Q: Is there a directory of food trucks that are around this summer?
A: There are several Twitter accounts that follow the current whereabouts of local food trucks. One that I find particularly useful is @tcstreetfood.
Q: I saw you recently had a story about Kramarczuk’s (215 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls., www.kramarczuk.com). What do you like to eat there?
A: What don’t I like? Sometimes it’s a matter of running into the deli and picking up the French apple sausages or what I believe are some of the Twin Cities’ best hot dogs (and the Twin Cities’ best hot dog buns) for our back-yard grill, sometimes it’s dropping in for my poppy-seed-kolache craving. In the restaurant, I’m a fan of the cabbage rolls, stuffed with pork and smothered in a tomato-cream sauce. They’re awesome.
Q: When it comes to Tilia (2726 W. 43rd St., Mpls., www.tiliampls.com), what do you recommend?
A: I feel like you can’t visit the House of Steven Brown without ordering one of his soups, which are always extraordinary exercises in creativity and deliciousness. Also, if you don’t love the grilled shrimp with peas, well, there’s something wrong with you, at least in my skewed mind’s eye. But really, there’s so much to adore at Brown’s always-crowded Linden Hills restaurant, from the ever-changing potted meat, the beautiful gravlax, that pretty Gem lettuce salad, those amazing roasted chicken thighs, his outlandishly dressed hot dogs and the incredible roast pork with poached eggs at weekend brunch.
Q: What are your thoughts about Acqua (4453 Lake Av. S., www.acqua-restaurants.com) in White Bear Lake?
A: I think it’s pretty swell, and if I lived in that part of the metro area, it would be on my regularly-scheduled dining-out roster. They’ve just opened a second restaurant in Forest Lake (8241 North Shore Trail N.) — it’s another lakeside location — and I’m looking forward to checking it out.
Q: Anything new that has impressed you?
A: Yes. I dropped in on Cossetta Alimentari (211 W. 7th St., St. Paul, www.cossettas.com) and was really impressed by the final portion of that landmark’s remake, the complex’s (lavishly beautiful) sweets shop. The bakery is turning out beautiful and addicting Italian-inspired cookies, cakes and other well-executed pastries, and the gelato was pretty darned good. Great coffee, too.
Q: I just moved to the Longfellow neighborhood in Minneapolis. Do you have any recommendations — vegetarian-friendly is a must — for current or forthcoming places to eat?
A: Count me a huge fan of Craftsman (4300 E. Lake St., Mpls., www.craftsmanrestaurant.com), and while it’s fairly animal protein-centric, chef Ben Jacoby’s dinner menu always has at least two compelling meat-free entrees and a similar number of appetizers. Just down the street at Parka (4021 E. Lake St., Mpls., parkampls.com), the Rustica bakery counter can’t be beat, and there are a number of vegetarian items worth exploring, starting with the incredible broccoli salad. Both the Turtle Bread Co. (4205 E. 34th St., Mpls., www.turblebread.com) and the Blue Door Pub (3448 42nd Av. S., Mpls., www.thebluedoorpubmn.com) have outlets in the neighborhood, and — while it’s not exactly in Longfellow, it’s close — if you’re a beer lover you should definitely check out the Northbound Smokehouse (2716 E. 38th St., Mpls., www.northboundbrewpub.com).