From a farmers market frittata to a steakhouse rack of lamb, here are the highlights that popped out while I paged through my barely legible dining diary. What were your top eats of the week? Share the details in the comments section.
Whole fried snapper at Lat14
Here’s a measure of my predictability: If a whole fish preparation presents itself, I’m going to order it. A definite star of chef/owner Ann Ahmed’s menu is this made-for-a-crowd, well-balanced beauty of a dish. The fish’s flesh is firm and succulent, its mild flavor vividly juxtaposed against a pool of chile-fueled red coconut curry sauce. An herbal salad performs double duty, providing a flourish of color while acting as a refreshing palate-cleanser (price varies according to the fish’s weight; I paid about $50 for 26 ounces). With cooking this animated, I can’t wait to return. 8815 7th Av. N., Golden Valley, 763-400-7910, lat14.com. Lunch and dinner daily.
Avocado toast at Rose Street Patisserie
Today's embarrassing confession: I have an obsession with avocado toast (so 2016, right?). Although constantly seeking out new variations on the theme, I find myself returning to chef John Kraus’ top-flight bakery, which features a changes-monthly avo toast ($11). Each tartine is built on a thick slice of the bakery’s earthy multigrain loaf, and then the pile-ons begin: a generous swipe of creamy, well-seasoned avocado, then seasonal goodies from the garden, chosen to exploit as many color, texture and flavor attributes as possible. It’s as beautiful as it is delicious, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has gazed upon the exquisiteness in Kraus’ pastry case. 2811 W. 43rd St., Mpls., 612-259-7921, rosestreet.co. Open 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Tue., 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Wed.-Sat., 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Sun. Also 171 Snelling Av. N., St. Paul, 651-556-4488. Open 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Sun.
Rack of lamb at P.S. Steak
This beef palace features two boneless cuts that I don’t recall ever encountering in a Minneapolis steakhouse: Denver (from a tender portion of the animal’s shoulder muscle) and the sublime Spinalis (aka the ribeye cap). But equally impressive is the rack of lamb ($69, and shareable). Expertly prepared and trimmed in flavor-boosting fat, the meat -- encased in a subtle char – is tantalizingly rare and so supple that a butter knife could slip through it. The long bones were arranged on the plate in such a sculptural configuration that I wondered if chef Wyatt Evans and his crew have been studying the work of Richard Serra. 510 Groveland Av., Mpls., 612-886-1620, psmpls.com. Dinner daily.
Patticake at Yum! Kitchen & Bakery
Turns out, a price can be placed on happiness, and it works out to $5.95 per slice (the word “slice” is wholly inadequate in this instance; “slab” is more accurate). Feeling the need for a pick-me-up, I should have walked around Lake of the Isles, or spent an hour on my yoga mat. Instead, I placed my waistline in further peril by parking myself at the counter at the House of Patti Soskin and channeling my feelings into this spectacular triple-decker treat. The dense, moist cake has an intense chocolate bite, the vanilla-laced buttercream icing is surely applied with a trowel, and the whole sugar bomb is a glorious, nostalgia-inducing ode to uncomplicated, grandmotherly baking. 4000 Minnetonka Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-922-4000 and 6001 Shady Oak Road, Minnetonka, 952-933-6001, yumkitchen.com. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.
Frittata at Northern Fires Pizza
My Saturday morning post-gym routine — in the warm-weather months anyway — includes breakfast and browsing at the Mill City Farmers Market. My latest go-to is the dazzling frittata ($8), pulled from owner Arie Peisert’s wood-burning-oven-on-wheels. Talk about a reflection of the farmers market: Peisert relies upon premium eggs from his next-door market neighbor, Sunshine Harvest Farm, fortifying them with locally raised potatoes (a staple on his spectacular “Spectator” pizza), onions, garlic and whatever herbs and peppers he can get his hands on. The topper is a snappy Midwestern pesto, fashioned from basil-infused sunflower oil, toasted sunflower seeds and SarVecchio cheese, Wisconsin’s answer to Parmesan. On the side is a salad of gorgeous, just-harvested greens — Peisert buys them from fellow market vendors Loon Organics or Burning River Farm — tossed with lemon, sunflower oil and salt, an add-on that’s both virtuous and delicious. Mill City Farmers Market, 704 S. 2nd St., Mpls., 612-341-7580, northernfirespizza.com, open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Peisert also sells frittatas (“It’s our gluten-free option,” he said) on Sunday at the Kingfield Farmers Market (4310 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., neighborhoodrootsmn.org) and at Bang Brewing (2320 Capp Road, St. Paul, bangbrewing.com).