Sausage and greens pizza at Green Scene

After a full day of driving, it's nearly impossible to resist pulling over by the beach in downtown Walker, Minn., and just jumping in the lake. But that would mean missing the pizza and farmers market at Green Scene.

It offers a specialty market with organic vegetables and all kinds of delicious foods and N/A beverages to explore. On the other side of the business is an open restaurant that leads into the back patio and a green space for the farmers market. The glittering bar offers an impressive selection of craft cocktails as well as some gorgeous N/A beverages, including an N/A old fashioned ($12) that alone was worth the drive.

The menu centers around pizzas, which use fresh produce and travel in and out of a wood-fired oven. The pork and greens pizza ($15) is built on a Parmesan-cream white sauce base and topped with porky nubs of sausage and oozy mozzarella cheese. After baking, it's sprinkled with microgreens for a gorgeous finish. And it comes in the sweet-spot size that feeds two. I happily devoured a piece while enjoying the Grateful Dead covers that an acoustic band played on the porch, then I headed to the market to make a cabin haul. (Joy Summers)

617 Michigan Av. W., Walker, Minn.,

Loco Moco at Pau Hana

There's a lot going on here, but in the best possible way. The Loco Moco is a kicked-up version of the favorite Hawaiian dish, typically an inexpensive "worker's lunch" of plain rice, brown gravy, ground beef patties and a fried egg.

Pau Hana's take starts with a mound of sushi rice seasoned with sweet-savory furikake and topped with a ground beef patty before being smothered in an intensely flavorful Japanese golden curry sauce. A golden fried egg finished with chile threads adds a pop of flavor and color, and three just-sweet-enough coconut shrimp are an added bonus ($26). It's like island surf and turf, but better. I'm still thinking about it, wondering how it all just ... works. (You can also sub ahi tuna for the beef, $30.)

It's worth noting that Pau Hana chef Chris Ikeda joined forces with Ono Hawaiian Plates' Warren Seta to cook up a special luau to raise money for relief efforts for Maui after the devastating fires. The event quickly sold out, but Pau Hana is looking for other ways to help and is encouraging donations to the Maui food bank. Follow their social media for updates on their efforts. (Nicole Hvidsten)

14435 Hwy. 13, Savage,

Sweet corn soup with nduja sausage and basil oil

My family history is filled with epic tales of people going to great lengths to source top-quality ingredients, then cooking, serving and enjoying epic meals.

When I was growing up, we had a favorite corn stand. It was located somewhere between Eveleth and Gilbert, Minn., and the family cabin. It was largely agreed that it was the best place to get the sweetest summer corn. Since then, the cabin sold, the farmstand stopped showing up and much of my family has either departed the earthly realm or moved afar. When I heard that my aunt was in town for lunch, I knew exactly where to take her.

The Kenwood's menu is a dependable mix of seasonal ingredients and favorite dishes, like the decadently good Kenwood burger. But on a sunny late summer day, the velvety corn soup ($9/13) was irresistible. Lush cream and juicy, bright corn blend into a luxurious dish that's enlivened by nduja sausage with its slick, spicy juice and a grassy, flavor-boosting basil oil. It tasted just like the sweet corn from my childhood. And I even got to drive around a lake, this time Lake of the Isles. (Joy Summers)

2115 W. 21st St., Mpls.,

Blackened catfish at Shakopee House

If you haven't been to Shakopee House in a while, you'll hardly recognize it. The Minnesota River views and patio spaces are intact. Ditto the lengthy cocktail menu and lower-level tiki bar. But the supper club menu has been replaced with Louisiana-inspired cuisine that embraces Cajun and Creole flavors. Think po'boys, shrimp and grits, andouille, okra, seafood boil, crawfish, beignets, etc. And popovers, a customer favorite, are back.

Why the switch? In a message to customers, the owners, Hospitality Collective, said, "We attempted to bridge the gap between what Dangerfield's was and what we hoped Shakopee House could one day be. ... The result has been an awkward mix of old and new, leaving much to be desired."

The new menu has been well-received, and our server was eager to share her newfound Cajun knowledge. After a starter of light, airy and addictive garlic-Parmesan beignets ($9), we went with a shrimp po'boy ($18), one of eight varieties, and my pick, blackened catfish with dirty risotto ($24). A generous piece of well-seasoned (and well-cooked) catfish topped a creamy and spicy risotto, thanks to the addition of andouille sausage and its flavorful "holy trinity" base — onions, bell peppers and celery. There's more to explore, and I'm eager to see how Shakopee House 2.0 fares. (Nicole Hvidsten)

1583 1st Av. E., Shakopee,

Vodka Mezze at Red Rabbit

At Red Rabbit, three new, limited-time specials celebrate peak summer sweetness with a farmers market worth of fresh ingredients. And I just had to order them all.

The Heirloom Panzanella ($14) tosses local heirloom tomatoes, diced cucumbers, bell peppers and basil with crusty chunks of sourdough for a hearty but not heavy salad. The Sweet Corn Pizza ($15) blends sweet-as-honey yellow kernels with cream cheese and crumbles of nduja sausage on the Italian restaurant's signature wood-fired dough. And my favorite dish, the Vodka Mezze ($16), enrobes al dente pasta tubes with a silky tomato vodka sauce and a creamy, pillowy pile of burrata. Happy harvest.

Bonus: both of Red Rabbit's Twin Cities locations have delightful patios on which to enjoy the "features" menu on a summer evening. (Sharyn Jackson)

788 Grand Av., St. Paul, 651-444-5995; 201 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-767-8855,

Note: The Taste team will be off the next two weeks to allocate our time and calories to eating around the Minnesota State Fair. Visit past installments at