Paletas at La Michoacana Rose
How to decide among the dozens of paletas (Mexican-style ice pops) at this colorful ice cream shop in Crystal? Ask a 3-year-old. Mine had no problem choosing the one coated in rainbow Fruity Pebbles cereal. For me, the decision was more fraught. Do I go with a water or milk base? Fruit that's been lightly spiced with chile powder, or nutty and dipped in chocolate? Luckily, there was a buy-five-get-one-free special going on, so I left with a whole bag of pops to enjoy later. (They run $2.50 for a sorbet pop, $3.50 for an ice cream bar.)
I especially liked the avocado paleta, a neon green pop with a slice of the green fruit suspended in the center. It's sweet and creamy, and it photographs especially well, in a millennial sort of way, against the pink flower Instagram wall in the shop. But my kid was spot on with his breakfast cereal pick. The multicolor rice flakes are ground up into vanilla ice cream for maximum Fruity Pebbles flavor inside and out that certainly delights more than just 3-year-olds (mom included).
The owners know all about 3-year-olds. The one portrayed in the logo at La Michoacana Rose is their own daughter, said Alex Rosario, who owns the shop with his wife, Elizabeth Raygoza.
Raygoza is from Mexico, and always loved the ubiquitous La Michoacana ice cream shops she'd visit in her childhood. "They have one in every town," Rosario explained. The names always start with La Michoacana, then diverge — for example, Minneapolis has La Michoacana Purepecha on E. Lake Street.
The couple trained for a month with an instructor from the Mexican state of Michoacán to learn how to make ice cream from scratch. "We add our own twist to every flavor, and we keep trying new things," Rosario said. "It's trial and error, for sure."
Everything is made in house, and the top seller by far is the mangonada, a Mexican street treat of mango ice cream, chamoy (a sweet-and-sour fruit paste) and Tajin chili powder, served in a big cup. "In a single weekend, we'll go through eight tubs of mango ice cream just for that," he said.
The first La Michoacana Rose opened last November, and the business is booming, with a second location in Spring Lake Park launched this week, and another coming to 50th and France (in the former Edina Creamery) in August. That'll be the second new ice cream shop at that corner, after Sweet Science relocated there this spring.
"We're going to different markets," Rosario said. "Anyone in the Hispanic community knows what La Michoacana is. But what we're trying to do is expand our customer base. We are different from any other ice cream shop." (Sharyn Jackson)
6322 Bass Lake Road, Crystal, 952-424-8178, and 8097 Central Av. NE., Spring Lake Park. Open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Thu. and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sun. facebook.com/lamichoacanarose
Bison tartare at Owamni
Patience has paid off for Sean Sherman and Dana Thompson. The forces behind the Sioux Chef brand left no detail of their stunning riverfront restaurant unfinished. Five years in the making, Owamni celebrates Indigenous cooking, which uses the plants, animals, birds and freshwater fish native to the region and eschews ingredients introduced by European settlers, such as dairy, wheat flour, cane sugar, beef, pork and chicken. And you won't miss them.
A recent sneak peek showcased the restaurant's creative menu, which included this looky bison tartare ($16). Silky Cheyenne River bison is topped with dollops of duck egg aioli, turnip crisps, dandelion wild rice and aronia berry and served with teosinte (a precursor to corn) crackers. Deliciously flawless. The beauty of Owamni — one of them, anyway — is that it employs flavors you wouldn't normally see on a menu. Dandelion pesto? Tasty. Cedar tea? So refreshing. Hazelnut-topped blue corn mush? A must.
"When we started the Sioux Chef, with almost nothing, I couldn't imagine that our first full-service restaurant would be this big, massive project," Sherman, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe, told the Star Tribune earlier this summer. "And on such a beautiful, sacred Dakota site."
That site is Owámniyomni (roughly, "the place of the falling, swirling waters"), the Dakota name for St. Anthony Falls. Nearby construction aside, it provides a beautiful backdrop.
The restaurant is already making a big splash. Thompson said they're getting calls from as far away as Japan and England inquiring about the opening. In other words, act fast when reservations open, which should be July 16. Or just be patient. It will pay off, just as it did for Thompson and Sherman. (Nicole Hvidsten)
Inside Water Works Pavilion in Mill Ruins Park, 425 West River Pkwy., Mpls., 612-444-1846, owamni.com. Opening soon.
Sweet corn soup at the Kenwood Restaurant
After spying the first appearance of Minnesota-raised sweet corn at the Bloomington Farmers Market last weekend, it was only a matter of moments before this essence-of-summer staple would find its way into restaurant kitchens all over the Twin Cities.
Chef/owner Joel DeBilzan, clearly a sweet corn enthusiast, has dived headlong into this most wonderful time of the year with a standard-setting soup ($8 and $12). It's quite the production.
He carefully builds a stock that's heavy on shallots, thyme and peppercorn, yet still manages to radiate sweet corn's sunny essence.
"Sweet corn is so sweet," he said. "You have to add some savoriness to it, to balance it out."
The golden stock is puréed, and its sumptuously silky body is enhanced with a splash of cream. Then the fun really begins.
DeBilzan sweats out a chile-fueled spreadable prosciutto — from La Quercia, the cured-meats pride of Iowa — breaking up the pork into brittle bits and reserving the oil. Both add heat and color and, in the case of that crisped-up pork, a contrasting texture. Swirls of basil oil insert a cool pop of garden-fresh green, and a relish of tangy pickled shishito peppers and charred, juicy sweet corn kernels continue the color-and-crunch theme.
Distractions, right? They could be, but not here. Those ingenious complexities work in concert, brilliantly, to accentuate the sweet corn's built-in appeal. (Rick Nelson)
2115 W. 21st St., Mpls., 612-377-3695, thekenwoodrestaurant.com. Dining room and patio open 5-9 p.m. Tue.-Sun., takeout open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tue.-Thu. and Sun., 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Fri.-Sat.
German Oven Pancake at Good Day Cafe
"Ooh, what's that?" asked a fellow diner as she walked past my table. "Next time, that's what I'm going to order."
That being this eye-catching cross between a popover and a crepe, which is simultaneously both richer and more delicate than the average flapjack.
Eggs and the oven's high heat are the inflation-creating forces, and when these beauties inevitably settle back down they retain the shape of the skillet they're baked in, flattening out yet keeping their sculpted edges.
Dutch baby is another name for this treat, which has been a menu favorite ($12.95) since the restaurant debuted 14 years ago.
Although I love its barely sweet simplicity — it requires nothing more than powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon as finishing touches — I couldn't help but daydream about the blueberries I'd picked last weekend, and how they'd be an ideal add-on. Truly, no maple syrup required. (R.N.)
5410 Wayzata Blvd., Golden Valley, 763-544-0205, gooddaycafemn.com. Open 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon. and 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Tue.-Sun.
Build-your-own poke bowls at Poke House & Tea Bar
While I've never been a fan of Chipotle's overstuffed burritos, I can certainly appreciate what the build-your-own-bowl model that it popularized has done for all kinds of fast-casual eateries. Credit Subway if you're more of a sandwich person, but I tend to think of personal favorites like Naf Naf Grill as the Chipotle of shawarma and Obachan as the Chipotle of ramen. Poke is another cuisine that has benefited from the assembly-line system, which is clear from a recent-years boom in build-your-own poke restaurants. At Poke House & Tea Bar, there are rows and rows of seafood and chopped veggies ready to be piled on a heap of sushi rice in infinite combinations. I went for a gingery dressing over shrimp, a sweet soy and spicy mayo drizzle on a double serving of raw salmon, and "krab" salad with corn.
On the tea bar side of things, there are almost as many options: Choose from fruit-flavored, slushy and a dozen kinds of boba. (S.J.)
10160 6th Av. N., Plymouth, and 1570 Randolph Av., St. Paul, pokehousemn.com. Open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tue.-Sat.