Chef Nong's culinary journey began in Bangkok at age 12, when she would procure supplies from the corner market and cook for her family. She spent her adolescence perfecting her mother and grandmother's recipes, and then gained extra practice when she started a family of her own.
At age 35, Nong decided it was time to share her culinary flair with members of other families. She progressed through restaurant jobs in Thailand and Malaysia before landing a gig in Minneapolis, where she earned her sriracha-soaked stripes by cooking at a number of area restaurants before opening her own eatery, Nong's Thai Cuisine.
In her own kitchen, Nong relies on her stockpile of inherited recipes to create a menu of authentic, homestyle Thai fare, which earned the eatery the distinction of Best Thai Restaurant 2010 from City Pages. Featured in Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, the "perfectly timed noodles" of the pad thai carry al dente firmness, and the "high quality" curries stimulate taste buds in a more refined manner than chili pepper stimulates the eye. Flavors of tamarind and papaya infuse salads and stir-fries, and crisp veggies top noodle dishes, all calibrated to customer-chosen levels of heat.
Granite City Food & Brewery, a casual family restaurant founded by hospitality experts, has an on-site brewery and a menu stuffed with more steak, seafood, pasta, flatbread pizza, burger, and sandwich options than Abe Lincoln had dollar bills stuffed in his top hat. Gourmet pub-grub appetizers and many other generously portioned dishes are listed alongside the beers that bring out their flavors. The intoxicating taste of the inebriated vodka mussels ($12.99) is suggested alongside Northern Light––a light creamy beer––and the juicy, tender meatiness of a 14-ounce New York strip ($25.99) is advised along with Brother Benedict’s bock––a brownish German-style lager. Others among Granite City Food & Brewery's six specialty brews are the Irish-style Broad Axe stout, known for its nose of roasted chocolate and coffee notes, and Duke Of Wellington, an IPA with muscle-bound malt character and a deep-seated dislike of Napoleon.
At Sushi X, a talented team of chefs is split between two delicious specialties?sushi and hibachi. Each day, they perform a culinary spectacle for guests, transforming fresh seafood into maki and sashimi at the sushi bar or searing meats and veggies tableside at hibachi grills. Their gourmet repertoire also includes traditional Japanese entrees such as teriyaki, tempura, and noodle dishes.
In 1944, Reino Wuollet opened a small bakery where he prepared fresh bread each day. More than 65 years later, his humble shop has grown into six locations where 30 or so family members tinker over cakes, pastries, and pies. Wedding and other occasion cakes are one of their specialties; flavors such as chocolate mousse and Lady Baltimore can be coated with marzipan, buttercream frosting, or fondant in an impressive array of custom designs. Of course, they still bake breads: an international selection of loaves includes baguettes, challah, Swedish lympa, Irish soda bread, and buns shaped into busts of United Nations delegates.
Athens Cafe is old-school, and that's not just in reference to the counter service. No, in this sense "old-school" means one of the most ancient civilizations in the world. The chefs at this casual fast-food stop prepare traditional Greek food, slowly roasting and slicing lamb before piling it into warm pita bread. Don't fret about choosing from the list of chicken, lamb, and seasoned beef kebabs?they're all good, and they're all served with a side of creamy hummus and a house salad.
The year 1927 saw Babe Ruth’s Yankees dominate pro baseball and the precursor to Big Louie's Bar and Grill—Main Street Tavern—open in Minneapolis. In addition to depicting athletes from that bygone era, the Big Louie’s menu catalogs an array of traditional American bar and grill fare. From boneless wings to fish ‘n’ chips, the cuisine roster has even more depth than the famed Yankees lineup of ’27. The restaurant further establishes its entertainment value by hosting karaoke and bingo and by not allowing recitations of real-estate-law books.