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3 Things to Eat: June 21–27

Bourbon, French fries, Pride, and fried chicken


Gray Duck Tavern's Chong Qing Chicken

Photo by Joy Summers

It's officially summer, and for me, that means it's time to hit the road—even if it's just for short trips. There's never going to be better road trip weather than this, so get out there and soak in the sun. Here are three bites certain to maximize your summer fun.

The Bourbon Butcher's Old Fashioned

I seriously thought Farmington was much farther than the quick half-hour jaunt that it is from my St. Paul door. This new whiskey-driven pub is a fantastic short road trip destination with ridiculously delicious drinks. Ralena Young is running the cocktail program and she knows how to build a beautifully balanced cocktail. Try the simple, smoky, tap-dancing-near-the edge-of-sweet Old Fashioned for a delicious take on a classic drink. It tastes even better on a summer night surrounded by friends trying to remember how to fold one of those paper fortune tellers and scribbling answers with a multi-color pen.

Gray Duck's Chong Qing Chicken

I prison-ate this bowl of spicy fried chicken at the media preview event Gray Duck Tavern hosted last week. This new restaurant on Wabasha Street North in downtown St. Paul has some stellar talent behind it with Aaron Johnson running the front of house and Donald Gonzales manning the kitchen. The internationally-inspired flavors on the menu are exactly how I want to eat at happy hour (3 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily). However, it was this chicken that I will most definitely not be sharing with any friends. You'll have to get your own.

Cafe Lurcat's French Fries

Happy Pride! I'm sending love and sparkle kisses to all my GLBT friends this weekend. You are freaking gorgeous and I love you as you are. Stop by this cafe at the edge of Loring Park for their perfect French fries and a lovely luau party—and stay loud and proud, lovelies!

*Bonus Selection: Go eat all the things at Thursday night's Taste of the Nation HotList event. There are so many incredible restaurants, chefs, and bartenders donating time and talent to help raise money for Share Our Strength. Summer is tough for kids who are food insecure, and this organization is helping to make sure there's food available to them. Being a kid is hard enough without the soul-crushing worry of wondering when you'll get to eat (or when you'll be able to have a bit of fruit or fresh vegetables). Tickets are still available to feast upon goodies from Bar Brigade, Grand Cafe, Heyday, Xavi, and so many more. $75 on June 22 at the Nicollet Island Pavillion. Eat well. Do good. See you there?

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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