When I think progressive dining, I think not of politics but of religion -- growing up and the notion of eating one part of a meal at each person's home. . . . a variety of potluck without the potluck. Progressive dinners. And what makes it even funnier is there is a wikipedia entry for progressive dinners. Who knew? And when I think of Minnesota, despite knowing better (Minneapolis has among the largest Hmong populations, loads of Somalis, and I encountered varieties of Chicana and . . . . ) I think Lutheran. I think varieties of Norwegian, Swedes, etcetera. But, even when I know better or even best, I do think good food. Minneapolis has lots of good food. Very very good food.
Here are two very different places, each of which has good food. Probably best for different occasions - say, because you feel like it #1 and because you feel like it #2. Can you tell, for different reasons, I enjoyed both?
The first, Heartland, has an ambiance of Frank Lloyd Wright and food that matches it. Tasty, well presented, and heart-land-ish. They have tasting menus, one called flora and one called fauna. Yep, one is veggie and the other carnivore-ish. Both come with reasonable sized portions, especially if you forego dessert (which, I alas, did not. It was the third course of the tasting. ) The veggie series included a celeriac salad-y bit which was perfectly acidic and chilled to the right temperature. And then there was a nice pasta-ish dish, a ravioli that was, I have to admit, to die for. It was a wild leek ravioli with mushrooms, just light enough. And the fauna had rainbow trout in a light crispy breading, and some poussin (yep, a fancy-schmanzy name for chicken, but this was cute and tiny and looked tasty). ice wine list. Best of all, the restaurant was quiet and great for conversation.
The second, A La Salsa, is in the Midtown Global Market, and its website reminds diners that Minneapolis is a heartland of diversity, bright colors, dandy service, and a 2005 award for Best Latino in the Twin Cities. I am always up for a mole, so I had two enchiladas, one with carnitas (aka pork) and one cheese filled. They came with refried beans and rice. All very tasty -- the mole had a bit of bite. I also had pupusas, which I had never tried before, a sort of masa cake with guacamole and bits on it. Mmmmm. Not to mention the chips -- which were ok -- came with very spicey (but not too hot, if you get my drift) green sauce. While situated in a sort of market created for sales of various things, the area also has some pretty cool art work. Think primary colors.
Two very different places and two very very good meals. Hurrah.