Find these five fabulous dishes around the Twin Cities and hiding in small-town Minnesota.
Walleye Cakes from Herbie's on the Park
The new restaurant in the old Minnesota Club paying homage to hockey legend Herb Brooks could have easily been a plebian sports bar hung with dusty jerseys and serving homogenous beer and burgers. Instead, the once-private historic club that used to be the stomping grounds of polititians, authors, and other luminaries has been impeccably restored, and you're invited to the glittering party. Their walleye cakes are a testament to their commitment to their elevation of the genre. Not a tight puck (haha!) of seafood, but instead a feathery made-to-order delicacy paying homage to our favorite Minnesota lake fish.
317 Washington St., St. Paul
Ginger Snaps from Lindstrom Bakery
The longstanding Lindstrom bakery is now run almost solely by Bernie Coulombe, spouse of the late Don Coulombe, who bought the bakery 43 years ago. When Bernie entered the picture, Don fell in love with her and they eventually married. Thusly bonded, she figured it was time to introduce some of her own recipes to the mix, and this ginger snap is her very own calling card. Crisp, vigorous with spice, and fragrant as Christmas, they are regularly sent in shipments to snowbirds in Florida for the holidays. Get yours all year long. The bakery is just an hour away from the Cities and well worth the drive, espceially when eating cookies from your lap on the way home.
12830 Lake Blvd., Lindstrom
Deep Dish Pizza from Andrea Pizza
Deep dish afficionados are fervent, and we got some backlash for declaring Andrea's version superior to Giordano's. "Deep dish" is too different from Giordano's "stuffed" pies, where a second layer of crust and toppings go upon the first, sayeth the commenters. Duly noted. But semantics aside, we still prefer Andrea's lighter touch with all they do, including offering deep dish by the slice, because really, how many bites of this can one mortal consume?
Andrea Pizza, four locations
Soul food buffet at Phattone's Deli
You've probably driven by Portland Market a bunch of times and scoffed at the bodega's gigantic SOUL FOOD sign. Why would a place that deals in Twinkies and Twizzlers try their hand at buffet lunch? But inside, Phattone's Deli is the real deal. Like any buffet, there are things you should avoid (like the straight-from-the-freezer fried fish or the Green Giants mixed vegetables), but tangy barbecue wings, sticky candied yams, creamy mac and cheese, and slow-cooked ribs (a $1 per pound upsell) balance out the experience. It's not excellent, but it's cheap and legit. Grab a clamshell of down-home takeout on your next trip out for cigs.
3751 Portland Ave. S., Minneapolis
Sambusas from Alimama's
Big score for our growing Somali food scene, Alimama's now has a restaurant in addition to the food truck by the same name at Metro State University. It takes some doing to find it, but man, is it worth the trek. These sambusas are probably the finest iteration we have locally (we also recommend the ones at Afro Deli and SomTaste). The dough is pillowy, the fillings are as fine as any stew you'd want to eat with a spoon, and a pair of them with fries or salad on the side for $5 is such a steal you'll be looking over your shoulder while making off like a bandit.
Alimama's in the Student Center at Metro State University (also check out thier food truck by the same name)
700 E. 7th St., St. Paul