Legendary | Worth driving from anywhere
Carol’s | Midwest Comfort Food | Blaine, Minnesota
Review by: Michael Stern
Carol’s Yesterday and Today
When we originally reviewed Carol’s for Gourmet magazine back in 1999, it was known as Carol’s Calico Kitchen. We wrote that we found it “by the side of the road, where it adjoins Ray’s Small Engine Repair and Vintage Rose Floral Gifts in a low-slung, blond-brick building in front of the Paul Revere Mobile Manor community of manufactured homes.” Its humble, homely mien charmed us. Since then, Carol’s moved and grew. It isn’t so humble any more. With its country-craftsy gift shop, it looks like restaurant designers conceived it in a corporate boardroom. But never mind all that. Carol’s still makes genuine Midwest comfort food. We love it as much as ever.
Expect no taste-buds pyrotechnics. Pick up a fork at Carol’s to find contentment, not drama. A recipe that Carol found long ago in a self-published cookbook yields Amish chicken, a signature dish. Long cook-time in a cream bath makes this chicken fall-off-the-bone tender. The gentle bird lolls in a pool of cream and butter. Agreeably lumpy mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, herbed stuffing, cranberry sauce (freshly chopped), and a marvelous mix of cabbage and carrots make wonderful companions.
At breakfast, expect classic, slow-cooked corned beef hash or banana-pecan-cinnamon French toast. At lunch, gravy-graced hot turkey and hot meat loaf sandwiches share plate space with gorgeous mashed potatoes. For dessert, customers choose from a state-fair variety of blue-ribbon pies and lofty layer cakes. Everything is made from scratch — even the white bread or, better yet, the soft and nutty-sweet Nova Scotia rolls that begin a meal.
In addition to the town-cafe hot lunch and Sunday-supper Midwest comfort food classics that make me yearn to return, Carol’s wide ranging menu offers a handful of fusion curiosities. How about Mexican egg rolls, Thai cashew chicken, or Monte Cristos made on raspberry fritters? Some day, maybe, I will try some of that. But not until I’ve had my fill of Carol’s pies, most notably the rhubarb cream pie on a savory lard crust in which butter and cream are a perfect foil for the tart punch of pie plant.
Directions & Hours
|Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
|Credit Cards Accepted