Story by Kathy Couturié
Photographs by Michelle Hueser
I’m continuing to consume the local food scene while writing for EDIBLE TWIN CITIES. We are seeking out unique, local foods in the two short days we have left…a dream come true assignment! Following is a food fanatic’s journal of yet another delicious day in St. Paul and Minneapolis…
Heading to our publisher’s home, I enjoyed a Legacy Chocolates 85% cocoa espresso truffle – a great way to start the day. My partners-in-eating spotted the Riverview Café, and we screeched to a halt for cappuccinos… This is a hip neighborhood café, featuring live music every Friday and Saturday night, and a story hour for kids every Tuesday. There’s even a Wine Bar next door. The coffee is superb… Riverview Café is at 3753 42nd Ave. South, Minneapolis; tel. (612) 722-7234 or visit www.theriverview.net.
We headed west to the Mississippi Market, another fabulous co-op in the Twin Cities area… They feature terrific signage in their produce department, introducing shoppers to local growers such as Riverbend Farm in Delano, Minnesota and Avalanche Organics in Wisconsin… There are easy-to-spot “locally grown” signs, and we browsed the aisles admiring the huge bulk food section, including shoyu and even Reims vinegar. They have hot food to go, a spiffy cheese section, and we purchased a Mississippi Market tote bag and some organic tie-dye socks to take back to California… Mississippi Market has two locations in St. Paul; we visited the store at 622 Selby Ave.; tel. (651) 310-9499 or visit www.msmarket.coop.
Next stop was Cooks of Crocus Hill – amazing. Cooks is a gourmet retail store/cooking school all rolled into one slice of heaven… This store regularly attracts nationally recognized chefs and cookbook writers, and they’ve developed a program supporting Minnesota’s regional, sustainable agriculture. (Visit the “Crop Shares” section of their website for more info on vegetable CSA shares, salad shares, herb shares, pig shares and even pesto shares…) At the Grand store, the cooking school is upstairs, and the retail area is downstairs… I peeked into a cooking class and was awestruck by what a great space they have, only to learn that you can host a private event in one of their state-of-the-art kitchens. Cooks will provide the staff, the food and the drink, as well as the setup and cleanup…what are you waiting for? We browsed for quite a while, agog at the amount of gourmet food products, kitchen gadgets, gizmos, equipment, etc., not to mention a spectacular collection of cookbooks, including books on kitchen equipment and cooking techniques… I was amused to see my son’s favorite food item – panko bread crumbs (a necessity for maximum chicken enjoyment) and jumped for joy when I spotted my favorite chocolate bars from Oregon – Dagoba. They stock our beloved stemless Riedel wine glasses, and I strongly considered purchasing a croque monsieur pan and a panini grill until I remembered neither would fit in my suitcase… I literally had to be yanked out of the store before I signed up for a series of dinner-oriented classes for people who like to eat instead of people who like to cook… Even though I live far away, it would be worth the commute… The cooking class schedule is impressive – we just missed Deborah Madison, who had been in for a discussion of her new book, Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen. This is the kind of store that makes you want to relocate to their neighborhood – tomorrow. We visited Cooks at 877 Grand Ave. in St. Paul; tel. (651) 228-1333 or visit www.cooksofcrocushill.com.
Next up: Lund’s Market in St. Paul. I’m green with envy at the sheer number of gourmet markets Twin Cities residents have available. Lund’s bakery section is gorgeous, and I freaked when I spotted the sushi bar, offering not only sushi, but spring rolls – all natural, made fresh daily. The deli features extremely enticing goodies, such as coconut chicken fingers, wild rice with squab, pasta salads, and maple fennel pork loin. I drooled over the amazing array of cheeses, and purchased some Shepherd’s Way queso fresco. Then onto the olive bar, complete with antipasti, and then to the produce section where we spotted Dehn’s potted herbs from Andover, MN. Cedar Summit’s dairy products are plentiful, along with Hope Creamery’s butter. They have Minneapolis’s own Sonny’s Ice Creams, complete with batch numbers… I couldn’t decide on their organic pure vanilla bean or the organic coffee latte, so we bought them both… While admiring the honeys I found Minnestalgia’s whipped blackberry honey spread from Minnesota’s north woods. Fortunately, we met the store manager, Ken Atzmiller, who quickly divined I was from out of town after hearing me oooing and aahing my way through the aisles… Mr. Atzmiller helped us locate numerous local products, and then presented me with a box of Wood’s Victoria Brittle – an exclusive Wood’s recipe for over 50 years… I was stunned by Mr. Atzmiller’s generosity-even more so after I polished off the divine brittle in no time flat… We visited Lund’s Highland Park location at 2128 Ford Parkway in St. Paul; tel. (651) 698-5845, but there are eight others to choose from, or visit www.lundsmarket.com.
We headed to the Wedge Co-op, the first certified organic store in Minnesota. This is a huge market, featuring bright yellow “Certified Organic” signs that enable one to easily locate organic produce, as well as many other products. We admired signs featuring the Gardens of Eagan and Riverbend Farm in the produce section, then moved on to the bulk section that has snacks such as popcorn, trail mixes, etc… I lurked in the bread section, marveling at the array of French Meadow breads including Healthy Hemp, Men’s and Women’s breads, along with the bakery’s delicacies… The Wedge features the first certified organic meat department in the USA, and I admired delicacies such as Beeler’s pork chorizo, bison, garlic and shallot sausages, and marinated free roam chicken breasts… The Seafood section is a thing of beauty, offering a variety of wild-caught fish including Dover sole, cod, squid and yellowfin tuna… I desperately wanted to sample some of the smoked fish from Everett Fisheries in Northern Wisconsin, and I had a hard time restraining myself in the deli section… The Wedge Co-op is at 2105 Lyndale Avenue South in Minneapolis; tel. (612) 871-3993 or visit www.wedge.coop.
We stopped at the Kramarczuk Sausage Co. to admire the amazing displays of sausages and other gourmet goodies first thing, as I am a Sausage Lover. The shop was already packed with fans, and I drooled over sausages such as smoked Italian, andouille, French apple, Krakowska Polish and more. They also stock a range of breads, Inglehoffer mustards, Consorzio’s delicious marinades, Clarendon Hills butter, and more, so this is a quick and easy one-stop shop… The guys behind the counter are terrific – very kind about offering tastes of whatever it is you’d like…which, in my case, was plenty. Loved their home-made mini-sausages, which I purchased in bulk to sustain me through the plane trip back to California. By all means do not miss the delicacies at Kramarczuk Sausage Co. at 215 East Hennepin in … Read the rest