Here’s a phrase you don’t hear all that often: “donkey cheese.”
We know that cheese can be made from pretty much any sort of milk, including human if you please, but for some reason we don’t associate the mule with the delicious fruits of molded milk. Pule, made from Serbian donkeys, is a rare cheese and also an expensive one thanks to its rarity. Donkeys do not produce a lot of milk, and cheese only yields about 10 percent of a milk's overall volume.
At Heyday, they’re serving a Quattro Latti (four milk) cheese out of Piedmont, Italy. In addition to the donkey milk, the cheese blends cow milk for buttery notes, the floral flavors of sheep milk, the citrus tang of goat's milk, and from the donkey, a bit of earthiness or game.
On top of endive jam and handmade buttermilk crackers, it’s a bit of a wild ride for your mouth. I’d recommend pairing it with a glass of dry, herbaceous Spanish Verdejo, also available in the bar at Heyday.
2700 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis
Chilli chicken from the Himalayan
One of the most popular dishes in the Indo-Chinese canon is Chilli Chicken. It’s got everything we want, and nothing we don’t, and almost every restaurant honoring that side of the globe has a version.
The Himalayan does a spot on rendition, with crisp, dry-sauteed hunks of boneless chicken, plus onions and bell pepper. True to its name, there is copious chile pepper, and we’d urge any diner to not shrink from requesting the highest spice level.
Unlike some restaurants that use their chile arsenal with one-note aggression, The Himalayan manages the art of balance while still lighting your insides on fire. The pleasure of it all is only $10 on the appetizer list.
2910 E Lake St., Minneapolis
The new potsticker menu from PinKU
Owner John Sugimura recently returned from an eating tour of Japan, where he picked up influence from regional potsticker traditions (read about the full list in detail here). He brought them home to put his own culinary stamp on them.
PinKU will be serving the half dozen new potstickers on a rotating basis— our favorite is the pillowy tofu— but you’d be wise to check back often, as each inspiration is wildly different and worth a look.
And don't worry, the original crispy pork potstickers that have been a mainstay on the menu since day one are not going anywhere, ever, Sugimura assures his loyal fan base.
20 University Ave. NE, Minneapolis
Crunchy cheese roll from Baja Haus
These giant fried cheese rolls are trending in Mexico (check Trip Advisor for proof) but so far as we know Baja Haus is the only local restaurant serving what amounts to everything good about a nacho without the chip.
The size and shape of the crunchy cheese roll is designed for sharing; put it in the middle of the table next to some Pacificos, and watch it disappear. At Baja Haus they’re serving it with three sauces at the bottom of the plate for swishing your piece around in before eating.
They’re using a grated young Spanish Manchego for the cheese, frying it on a griddle, then forming it around a cocktail shaker to get the cylindrical shape. It’s at least as addictive as anything that can be poured from a shaker, and the most genius hack we've seen in awhile.
830 Lake St. E., Wayzata
Rogan Josh from Darbar
Darbar's Rogan Josh calls out from the bottom of the lunch menu: lean cubed lamb cooked in a yogurt-based curry with ground cardamom, cloves, and cumin. It sounds challenging while still fitting precisely in the confines of traditional Kashmiri cuisine. The sauce is thick and gravy-like, but the floral aroma of the spices lets you know this is no tomatoey masala.
There's a deep fattiness to the dish -- one that spreads gloriously across a hunk of garlic naan or spoonful of rice. Darbar's Rogan Josh is best served spicy or very spicy, even if that doesn't serve your Midwestern sensibilities, because there's plenty of creamy unctuousness to quell the heat. -Jerard Fagerberg
1221 W. Lake St.