Grilled Chicken from Best Tacos del Sol at Mercado Central
I was standing in line before I knew what we were waiting for; sometimes a person is simply carried away by energy. There is always a dizzying anticipation that makes my feet a little lighter as I walk to the Central Market on E. Lake Street. It’s impossible to miss the colorful building when driving down the popular corridor, but it had been a while since I stopped.
As it turned out, the line was for a dish I’ve had a million times, but when you’re in a market with so many choices, it’s hard to decide between old favorites and new ones.
Mercado Central first opened in 1997 as an economic hub, a place where local Latino business owners could combine power and support each other in one centralized location. There are various types of businesses inside, but I love to stay in the dining rooms on the first floor. It was there that the man behind the counter at Best Tacos caught my eye and caught my eye with his specials.
Roasted Chicken ($14) is one of those dishes that I can’t resist. Marinated chicken is grilled right on the bone, then sliced and slathered in a vibrant, spicy sauce. The chicken was charred and juicy, so succulent it made my head spin with dreams of summer days next to a hot charcoal grill and the sun-drenched streets of Mexico City. It was a hearty plate, piled high with rice, beans, and salad and a side of warm tortillas. It was a meal that I was happy to break up and then pack up the second half to revisit later. (Summers of joy)
1515 E. Lake St., Mpls., 612-728-5485, mimercadocentral.com
Sirloin Special at Lindey’s Prime Steak House
As a transplant from Minnesota, I’m still working my way through the classic Twin Cities haunts, the long-running and much-loved restaurants that have endured for generations. Like Lindey’s, the Arden Hills steakhouse that is so confident in what it has been doing for the last 60 years, owns the URL theplaceforsteak.com.
He was delighted to finally arrive at this cozy booth of a restaurant, where menus become signs that servers drag around the restaurant, and the only information on his table is a postcard explaining the different temperatures for ordering your steak. (Supposedly, if he fills it out, the restaurant will mail it to you.)
The first option on the menu, which is only four items deep, is Lindey’s Special, a 16-ounce piece of sirloin ($38) that the server cuts in half at the table to show you how red medium rare really is. But even better than that tender steak is the chance to soak up its flavor-bomb juices with an unlimited side of seasoned potatoes, sort of like creamy mashed potatoes that’s been flattened and fried on a griddle. With a refillable basket of garlic toast and salad bowl also included, Lindey’s leftovers were the treats that kept on giving. (Sharyn Jackson)
3600 N. Snelling Ave., Arden Hills, 651-633-9813, theplaceforsteak.com
Edelweiss Bakery Bruschetta
A popular bakery in downtown Prior Lake now has a wilder side.
This fall, owners Laurie and Joe Lin added an evening wine bar four nights a week, serving up small bites in a setting that’s just as charming at night as it is during the day. A fireplace, music and a dozen tables create a cozy atmosphere, ideal for both date nights and a night out with friends.
The food menu is not huge, but it can be filling. After a spectacular starter of goat cheese served with dried fruit and nuts ($11) and lots of bread and flatbread, we opted for an order of bruschetta—four large slices for $19—for a main course, knowing you can’t go wrong with the bakery. bread. There were eight combinations, but the two standouts were the parmesan artichoke tapenade and the pesto, arugula and salami. The tapenade was bursting with flavor, in a deliciously garlicky and salty way that had me looking for recipes to add to my holiday appetizer repertoire. The arugula and salami were a good match for the pesto, providing a spicy bite that paired well with the evening’s wines. Grazing tables and salads complete the menu.
The wine bar is open Wednesday through Saturday from 4-9 p.m. of beers ($6-$7) and some N/A options ($6), too. If you are coming at night, make plans to return in the morning; the bakery alone is worth the trip. For the most up-to-date information, follow their Facebook page. (Nicole Hvidsten)
16186 Main Avenue, Prior Lake, edelweissbakerypl.square.site
Milk and Cookie Cake from Vikings & Goddesses Pie Co.
In Minnesota, we don’t let a little snow put an end to our farmers market season. Especially when there’s a cozy place to hold one indoors. The charming Mill City Farmers Market has now moved into the even more charming Mill City Museum for the winter, with markets on select Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (the next one is November 19).
Many of the market’s greatest hits are found amidst the brick walls of the old flour mill. The vendor with the longest line? That would be Vikings & Goddesses Pie Co., the business of St. Paul-based pastry chef Rachel Anderson. While her $5 slice deals can vary from market to market, she right now can get her hands on one of Anderson’s best sellers: milk pie and cookies.
Anderson describes it as his version of tiramisu. Nellie’s Ice Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies are drenched in coffee and whiskey, and topped with sweet mascarpone inside one of her shortbread cake shells. More cookies crumble on top. It’s sweet, creamy, crunchy goodness.
You can order a slice or a whole pie ($28) in advance at vikingsandgoddessespiecompany.com. And while you’re there, grab a $5 frozen crust or two to get your Thanksgiving baking started. (SJ)
Mill City Museum, 704 S. 2nd St., Mpls., millcityfarmersmarket.org
Earl Giles’ 23rd Century Cocktail
The actual grand opening of Earl Giles Restaurant and Distillery, the destination restaurant and bar envisioned by well-known local bartenders Jesse Held and Jeff Erkkila, took a while, thanks to the pandemic, supply chain issues, and life. But the dream came true a couple of months ago, and their destination distillery in the Northeast is fully open and running on all cylinders.
The last time we visited, the kitchen was fully functional and the pizza was an immediate hit, but the bar was not yet stocked with its own spirits. So, returning, drawn by the siren song of the puff pastry pizza, we ordered drinks.
The 23rd Century is an energetic balance of warm coffee and cocoa flavors with Earl Giles’ London Dry-style gin crunch, all offset by a bit of lemon citrate. The result is a drink that should have opposite flavors but somehow work together splendidly. It is a drink that can be drunk during brunch (or lunch) with its light sweetness and bright finish. Between this, the pizza, and a giant warehouse full of live plants, it’s sure to remain an oasis come winter. (JS)
1325 N.E. Quincy St., Mexico City, 612-345-5305, earlgiles.com
The Taste team is taking a break from eating out to eat Thanksgiving week. We’ll be back with five new things on December 5th.