Where can you find the top chefs in the Twin Cities chowing down on their nights off? We asked a few of our faves (and one beloved brewer) to dish on the best thing they had this year that didn’t come out of their own kitchen.
1. “I love the wood-fire-cooked whole fish special at Young Joni. It’s always cooked to perfection and is served with a side of fresh herbs and addictive, tangy Naam Jim dipping sauce.” —Christina Nguyen, chef-owner, Hola Arepa and Hai Hai
2. “The best thing that I ate this year (so far) was the Foie Gras Royale at Grand Cafe. Foie gras is one of my most favorite things, and Jamie makes it extra special. A very close second is the BBQ carrots at the Publican in Chicago.” —Mike DeCamp, culinary director, Jester Concepts (Monello, Borough, Constantine, Parlour)
3. “This year, three dishes stood out that I can recall—I can’t pick just one. The chicken Jambonette with Savora mustard at Grand Cafe... I can eat 20 of those, and I love Savora, too! From Heyday, the dry-aged duck breast, with bay leaves, gastrique, and currants. This dish is almost as sexy as Jim Christiansen. And lastly, the stuffed trout with turmeric at 112 Eatery. So great... just like every other dish at that restaurant.” —Daniel del Prado, chef-owner, Martina
4. “One of the best bites that I consistently love are the noodle-stuffed chicken wings at the Hmong market in St. Paul. When we have chefs in town for synergy dinners I usually bring them there for lunch, and that is always one of my go-to favorites.” —Gavin Kaysen, chef-owner, Spoon and Stable and Bellecour Restaurant
5. “One of my favorite beers from this past year has been Summit Keller Pils. It’s no secret that I’m a total homer for pilsners and pale lagers in general, and I appreciate that 2017 felt a little bit like the year of pils in the Twin Cities. There were lots of good entries locally (I’m a huge Schell’s fan, as always), but Keller Pils was the one that ended up in my fridge most often. It’s crisp, hoppy, crackery, and ticks all the legitimate lager boxes for me. We at Fair State are constantly in pursuit of lager perfection, and this beer was an inspiration to me.” —Niko Tonks, head brewer, Fair State Brewing Co-Op
Click here to read more stories from our Year in Food 2017 issue