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9 Twin Cities restaurants doing 2014 food trends the right way

Locavore fare at Birchwood
Locavore fare at Birchwood
Vincent Marcinelli

In spite of its fly-over country locale, the Twin Cities does a great job at keeping up with top food trends around the world.

From Uptown to the suburbs, it's not hard to find a restaurant experimenting with different spices, culinary combinations, and cultural cuisines. With Forbes' list of what to look out for in 2014, we've compiled our own list of local restaurants that have nailed this whole "trends" thing.

See also: Chef demos, tastings, and garlic flavored ice cream at the Minnesota Garlic Festival

Birchwood's veggie scramble
Birchwood's veggie scramble
Emily Eveland

1. The trend: Locally sourced food The restaurant coming out on top: Birchwood Café Farm-to-table eating is nothing new in the Twin Cities. We've got everything from Portlandia-esque poultry snobs to locavore inspired food trucks, and everything in between. But what puts Birchwood Cafe above all else is the extent of its Midwest-sourced menu, right down to the beer and coffee. What to order: Want the most out of your local dining? Get the gravlax and beurre monte Benedict at weekend brunch, made with house-cured salmon and homemade jam on the side.

2. The trend: I scream, you scream, we all scream for...vegetables? The restaurant coming out on top: Ecopolitan Whether you're trying out a juice cleanse or just want to eat cleaner, the meatless diet has been growing in popularity for some time. But Ecopolitan takes the concept up a notch by offering raw, vegan, and gluten-free menu items perfect for the adventurous healthy eater in all of us. What to order: Ecopolitan's "rawvioli" gives the middle finger to carbs everywhere by using root vegetables in place of pasta, and pairing it with herbed cashew cheese, ginger marinara sauce, sweet marinated onions, cashew Parmesan, and bruschetta. Will you miss the noodles? Only a taste will tell.

3. The trend: Artisan pizza The restaurant coming out on top: Pizzeria Lola While we, personally, can be satisfied with a frozen pizza from the grocery store, nothing improves the combination of bread, meat, and cheese like high-quality ingredients. With soft-serve ice cream available in-store as well, Pizzeria Lola is a one-stop shop for dinner and dessert. What to order: Gone are the days of having to choose between two different food genres. Pizzeria Lola's Lady ZaZa combines the best of two culinary inspirations in one, leaving you without order regrets. It's topped with Italian red sauce, house-made kimchi, Korean sausage, serrano peppers, scallions, sesame, and soy chili glaze. You'll be sure to scream "Minnesota-style" next time someone asks what your preferred pizza is.

 

4. The trend: High-end comfort food The restaurant coming out on top: Brasa With Brasa, you can get the sophisticated version of comfort food, without the sophisticated price. The restaurant has a menu that brings out all the best parts of overeating on Thanksgiving without the year-long wait, and has locations in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. What to order: Start with the roasted yams with andouille sausage before making your way over to the fried catfish sandwich, topped with spicy mayo, coleslaw, and tomato. Comfort indeed.

5. The trend: Chicken wings The restaurant coming out on top: :D-Spot Escaping the ever-so-sticky stigma of bar food, chicken wings are in town to show they're not just for drunk people anymore. :D-Spot offers flavors ranging from classic honey BBQ to out-of-the-box wing themes like PB&J (yes, peanut butter and jelly-inspired chicken wings). What to order: :D-Spot's "Johnny Apple Seed" wings maintain the savory reputation of chicken wings while also including more sophisticated flavors, such as apple, thyme, caramelized onions, and blue cheese. Who needs the ghost pepper challenge when you can just go to heaven from quality taste?

6.The trend: Food hybrids The restaurant coming out on top: Glam Doll Donuts Glam Doll is a pioneer for donut innovations, adding bacon to a variety of pastry flavors, and even revolutionizing the hybrid game with a gone-all-too-soon chicken pot pie donut (#neverforget). Desserts are no longer just for the sweet-toothed member of your family. What to order: The Girl Next Door donut is iced, fluffy, and filled with provolone and muenster cheeses. Whoever thought they couldn't have it all has clearly never taken a bite out of this savory sweet.

 

7. The trend: Umami The restaurant coming out on top: Rabbit Hole The Korean street food spot is dishing out a menu full of savory culinary experiments, in the form of pastas, rice bowls, and good, not-so-old-fashioned sandwiches. Rabbit Hole opens up flavor categories you didn't know you could taste, and it's the perfect way to explore just how deep your senses go. What to order: The Omma "Goober" is made with a six-ounce patty, seared pork belly, parmesan cheese, crispy onions, bacon jalapeño jam, lettuce, tomato, and pickled watermelon rind. It goes to prove just how good weird combinations can be, and shows you that jam and watermelon have taken the "no more Mr. Nice Fruit" path to foodie freedom.

9 Twin Cities restaurants doing 2014 food trends the right way
City Pages

8. The trend: Biscuits The restaurant coming out on top: Sun Street Breads Biscuits are unusually versatile. Are they ready for all this jelly? Do you prefer them with gravy? The options are endless -- especially when it comes to Sun Street's amazing fluffy biscuits. What to order: The Juicy Piggy is a breakfast take on Minnesota's main girl Lucy. Stuff a sausage patty with pepper jack and sandwich it between glorious biscuits -- you never knew bread could make you feel like this.

9. The trend: Gluten-free The restaurant coming out on top: Tie! Burning Brothers and Bittersweet. Gluten-free beer and baked goods? When you combine them, they're practically unstoppable. No longer is indigestion an excuse to miss out on some of the best dietary options out there. Thanks, Twin Cities. What to order: Go for a nice lemon poppyseed muffin, and wash it down with a Lime Shandy, perfect for your citrus and carb fixes. The lemon poppyseed muffin is also dairy-free, so you can feel completely guilt-free while having your guilty pleasure.

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