From hotcakes to hamachi, here’s a rundown of my dining diary’s recent entries. What were your top eats of the week? Share the details in the comments section.

Lemon-Ricotta Hotcakes at Hell’s Kitchen

The week’s gloomy weather nudged my appetite into pancake mode, and what better way to scratch that itch than with these classic flapjacks? They were every bit as impressive as my memory had recorded them. The ingenious use of ricotta enriches but doesn’t overwhelm, and the lemon zest constantly keeps things light. Truly, a pancake for the ages. Excellent service, too. Two quibbles: $14.95 feels a bit steep for a three-cake short stack, and a windowless basement remains a less-than-ideal environment for breakfast. 80 S. 9th St., Mpls., 612-332-4700

Hamachi at Vann

Every Tuesday at his small-scaled, self-proclaimed “seafood-centric” restaurant, chef/owner Erik Skaar offers a four-course, $65 tasting menu that’s basically a greatest-hits compilation of his dinner menu. This sophisticated and strikingly beautiful dish was a definite highlight of that highly recommended experience. The tangy side of this firm, almost buttery fish was accented with a well-calibrated tango of acid and heat, tempered with bright blasts of ginger and the cool, rich finish of salmon roe. Yeah, I’m looking forward to returning. (The dinner menu’s a la carte version of this dish is $15). 4016 Shoreline Drive, Spring Park, 952-381-9042

Cider Licks at the Golden Fig

Half the fun of browsing through this well-stocked store is leaning into a sense of discovery, because you truly never know what edible treasure you might encounter. Who knows? Owner Laurie Crowell may have tapped a connection for Iowa-raised chestnuts, or she might have stocked her freezer with these taste-of-summer treats, which should be familiar to anyone who has ever set foot inside the Agriculture Horticulture building at the Minnesota State Fair. White Bear Lake’s Pine Tree Orchard has operated a stand in that building for years, and it’s where throngs of fairgoers line up for just-picked apples and these frozen treats. They’re composed of sweet-tart cider pressed from the orchard’s apples. Nothing deep-fried, nothing on-a-stick, just pure, unadulterated Minnesota apple goodness. It’s a State Fair must, and now it’s a Grand Avenue must. 794 Grand Av., St. Paul, 651-602-0144

Kaddo Bourani at New Scenic Cafe

OK, I’m cheating here a bit, because I’m including a quick overnight visit to Duluth in this metro-area roundup. So sue me. But when you have the good fortune to dine at one of the state’s great restaurants — and not just once, but twice — then it’s difficult to not want to talk about it. To this Twin Citian, this 20-year-old restaurant is synonymous with Duluth, and I’ve long admired it for many reasons, not the least of which is chef/owner Scott Graden’s deft ability to transform vegetables from familiar produce section staples into memorable meals. This meatless version of an Afghani staple ($14) is a perfect example of that affinity, and a reflection of Graden’s global travels. The base is tender roasted squash, its quiet sweetness countered by tangy smoked yogurt and pops of harissa, dukkah and mint, with a flurry of crispy fried shallots providing maximum textural contrast. It was so ingenious and delicious that, when I returned for dinner, I ordered it again, and devoured every morsel. I can’t remember the last time that happened. 5461 North Shore Dr., Duluth, 218-525-6274

Coconut macaroons

I’m cheating a second time, because while these fantastic cookies originated with a recipe from the Salty Tart, I did the baking. From this recipe. You should, too, because they’re the cookie that bakery founder Michelle Gayer christened “Crack-a-roons,” a totally accurate name, given their can’t-eat-just-one aura. The recipe is easy to follow, and the results are pretty darned close to what you’ll encounter at the St. Paul bakery/cafe. 289 E. 5th St., St. Paul