I spent some time in Minneapolis and St. Paul back in December 2011. It was deafeningly cold. The tentacles of the frosty wind were long and thin, the kind that can fit into any permitting small space, including ear canals. More than anything, I remember my eardrums feeling as though they were bleeding from the shock. I was staying with some relatives in an apartment building that didn’t have its own yard, so I had to put my boots and thick coat on several times a day to walk my dog. It hurt; I could feel it in my bones. During times like these, our bodies crave warmth and sustenance. So I spent time eating. Three of the restaurants I visited in the Twin Cities are worth sharing.
%Gallery-161130%The Happy Gnome
Located in Cathedral Hill, this New American Gastropub seems to do everything right. I’m fond of Belgian beers and their beer list sent me sailing through alcohol-heavy, tasty options. The veggie sandwich I ordered was incredible and not at all the obligatory “Please The Vegetarians Before They Cause A Stink” type of sandwich. The decor was beautiful and the service was good. The only complaint I had – that it was really cold – doesn’t even resonate with me as entirely valid since it was December and Minnesota.
After reading rave reviews online, I indulged my husband’s Italian birthday dinner wishes and took him to Broder’s. A short wait later, we were seated at the bar, the one that’s referenced in the name of the restaurant. Our waitress was extremely friendly despite crowd (the place was packed on a Wednesday night). Upside down colanders hung as lampshades overhead. Our varied breadbasket was refilled several times. Our wine was savory and our food followed suit.
Exposed brick. Wood floors. Dim lighting. A playlist that sounded like it had been exported from my personal iTunes. I stopped into 112 for dessert only, but I wish I’d tried the entrees, too. But as for their use of sugar, they did it well. We got the Tres Leches Cake and the Triple Chocolate Cake with graham cracker ice cream. It was so good that we went back the next day before we left town to get a gift card for the relatives who were hosting us so that they could dine in full and allow us to, in effect, try our hand at tasting the menu vicariously.
Daunting as the Twin Cities may be during the starkest winter months, there’s solace to be found in the heated indoor restaurants and bars sprinkled throughout the city.