themed deli. They have several locations around town. The one in North Oaks would fit in nicely with the rest of the route. The menu
includes a Danish Salmon Sandwich, Finnish Pasties, Swedish Meatballs, and a Norwegian Chicken Lefse Melt. They also serve an all-day Breakfast.
Another possible stop on this route would be Donatelli's
in White Bear Lake, suggested by Mr. & Mrs. Bonk. They say Donatelli’s has some great Pizza. More on that later, in another category.
These four stops will likely take 5-6 hours. There are some great Roadfood opportunities involved. The question we as a group need to answer is, do we want to spend that much time, going well over a hundred miles round trip? Let’s keep the discussion civil and out in the open. No smoke filled room politics, please.
Back to the Mpls/StP Metro candidates… Ingebretsen’s Deli
: Strictly a butcher shop, deli & marketplace
, Ingebretsen’s doesn’t serve food, but they’re loaded with Norske specialties. Specialty meats, sausages, and cheeses are all available along with a vast array of Swedish specialty food items in Ingebretsen’s Marketplace. DinersBand Box Diner
: You’ll remember Band Box Diner from the Burger listings. I’ve repeated it here because they have a full diner menu
that looks pretty tasty
. And as I said before, it just looks really cool
. Al’s Dinkytown Diner
: One of the Twin Cities two iconic diners. Al’s is famous not just for their food
, but for their unique accommodations
. It’s a tiny place with no waiting area. Customers sit at a counter eating while the next group waiting for seating stands directly behind them waiting for a spot to open up
Sounds like a nightmare for a big group, right? We’re investigating an opportunity for a private party, just for the Crawl. Could be the perfect spot for a farewell brunch! Mickey’s Diner
: The other iconic diner, this one on the St. Paul side. To be honest, I think Mickey’s offers more in the way of photo opportunities
than it does good food
. We only ate there once and left unimpressed. I’ll include Mickey’s on the itinerary if enough people express interest, otherwise I’m inclined to pick other places.
Just a note: Mickey’s is open 24/7/365, and the photo opportunities are better at night
. This might a late-night independent study stop better made after a beer or two. Ideal Diner
: An old-time diner
, lesser known than Al’s and Mickey’s. They serve Homemade Corned Beef Hash along with a menu
full of omelets and other breakfast selections, sandwiches, and chili. Nuthin’ fancy, just good working man’s food. Day By Day Café
: Another solid diner choice. For those of you who were on the KC Crawl, I’d describe the ambiance
as a blue-collar version of Happy Gillis or You Say Tomato. Nice selection
of Burgers, Sandwiches, and all-day Breakfast
That's it for today. Everybody feeling better? Lot's more to come; even Minnesota Barbecue!
Keep the comments coming, because this is your
tour. I'm just organizing it. Let's try to keep it civil. The anonymity of the internet goes *poof* when we all see each other at the end of April, and I'd hate to see a situation where people can't face each other.