Ooh and aah over autumn leaves during a day-trip meal.

At Winona's affordable, family-friendly Lakeview Drive Inn, the carhops define perky and the quintessential burgers-dogs-fries fare stretches far beyond a McDonald's drive-thru window: There are burgers from locally raised bison and elk, the BLT utilizes bread from another Winona institution, Bloedow's, and the house-made root beer is served in heavy frosted mugs. Open 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.

Leaf-watchers headed to Red Wing need to know about Sarah's, where a former five-and-dime is now a colorful venue for appealing around-the-world flavors. There's Cuban-style pork roasted with garlic and oregano, shrimp and sausage jambalaya, gnocchi with butter and Parmesan, a terrific burger and tasty Swedish meatballs. Dessert? Don't miss the double-layer carrot cake. Open 4-9 p.m. Tue.-Thu., 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., noon-8 p.m. Sun.

Part gourmet grocery, part well-stocked deli and part cafe, ZZest Culinary Market Wine Cafe in Rochester covers a lot of bases in its cramped strip-mall square footage, and does it well, with inventive lunches and dinners from its exhibition kitchen and build-your-own picnic fodder from its wide-ranging selections of cheese and cured meat.

  • 1190 16th St. SW., Rochester
  • 1-507-424-0080
  • www.zzestmarket.com
  • Open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Tue.-Thu., 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat.