The Happy Gnome's MN game burger: 100 Favorite Dishes, No. 27

Happy Gnome game burger.jpg
Mo Perry
Eating locally sourced food never tasted so indulgent
Eating locally sourced food has been all the rage for quite some time now, but maybe you've eschewed the whole idea, thinking it meant stuffy, sparse plates of morally superior greens sprinkled with a few smug flax seeds. Allow me to introduce you to The Happy Gnome's MN game burger: an undeniably flax seed-free mixture of local bison, elk, and bacon, formed into a patty, topped with carmelized onion and bleu cheese sauce, and served with a side of lingonberry aioli. Minnesota, eat your heart out. Literally.

Happy Gnome game burger.jpg
Mo Perry
Actually, the good news is that bison, elk, and other game meats are much lower in fat and cholesterol than traditionally raised beef, and the fat is does contain has a higher proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (good fat) than beef. Of course, the added bacon probably brings the game burger right back in line with your standard beef patty, in terms of healthfulness.

But you don't go to The Happy Gnome for a diet-friendly experience. The place exudes a kind of Shire vibe, with its endless taps of frothy ale and menu full of hearty, gamey fare. It's easy to feel like a hobbit there, settling in for a well-deserved second lunch and a pint. And nothing rewards a trip to Mordor and back like the game burger, with its generous patty, almost peanut buttery sauce of bleu cheese and carmelized onions, and side of deeply browned, wonderfully heavy hand-cut fries. The lingonberry sauce adds a whimsically Minnesotan shmear of brightness. It's perhaps the only burger in town worth the $15 they charge for it--a hefty price for gnomes and hobbits to shoulder, but hey--that climb up Mount Doom isn't going to fuel itself.

The Happy Gnome
498 Selby Ave, St. Paul
651.287.2018
The Happy Gnome's website

Hungry for more? The dishes in our countdown thus far are linked below:

No. 28: Patisserie Margo's zuppa englese torte
No. 29: Heartland's Kansas City strip steak
No. 30: Tum Rup Thai's Mee Kah Teeh
No. 31: Dolsot Bibimbap at Dong Yang Oriental Food
No. 32: Piccolo's Scrambled Eggs with Pig's feet
No. 33: Meritage's pommes frites
No. 34: Travail's Fried Chicken
No. 35: Hmong Village's stuffed chicken wings
No. 36: Cafe Maude's Now You Know
No. 37: Urban Eatery's Asian pork sliders
No. 38: Isles Bun & Coffee's puppy dog tails
No. 39: Surdyk's Flight's chicken báhn mì
No. 40: Sunny Side Up Cafe's Santa Fe Railroad French Toast
No. 41: Szechuan Spice's chicken with double chili pepper
No. 42: Dancing Ganesha's Chicken 65
No. 43: Bradstreet's Black Walnut Old Fashioned
No. 44: Wakame Bistro's Crazy Lobster Roll
No. 45: Brit's Pub Scotch Eggs
No. 46: Peninsula's chili tofu
No. 47: Annona Gourmet's balsamic vinegars
No. 48: Cocina del Barrio's jalapeño poppers
No. 49: Papa's Philly Cheesesteak
No. 50: Swede Hollow Cafe's caramel roll
No. 51: Thomasina's cashew brittle
No. 52: Patisserie 46's Rory Cake
No. 53: Il Gatto's Ravanelli
No. 54: Mandarin Kitchen's seafood and tofu hotpot
No. 55: The Inn's Polish Delight cocktail
No. 56: Gopher Bar's Coney Island dog
No. 57: Holy Land's hummus tahini
No. 58: The Sample Room's wild mushroom ragout on polenta
No. 59: On's Thai Kitchen Nam Thok
No. 60: Flamingo Restaurant's vegetarian combo
No. 61: Sea Change's Brioche Pain Perdu
No. 62: Haute Dish's "Steak & Eggs"
No. 63: Tremblay's Sweet Shop salt water taffy
No. 64: Bars Bakery's Turtle Bar
No. 65: Pizzeria Lola's Lady ZaZa Pizza
No. 66: In Season's fried oysters
No. 67: Cave Vin's steak frites
No. 68: Everest on Grand's cabbage and potatoes
No. 70: Surly Coffee Bender
No. 71: Quang's bun tom xao
No. 72: YoYo Donuts' maple bacon doughnut
No. 73: Cupcake's mini cupcakes
No. 74: Willy D's ribs
No. 75: Salsa a la Salsa's Fried Chocolate Truffles
No. 76: Anodyne's Artichoke Melt
No. 77: Origami's steamed duck
No. 78: B.T. McElrath's Salty Dog bar
No. 79: Mozza Mia's house-made limoncello
No. 80: Salty Tart Bakery's pastry cream-filled brioche
No. 81: Little Szechuan's bamboo tips with chili sauce
No. 82: Oceanaire's Jumbo Lump Crab Cake
No. 83: Aperitif's Nonni's Meatballs
No. 84: Christos's Saganaki
No. 85: Seven Stars' Sesame Bagel
No. 86: Hell's Kitchen Lemon Ricotta Hotcakes
No. 87: Blackbird banh mi
No. 88: Tank Goodness chocolate chip cookies
No. 89: Sole Cafe's gal bee
No. 90: Porter & Frye's El Pelon
No. 91: Coffee News' fish and chips
No. 92: Bread & Chocolate's Fabulous Fudge Bar
No. 93: People's Organic Panna Cotta
No. 94: Sea Salt Eatery Crawdad Po' Boy
No. 95: Fuji Ya's Tofu Don
No. 96: Ike's Food and Cocktails The Weekender Bloody Mary
No. 97: Punch's Toto pizza
No. 98: Stockholm Pie Company's peanut butter fudge cream pie
No. 99: Dogwood Coffee Co.'s macchiato
No. 100: Al's Breakfast buttermilk pancakes

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Clocks All Around
Clocks All Around

The place exudes a kind of Shire vibe, with its endless taps of frothy ale and menu full of hearty, gamey fare.

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