Q: You ran a list of Twin Cities ice cream shops in last Thursday’s Taste. Do you have any other suggestions for house-made ice cream?
A: Sure. Butter (3700 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-521-7401, butterbakerycafe.com) owner Dan Swenson-Klatt keeps four flavors (including strawberry-mint and coffee) in rotation, and charges modest prices: $2 to $3 cones and $6 pints.
At Patisserie 46 (4552 Grand Av. S., Mpls., 612-354-3257, patisserie46.com), chef/owner John Kraus usually has a half-dozen ice creams and sorbets on hand (salted caramel vanilla swirl, coffee bourbon). Prices? $3.50 single, $6.50 double, $8 pint. So far, he’s not serving ice cream at his impressive new Rose Street Patisserie (2811 W. 43rd St., Mpls., 612-259-7921), at least not yet. “Maybe some ice cream novelties, one of these days,” he said.
Surdyk’s Cheese Shop (303 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls., 612-379-9757, surdyks.com) culinary director Mary Richter calls upon organic cream, eggs and sugar to craft six always-changing flavors of ice cream (peach-berry pie, fleur de sel caramel with bittersweet chocolate) and sorbet (champagne-mango). Scoops are $3.89, cones are $4, pints are $8.
Finally, I’m a big fan of the ultrarich frozen custard at Wise Acre Eatery (5401 Nicollet Av. S., 612-354-2577). It’s all cups ($3.50 single, $5 double) and no cones, but that’s a good thing, because chef Brianna Baldus and her crew know their way around toppings (75 cents each) of all stripes, from hot fudge to rhubarb-caramel sauce to toasted pecans. Splurge and go for the samplers ($15 for two people, $20 for four).
Q: Any suggestions for something new?
A: Back from its three-week summer vacation — and don’t you love it that they take one? — the ownership at Travail Kitchen & Amusements (4124 W. Broadway Av., Robbinsdale, travailkitchen.com) is turning over some real estate to colleague (and six-year Travail vet) Maddie Wilson.
She’s dubbing her six-week restaurant-within-a-restaurant Venture, and serving a seven- to 10-course tasting menu for $50 (service fee extra) in two seatings (5:30 and 7:30 p.m.), Wednesday through Saturday evenings. Tickets at tempotickets.com/spotlight.
Q: Do you have a suggestion for an all-you-can-eat meal?
A: Consider saying “sayonara” to Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar (1333 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-339-0540, tinyurl.com/z6nf2c7), which is closing on July 30 after a 36-year run, by indulging in its all-you-can-eat sushi offer. Prices vary. During happy hour (4:30 to 6 p.m.) it’s $28, then it jumps to $32.
Q: I’ve got a milestone birthday coming up. Where should I celebrate?
A: How about at a restaurant with a milestone birthday of its own? Murray’s (26 S. 6th St., Mpls., 612-339-0909, murraysrestaurant.com) is 70 years young in 2016, as good a reason as any for an old-school feast on its signature Silver Butter Knife Steak for Two. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Sunshine Factory Bar & Grill (4100 Vinewood Lane N., Plymouth, 763-535-7000), although it may not appear that way, since the something-for-everyone establishment moved from its original New Hope home to Plymouth in 2013. Kincaid’s (8400 Normandale Lake Blvd., Bloomington, 952-921-2255, kincaids.com) has 30 years of special occasions under its belt. Brit’s Pub & Eating Establishment (1110 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-332-8011) turned 25 this year, certainly a reason to get out and enjoy its splendid rooftop setup. And look who’s 20: Punch Neapolitan Pizza (nine Twin Cities locations, including 704 S. Cleveland Av., St. Paul, 651-696-1066, punchpizza.com).
Q: We like to explore the area’s biking trails. Do you have any suggestions for a meal near a major trail?
A: Here are three. In the western suburbs, I’d start with Dakota Junction (2281 Commerce Blvd., Mound, 952-479-1519) on the Dakota Rail Regional Trail, for its fresh, seasonal, quick-service, family-friendly fare at lunch (Monday through Friday), dinner (Monday through Saturday) and brunch (Saturday and Sunday). Drop in on Monday for $5 deals — the kitchen’s excellent loose meat sandwich with fries, or a pair of carnitas tacos with a side of chips and salsa. Or for Tuesday dinner (5 to 8 p.m.), because that’s when kids eat free when adults purchase an entree.
Fisher’s Club (428 Stratford St., Avon, Minn., 1-320-356-7372, fishersclub.com) is the embodiment of a Minnesota lakeside supper club, with a menu — walleye dinners, fried sunfish with onion rings, broasted chicken, burgers — to match. It’s in central Minnesota, just off the Lake Wobegon Trail, and it’s open for dinner Wednesday to Sunday, and lunch Friday through Sunday.
In southeastern Minnesota, I’d highly recommend Estelle’s Eatery & Bar (121 Main Av. N., Harmony, Minn., 1-507-886-1234) for its charming Main Street atmosphere, big city cooking (if there’s soup, order it) and moderate prices. It’s right off the Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail and open for lunch Tuesday through Saturday, dinner Tuesday through Sunday and Sunday brunch.
Q: Where can a person get a beautifully prepared mocktail?
A: At Spoon and Stable (211 N. 1st St., Mpls., 612-224-9850, spoonandstable.com), where barkeep Robb Jones and his crew shake up a half-dozen refreshing, festive and carefully balanced libations, all at $7. Hungry? The kitchen pulls together what is arguably the city’s most appealing bar menu.