Late-Night Dining & Wine on Airplanes

Late-night food is an issue of remarkable complexity and consternation in the Twin Cities. Why? Because everybody says they want to eat out late at night—but then they don’t do it. Oh, the late-night dining I’ve seen come and go. But there are options right now! Like:

1) Bradstreet Craftshouse
You say you want chef-driven fine dining, late at night? Your best choice is at the cocktail bar Bradstreet Craftshouse, which serves nightly till 1:45 a.m. Slip in there at one o’clock in the morning and you can get: A BLT made with a house-cured pork belly and house-made tomato jam, grilled artichokes in a whiskey-cheddar fondue, those killer little sliders (spicy lamb or good beef), and of course pastry chef Khanh Tranh’s astonishing desserts. And of course, everything on the menu is under $10. If the food isn’t enough of a reason to go to Bradstreet, there are issues of regional pride and bragging rights: Bradstreet Craftshouse was just named by Bon Appétit as one of the top ten new cocktail bars in the country. And if great food plus bragging rights aren’t enough, how about your urge to do good? Bradstreet Craftshouse’s manager Scott Ida, late of the Ivy, tells me that they’ve just taken BC all organic and local as possible, as an experiment to see how that goes; if it all works they’re hoping to take the hotel’s entire food program in that direction. Yes! Do that! And the rest of you, bring your friends here after shows for their birthdays. They deserve it!

2) Hell’s Kitchen
The downtown breakfast palace has just debuted late-night weekend hours. From Thursday through Saturday night they plan to serve a limited menu all the way till 2 a.m. On that limited menu: Their all-American breakfast, those famous pecan rolls, cornmeal pancakes (though not the lemon ricotta ones), a ham and egg sandwich, burgers, their roast beef sandwich, and so on. Basic good grub. And if you want it to be there in six months, go!

3) Haute Dish
I’ve had some spectacular food at Haute Dish lately. (Which makes me glad I pitched my hissy fit. Watch out world! Could I be more of a pain going forward? You know, I think if I tried really hard, I really could.) I’ve already filed my definitive review, which will be on newsstands in a couple weeks, but till then: Loving Haute Dish’s fried chicken! Crisp, tender, full of character, and the watermelon tomato salad that comes with it is divine. And you can get it till 1 a.m on Fridays and Saturdays (till midnight during the week, and until 11 p.m. on Sundays).

4) The Depot
If I was going to pinpoint the biggest problem with late-night dining, it would be that human beings can’t remember things when we’re drinking. Literally, alcohol blocks both the forming of memories (in its extreme incarnation, that’s blackouts) and the accessing of them. And that’s why when you’re out having a good time you can never remember who serves late and you end up at Little Tijuana. Then you wake up in the morning and write me an e-mail complaining about the fact that you went to Little T! I think First Avenue’s restaurant, the Depot, stands the biggest chance of being able to overcome this terrible fact of memory, because chances are not bad that you’ll be at First Avenue to begin with, when you discover you’re drunk and hungry. Right? Another option would be to copy out this information on a very small card and put it in your wallet: In case of hunger, bring me to The Depot at First Avenue (for bacon wrapped hot dogs!).

5) Pizza Lucé
I promised readers of last week’s blog that there would be one painfully obvious option herein, and herein it is. Still, I think it’s unfair to be unkind to Pizza Lucé just because everyone goes there too much—and they’re the best vegan restaurant in town! And have excellent chicken wings. And have a lot of gluten-free options. And they are open later than any of your other choices: The downtown Pizza Lucé is open till 2:30 a.m. weekdays, and 3:30 a.m. weekends. This time of year that’s practically dawn!

What Exactly Do You Want In An Airport Liquor Store?
Speaking of dawn, did you ever get to the airport two hours before your flight departed, zip through security, and stand around wondering what to do with yourself? You could go to Surdyk’s Flights, the new Surdyk’s wine shop and wine bar scheduled to open at the airport this week or next. I talked to Andy Hall, Surdyk’s wine manager, this afternoon about the new project and told him he should carry splits or half-bottles of Champagne, chilled, because wouldn’t that be just the thing when you’re headed out on vacation? He suddenly got very quiet, because he turned out to be taking notes. So I told him about a flight I was on to Europe once, and how the very chic and romantic couple across the aisle unpacked a whole deluxe picnic hamper and half-bottles of wine and feasted royally, while my husband and I looked at them jealously. Hall and I then started wondering about logistics—aviation authorities would likely look down on passengers carrying corkscrews, so would any half-bottle have to be a screwtop? In any event, if you’ve got any ideas of things you’d love to have at the new Surdyk’s shop and wine-bar carry, post them in the comments. They’d really love to know.

And that’s it for me! Have a good weekend everyone!