NOW IS THE TIME to do some late-season alfresco dining—if for no other reason than it could provide great memories to hold you over during the chilly months ahead. In St. Paul, I love to sit outside at Pazzaluna and order chef Rino Baglio’s award-winning calamari. Or I go to Muffaletta on Como Avenue to get chef JD Fratzke’s delicious muffuletta. In Minneapolis, CafÃ© Lurcat’s outdoor patio on Loring Park is the perfect setting for enjoying the lurcat burger and pommes frites. Also not to miss: the crab rolls and trout—straight out of the trout pond—at Jax CafÃ© on University Avenue, the fish tacos at Sea Salt at the Minnehaha Falls Pavilion, and the rainbow burgers at Tin Fish on the water’s edge at the Lake Calhoun Pavilion.
Be sure to check out Avocados World Bistro (1190 16th St. SW, Rochester), the new Caribbean-themed restaurant in Rochester, where chef Christopher Ray, formerly of the California Cafe in Bloomington and the San Pedro Cafe in Hudson, heads up the kitchen. He’s serving everything from conch chowder to chorizo chicken.
Watch for the opening of Via Cafe & Bar (6740 France Ave., Edina), Mission American co-owner Anoush Ansari’s new restaurant in Edina, located in the old Pizzeria Uno space across from Southdale Center. Via will be open for lunch and dinner daily, plus Sunday brunch. And they’ll have a pretty outdoor patio with fire pits to keep guests comfortable as the weather cools.
If there were a competition for interesting food combinations, I’d cast my vote for the cauliflower flan at Saffron Restaurant & Lounge in downtown Minneapolis, where chef/co-owner Sameh Wadi’s innovative recipe produces cheers for what is usually an unpopular veggie.
Sue Zelickson is the host of WCCO Radio’s Food for Thought.