100 Favorite Dishes: No. 76, the Mill NE's cheese curds and beet ketchup

As a countdown to the Best of the Twin Cities 2014, coming April 16, the Hot Dish is serving up 100 of our favorite local dishes.
Hannah Sayle

Fresh or fried, cheese curds have earned their place among staple Midwestern snacks, being equally delectable as squeaky cheese straight from the farm or as a gooey filling encased in crispy breading. With its Faribault Caveman cheese curds, the Mill NE opts for the latter, frying up these mild morsels in a light, crispy batter and serving them with an earthy beet ketchup.

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Offered as a side item all day long, the cheese curds are the perfect appetizer for brunch or as a happy hour pick-me-up. The curds are fried with a thin layer of batter that puffs up around the cheesy core, creating a small pocket of air for a truly light take on the traditional bar food. The beet ketchup is slightly sweet, with all the earthiness of a root vegetable and very little of the tang of tomato ketchup.

The Mill NE recently opened as a reincarnation of the Mill City Cafe, which closed in May of 2012. Mill City Cafe was beloved for its wild rice pancakes and outdoor patio, and the Mill NE carries on at least half of that tradition by serving those delightful pancakes every day at brunch. (In lieu of a patio, the Mill NE currently has a small parking lot, a relic of Porky's, the fast food joint that once occupied the building.)

Get your cheese curds ($7) at brunch every day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., or at dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. on Sunday and Monday and 5 to 10 p.m. the rest of the week. The price drops to $5 during those in-between hours of 3 to 6 p.m. every day and from 10 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.

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Melanie Neidick
Melanie Neidick

Grr....cheese curds vendors: ship to Florida, make a killing!

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