There’s no need to travel outside our state to find the kind of molecular cooking treats that are wowing diners in Spain, New York, and Chicago. At NorthCoast Restaurant (294 E. Grove Ln., Wayzata, 952-475-4960), chef Ryan Aberle is creating some masterful experiments with food that pops—literally—in your mouth. With an approach that often makes his kitchen resemble a chemistry lab, Aberle’s is making his menu edgy, healthy, and local at the same time.
Congratulations are in order for Twin Cities eateries that made Zagat’s “America’s 1,000 Top Italian Restaurants 2008”: Campiello, D’Amico Cucina, La Grolla, Luci Ancora, Prima, Ristorante Luci, and Zelo. Also, congrats to Surdyk’s (303 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 612-379-3232), whose cheese shop was one of five stores in the nation awarded “Outstanding Specialty Food Retailers” by the National Association of the Specialty Food Trade.
I loved my trip to Vino in the Valley (vinointhevalley.com, 715-639-6677) in the heart of Wisconsin’s Rush River Valley, an hour east of the Twin Cities. Every Thursday night, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon through the end of September, owner Larry Brenner creates a unique outdoor dining experience, with guests eating in an open-air pavilion overlooking his vineyards. The property is also open for special family events, and is a perfect spot for private parties and weddings.
Sue Zelickson is host of WCCO Radio’s Food for Thought.