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Five-spice pork from Pad Ga Pow and 4 other things to eat this week

It may be fast-casual, but it tastes slow and special.

It may be fast-casual, but it tastes slow and special. Photo courtesy of Pad Ga Pow! Facebook Page

There are so many beautiful things about skyway wonder Pad Ga Pow.

It would surely take months of skyway lunches to discover them all. They have eight fresh preparations of classic Thai dishes (like green curry) and not at-all-ubiquitous ones too (like basil clams), but also a tropical paint job to give your day a boost beyond what espresso can do, fresh young coconut drinks, and taro bubble tea.

Look to the 10 grab-and-go items in steam tables for next-level buffet food that recyclable takeout clamshells have been waiting for.

In particular, the five-spice pork offers a sort of Chinese/Thai/American mashup with the comfort of yielding braised pork shoulder, the familiar aroma of Chinese five-spice, and the jarring blast of citrus condiment that pushes the whole dish into something very different. It's well worth the detour from your typical brown bag routine. 

811 LaSalle Ave., Ste 207, Minneapolis
612-332-0260
padgapow.com



Pickled eggplant from the Curry Diva

She calls it her “black gold” and that descriptor is an apt one. The complex tang of pickled eggplant -- vegetables pickling for three weeks or more, stewed in handmade mustard -- is a taste sensation you’ve probably never encountered.

Much of Curry Diva Heather Jansz’s cooking is based on centuries-old Ayurvedic principles, including “activating” senses in the body that many American diets leave dormant. We’ve got the sweet, salty, sour down pat (French fries with ketchup, anyone?) but we don’t engage with bitter, pungent, and astringent with as much gusto.

Eat some of this pickled eggplant, and your perceived aversion to all three will be a thing of the past. Get it at her twice-weekly pop-up dinners. Find her schedule and other info at currydiva.com


Deviled eggs at Nightingale
Bar menus have rained all manner of insults upon the incredible, edible deviled egg. We're talking wasabi, Sriracha, and from the Seventh Ring of Hell, pumpkin puree.

Like apple pie and haircuts, deviled eggs are usually best when kept classic and time-tested. At Nightingale, they know this, and add little more than good aioli and dry dill, lending a picnicky fragrance that begs you to place these guys on a checkered blanket.

And, if you’re anything like me, you’re into eggs for the yolks. The whites are just wobbly vehicles for the main event. They have this wisdom too at Nightingale, where at least two-parts yolk to one part white mean tall yellow party hats of the good stuff.

2551 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis
612-354-7060
nightingalempls.com

Poulet roti at Bellecour
Among the many gleaming appliances and implements at the cracking-new Bellecour in Wayzata is a slow-churning rotisserie for perfectly brined and golden birds-- the kind of birds you can never seem to perfect at home.

But the classic French-technique in this kitchen means that this one will be perfect. A plate comes with a half bird, pomme purée, buttered baby leeks, and natural jus.

Simple, pure, satisfying and just the thing for this thin seasonal interstices between spring and winter that has us in the mood for rich roast poultry and green baby vegetables.

739 Lake St., E., Wayzata
952-444-5200
bellecourrestaurant.com

The Stoplight at Foxy Falafel 
At best, falafel is a decadent vegetarian lunch that makes you feel superior and smart for pushing meat aside for the moment. At worst, it tastes little better than a mouthful of greasy sand. At Foxy Falafel, find the dish at its best. Order the Stoplight, which introduces all sorts of new tricks to the old standby in a pita.

Traditional chickpea, curry, and beet make up three different falafel flavors. They don't stop at just a single sauce, either: You can get triply saucy with deeply spicy harissa, creamy cucumber, and our favorite, green tahini, lemony and herbaceous and sweetly sesame.

That's a lot going on in a space scarcely larger than a pita pocket. 

791 Raymond Ave., St. Paul
651-888-2255
foxyfalafel.com