White Hot Ramen: Zen Box Breaks the Tonkotsu Spell, Tries Paitan Ramen on for Size

Zen Box Izakaya's duck ramen

If your idea of a perfect bowl of ramen features rich porky broth with fatty slabs of pork belly bobbing around, you're not alone. Tonkotsu ramen, or pork bone ramen, is a chef's -- and diner's -- darling.

But in their ongoing, epic quest for the perfect bowl, Zen Box owners John Ng and Lina Goh have found inspiration in a different kind of ramen. Traveling twice to Japan and most recently to New York where they slurped at the now-famous Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop (Ivan Orkin is probably the only American with a wildly successful ramen joint in Tokyo and now in NYC, also wildly successful), the pair fell in love with new broths, noodles, and fixings, and brought that inspiration back to Minnesota.

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Zen Box Izakaya brings worldly inspiration to ramen

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Where to Eat on Payne Avenue, St. Paul's New Dining Destination

Benjamin Carter Grimes
Chef Leondard Anderson of Tongue in Cheek

St. Paul's Payne Avenue is shaping up to be a restaurant strip worth a second, third, and even fourth look.

Something of a latecomer to the gentrification game, the city's East Side has long been blighted by vacant and boarded homes, symbols of declining industry. But thanks to some forward-thinking entrepreneurs, along with an infusion of city money, Payne Avenue is looking like the new "eat street" to keep an eye on. Here are four places to add to your restaurant rotation.

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First look: Cook St. Paul, a new brunch star in Payne-Phalen

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This Is the Line of Locally Cured Meats You've Been Waiting For: Red Table Meat Co.

Tammy Kimbler
Red Table Meat Company's salami

Red Table Meat Co. is now in full production and distribution mode with the release of an impressive array of custom cured meats.  Helmed by Mike Phillips, former chef at Craftsman, the Modern Cafe, and Chet's Taverna, with partner Kieran Folliard of 2 Gingers fame, Red Table Meat Co. is passionately committed to local, sustainably raised hogs from small farmers that care deeply about animal welfare.  That commitment is not a marketing ploy, and the results are cured meats with extraordinary flavor.

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How It's Made: Buddy's Small Batch Nut Butters

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Weekend Pop-Up to Try: Black Walnut Bakery at One on One

Hannah Sayle
Espresso shortbread

We've been waxing poetic about Sarah Botcher's pastries since she first started Black Walnut Bakery in 2013. After a brief hiatus earlier this year, Botcher is back with a pop-up bakery at One on One bike and coffee shop, and if you know what's good for your pastry-loving, bread-fiending palate, you'll head to the North Loop to snag some of Botcher's baked goods tomorrow.

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100 Favorite Dishes: No. 12, Black Walnut Bakery's Kouign Amann

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5 New(ish) Brunches to Change Your Weekend Routine

Categories: Eat This, Top 5

Hannah Sayle
Color us charmed: Bite-sized croissants and a tiny cup of jam at Heyday.

If you're a diehard bruncher, you've likely got your regular haunts: Psycho Suzi's for its bloody Mary bar and expansive, almost guaranteed-no-wait dining room; Haute Dish for inspired twists on brunch classics; Grand Cafe for an award-winning, hangover-buster with panache. But what are you, married to one ball-and-chain brunch routine weekend after weekend? Could you, starting now, bust out of your mealtime monogamy and flirt with something new? "Yes!" you cry aloud. "You're damn right!" you affirm, slamming your fist on the table, frightening all the sheeple around you at the coffee shop.

Okay then, free spirit. Welcome to the first day of the rest of your brunching life.

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30 best breakfasts in the Twin Cities

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6 Wisconsin Cheeses to Try and Where You Can Find Them in the Twin Cities

Categories: Eat This, Food

Andrew P. Han
Sartori Asiago from Plymouth, WI

Cheese makers from America's Dairyland brought back a haul of awards from the recent American Cheese Society awards, held in Sacramento, California earlier this summer. In dozens of categories -- such as "Rindless blue-veined, made from goat's milk" and "aged cheddar, aged over 48 months, all milks" -- Wisconsin's cheese makers took top honors. Cheeses from a few of these award-winning artisans are available throughout the Twin Cities, at restaurants and specialty stores. Starting mild and moving up in intensity, here 's a list of some fine cheeses for you to try, along with some pairing suggestions.

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Minnesota gets into a beer-fueled brawl with Wisconsin at the Border Battle Beer Fest 3

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Eat waffles for every meal: 24 hours, 5 waffles, immeasurable joy

Ralph Daily
Move over Bagel Bites, there's another food you can eat anytime

We all know waffles are one part of the holy trinity of hot breakfast sweets. Flanked by pancakes and French toast, the waffle has earned its place at the breakfast table, what with its built in syrup traps and attractive modern design, like a Piet Mondrian painting in batter form. (See how we just made you feel cultured about diving face first into a plate of butter and syrup?)

But you don't have to wait until tomorrow's breakfast to get this sophisticated yet understated hot pastry. In fact, you can have your favorite carb-loaded confection for every single meal of the day.

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Top 5 chicken and waffles in the Twin Cities

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5 grocery store lunches for every mood

Categories: Eat This


There's a certain amount of food shame associated with a backseat full of fast food containers, and the task of slathering some peanut butter on a piece of bread and throwing it in a plastic bag can seem as insurmountable as the Tour de France at 7 a.m. If your microwave at work takes five minutes to heat a cup of soup and all of the frozen food you've ever tried tastes like wet cardboard, maybe it's time to try the grocery store lunch route.

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Bruegger's now offers bagel burgers in Minneapolis locations

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Hello Pizza adds delivery service [MAP]

E. Utne
New York slices now available as a full pie, delivered right to your door. 

Hello? Is it de-liv-er-eeeee you're looking for? 

That's the question that Lionel Richie, patron saint of Hello Pizza, and fans of Ann Kim's pies have been asking since she opened her fast casual New York-style, by-the-slice concept in Edina last spring. Kim's dough slingers focused first on getting their high output operation running smoothly, serving up slices and subs to hungry diners before piling on more duties. That is, until now.

Hello has officially added delivery services to their list of important, community-serving functions. So are you within their highlighted area? Or will you have to set up a fake address to get a meatball ricotta or adobo chicken pie without ever getting out of your sweatpants?

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Comfort Food Friday: Chicken pot pie

Katy Meeks
Chicken potpie

This week we found a chicken pot pie that hit the spot, filling our comfort food need and then some. Making the thirty minute trek to Jake O'Connor's Public Housein Excelsior for this masterful pot pie was entirely worth it. In the area, the pub is known for its staple Irish dishes, beer selection, and authentic, rustic d├ęcor.

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Comfort Food Friday: Meatloaf 2.0

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