The chefs at Hot Wok Delivery stir-fry Chinese and Cambodian dishes before whisking them to diners' tables or homes. During lunch and dinner rushes, they man flaming stovetops, sautéing chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, and vegetables to thread into noodle entrees and combination plates. Before meals fly from the kitchen, the chefs finish them with a quick splash of sauce, adding either sweet or savory notes or imbuing them with a fiery sauce spicier than a jalapeño's memoirs.
Although the red-walled dining room includes three booths at which customers can sit, the staff also delivers orders, shuttling food to family dinners or lengthy daguerreotype posing sessions.
At Let's Dish!, families select healthy, hearty meals to eat at home without having to dedicate valuable time to planning, shopping, or preparation. After placing an order online, patrons stop by the shop at a scheduled time to find dishes that are made from fresh ingredients, customized to taste, and then, like Sleeping Beauty, frozen to prevent them from aging. Meal menus rotate monthly and include homestyle selections, such as cheesy chipotle-chicken enchiladas, pulled pork with mashed potatoes, and rosemary and mustard grilled flank steak. The preassembled Dish-n-Dash entrees allow for speedy pickup service, freeing families to spend more quality bonding time sorting the mail by size and color.
Mort Bloom's story is that of five men. When his family fled from Lithuania during WWII, he found himself in America, a teenager with no possessions who spoke no English. But he learned the language and eventually joined the U.S. Navy, where he also boxed and won a Golden Gloves title. After serving, he pursued a succession of jobs that ranged from high-profile to pedestrian: he pitched for the Cleveland Indians, worked in a junkyard, and was a longtime owner of the popular nightclub Gay 90's.
Over the years, he and his family would often come together over dinners at the Lincoln Del. After that restaurant closed and Mort's kids grew up, the Blooms decided to open an eatery of their own where they and other families could gather for meals and to teach kids which fork is proper for eating popsicles. Mort's Delicatessen marries Mort's American and Eastern-European roots: there's potato knishes and cold-beet borscht, as well as cheese curds and buffalo wings. Of the dozens of specialty sandwiches and burgers, the reuben remains their most popular, which is rather appropriate since Reuben is Mort's middle name.
The culinary team at Common Roots Cafe believes that the best way to create a welcoming restaurant is to fully embrace local flavor in every sense of the word. Even the interior speaks to this mission?reclaimed barn wood makes up the dining room's floorboards and tabletops, the counter is composed of recycled cardboard, and the air is one-hundred percent Minnesotan. The overall effect is one of casual warmth, an atmosphere that makes the cafe an ideal spot for guests to chew on eclectic, yet accessible, cuisine and relax with a choice of 10 local craft beers.
The menu itself also bursts with hometown pride, highlighting local organic and sustainable ingredients. As much as half of the restaurant's food comes from farms located within 250 miles of Minneapolis, while some produce is picked right outside the door at the cafe's urban garden. And since the selection of ingredients alters with the seasons, the chefs adapt their dishes each month to showcase their fresh flavors. Previous offerings have included redfish tacos with jicama slaw, mac 'n' cheese with local cheddar, and house-made tagliatelle pasta topped with a hearty bison bolognese sauce. Bites are complemented with sips from a drink list featuring wines?many made from organic grapes?and local beers. And, in the unlikely event that diners leave any food on their plates, the scraps are carefully composted to continue the cafe's green production cycle.
Inside its rustic Uptown dining room, Spill the Wine invites diners to pair local wines with tapas-style servings of new American cuisine. The menus?which readily accommodate vegan and gluten-free diets?rotate seasonally as the chefs scour local, sustainable farms for new ingredients. Shareable plates of wild-caught salmon with elote salad or house-made spaghetti with quinoa meatballs reflect the chefs' eclectic influences.
With more than 100 wines?including more than 30 by the glass?Spill the Wine provides plenty opportunities for pairing food and drink. The selection of Old and New World bottles is designed to complement the current menus, with everything from crisp French sauvignon blancs to bold Columbia Valley syrahs occupying the extensive list.
A Glance Inside
Edison bulbs, walls with patchy brickwork and mismatched wooden slats, and a bar supported by empty wine barrels provide a rustic ambiance. At the same time, the dining area features some elements that lend a modern, industrial vibe, such as the exposed ductwork, concrete floors, and the furnace where the staff smelts every piece of used silverware after service.
If the building at 1308 4th Street had a mouth, it could tell many stories. It could tell of its birth as The University Theater in 1915 and how its infancy was spent in vaudeville, presenting everything from minstrel shows to early silent films. It could tell of the art deco remodel by architects Jack Liebenberg and Seeman Kaplan that turned it into a full-time movie house for the next 50 years. And it could tell of its days in the '90s and early 2000s when it worked as an underground club and a photography studio. But today, in its own way, the theater speaks mostly of the current music scene, hosting everyone from Mumford and Sons to Feist and Saul Williams.