31: Japanese Fried Chicken (JFC) at Moto-i

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Mecca Bos

As we suffer through the paint-drying exercise of waiting for the opening of Revival , chef Thomas Boemer's (Corner Table) take on a Southern fried chicken joint that we hope will once and for all moisten the severe and excruciating drought of good yardbird, we must take what we can get in drips and drabs.

We stalk menus for appetizers, snacks, even salads, where a chef may have tinkered with the deceptively difficult maneuver of proper fried chicken. Most don't want the pressure.

The Moto-i JFC is just such a stealthy small plate.

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32: Coney Island Dog at Heartland


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32: Chili Dog at Heartland

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Mecca Bos
Heartland isn't just for fancy dining, even though candlelight abounds.

Here's a thought: Next time the unholy gurglings of a Coney Island craving erupt, avoid the Gopher Bar and its well-documented racist, sexist, generally surly vibes and head just a wiener's toss to the south in downtown St. Paul. At Heartland Restaurant Lounge, ardently passionate Midwestern chef Lenny Russo is tinkering with tube meat, and it is better, all around, than the total constitutional, aural, and emotional onslaught you'll endure at the above.

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33: Dutch Baby at Libertine


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33: Dutch Baby at Libertine

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Mecca Bos

A surefire way to incite lust: make yourself unavailable. The Dutch Baby at Libertine knows just how to be a coquette, and so it only avails itself to 10 lucky recipients daily.

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34: Fried Dumplings at Far East


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34: Fried Dumplings at Far East

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Courtesy of Far East's Facebook Page
Forget roses, we want a bouquet of these babies.

If you think making the trek from Minneapolis to St. Paul is difficult, try finding a good enough reason to go to Shakopee. Valley Fair was cool -- in eighth grade -- and sure, betting on the horses is fun, especially on dollar hot dog day. But a Shakopee trip more than once a year? Doubtful.

Until now. We're about to give you a crispy, chewy, juicy, delicious, savory reason to head (slightly) south for an evening.

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35: A to Z Pizza Farm Pizza


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35: A to Z Pizza Farm Pizza

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Mecca Bos

The charms of the first and best pizza farm in Stockholm, Wisconsin are many: idyllic rolling pastures, cud-chewing cows, plenty of open spaces for burning childhood energies, and an excellent excuse to crack open a picnic blanket and lounge in the singular golden dusk of the Wisconsin river valley. It's another reason to pine for the warm weather months. But the finest charm is the pie itself, one that stands up to all scrutiny.

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36: 'Nduja Egg Raviolo at Bar La Grassa


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36: 'Nduja Egg Raviolo at Bar La Grassa

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Danielle McFarland

Chef Isaac Becker's take on a voluptuous Italian dish, raviolo al uovo (egg in ravioli), shows off simple ingredients while showcasing Bar La Grassa's ability to consistently execute an ambitious, artisanal, old-world-style dish in a new-world setting.

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37: Corn Pancakes at Maria's Cafe


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37: Corn Pancakes at Maria's Cafe

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Courtesy of Maria's Cafe
Cachapas Venezolanas

Because breakfast is the most important meal of the day and, frankly, the best meal in general, we cherish the gastronomical wonder that is Maria's Café.


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38: Seared Salmon with Ginger, Scallion, and Sweet Soy at Quang


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38: Seared Salmon with Ginger, Scallion, and Sweet Soy at Quang

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Suzy Piper
What's the 411? It's delicious salmon.

Located on Nicollet Avenue, Quang, a Vietnamese restaurant, is known for a variety of things -- including some great tasting pho, an infuriating parking lot (but at least there's a parking lot), and probably the fastest service we've ever experienced.

It's like you barely have a moment to take it all in and poof! Spring rolls.

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39: Big Boy Ranch Plate from Chef Shack Ranch

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39: Big Boy Ranch Plate from Chef Shack Ranch

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Mecca Bos
You needn't be big, nor a boy to order this platter at Chef Shack Ranch

Here is the thing about BBQ joints -- lots of times, they are run by the kinds of dudes who could double as linebackers. Meats are their strong suit, and many can smoke these meats quite well, indeed. But the attending players -- the slaws, breads, pickles, and beans -- are usually such an afterthought that it's a standard BBQ move to serve, for instance, elbow mac with an unmelted smattering of cheese or a single slice of Wonder bread.

Lisa Carlson and Carrie Summer are the gals with the big red food trucks and the famous Indian spiced mini donuts. They are the kind of people who are so quietly humble about what they do you wouldn't really know that they are also classically trained chefs who could probably work anywhere, here or in New York, which they both have done, for many years previous to their continually burgeoning real-food-for-regular-folk empire.

You see, they are proletariat. They want to share their prodigious talents as far and as wide as possible, so, meats and donuts.

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40: House Hot Dog at Kyatchi

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40: House Hot Dog at Kyatchi

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Alma Guzman
Mayo makes the dog at Kyatchi

Suggesting that you order a hot dog at a sushi restaurant is a questionable move, we know. Maybe as questionable as putting a hot dog on the menu at a sushi restaurant.

But the house hot dog at Kyatchi is a unique experience, made all the more unique by the fact that it's offered -- and best enjoyed -- in this setting.

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Happy Hour at Kyatchi: Japanese Small Plates and $5 Sake

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