October 17, 2021

Implant Glep

Baby Wanted

5 best things our food writers ate this week

Smoked chicken at Soul to Soul Smokehouse

When I stepped up to order at this Midtown Global Market gem, I asked the worker what her favorite thing on the menu was. She looked at me and very seriously said, “Everything. And I’m not even kidding.”

She really wasn’t.

We opted for the smoked pork ($11) and the smoked chicken ($13 half, $18 whole) dinners, and each comes with two sides. The pork was juicy, tender and so flavorful that you don’t need the barbecue sauce. Try it, though; it strikes the right balance of sweet and tang. But that chicken. Wow. Basked in a special blend of spices they call “Soul Dust” (please bottle this), the meat was fall-off-the-bone tender and the deep smoky flavor was intoxicating. One regret: That I didn’t order the whole chicken so I could have more leftovers. It’s that good. I didn’t even follow my own advice and use the barbecue sauce.

With meat so good, do the sides hold up? Yup. Everyone has their favorite barbecue sides — mac and cheese, black-eyed peas, collard greens, coleslaw — so choose your own adventure. But please, order the grilled corn. It’s the right combo of butter, Soul Dust (again, please bottle this) and char. There are two cobs to a side, so it’s easily shareable.

Soul to Soul Smokehouse opened in May and is run by longtime friends Jewuan Marshall, Charles Robinson and Anthony Simmons. While they all have plenty of experience in the kitchen, family traditions and recipes are its heart and soul, so to speak. In that vein, they offer several variations of family dinners, and sell their meats and sides in larger quantities. If you don’t have your own family recipes, go ahead and adopt theirs. You’ll be everyone’s favorite. (Nicole Hvidsten)

Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake St., Mpls., 612-354-2923, soulsmokehouse.com. Open Wed.-Sat., 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

‘Sota Bologna Sandwich at Burger Dive

Here’s something I never thought I’d say: I had a Spam sandwich and was pleasantly surprised.

Ahead of National Canned Luncheon Meat Day on July 5, several merchants at Rosedale’s Potluck food hall are highlighting one of Minnesota’s most famous ingredients through July. And it’s a tasty little venture.

Witness the ‘Sota Bologna Sandwich ($11): griddled Spam, caramelized onions (so good I would eat them solo), dijonaise and American cheese are all housed in a soft but sturdy bun. Was I skeptical? Of course. Was it delicious? Yes. Side note: The sandwich is supposed to come with a fried pickle skewer, something we didn’t know until we saw — and envied — it on the plates of nearby diners, who also gave the sandwich a resounding thumbs up. Be sure yours has it.

While you’re at Burger Dive, which shares a counter with Smack Shack (they’re both owned by Josh Thoma and Kevin Fitzgerald and chef Nick O’Leary), try Smack Shack’s Spam corn dogs (four for $8). Served with “fancy sauce,” the corn dogs don’t taste too much different from regular corn dogs, but the batter was top-notch. (The fancy sauce was good, but it’s a corn dog — ketchup and mustard are fancy enough for me.)

As long as you’ve gone this far, finish at Grand Ole Creamery and get a scoop of Sweet Little Piggy ($5) — butter pecan ice cream with bits of caramelized Spam and praline pecans.

There’s more, but we hit our Spam wall. Grand Ole Creamery also has a Spam pizza, Betty & Earl’s has a Spam- and pineapple-laced biscuit and Nordic Waffles has a Spam brunch waffle that sounds delicious. Good thing we have four more weeks. (N.H.)

Potluck, Rosedale Center, 1595 Hwy. 36, Roseville, 651-340-2389, burgerdivemn.com. Open Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Taco lunch special at Centro

Maybe it was the weather that made it a picture-perfect day. Or the sprawling, vibrant patio we were on. Nope, it was definitely the tacos.

Centro’s lunch special — a choice of two tacos and a side of chips and salsa roja — is a bargain at $10. My favorites? Barbacoa (slow-cooked lamb served with salsa cruda and onion) and Pescado (a hunk of beer-battered fish topped with cabbage slaw and guajillo aioli). What I love about the tacos — and Centro itself, really — is that it is simplicity at its tasty best. From the ordering system to the relaxed vibe to the food, things aren’t more complicated than they need to be. It’s just a great-tasting base (other possibilities include cured cactus, chorizo, and potatoes and vegetables) accompanied by thoughtfully selected accents, all nestled in perfect corn tortillas.

But simplicity doesn’t mean lack of flavor. Yet another example: the refreshing ceviche ($13), which played the hot-cool game of tug-of-war to perfection.

Making the day even brighter? Centro’s sister restaurant/bakery Vivir had concha (Mexican sweet bread with a cookie crust) available ($3), which ended this great day on a very sweet note. Some days you wish you could just keep pressing repeat — this is one of them. (N.H.)

1414 NE. Quincy St., Mpls., 612-345-5527, centrompls.com, Sun.-Mon. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Tue.-Thu. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-midnight.

Baklava ice cream from the Great Greek Mediterranean Grill

There’s a growing number of fast-casual Mediterranean/Middle Eastern restaurants around the metro, and my latest mission is to try them all. Olive & Lamb, Roti and Naf Naf Grill are some go-tos. This week, I ordered from the Great Greek Mediterranean Grill, a franchise that arrived in Minnesota late last year.

My rule of thumb is to always get the family-style meal if there is one. It’s usually enough food to feed us for days. This one, with grilled chicken souvlaki, rice pilaf, two dips (hummus and spicy feta), pillowy pita and a Greek salad, was no exception.

But beyond the savory centerpieces, I learned that the Great Greek excels at dessert. The meal came with a surprise: a gob of creamy, cinnamon-flecked rice pudding that was ultra-comforting. And on a whim, I added a serving of baklava ice cream. They take the classic Ottoman pastry and pulverize it, swirling the specks of phyllo dough and walnuts through vanilla ice cream and drizzling it with honey. It was one of those “why didn’t I think of this before?” treats that make so much sweet, delicious sense. (Sharyn Jackson)

The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, 7860 Main St., Maple Grove, 763-951-3902, thegreatgreekgrill.com. Open daily 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Doughnuts from Valley Pastries

Picture it: It’s 6 a.m., you’ve been up all night, you’re hungry, and there’s an infant sleeping peacefully (finally) on your chest. With a 3-month-old, that’s how I find myself more often than not these days. And at times like those, getting up and making breakfast is out of the question. So I reach for my phone. Delivery.

Not a lot is on delivery apps at that time of day. But Valley Pastries, the venerable bakery in a Golden Valley strip mall, is. And on this particular morning, I go for it — a box of a dozen doughnuts, baker’s choice. I place the order. And immediately fall asleep.

A little while later I stir awake and wonder if it was all a sweet, sugary dream. But there on my front porch was a cardboard box. I have to give myself a pat on the back. In the haze of new-parent delirium, I managed to send myself a box of fluffy raised doughnuts the size of a small baseball mitt and slicked with a just-crackly glaze. It might have been the greatest gift of my parenting leave — besides the newborn, of course. (S.J.)

2570 Hillsboro Av. N., Golden Valley, 763-541-1535, valleypastries.com. Open Tue.-Sat., 6-11 a.m.

Sharyn Jackson • @SharynJackson

Nicole Hvidsten • @nicolehvid

rn% endblock %","start":"https://users.startribune.com/placement/1/environment/3/limit-signup-optimizely/start"},{"id":"limit-signup","count":12,"action":"ignore","mute":true,"action_config":"template":"% extends "grid" %rnrn% block heading_text %Youu2019ve read your 10 free articles for this 30 day period. Sign up now for local coverage you wonu2019t find anywhere else, special sections and your favorite columnists. StarTribune puts Minnesota and the world right at your fingertips. % endblock %rnrn% block last %rn parent() rn# limit Krux pixel from https://www.squishlist.com/strib/customshop/328/ #rnrnrn% endblock %","start":"https://users.startribune.com/placement/1/environment/3/limit-signup/start"},"id":"meter-desktop-331","count":10,"action":"ignore","mute":false,"action_config":false,"start":"https://users.startribune.com/placement/1/environment/3/meter-desktop-331/start","id":"PDA991499opt","count":9,"action":"ignore","mute":true,"action_config":false,"start":"https://users.startribune.com/placement/1/environment/3/PDA991499opt/start","id":"limit","count":8,"action":"inject","mute":false,"action_config":"template":"

rnrnrnrn

rn

rn

rn rn

rn t

rn SUBSCRIBErn Already a subscriber? Log in.rn

rn

All Star Tribune readers without a Digital Access subscription are given a limited number of complimentary articles every 30 days. Once the article limit is reached we ask readers to purchase a subscription including Digital Access to continue reading. Digital Access is included in all multi-day paper home delivery, Sunday + Digital, and Premium Digital Access subscriptions. After the 1 month Premium Digital Access introductory period you will be charged at a rate of $14.99 per month. You can see all subscription options or login to an existing subscription herern

rn rn

rn

rn

rn

rn

rn","start":"https://users.startribune.com/placement/1/environment/3/limit/start"},{"id":"nag","count":7,"action":"lightbox","mute":true,"action_config":{"height":null,"width":"630px","redirect_on_close":null,"template":"% extends "shell" %rnrn% block substyles %rn

rn% endblock %rnrn% block page %rn#rnrn limit - count - 1 rnrn form.flow_form_open(nextAction: 'firstSlide', null, null, '_top') rn form.btn('Save Now') rn form.flow_form_close() rnrn

rnrnrnu2022 rnrnrnrn#rn

rn

rn

You have limit - count - 1 articles left

rn

rn rn u00a0u00a0u2022u00a0u00a0rn rn

rn

rn

rn

rn Save More Todayrn

Over 70% off!

rn

rn

rn

rn

99u00a2 for first 4 weeks

rn form.flow_form_open(nextAction: 'firstSlide', null, null, '_top') rn form.button('Save Now', 'btn nag-btn') rn form.flow_form_close() rn

rn

rn% endblock %rnrn% block last %rn parent() rnrn% endblock %"},"start":"https://users.startribune.com/placement/1/environment/3/nag/start"},"id":"x","count":4,"action":"ignore","mute":true,"action_config":false,"start":"https://users.startribune.com/placement/1/environment/3/x/start","id":"multi-start","count":3,"action":"fly_in","mute":true,"action_config":"location":"bottom_left","slide_direction":"bottom","group_id":null,"display_delay":"0","collapse_delay":"10","template":"

rn

rn

rn

rn u00d7rn

rn

rn

From just

rn

$3.79 99u00a2 a week

rn Save nowrn

rn

rn

","start":"https://users.startribune.com/placement/1/environment/3/multi-start/start"]};