The Dog Days of Summer. Sultry, lazy days. Days marked by lack of movement, a partial stagnation of sorts. But, being Minnesotans, we have a passive-aggressive flair to our stagnancy. We begrudgingly flirt with these still, humid days because we can recall the not-so-distant months of snow and cold. We embrace the steambath with a sigh and then go find some comfort food.
It’s with these lazy, hazy, and crazy days of summer in mind that we present to you the Dog Days of Summer Dining. We found food vendors that you might encounter while already succumbing to the heat index at the Farmers Markets. Gourmet grab-and-go grub. Food trucks that meet you almost where you already are. Ice cream oases in your neighborhoods. Urban farmers who grow you good food while you live your summer in the city. And, for those of you who like it hot, we present ways to make things even hotter.
Farmers Market Food
Eating fresh and local is haute. Twitter is a-flutter with foodies traipsing to the wild variety of Farmers Markets in the area both weekdays and weekends, some only the size of a parking lot, others the size of a city block. As you wander through the booths of scapes and beaets and honey jars and flower bouquets, mind your midsection. Be prepared to find your breakfast, your second breakfast, your elevenses, or your lunch as you juggle your reusable bags of local produce.
Kingfield Farmers Market
Sundays, 8:30am – 1pm
4310 Nicollet Ave., Mpls
Midtown Farmers Market
Tuesdays, 3pm – 7pm, Saturdays, 8am – 1pm
2225 E. Lake Street, Mpls
Fulton Farmers Market
Saturdays, 8:30am – 1pm
4901 Chowen Ave. S, Mpls
Mill City Farmers Market
Saturdays, 8am – 1pm
704 South Second Street, Mpls
Minneapolis Farmers Market
Every day, 6am – 1pm at East Lyndale Market
Thursdays, 6am – 6pm at Nicollet Mall Market
See website for directions.
St. Paul Farmers Market
Saturdays, 6am – 1pm, Sundays, 8am – 1pm
290 E 5th Street, St. Paul
Multiple days/locations listed on website.
Hot Hot Heat
By Joy Summers
We can’t beat it, so we may as well join it. This summer has given us heat indexes that make
Southerners sweat. Want to laugh in its face? Try these.
Smack Shack Lobster Boil
Josh Thoma and the crew of the Smack Shack lobster truck have been dolling out lobster rolls by the dozens in downtown Minneapolis, but on evenings and the weekends, they can be found at The 1029 Bar over in Nordeast. Each month they hold lobster boils, a messy fest that comes drenched in butter and spattered with crustacean bits. Lose your inhibitions and don the bib, you’ll be thankful you did. The August boil will last for three days (19-21) and is an all out bash, when The 1029 hosts their annual tent party. Tickets will be available through the Smack Shack’s Facebook page.
The fleet of food trucks has grown exponentially, but there was a time when there was only one truck that was to be seen. After garnering national attention and fawning reviews, the Chef Shack remains a local treasure. Lisa Carlson and Carrie Summer’s summer job has now expanded to include three trucks and a seemingly endless menu supply of tasty creativity.
The menus change often, but include items like sweet potato tacos, a vegetarian delight with savory sweet filling with fresh salsa, luscious pulled pork and the spiced mini donuts: possibly the greatest street food ever. Check Twitter or Facebook for locations.
Why only suffer the heat on the outside? Why not treat your innards to an inferno of boozy delight? The Angry Gummi as poured at the Nordeast Minneapolis hotspot Masu Sushi & Robata looks friendly enough- a pale green drink topped with a jaunty little gummy bear- but then you take a sip. General advice in hot climate regions suggests that spicy items are best to combat the oppressive air. This drink fits the bill. The vodka carries sweet, tart grapefruit flavor and the pungent horseradish burn of pure wasabi, causes sweaty eyelids and cleared nasal passages.
Picnic Grab & Go at Golden Fig
Persian Cooler Made of course by Golden Fig…Fresh-squeezed lime juice, orange and roseflower water, cardamom, sour cherry & a touch of hibiscus to make it a beautiful pink. Mix with fizzy water or even yummier with a splash of vodka! $12.95
Raspberry Marshmallows Handmade from Laura’s Marshmallows in St. Peter, MN. Bursting with fresh raspberry flavor. $7.00
Graham Crackers Handmade from Laura’s Marshmallows with local graham flour from Whole Grain Milling in Welcome, MN. $7.00
Dark Chocolate Delicious dark chocolate bar from Sweet Goddess Chocolates in New Prague, MN. $2.95
Salami Hard Salami from Bende and Sons in Vernon Hills, Illinois. They use Vitamin C as the main preservative instead of all the nitrites that usual salamis contain. $11.95
Camembert Bent River Cheese is made by the Alemar Cheese Company. They use milk from Dave and Florence Minar at Cedar Summit Dairy. It is super creamy and crazy tasty. $1.50 per oz.
Rustica bread Delicious Rustic loaf from Barbara and Steve at Rustica Bakery in Minneapolis. Made in traditional European methods, Rustica breads are the perfect addition to any picnic! $4.95
Scream For It
By Carla Waldemar
I scream, you scream, we all… Okay, I hear you. It’s hot-hot-hot, and we long for ice cream. But not the square brick from the supermarket, thank you very much. We’re holding out for the real deal, the local scoop shops that churn their own, super-premium, hold-the-additives frozen treats. Where to head? Here’s the scoop.
Adele’s Frozen Custard—well, technically, it’s not ice cream; but, according to Adele, founder of the legendary Excelsior stand, it’s far better: less air, for smoothness; egg yolks for richer flavor. Clearly her customers agree, vying for cones packed with goodness. Among Adele’s 90 recipes, four flavors reign daily. Orange creamsicle, anyone?
Edina Creamery sates the already-supercool patrollers of 50th & France with flavors melting from amaretto chocolate cherry and Butterfinger to more outré numbers like green tea and durian (I dare you). Gourmet Magazine voted it one of the Best in the U.S. I won’t disagree.
Grand Ole Creamery has drawn lines all down St. Paul’s Grand Avenue for decades. Now a newer Nokomis location also stops traffic at the mere scent of those hand-rolled, malted waffle cones, which hold a secret surprise in the bottom (hint: love Whoppers?). The old-time ice cream parlor atmosphere is as addictive as the 31 flavors offered daily, ranging from chocolate malt banana and cotton candy to the quintessential sweet cream.
Izzy’s has created an ice-cream frenzy in St. Paul (and many a Minneapolitan has been know to cross the river) since 2000, thanks to a rotation of 32 gotta-try flavors, including that true test of a scoopmeister, pure vanilla. More esoteric flavors careen from Guinness to Norwegian Chai.
Pumphouse Creamery, cooling Chicago Avenue, is a hole in the wall that some claim is hard to find. Well, just look for the crowd on the sidewalk, lined up for the ultra-organic, über-locally-sourced ingredients that contribute to prime flavors like fresh strawberry to—ready?—kulfi, scented with rosewater, pistachios, and cardamom.
Sebastian Joe’s has been family-owned (three brothers paying homage to their Italian grandfather, Sebastian) since the ’80s, and its two Minneapolis locations serve only all-natural flavors, ranging from the zany (chocolate coyote, basil sorbet) to the immensely popular best-seller, Pavarotti, blended with caramel, bananas, and chocolate chips. Local art on the walls and free Wi-Fi, too.
Sonny’s ice cream has been the gold standard since 1945. Housed in South Lyndale’s Crema Café, the scoop shop-cum-café calls on premier Wisconsin cream to churn out flavors like the original sweet cream to wild cards including chocolate cabernet chip and pineapple mango basil sorbet.