Stand With Ukraine Cookie at Kramarczuk's
There's so much to love about the Ukrainian deli Kramarczuk's, and a lot of it has to do with pork, garlic, onions and potatoes.
But don't skip the bakery portion of this northeast Minneapolis stalwart. Right now, instead of a classic black-and-white cookie, they've got a blue-and-yellow iced sugar cookie — the colors of the Ukrainian flag ($3).
Soft and sweet, with just enough food coloring to give your tongue a little tinge of blue, these lovable little cookies are also for a good cause: Kramarczuk's is donating 100% of the proceeds to Ukrainian relief efforts.
Besides shopping at Kramarczuk's for all the Eastern European delicacies you'd ever need, here's another way to support the Ukrainian community in the Twin Cities. Friday (April 8) is the last day to pick up a varenyky/pierogi fish fry dinner from the Ukrainian American Cultural Center. For $14, you get fish, pierogies, fries, coleslaw and dessert; or a dozen of those potato pockets, sautéed with buttery onions. It's takeout-only. Order ahead at uaccmn.org/events. (Sharyn Jackson)
215 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls., 612-379-3018, kramarczuks.com
The Copperfield's club sandwich
I knew it was love when my then-boyfriend launched into a monologue about the virtues of a proper club sandwich. From bread and meat selection to bacon integrity, the man had opinions, and I was there for it. So, it was fitting that when we snuck away for a rare lunch date at the Copperfield, our eyes met again over a towering club sandwich.
The dining room of the newish all-day eatery in Mendota Heights is filled with natural light that pours into the comfortable come-as-you-are space. The menu ranges from fresh baked items in a pastry case up front, waiting to be paired with some True Stone coffee, to hearty lunch options to dinner and drinks.
It's all familiar diner fare, but done a few steps above: like the Copperfield Club sandwich ($16). Multigrain bread is stacked three layers high and graced with thick slices of Fischer Farm ham, roasted Ferndale turkey, crinkly bacon, shredded lettuce, tomato and tucked with layers of provolone cheese. The beauty is that it's not trying to reinvent an iconic sandwich, but instead delivers it well done with high-quality ingredients at every level. (Joy Summers)
735 Maple St., Mendota Heights, 651-240-6759, thecopperfieldmn.com
Kahuku-style garlic shrimp at Ono Hawaiian Plates
It's never an easy sell to be situated next to a shop where the pizzas are sold like hot cakes. The Detroit-style ones at Wrecktangle in the North Loop Galley food hall are iconic for a reason — one of their greatest hits, the Shredder, a mess of sweet, salty and spicy, is so good it made our recent list of iconic eats.
Ono Hawaiian can draw crowds of equal stature, too. Their rice plates are substantial and restorative and can transport you to the balmier shores of Maui, where Ono's founders, Warren Seta and Jessie Kelley, are from.
My favorite dish there is the Kahuku-style garlic shrimp ($17.50). It's faultless. There might not be much of a secret to it other than sourcing good, whole shrimp as large as a gorilla's thumb and cooking it just until the flesh turns opaque. Alongside unforgiving amounts of garlic. And rice. And a scoop of mac salad.
Pro tip: if you can stomach a little skin, eat the shells, too; it's brittle enough and is a vessel for deep flavor. Plus, who wants to peel shrimp? Certainly not me. (Jon Cheng)
729 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 808-365-8802, onohawaiianplates.com
Anna's Garden from Far North Spirits
A friend and I like to play a home bartending game called Will It Negroni? The bitter-edged cocktail is one of our favorites and it's amenable to a surprising range of spirits. Traditionally, the drink is made with gin, sweet vermouth and something bitter like Campari. He had edged me out in the creativity competition with an aged rum variation, but I have a new winner in my arsenal.
Anna's Garden from Far North Spirits is a bracing sip of Minnesota spring in a glass. Far North, which is indeed located at the top of the state in Hallock, burst onto the local spirits scene with its Solveig gin, crafted to taste like the way a farm field smells after a summer rain. Anna's Garden takes inspiration from a grandmother's garden, colored blush thanks to a bit of hibiscus. The flavors are ever-so-slightly floral, with a crisp refreshing waft of citrus and a lingering grassy finish of verdant dill. It's almost like a cousin of Aquavit, with the flavor cruelty of domineering caraway removed.
Now for the game: yes, it will Negroni. Mixed with a bit of white Amaro (I like Fast Penny's Americano Bianco), rosé Lillet and a Meyer lemon twist, this makes a gorgeous pink Negroni that would be an absolute stunner for a Mother's Day celebration.
Anna's Garden will be available soon on the Far North website, but for now it's in select liquor stores. I got mine at Thomas Liquors on St. Paul's Grand Avenue for $34.99. (J.S.)
Fried Pickle Cheese Curd Taco from Cheese Curd Tacos
State and county fairs were among the many things canceled in 2020. But concessionaires still had to make a living, and many operated their fair stands essentially as food trucks, selling deep-fried food on-a-stick outside the fairground realm all spring and summer long. That trend stuck around, and it's been pretty useful for vendors looking for their next big food idea.
"This gives me great opportunities to try out new menu items and get feedback," said Richie O'Neil.
He's the proprietor of Cheese Curd Tacos, which sounds exactly like something you'd find at the Minnesota State Fair. And yet it's never been selected as a vendor.
The tacos are filled with freshly wet-battered Ellsworth cheese curds and other fillings, and the whole thing is deep fried until it's one big crunchy, melty, oozy indulgence. Lettuce with ranch goes on top.
Hot chicken and bacon are some of the other things you'll find in the tacos, but currently, O'Neil is test-driving a vegetarian-friendly option that drops sandwich-sliced pickles, bound together with a layer of cream cheese, beneath the curds. The finished product ($12 for two) gives off some newfangled pickle-roll-up vibes. "Definitely not your traditional crunchy fried pickle with panko, but we like the crunch of the shell and the salt in the cheese curd batter to complement the creamy pickle treat inside," he said.
While this stand is a regular at fairs in Wisconsin and Oklahoma, "it is a dream goal of mine to be a part of the Great Minnesota Get-Together," O'Neil said. His application is already in. (S.J.)
Locations and dates vary. Next up: April 14-16 at Hy-Vee, 2501 N. White Bear Av., Maplewood. Check facebook.com/cheesecurdtacos for upcoming events.