10 Twin Cities Apple Dishes and Drinks to Try Right Now

Stacy Spensley

Good food is all about the present. Spend all your time geeking out about the MN55, the lovechild of a Honeycrisp and a MonArk and the next big thing coming from the poindexters at the University of Minnesota apple research lab, and you'll miss the seasonal flavors sweetening up menus across the Twin Cities right this very minute.

We've got a list of 10 nibbles and tipples to get you started on this quest for that teacher's-favorite, doctor's-worst-nightmare, doesn't-fall-far-from-the-tree kind of autumnal fruit that makes Minnesotans go wild.

See also:
Dessert Wines to Try and Where to Buy in the Twin Cities

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The 5 Best Fall Soups in the Twin Cities

Junita Bognanni
Borough's parsnip soup

The true soup lover longs for fall. After a summer of haphazard cooking, meals thrown together from fresh farmers market fare, we start to crave more complex flavors. The cooler temperatures inspire us to return to the kitchen. We're ready to linger over a simmering pot. Is it the changing leaves? The cable-knit sweaters? The preponderance of pumpkin? We don't know, but as far as we're concerned it is officially soup season by mid-September.

Luckily for us soup-lovers (and non-cooks), Minneapolis/St. Paul restaurants are just as enamored with the autumn harvest. Here are some of our favorite fall flavors.

See also:
Where to Pick Apples, Pluck Pumpkins, and Get Gourds This Fall

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10 best dinner parties in the Twin Cities

Categories: The Lists, Top 10

Twin Cities Pop-Up Dinners

Although it may seem as if the entire country is spending its free time making artisan jam and looking for ways to incorporate bacon into every recipe, there are still those of us who'd rather leave the cooking to someone else -- especially when it comes to a dinner party. Even if you're overcome by a feeling of dread at the thought of making skirt steak for eight, you can still be the host with the most if you get inventive with your dinner party ideas. So put down the fondue pot and explore 10 options in the Twin Cities that will have you doing what you do best: enjoying food and drink with friends (or strangers!) without all the fuss.

See also:
Farm-to-fork Locavore Eatery coming soon to south Minneapolis

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The 10 best milkshakes in the Twin Cities

Categories: The Lists

Sean McPherson
The Hot Fudge Banana Malt from the Convention Grill (not pictured, boys and the yard)

It's perfect milkshake weather: too hot for most of the heavier classic desserts (sorry chocolate lava cake), but not so hot that you just ask for a refill of water at the end of a meal. Shakes and their close relatives, malts, are best consumed with a classic diner burger or taken to-go for a quick sweets fix. Nowadays, you can even gussy up a milkshake at one of the many spots around town that serves a boozy, adult malt. We recommend you try a couple of these excellent shakes before the mercury drops below the milkshake mark.

See also:
The Best Desserts 2012 Victory 44

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The 8 best granolas in the Twin Cities

Categories: The Lists

Sean McPherson
The granola at Common Roots

After your third brunch date in as many Sundays, your body will be asking for a holiday from the Hollandaise. Now is the time to point yourself in the direction of a granola-friendly eatery. Not only will this give your pocketbook a bit of a rest, as granola is often on the more affordable side, it will leave you more productive and less likely to be couch-ridden than the bloody Mary/bacon/omelet trinity you've been studying since college.

See also:
Grain Free Guten Free Granola Snacks

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The 6 best peanut butter burgers in the Twin Cities

Categories: The Lists

All photos by Jonathan McJunkin
Where will the Blue Door's Jiffy Burger rank on the list?

The Twin Cities are a long-time incubator of innovative burgers. So it's no surprise that the home of the Jucy Lucy is well on board with an even less conventional trend: the peanut butter burger. To the uninitiated, the thought of slathering a burger with rich, creamy peanut butter is "weird" or a sign of the decadence of a declining empire. Those who have tried the topping know the truth: Peanut butter is just odd enough to be interesting, and the burgers taste damn good. Here are our six favorite spots in the cities that have their own take on this nutty formula.

See also:
Our 5 favorite flavors from last night's Sweet Science ice cream tasting

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The 25 Best Forgotten 1990s Food Commercials

In honor of the Totally Sweet '90s Book Launch Party at Magers & Quinn, we compiled a whole slew of our favorite (and sadly, discontinued) foods available during the 1990s... and their respective commercial gems.

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Top 5 places to eat on the Mississippi: A dining guide for river rats

Thumbnail image for Padelford riverboats dinner cruise
A table with a view of the Mississippi River aboard the Padelford riverboats, No. 3 on the river rats dining guide.

Believe it or not, Twin Cities, spring is coming! And as it does, an increasing number of our citizens find themselves drawn to the riverfront to watch the progress. They want to see if the geese are back, if the ice is melting, and just how loud the falls are roaring. The only thing that makes springtime river-watching more enjoyable is to do it while eating something delicious and/or drinking an ice cold beer.

The Hot Dish is happy to go with the flow. We bring you the top five places to eat and drink in the Twin Cities while gazing at the mighty Mississippi River.

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Top 10 weirdest foods you can buy from a vending machine

Categories: The Lists

hormel pork.jpg
Vending machine raw meat, coming right up.
Vending machines have really evolved. No longer are you limited to simply buying gumballs, candy, and soda. But the selection of foods you can buy from a machine has gotten a bit extreme. Here are 10 examples of the weirdest vending machine offerings, both local and international.

10. Raw meat.

Why buy it from a grocery store if you can get it from a vending machine?

A Birmingham, Alabama, company has a "Smart Butcher" vending machine that includes steaks, pork chops, pork tenderloin, sausages, and other meats ... all on sale for under $6 a cut.

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50 tasty reasons to love Minnesota food

50 Reasons--MN food graphic.jpg
Walleye, Surly, Honeycrisp ... and we're just getting started
When Anthony Bourdain last year told his TV audience on No Reservations that his experience at Doug Flicker's south Minneapolis restaurant Piccolo was "far and away the best and most inspired and inspiring meal of my trip across America," he was confirming what Twin Cities diners have known for years: Minnesota's food scene is worthy of national attention.

The Twin Cities' recent domination of the James Beard Awards for Best Midwest Chef is only one sign that our state is now a fixture on America's food map. The explosive growth of Minnesota dining culture can be seen in the burgeoning farm-to-table ethic and growth of farmers markets; in Lenny Russo's grand, experimental food campus at Heartland; in the artisan meats of Green Ox; and in the designer cocktails at Bradstreet Craftshouse, La Belle Vie, and others. Esquire magazine even singled out Al's Breakfast as serving the "Best Pancakes in America."

Minnesota has long been a food-conscious state, from our Mill City beginnings to Betty Crocker to our invention of the Honeycrisp apple, but nothing has rivaled today's diverse restaurant and food scene. Eating in Minnesota has become a spectacular adventure of tastes and experiences.

Here is our list of the 50 best reasons to eat in Minnesota:

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