Where to Go Next: Minneapolis
Early-to-bed Minneapolis now has a reason to stay up, with the advent of this spot from the husband-and-wife team of Isaac Becker and Nancy St. Pierre. Becker, formerly of Café Lurcat, favors bold flavor contrasts: roasted monkfish with a red wine-ham hock sauce; lamb with herbed goat's-milk yogurt.
Owners Doug and Jessica Anderson and Aquavit alum Roger Johnsson have converted this former diner into an energetic bistro. There's a Swedish spin to the menu: Poached eggs with gravlax is St. Paul's best breakfast, and pan-roasted Arctic char with fennel and tarragon is the dinner highlight. The quirky wine list is priced to encourage exploration.
Chef Scott Pampuch honed his skills at the Modern Café, the city's pot roast capital, before becoming his own boss. Now he focuses on finding first-rate local ingredients for dishes that range from slow-cooked bison to cilantro-stuffed trout—all under $25.
At her cheerful Linden Hills butcher shop, owner Kristin Tombers sells products from more than a dozen quality-obsessed Minnesota family farms that use sustainable agricultural methods. Some of the most outstanding items from the cooler are the foie gras, grass-fed beef and lamb-blueberry sausages. There's also a take-out counter where you can buy mile-high roast beef-horseradish sandwiches and pickled vegetables.
Only early risers get a crack at the popular Cañadas de Azucar, a thin, soft, Spanish-inspired flatbread drizzled with olive oil and flecked with sugar—and it's not unusual for the other 10 or so varieties of hand-formed, hearth-baked breads to sell out on weekends. Sublime Braeburn-apple tarts, crumbly cherry-chocolate scones and crisp lemon cookies are just a few examples of the superb craftsmanship on display behind the bakery's bright orange door.
Updated August 2009