Chow Town

Culinary adventures in Minneapolis include smoke, radishes, floozies

The Bachelor Farmer shared fresh local radishes with butter, salt and sesame crisps upon our arrival.
The Bachelor Farmer shared fresh local radishes with butter, salt and sesame crisps upon our arrival. Special to The Star

Although short on barbecue joints, Minneapolis is a worthy culinary destination for road tripping Chow Towners. Farm-to-table local cuisine has a big footprint in this dynamic heartland city. Minnesota’s rich black earth yields bounteous harvests of radishes, beets, greens, squash, peas, beans, onions, corn, tomatoes and more, plus cage-free organic eggs and organically raised livestock.

During a recent two-day adventure with relatives in Minneapolis, the closest we got to farm-to-table barbecue was an afternoon snack at Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub. Co-owners Jamie Robinson, Brewer, and Amy Johnson, GM, with Chef Jason Foster and staff are passionate about serving quality Minnesota-sourced foods and brews. They are also good neighbors to Moses Quartey, pitmaster/proprietor of Ted's 19th Hole Barbecue. Far be it from Jamie and Amy to compete with the traditional barbecue, Jojo’s and other sides at the 19th Hole. Instead they offer smoked salmon, whitefish and trout, plus appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, salads and quality brews made on the premises.

Two popular restaurants recommended by a friend topped our list: The Bachelor Farmer and Saffron.

The Bachelor Farmer, brainchild of co-owners/brothers, Eric Dayton and Andrew Dayton, is staffed by a top-notch team of cooks, managers and servers, starting with Chef Paul Berglund and his Nordic-inspired menu. Perry and I ordered poached pork shoulder on polenta with mustard greens. It was superb, as was Gretchen’s Wieninleike, red Russian kale, broccoli di cicco, kohlrabi and roasted garlic, and Cheri’s roasted king salmon, early summer vegetable ragout, green garlic and lemon. Some of the Bachelor’s herbs and vegetables are grown upstairs in the rooftop garden. For the full scoop, see Cindy Brucato's interview with Eric.

Saffron, co-owned by brothers Saed and Sameh Wadi, is a popular spot for contemporary Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. Our Saffron favorites were roasted chicken with eggplant lovash, tahini and spices, Middle Eastern beef/lamb/pine nut sausage, and several styles of hummus.

Ron and Joan met us for brunch at Wise Acre Eatery, featuring Scottish Highland beef, Yorkshire pork, free range chicken and organic eggs and produce from the Tangletown Garden Farm in Plato, Minn. Executive Chef Beth Fisher, Sous Chefs Brianna Baldus and Kate Baxter and GM Caroline Glawe offer superb cuisine and friendly service, while co-owners Dean Engelmann and Scott Endres tend to their Tangletown Nursery and garden supply business across the street. Wise Acre’s “Floozy” was the featured dessert. It’s a simple non-threatening combo of vanilla ice cream and white port that we couldn’t resist sharing.

We topped off day two by paying homage to the famous hand-cut limestone beehive barbecue pit in Lilac Park next to Highway 100. Sadly, there is only one restored beehive today, and it is now just for show. The fire pit and grill are sealed.

Straying from Kansas City barbecue for culinary adventures in Minneapolis will not disappoint!