Food truck guide 2014: The best new and returning mobile kitchens in the Twin Cities

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E. Katie Holm
Trucks are lining up to feed you. Here's where to find them.
Our ever-evolving food truck scene has undergone yet another wave of transformation. 

Back in its infancy, the main challenges facing these vehicular restaurants were getting proper permits and finding available street parking. Then came the success stories, the kooky concepts, the carts, the one-offs, and the brick-and-mortar dreams. Fairs and rallies were organized. Inevitable turf wars surfaced. Winter-specific trucks like Warming House popped up and made us re-think these mobile kitchens as a spring and summer-only affair. Existing restaurants got the bright idea of adding trucks as an offshoot of their thriving businesses. Kickstarters launched. Some succeeded. But most importantly, the trucks found their fans, the people followed their favorites from downtown lunch to weekend brewery event, getting to know the dedicated makers behind those sliding service windows. 

If you've been meaning to get out and discover the truck that makes your ideal meal, now's your chance: The warm weather means the fleet is out in full force. Here's a handy guide to our picks for best new and returning food trucks.

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Marin opens patio for spring, puts Chad Larson back behind the bar

Categories: 'Tis the Season
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Is it gin o'clock already?
Patio season is officially here. No, don't look ahead at the forecast. We have felt the spring sun on our warm-weather starved faces and you can't make us go back inside! To mark the start of the season, Marin has opened its patio in downtown Minneapolis and welcomed the return of craft-cocktail slinger Chad Larson.

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Zen Box Izakaya brings worldly inspiration to ramen

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John Ng
Special ramen
The Ramen Attacks lines were epic. By some accounts, people waited, with varying degrees of patience, for over four hours to get a bowl of those coveted noodles.

At Zen Box Izakaya the winter wait time has been reduced drastically. Chef and owner John Ng just returned from a culinary tour of Japan along with his wife and front-of-house manager, Lina Goh. The two were inspired by all the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes, and this weekend, Ng will share some of those flavors with ramen fans at his restaurant.

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Subzero temps shutter local restaurants

Categories: 'Tis the Season
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Sasha Landskov
Who's serving soup tonight?
If you're heading out for dinner tonight, you might want to double check on your reservations. The ridiculous temperatures have forced several of our favorite dinner spots to close and one even seems to be suffering from frozen pipes.


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The Hot Dish's hottest posts of 2013

Categories: 'Tis the Season

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EU Photography
From hot new restaurants opening to beloved eateries closing their doors, the Hot Dish was all over the Twin Cities food scene this year. As we enter a new year, here are a few of the most popular posts of 2013.

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Hangover banishment: Our picks for the best New Year's Day brunch

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Dinner Series
After all those New Year's Eve toasts, you're gonna need a good breakfast.
The epic nature of your hangover can only be expressed in an obscure Ukrainian dialect. Mistakes were made. The only way to battle this unjust punishment dealt by our favorite frienemy is to get some breakfast in that belly, stat. We've rounded up the five best places to ease the pain of that brown bottle flu.

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Homemade Tom & Jerry: A drink of the week for the homebound

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Curl up (by the fire, or into a ball in the corner, depending) with a piping hot mug of vintage holiday cheer.

When it comes down to the brass tacks of spending the holidays at your childhood home, let's face it: It's not all decking the halls in your finest gay apparel, caroling, and carrying on. It's also soul-crushing traffic, tiny twin beds, or struggling to wrap anything other than a square box (we still don't get it). For this, and for the good times, let's create something decadent and full of booze to mark the passing of this crazy season. From the comfort of your parent's living room, enjoy a homemade take on the classic Tom & Jerry.

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How to dominate eggnog, classic and with a twist [RECIPE]


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Hell's Kitchen announces Bloody Mary week to kick off January

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Not one to relegate the New Year's Day hangover brunch to one day only, perennial favorite downtown breakfast spot Hell's Kitchen is planning to kick off 2014 with its very own Bloody Mary week, from January 1 through January 6.

So what does this mean for us tomato-based-drink consumers? Basically, it means free stuff.

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How to dominate eggnog, classic and with a twist [RECIPE]

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Joy Summers


Twas the day before Christmas and all through the city, the decorations were lit, everything was so pretty. The presents were wrapped with (varying degrees of) care and the table was set for a feast we would share. The roads, they were frightful -- the highways a mess -- it's a wonder we didn't collapse from the stress. So, we lit up the fire, chucked in the yule log, and headed for the kitchen to make some eggnog.

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Almond Chai Hot Toddy at Amore Victoria: Melt cares away with this drink of the week

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Fend off Old Man Winter's icy grip when you wrap your hands around this spicy toddy.

Almond Chai Hot Toddy
Amore Victoria
$9 ($7 during happy hour)

With temperatures plummeting below zero, the weather is practically daring you to go out once the sun goes down. Don't let weather win! Skate your way down the sidewalk to a dimly lit Italian bistro, preferably one with a healthy dose of quaint rustic-chic decor and Frank Sinatra crooning over the speakers to melt your stone-cold heart. Amore Victoria fits the bill, with warm service, a warm seat by the bar (no small feat), and a hand-crafted warm drink like the Almond Chai Hot Toddy to give you a much needed respite from the land of 10,000 slid-through stop signs and wind chill advisories whipping outside the door.

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Bluegrass Beer at Mason's: A bourbon-laced, blizzard-proof drink of the week


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