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56: Pistachio Cheesecake from Eli's East

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If you're like us, pistachio cake was the pinnacle of dessert growing up. Though most grandmas making this classic recipe whipped it up using a box of Betty Crocker cake mix, the pistachio pudding and coconut frosting was ambrosial, saltiness and sweetness melding into one formidable package. With a knockout formula, there seemed to be no way to improve on a favorite, cake mix aside.

That is, until Eli's East pistachio cheesecake came along.

See also: 57: Black Sheep's Meatball, Ricotta, and Garlic Pizza

Eli's specializes in transforming American comfort food favorites into highbrow yet accessible meals perfect for a Friday night out. Though there's no big-name chef in the kitchen, their food is made from scratch and emphasizes local ingredients—and it shows.

Good cheesecake is a rarity in this town. Unless you're a fan of the chain-dining experience at the Cheesecake Factory, there's no place you can regularly grab a slice of the velveteen calorie bomb.

Eli's is the exception to the rule. The pistachio cheesecake is a resplendent, natural hue of pale pistachio green. Cream cheese proves a perfect foil for the pistachios. The large wedge of goodness is grandma's classic dessert on steroids, without a long list of artificial flavors and preservatives.

The slice swims in a sea of raspberry coulis, which adds a nice hint of tartness to the cheese cake's green freshness. Though quite sweet, the coulis complements the cake's flavors rather than overtaking them. The crust is crunchy yet subtle, reminiscent of a homemade graham cracker.

There's no better way to end a meal at Eli's East than with a slice of pistachio cheesecake. If only they made them whole for customers to take home (bakery style). That would certainly cure the Twin Cities of its cheesecake blahs.

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