Eat Your Way Through Summer

What to grill, where to drink, how to cook farmers’ market finds, and more!

Summer’s Best Burgers

Icehouse: Foie Gras Burger

Victory 44: Perfect Burger

Harriet Brasserie: Hill Burger

Blue Door Pub: Jiffy Burger

Anchor Fish & Chips: Helicopter Burger

Grill Wisdom

From Clancey’s proprietor Kristin Tombers
Don’t think of your grill as a kind of overheated microwave—start early and take your time. When Tombers lights her backyard fire pit, she keeps it going for several hours. She roasts veggies. She cooks proteins. Some she eats right away, some she saves to stir into chopped salads later in the week. • 4307 Upton Ave. S., Mpls., 612-926-0222,

5 Great Grillables that go beyond burgers & brats

We asked the protein professionals at Clancey’s Meats & Fish in Linden Hills for their favorite under-the-radar grillables

1. Goat Chops with Curried Yogurt 
You can get these already marinated at Clancey’s or make your own marinade with yogurt and Indian spices. Mix up extra yogurt to top cooked meat. Alexander Huffington serves these over a salad of couscous and parsley.

2. Blue Prawns with Charmoula 
Fresh, herby flavors and sweet, meaty shrimp. Andrew Garrison makes a thin sauce by blending garlic, lemon juice, cilantro, parsley, hot pepper, and lots of olive oil. Use some to marinate the shrimp for an hour, save the rest for dipping.

3. Halibut Cheeks 
Halibut filets are a bit delicate for the grill, so Susan Wiesner marinates the cheeks in a soy-based dipping sauce or nuoc cham (fish sauce with lime and chilis).

4. Offal Skewer 
David Urso and Julian Oja recommend soaking chicken livers, rabbit kidneys, and duck hearts in milk overnight to leach out the iron. Then thread onto skewers with big chunks of bacon (at least three-quarters of an inch). Serve over bitter greens, like frisée.

5. Grilled Feta Over Sliced Tomatoes 
The grill isn’t just for meat. Mike Veazey grills thick slabs of feta and layers them with local tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and fresh oregano. Advanced backyard cooks should try smoking some duck eggs to serve over spinach for a veggie-friendly summer meal.



Summer’s Best Cocktails

Masu: Godzilla

Marvel Bar: Oliveto

Borough: Panty Dropper

Eat Street Social: T&T

The Strip Club: Cobra Kai

Best Brews

What to drink this summer at local taprooms

Steel Toe, St. Louis Park

Size 7 IPA: One of Minnesota’s best IPAs.
Hoppy, sweet, crisp, layered. Supremely quaffable.

612 Brew, Minneapolis

Mary Ann: Brewed with ginger, so it’s spicy—and low alcohol, so you can stay awhile.

Lift Bridge, Stillwater

Farm Girl Saison: Citrusy, sweet, but not cloying—a great introduction to craft beer.

Town Hall, Minneapolis

Dortmunder Local Export: A crisp, biscuit-y lager from Minnesota’s most awarded brewer.

Dangerous Man, Minneapolis

Cream Ale: Among DM’s lightest beers. Crisp, clean, slightly bitter. Perfect for a hot day.

Indeed, Minneapolis

Let It Ride IPA: Made with rare hops. Malty with tropical undertones and a candy-like aroma.

Summit, St. Paul

Maibock: Not as sweet as other Maibocks
—and that’s okay. Floral, fruity, refreshing.

Barley John’s, New Brighton

Kaffir Pale Ale: Brewed with Kaffir limes without the overwhelming zing of most fruity beers.

Harriet, Minneapolis

Saison Nourrice: The Belgian-style brewer’s floral farmhouse ale goes down easy in the heat.

Fulton, Minneapolis

Sweet Child of Vine: Heavy on the hops but cut by a generous malt backbone. Truly sweet.



Summer’s Best Salads

Lucia’s: Farmers Salad

Union: Apples & Shaved Sunchokes Salad

Parka: Broccoli Salad

Burch Steak: Dungeness Crab & Sea Bean Salad

Gather: Watermelon Salad

5 Veggies, 5 Ways

The author of Eat More Vegetables offers more ways to enjoy your farmers’ market finds  –Tricia Cornell

1. Shave raw beets and toss with olive oil, lemon juice, and mint and let sit overnight.
2. Juice beets and mix, two to one, with sugar and a squeeze of lemon.
     Freeze, stirring every half hour to make a granita.
3. Boil or bake, peel. Blend with tahini, garlic, lemon, and olive oil for beet hummus.
4. Nestle into a baking dish completely covered by half-an-inch of kosher salt.
     Bake about one hour. Crack the salt and peel.
5. Boil or bake, peel and grate. Stir into ice-cold kefir or thinned yogurt for a summer soup.
    Garnish with dill and serve with boiled eggs.  

1. Make “caviar.” Roast whole until collapsed.  Scoop out inside and simmer with tomatoes, onions,
     peppers, and garlic for an hour or so.
2. Fry thick slices and add to a grilled-cheese sandwich made with smoked mozzarella and harissa.
3. Slice the long way, rub with oil, and grill. Drizzle with tahini sauce and yogurt.
4. Cut into batons, toss with cornstarch, and make a stir-fry with as much freshly
     crushed pepper as you can handle.
5. Slice thinly the long way, grill until softened, roll around herby goat cheese, and grill again.

1. Toss florets in flour and cayenne pepper. Deep fry in 375ËšF oil until golden.
2. Slice whole head into thick steaks, rub liberally with oil, season, and grill.
3. Make “fried rice.” Pulse in food processor until coarse.
     Sauté in sesame oil over high heat. Stir in fried egg and soy sauce.
4. Better crudités: blanch florets in boiling water for one minute.
     Plunge into ice water. Serve with thick, herby homemade aïoli.
5. Cauliflower skordalia: boil until soft and blend with tons of garlic and olive oil.


1. Hot fennel dip: blanch bulb and fronds. Chop and stir into equal parts mayo, cream cheese, and Parmesan.
     Smooth into baking dish and heat through.
2. Pulse soft parts of fronds with garlic, lemon, and lots of olive oil. Drizzle over grilled steak.
3. Slice equal amounts of onions and fennel bulbs very thinly.
     Cook very slowly in butter over low heat until caramelized. Spread on sandwiches.
4. Slice bulbs in half, brown, and braise in the oven with tarragon and white wine until they melt.
5. Toss chopped fronds with boiled new potatoes.

1.  Slice the long way, grill until charred, toss with balsamic vinegar and feta.
2. Grate; toss with flour, salt, and crushed pepitas.
     Press into a frying pan with plenty of butter, like a giant hash brown.
3. Slice into coins and dip in tempura batter (half flour, half soda water), deep-fry at 375ËšF.
4. Slice thinly and layer with tomatoes, onions, potatoes, and herbs.
     Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 375ËšF for an hour.
5. Make zucchini-bread batter (a little thin), fry like pancakes.

Road Food

Chef Shack by the river

The newest incarnation of Chef Shack is the sort of restaurant for which you don’t need an address. You just need to aim: its picturesque setting near Lake Pepin in Bay City, Wisconsin, is little more than a wide spot in the Great River Road. Besides, Twin Cities fans of the Chef Shack food trucks have honed their tracking skills for years. (Hint: take a right just past the “Drive-in Liquor” sign and cross the railroad tracks.) Chef Shack’s Carrie Summer and Lisa Carlson, the pastry and savory chefs, respectively, launched Twin Cities food trucks in 2008—theirs were the Indian-spiced mini-donuts that revved a thousand engines. After looking for a permanent place in the Cities, they landed these bucolic digs—with a cozy fireplace and outdoor pizza oven—instead, which they’ve outfitted in flea-market chic: cut-glass decanters, kerosene lanterns, horse tack, and barn wood from the family farm. The food is no less comforting, if more refined. The ethereal Caesar salad features fresh dill and celery leaves; the house-made charcuterie reprises a food-truck favorite, Thousand Hills beef tongue. The ever-changing entrées span meatloaf to bouillabaisse. And while the Thai curry costs twice as much as city takeout, the flavors are just as fiery sweet and the ingredients better pedigreed. (It’s garnished with crispy bits, like the Thai version of crushed potato chips on hot dish.) And save room: Summer’s elegant, seasonal desserts are inspired. While Carlson cooks, Summer works the dining room: filling water glasses, chatting with guests. Turns out the Chef Shack concept works when it’s fast-paced and when it lingers. • 715-594-3060,  –Rachel Hutton


Summer’s Best Cool Treats

Pizzeria Lola: Vanilla Soft Serve with Olive Oil

World Street Kitchen: Mango Lassi Soft Serve

Burger Jones: Salted Caramel Shake

Pumphouse Creamery: Strawberry Ice Cream

The Lynn on Bryant: Vanilla Ice Cream Sundae

The Burbs, Al Fresco

Noerenberg Gardens
Sushi Fix,
Centennial Lakes Park
The Good Earth,
Bryant Lake Regional Park
Eden Prairie
Pairings Food & Wine Market,
Carpenter Nature Center
Old World Pizza,
Matoska Park
White Bear Lake
Margaux’s Table, 651-387-7903
Bunker Hills Regional Park,
Coon Rapids
King’s Korean Restaurant,


Doug Flicker’s take on lake food

It is almost impossible to imagine a hot dog ever emerging from the kitchen at Piccolo, chef Doug Flicker’s nationally acclaimed southwest Minneapolis restaurant, where swirls of gastrique, dots of foam, and blocks of compressed-this and sous-vide-that are arranged with the precision of circuitry.

And yet, according to Flicker’s wife and business partner, Amy Greeley, “Doug loves hot dogs! He has this other side to him.” And this summer, Flicker will debut that laidback side at the Lake Nokomis concessions with an outdoor restaurant called Sandcastle.

Nokomis is the couple’s neighborhood lake, so when they proposed their concept to the city’s Park and Recreation Board, they thought about what they’d like to eat after a walk around the lake. Flicker and Greeley decided on hot dogs, with a gourmet twist (the “Doug” is topped with kimchi and an egg). The other items—fry bread with bison and hominy, pulled-pork sandwiches, cheese curds, shrimp ceviche—don’t have much in common except this: they’re all exactly what you crave after a day at the lake.  –Tricia Cornell


Summer’s Best Pie

Rustic Inn: Raspberry Cream Cheese

New Scenic Cafe: Triple Berry

Turtle Bread: Blackberry Peach

Smiling Pelican: Coconut Cream

Stockholm Pie Shop: Peanut Butter Fudge

Lunch Wars

Inside the food-truck phenomenon

On a cool spring morning, Cody Allen negotiates downtown Minneapolis in his food truck, the House of Hunger (known as the Twisted Sister House of Hunger until a cease-and-desist letter from the hair-metal band prompted Allen to scrape off half the truck’s vinyl lettering). Most weekdays, he’s down here slinging deep-fried hot dogs and Philly sandwiches. But first, he needs a parking spot.

Legalized four years ago, Twin Cities food trucks now number in the 70s. Without the variables of décor, ambiance, and service, they compete on quality and the bells and whistles of self-promotion—if not actual bells and whistles (Minneapolis municipal code title 10, article 185.485, section f, subsection 6: “No mobile food vehicle vendor shall use or maintain any outside sound amplifying equipment….such as bells, horns, or whistles”).

Most important, though, is location, location, location, meaning just three streets: Marquette, Marquette, Marquette. “Want some entertainment?” asks Lisa Carlson, co-owner of the Chef Shack, her truck idling at Sixth Street and Marquette Avenue. “Come down on a 70-degree morning at 9 a.m. and watch all the food trucks trying to parallel park. It’s hilarious.” The earliest a vehicle can park on Marquette is 9 a.m. At 8:55 a.m., there can be more than a dozen trucks circling the area like sharks. The best guarantee of food-truck success, it seems, is a reliable alarm clock.

Today, Chef Shack has locked down a premium spot usually occupied by the Smack Shack, whose truck is still in winter hibernation. The politics of food trucks don’t allow for calling dibs. But a block to the south, Allen and his crew take notice. “Who is that in Smack Shack’s spot?” asks DaShawn Coleman, a fry cook. Allen squints and murmurs, “You know who that is. It’s Chef Shack.” They raise their eyebrows and share a knowing look. Did Chef Shack betray some unwritten food truck code? “Well….” Allen says, considering his words. “I guess not. We wouldn’t do well down there anyway. It has something to do with the kind of food we serve. It just works better up here. It’s amazing the difference a block makes.”


The jockeying has not gone unnoticed by the restaurants up in the skyway. Fearing the trucks may be eating their lunch, the eateries banded together as the Downtown Food Committee, helmed by Doug Sams, the owner of D.Brian’s Deli, who compares the 9 a.m. swarm to “an Oklahoma land rush.” The trucks countered by forming the Minnesota Food Truck Association, and a Marquette lunch war was on.

Allen, for one, is retreating, hoping to stake out new territory a block away on Second Avenue. “Hopefully we can get a few trucks to come with,” he says. “It’s best to move in packs.” Carlson, too, hopes to get off Marquette. “I’d like to gather a few of the scratch-food trucks,” she says, meaning Chef Shack’s fellow purveyors of fresh, local ingredients. They’d move around the corner. Is the heat from the skyway making her sweat? “No,” she says. “It’s sunnier over there.”  –Chuck Terhark

Plan It

Get out and eat!

All Pints North Brew Fest
The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild’s newest festival, at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth. July 13,

Dinner on the Farm
Red Stag Supperclub chef Christopher Gerster cooks at Cedar Summit Farm in New Prague. These dinners book fast. July 21,

Toast & Taste in the Gardens
Cuisine from Twin Cities restaurants, plus local wine and beer, served al fresco at the Arboretum in Chanhassen. July 25,

Out Standing in the Field
Gray House chef Ian Gray cooks at Singing Hills Goat Dairy in Nerstrand. July 30,

Send us your pic—and win!

Tweet a pic to us @mnmomag of you getting out and enjoying summer food and drinks in Minnesota and be sure to include the hashtag #mnmosummereats. On July 1, we’ll pick two winners at random to enjoy a great Twin Cities restaurant.