What To Eat in Minnesota
Much as we love traveling through the countryside to eat at Minnesota’s small town cafes, taverns, smoke houses, and pie palaces, the city of Minneapolis is a culinary siren song. Highlights include the inside-out cheeseburger known as a Juicy Lucy, farm-to-table diners, cutting-edge donut shops, and artisan bakeries.
The Juicy Lucy (alternately spelled Jucy Lucy) is an inside-out cheeseburger, meaning the cheese is completely secreted inside the meat. As the beef cooks, the lode of cheese inside melts. If an unsuspecting eater takes a hearty bite of one hot off the grill, the molten center erupts and can seriously hurt tongue, lips, and fingers. Experienced eaters know to wait a while or to gingerly hoist the burger and take a dainty bite that reveals just enough of the cheese cavern so that some of it can be dripped onto accompanying French fries.
The state fish of Minnesota (as well as of South Dakota) – so moist and squeaky-clean when pan-fried or grilled – serves as a dinner entrée or in a sandwich on a torpedo roll or burger bun. Walleye is so beloved by eaters of the north country that it also is made into walleye cakes, walleye bites, walleye BLTs, walleye shore lunches, and surf 'n' turf suppers of walleye and sirloin.
Once a staple in self-published cookbooks throughout the heartland, sour cream raisin pie is now found almost exclusively in Midwest dairy country – Wisconsin and Minnesota, primarily, with occasional sightings in Iowa and Illinois. It is a powerhouse pie that balances sweet custard and sour cream, flaky crust and silky filling, the concentrated intensity of raisins and the ethereal cloud of airy meringue on top.
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Decor at Minneapolis' Hot Plate is kitsch, including Paint-by-Numbers art; but there's nothing silly about the food -- a mindful exaltation of diner fare.
America's first certified organic bakery (since '85), French Meadow offers such nutritionally virtuous dishes as crunchy granola & chocolate vegan turtle cake.
Wild and wildly-named donuts are served with retro-urban panache at Minneapolis' Glam Doll, where interior decor includes mid-20th century dinette sets.
An informal St. Paul bakery and espresso shop, Bread & Chocolate has a full pastry menu that includes crisp, sticky caramel rolls enrobed in amber glaze.
Stewart's serves eclectic food and great cocktails in a cozy neighborhood St. Paul setting. Must eat: double smashed burger with Korean fries.
For almost 70 years, Cecil’s Deli has lured St. Paul regulars with Jewish standbys, including perfectly crisp latkes, the fried egg–topped Sasha, and an entire Reuben menu.
Matt's is a corner bar that claims to have invented the Minneapolis Juicy Lucy -- a crisp-edged hamburger with with a lode of molten cheese inside.
Pies have made Betty's reputation in Northern Minnesota, and they are sweet treats to remember, especially the milk shake made with a whole slice of pie.
German-American pastries are great at Hans. The specialty is a Beehive - a tender cake filled with honey-sweetened Bavarian cream, topped with slivered almonds.