Sue Z.'s Local Finds: Blackstone Bistro, State Fair Treats, and More

illustration by james kloiber

It takes a really memorable experience for me to become a regular anywhere. When I tasted the spaghetti bolognese at the recently opened Blackstone Bistro in St Louis Park, it brought back memories of an authentic dish I had many years ago and have been searching for since. Created with ground beef, Italian sausage, and homemade tomato sauce packed with Mediterranean spices, it’s perfection on a plate ( David Fhima’s desserts, made from natural and organic ingredients, are worth frequent visits to St. Paul’s Faces in the Park—as are his house-made bakery items. Grab-and-go goods include challah loaves and buns, plus chocolate éclairs that are simply sinful ( Celebrate the end of summer with a little wine tasting at Sovereign Estate vineyard and winery in Waconia, where a small bistro menu served on the winery’s patio is an ideal way to soak in the last rays of sunshine. Their white and red sangria slushies—an alcoholic version of the 7-11 treat—combined with the beautiful views have me going back again and again ( And summer isn’t complete without a visit to check out the new foods at the Minnesota State Fair—where everyone’s a regular. For those who already love Midtown Global Market’s Salty Tart, flock to the fairgrounds to buy packs of Michelle Gayer’s coconut macaroons at the west entrance. And if you’re a Rainbow Ice Cream fan, don’t miss the new chocolate jalapeño flavor (

Sue Zelickson (Sue Z.) is a James Beard Award-winning food media personality, philanthropist, and longtime contributor to Minnesota Monthly and WCCO radio. She has founded the Charlie Awards, the Women Who Really Cook networking organization for women in the local food industry, and the Kids Cafe at Perspectives, Inc., which improves access to nutritious meals for families in need. You can find her buzzing around from event to event throughout the Twin Cities, helping to raise funds for charitable organizations, including some she has had a hand in building.