Szechuan at the new Jun in the North Loop and 4 other things to eat this week

The chicken thenthuk at Gorkha Palace falls in the delicious gray area between soup and stew.

The chicken thenthuk at Gorkha Palace falls in the delicious gray area between soup and stew.

Szechuan Cooking at the newly opened Jun

Downtown Minneapolis has been waiting a long time for a Szechuan restaurant, one that makes handmade dumplings and noodles, doesn't hold back on chile and peppercorn, and just happens to make a mean craft cocktail, too.

Jun has all of that, and it's difficult to pick just one dish, from the delicious Couples Beef to the pork dumplings to DanDan noodles. Choose any of the selections floating in Szechuan chile broth for the otherworldly buzz and numb of heat that no other cooking can provide. If you're an addict, you know just what we mean, and now you can get your fix in the North Loop.

730 N. Washington Ave., Minneapolis 612-208-0706

Chicken Thenthuk at Gorkha Palace
Probably our pick for the finest chicken noodle soup around, this magical brew features hand-pulled noodles that actually cook in the broth, rendering it thicker than the average soup. It lands somewhere just on the edge of a stew, but not quite.

Organic chicken makes a broth as rich and gold as egg yolks, daikon gives it a zingy edge, tomatoes offer a little umami, and spinach and edamame bring the springiness. This is an elaborate entree disguised as chicken soup, and your cold, your bad mood, and the three (four?) more months of winter ahead deserve nothing less.

23 4th St. NE, Minneapolis

Aguas Frescas at Crisp & Green
All over Mexico, there are these fresh juice places where you can choose from tons of different fresh squeezed fruits, flowers, even seeds which are then blended with a little sugar and ice. It quenches your thirst like nothing else.

Sometimes you need something to get you through from coffee to wine time -- something that isn’t going to blow your whole diet (go away, soda). Enter aguas frescas, fresh fruit juices blended with a little water and sometimes a little sugar.

These fit perfectly into the concept for Crisp & Green, where fresh salads and grain bowls come together to keep you going healthfully and tastily. How refreshing. Try them in flavors like cucumber lime and pineapple ginger, each downright spa-like in their therapeutic qualities. And bonus: There's no added sugar in these. 

755 E. Lake St., Wayzata

The Wedge Salad at Red Cow
The wedge salad is ubiquitous because it’s delicious, but its ubiquity can make it boring. Consider it one of the perils of being popular.

But not at Red Cow, where they go the extra mile with pretty yellow and orange tomatoes, a swipe of good, stinky blue cheese, and slightly crisped up Prosciutto instead of bacon. It’s enough to make you crow about ordering an old favorite, instead of feeling like the same old boring guy with the same old boring salad.

Several locations 

The Wondrous Punch at the Red Dragon 
You haven’t had a Wondrous Punch in a while because the last time you drank one you thought it would be a fine idea to wear your bra on your head and fashion your hat into a tube top. Understandable. But it’s time to revisit the Wondrous Punch, wondrous because within minutes of drinking one, all the world is your playground and your hat isn't the ordinary old stocking cap you thought it was. Nobody knows what the hell is actually in that orange fish bowl, and it's best to avert your eyes as it goes in. Then, drink up. And don’t forget to wear your pretty bra. 

2116 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis