Taprooms and wine bars serving drink flights have the right idea: There’s something satisfying about sampling a bit of a lot of things.
Partly it’s because you don’t need to make up your mind—you can get the stout and the IPA and the pilsner! There’s also the cuteness factor, as a lineup of little glasses hits the same soft spot as a basketful of kittens. And don’t discount the age-old wisdom from grandma about how the best things in life come in small packages.
Beyond beer and wine, the Twin Cites offers up an array of food flights, too, so you can go forth and indulge in perfectly portioned morsels of colorful mini doughnuts, edible cookie dough, caviar, and more.
Housed in a 19th-century building near U.S. Bank Stadium that’s served as a hospital and a plumbing supply store (and maybe even a brothel), Day Block Brewing Company is a brewpub serving globally influenced pizzas, sandwiches, and bar snacks. The menu features not one but two food flights. The nine-strip bacon option ($11) is a sampling of three different house-cured meats with accompanying sauces. Flavors change frequently, but current cured delights include buffalo bacon with blue cheese and smoked bacon with French toast syrup, while past creations range from chocolate-covered strips with peanut butter mousse to a brat-seasoned bacon with beer cheese. Vegetarians need not despair: Day Block also has a rotating pickle flight with a selection of seasonal house-pickled vegetables, from a cucumber pickle and kimchi to curry cauliflower and rosemary-pickled grapes ($6, $3 during happy hour). 1105 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-617-7793, dayblockbrewing.com
Seven Corners brewpub Town Hall Brewery gets bonus points for the beer-flight-style presentation of their chicken tenders flight ($12). The sauces—barbecue, chipotle buffalo, and honey chipotle—are served in glasses arranged on a paddle, with the tenders carefully nestled inside. It’s easily shareable, with about nine per order plus a biscuit. Elsewhere on the menu is a snack-friendly flight with fresh tortilla chips, guacamole, and a trio of salsas: roja, verde, and ranchera ($9). 1430 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-339-8696, townhallbrewery.com
A downtown Minneapolis standby since 1946, Murray’s offers an opportunity to splurge on classic steakhouse fare in elegant, vintage surroundings. While the portions might not exactly be sample-size, the steak flight for two ($99) does allow diners to try a few different cuts of the restaurant’s iconic meats, with a 10-ounce New York strip sirloin, 8-ounce ribeye, and 6-ounce tenderloin. Sides aren’t included, but do yourself a favor and spring for the French onion soup ($6) and au gratin potatoes ($6). 26 S. Sixth St., Minneapolis; 612-339-0909, murraysrestaurant.com
The market-priced caviar flight at Uptown’s Soviet-themed Hammer and Sickle is another special-occasion-worthy treat—at the moment, it’ll set you back $100. The splurge includes three caviars: whitefish, a fresh, crisp caviar noted for its lack of saltiness; cuttlefish, one with rich, earthy notes; and ossetra royal, a prized caviar with large, dark pearls and a bold, nutty essence. The flight is served with blini (crepe-like Russian pancakes), sour cream, an assortment of pickles, and a Russian egg—a hard-boiled egg soaked in beet juice and deviled. And because no caviar flight would be complete without a shot of vodka, order one from a rotating selection of house-infused vodkas like horseradish, dill, honey, apple cinnamon, strawberry rhubarb, or lemon basil. 1300 Lagoon Ave. #150, Minneapolis; 612-367-4035, hammerandsicklempls.com
Cold Front is a nostalgic soda fountain with house-made sodas, coffee drinks made with Dogwood espresso, and classic ice cream concoctions. The Hamline neighborhood hit sources super premium ice cream from Madison’s Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, with a rotating selection of 16 flavors. You could order a waffle cone or sundae, but why not try the snowball flight, an adorable lineup of four mini cones topped with one-ounce scoops ($4.75)? Popular treats include the saltily named and appropriately savory “This $&@! Just Got Serious,” a salted caramel ice cream with sea salt fudge and salted cashews; Iced Latte-Da, a caffeinated espresso ice cream with fudge swirls and chocolate chunks; and Zanzibar Chocolate, made with three kinds of cocoa for a rich taste reminiscent of a fudgy brownie. Kids love the brightly hued Superman ice cream; for their grown-ups, there’s Exhausted Parent, a bourbon-spiked espresso ice cream with bittersweet chocolate chunks. 490 Hamline Ave., St. Paul; 651-330-7632, coldfrontmsp.com
In addition to luscious hand pies and those iconic Minnesota cookies, Groundswell’s menu of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free fare features a flight of four full-sized cupcakes ($10) from their in-house bakery. The chocolate blackout cupcake is always on hand: Made with fair-trade chocolate, it’s a chocolate espresso cake filled with milk chocolate mousse and topped with bittersweet chocolate ganache and espresso whipped cream. Another constant is the salted honey-caramel cheesecake cupcake: a vanilla graham cake with vanilla cheesecake filling crowned with whipped cream, honey caramel sauce, and a sprinkling of kosher salt. Other options change monthly, with at least one seasonal specialty and one gluten-free cupcake. Recent flavors have included a gluten-free tiramisu cupcake with an espresso mascarpone filling and a chocolate-covered strawberry cupcake. 1340 Thomas Ave., St. Paul; 651-645-6466, groundswellmn.com
Sleepy V’s serves up flights of four mini doughnuts ($5) at a storefront in Northeast’s Sheridan neighborhood (which opened as Rebel Donut Bar late last year). While the colorful lineup changes daily, lemon poppyseed and pineapple hibiscus typically make the cut. Frequent rotating favorites include cookie dough, maple bacon, blueberry pancake, and coffee toffee. If you need a weekend mini-doughnut fix, swing by early—the shop often sells out. 1226 Second St. NE, Minneapolis; sleepyvs.com
We all know that the best part of baking cookies is eating the dough, but the FDA advises against playing Russian roulette with salmonella and E. coli. Luckily, we have Dough Dough to supply the Twin Cities with safe-to-eat cookie dough via a food truck and a spot at the Mall of America. The edible cookie dough is sold by the scoop in bowls or cones, or you can opt for a mini scoop flight (five scoops for $6 or seven for $8). Flavors include classics like chocolate chip, salted caramel, monster, and celebration, a sugar cookie dough with sprinkles. There’s also a Five Watt Coffee flavor, which uses Five Watt’s cold press concentrate to replace moisture in the dough base, and a s’more dough that swaps out a portion of the flour for graham cracker crumbs. 372 E. Broadway, Bloomington; 612-547-8859, doughdoughmn.com
Hot Indian Foods aims to bring Indian cuisine to a broad audience by packaging traditional dishes in easy-to-devour formats, like the roti-wrapped Indurrito. Customers can order this tasty fare as a HI flight, mix-and-matching either three Indi tacos or three mini rice bowls ($10). Pro tip: If you’d prefer to eat your lunch out of one container and don’t mind a little commingling, the staff is happy to serve your flight of three fillings atop a standard-sized rice bowl. Tacos feature house-made roti shells, and rice bowls are built on a base of brown basmati rice flavored with coconut milk and garlic. Fillings include chicken tikka, lamb, spinach paneer, chana (masala sauce with chickpeas), and aloo gobi (potatoes, cauliflower, and squash simmered in a tomato curry). Top off your flight with the house-made slaw, a sprinkling of cilantro, and your choice of chutney. 920 E. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612-236-4423, hotindianfoods.com