For me, early winter mornings in high school meant getting up at an ungodly hour with a couple of friends to meet a crew at the local Perkins for breakfast and bonding before heading out into that tough adolescent world to do battle as a broken little tribe of weirdoes. The coffee was terrible and the food wasn’t much better, but a few bits of that comfort have stuck with me as food nostalgia. This was the era of the first mammoth blueberry muffins with crunchy sugar lids, and just about anything liquid was being served in a bread bowl. Whatever happened to the ubiquitous bread bowl?
That was just one of the thrills I felt when I first read the menu at the new Nolo’s Kitchen in the North Loop: The chili comes in a bread bowl. Right now, there is no shortage of great reasons to get up early in the morning (or stay up late at night) with a crew of like-minded friends to blow off the outside world and fortify for further battles.
Nolo’s Kitchen’s Bread Bowl Chili: This ridiculously hearty dish is exactly what you want to eat while swathed in fuzzy, soft clothing. Crackling crusty bread is filled with long-stewed meat and beans tucked into a blanket of gooey cheese. The broth seeps into the craggy interior, turning it into this deeply satisfying, squishy, hot, slurpy bite.
World Street Kitchen’s Yum Yum Bowl: It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since brothers Sameh and Saed Wadi first launched their bright-red food truck that serves global comfort food. That was the moment the first powerful cravings for a Yum Yum Bowl hit. Now, inside the restaurant, you can find those bowls of tender rice with their myriad toppings creating endless combinations of different, perfect bites. (Plus, there’s always Milkjam ice cream for dessert next door.)
Northern Fires Pizza: Not all pizza is created equal. I learned this first hand at last year’s first Slice of the Twin Cities event. There was gooey, crusty, and good pizza, and then there was the seasonally perfect pizza from Northern Fires. This seasonal food truck serves at Mill City Farmers Market on Saturdays, and this Saturday will be its last this year. Yes, this is one of your final chances to taste this pizza, with its wonderfully flavored crust, its freshly harvested, farm-fresh toppings, its local cheese, and its kiss of wood fire. If you can’t make it down there, come see them defend their title at the second annual Slice Sunday, November 5, at Minnetonka Orchards.
Want to join us for free? Tweet me (@JoyEstelle) and @MNMOMag your favorite pizza of the Twin Cities, and hashtag it #slicetwincities to win a 4-pack of tickets! A winner will be picked at 5 p.m., Wednesday, November 1.