If all this has you sizing up your neighborhood for a Schiff and Burley diner--the Como Grill? the Lowry Hill Grill?--well, it could happen. Just get yourself a thriving, walkabout neighborhood core with a movie theater, an upscale grocery store, and some destination retail like a jewelry store; add a population in the habit of gravitating to that neighborhood center; and give it a couple of years. If you live it, they may come.

TABLEHOPPING

BARGAIN TOFFEE: On Sundays, the northwestern quadrant of the Minneapolis Farmers' Market is a snacker's delight: There are Tollefson-family grilled sausage samples in the farthest corner, Trout-Air trout tidbits on toothpicks a few steps east, and now, for the trifecta, free bites of chocolate. My favorite local chocolatier, B.T. McElrath, has set up an itsy-bitsy booth where he sells (and gives out samples of!) handmade gourmet chocolates with exotic flavors like Zinfandel-Balsamic Vinegar and Lavender-Black Peppercorn. Prices for his tasteful little brown-paper baskets are usually the same as those you'd pay in retail outlets like Surdyk's and Turtle Bread, a dollar or two per item.

Daniel Corrigan

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Eden Avenue Grill

3907 W. 50th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55424-1203

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Edina

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The big bargain, though, is McElrath's bags of buttery, homemade toffee. The quarter-pound bag usually retails for $7, but at the market McElrath is offering it for $5; the half-pound bag ordinarily sells for $14, but at the market you'll pay just $9. What to do with all that toffee? If you can keep from devouring the whole bag in the car, try sprinkling pieces on ice cream, baking them into cookies, or playing keep-away with your youngest sibling.

SUMMER WINE: What would be the perfect thing to drink while celebrating the first long weekend of summer and the sacrifices made by our nation's fallen soldiers? I called up Ted Farrell, manager of the downtown Haskell's Wine Shop (www.haskells.com), as part of my new endeavor to find out what kind of wine is good, cheap, and available locally at any given moment. "Anything that comes off the grill will go with a shiraz," offered Farrell. "It's a brilliant match for barbecued ribs, bratwurst, or even grilled vegetables." He recommends Hardy's Nottage Hill shiraz (it sells at Haskell's for $7.49); for $12.99 there's the Australian Goundrey's Mount Barker shiraz/grenache (www.goundreywines.com.au)--a little lighter because of the added grenache. And for something on the fuller side, try Leasingham Cabernet/Malbec (www.brlhardy.com.au/
brands/leasingham.html
), which also costs $12.99. "The quality levels at Leasingham are just amazing," gushes Farrell.

The downtown Haskell's is at 81 S. Ninth St., (612) 333-2434; the St. Paul one at 2221 Ford Pkwy.,(651) 698-8844. You'll also find Haskell's at 1 Water St., Excelsior, (612) 474-0935; 12900 Wayzata Blvd., Minnetonka, (612) 544-4456; and 5155 W. 98th St., Bloomington (612) 893-5440.

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