Archive for August 3rd, 2010

3rd August
written by Arthur

I’ve been in New York for almost two years now and, while there are a million new culinary delights out here on the east coast, there are some things from Minnesota that I just can’t replace. The top five culinary absences in my transplant life are:

5. Isles Bun & Coffee:

This place has the best cinnamon buns and scones I have ever had. But the real find is the coffee cake—crispy on top, fruity, not overly sweet, and perfect with a cappuccino. I don’t normally have a sweet tooth, so my love for this place says a lot about how great they do morning pastries. You can find this gem in Uptown Minneapolis (which is south of downtown Minneapolis for some reason).


4. The Minnesota State Fair:

This isn’t just one food, but many. If you can put it on a stick and deep fry it you can find it at the Minnesota State Fair. My arteries clog with joy just thinking about it.

My simple favorite, dating back to childhood, is the corn dog. Crispy dough on the outside, followed by a layer of soft dough, followed by the hot dog—all covered in mustard and ketchup. But the great eats keep going: pork chops on a stick, cheese on a stick (fried of course!), cheese curds (no stick with this cheese but it’s still great), french fries, chocolate chip cookies and all you can drink milk, bison burgers, and mini-doughnuts. Sure, some would argue that eating any one of these foods is bad for you. But when you eat them all in the same day your body is surely so overwhelmed by calories that it doesn’t know what to do and you actually lose weight!


3. The Italian Pie Shoppe:

I don’t understand why New York doesn’t even try when it comes to deep dish pizza. And NO, Sicilian style pizza doesn’t count just because the crust crosses the quarter inch mark. Don’t get me wrong, I love the thin crust found on every corner, but I miss my deep dish.

The Italian Pie Shoppe makes a true deep dish pizza that is measured in inches, has a crispy bottom on the crust, with a soft and almost doughy middle. And, as is right, the cheese  goes underneath the simple canned tomatoes that top the pizza.


2. Summit Brewing’s Oktoberfest:

With the end of summer and the start of football season around the corner I can’t help but think of this great beer. The brew’s reddish-gold color perfectly matches autumn leaves and the flavor is sweet malt with some light fruitiness to it. I’ve found a lot of great New York beers during the last two years (with Brooklyn Brewery near the top of the list), but Summit’s Oktoberfest will always have a place in my heart.



1. Pad Thai Cream Cheese Wontons:

I don’t think that it’s been proven yet, but I am fairly certain that there is a genetic defect in people living outside of the Midwest. This defect has the tragic effect of making people see cheese and not wonder what it would be like somehow deep fried. Nowhere outside of Minnesota have I found the cream cheese wonton. Yes, there are crab rangoon wontons to be had in New York, but it’s just some perfectly good cream cheese polluted by crab.

The best of the cream cheese wontons can be found at Pad Thai Café in St. Paul. The cream cheese has a small addition of scallions to add a little depth. While they are nothing complicated, I could eat these every day.   I have a bias toward Pad Thai, with a strong sense of nostalgia, after eating there from 8th grade on. Still after eating cream cheese wontons at dozens of other places the gold medal for taste goes to Pad Thai’s wontons.

Still, even with those five greats, one foods need an honorable mention: The runner up is Jack’s Frozen Pizza. I think the best way to describe Jack’s is that it is truly the Taco Bell of frozen pizza. After a night on the town it’s there, waiting for you in the freezer, for you to cook and eat with that last nightcap. Sadly, my internet research tells me this not-so-fine, but still delicious, pizza is only distributed in the Midwest.