Manned by professional drivers, the pedal-powered Traveling Tap carts up to 16 passengers around Minneapolis and Saint Paul via one of three routes listed here. It's up to guests to supply their favorite beers, wines, or malt beverages which the personal bartender pours into cups or stores in the bar-on-wheels’ built-in coolers. Throw on your ear-flap cap and goulashes for early season rides or let the misting system keep you cool on warm summer days. Traveling Tap also boasts adjustable seats to fit all sizes, seat backs, and a smooth ride even Grandma would enjoy. Listen to tunes from a six-speaker overhead stereo while you take in the sights and sounds of the Twin Cities on each 7-mile-per-hour trek.
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Passing through the stone-lined threshold of Ichiban Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar's pagoda-style building, visitors enter an indoor garden where plants burst from beds around a waterfall and bubbling stream. The decor draws from Japanese tradition and culture?on which both Ichiban locations base their aesthetic variations?in much the same way as the chefs? cuisine. Since 1979, these culinary greats have introduced diners to the teppanyaki style of grilling as well as classic Japanese dishes such as tempura, udon, and gyoza.
At tableside grills, knives flash as chefs sizzle, flip, and set ablaze morsels of scallops, filet mignon, salmon, and chicken. While cooking, each chef displays an individualized sense of showmanship and culinary style by spotlighting a range of spatula moves and carving meats into the profiles of their favorite celebrities. Sushi chefs fill boat-shaped platters with more than 40 varieties of sushi, rolling seaweed around roe, eel, squid, cucumber, and fried tofu before placing each on a canap? of seasoned rice. All these dishes flit across tongues with complementary sips of sake, wine, beer, or mixed drinks with names such as Panda and Kabuki.
Neighborhood cafes should be warm, welcoming, and filled with good coffee. Muffin Top Cafe raises that bar and does one better, throwing baked goods made from scratch into the equation. The cafe, founded by the former manager of Minneapolis hotspots Annie's Parlour and Bobino Cafe, boasts a large interior primed for leisurely afternoons of coffee sipping, writing, and contemplating writing about coffee sipping. The menu offers up namesake muffin tops baked in house along with croissants, cookies, and brownies, which all pair deliciously with the cafe's Milan-style espresso and dark French roast.
A rooftop dome marks Jerusalem?s Restaurant for all to easily see. Inside, a savory aroma of fried falafel and roasted meat wafts from the kitchen as chefs prepare platters of shawarma, hand-rolled grape leaves, and other Middle Eastern specialties. All dishes are prepared from scratch using recipes that have been passed down through generations. The small dining room is decorated in draped fabrics and tapestries; Metromix called it ?utterly charming in a hodgepodge sort of way.? There?s also an outdoor patio where you can dine al fresco in the warmer months.
Great care is taken with each and every item on the menu at French Corner Bistro & Bakery. In the traditional European way, every dish is made from scratch, including the bread, which is baked fresh every morning. Even the coffee beans arrive at the cafe's doorstep just three days after being roasted in Saint Paul. Continental-style cane chairs ensconce diners as they choose from French-style plates such as croque monsieurs topped with bechamel. There are also savory crepes stuffed with chicken and garlic?the same breakfast fed to Napoleon when his aide-de-camp thought he was a vampire. Even sweet teeth attain satiation at this bistro after sinking into fresh pastries such as vanilla eclairs and berry tarts.
The Lunch Cube’s menu of hearty, top-notch lunch fare comes in the form of delectable sandwiches and sides. Crafted by an in-house chef, each sandwich boasts only the highest-quality meats and bread developed by NASA scientists. Signature deli sandwiches ($7.95) such as The Pilgrim, with turkey salad and cranberry glaze, and The Executive, with roast beef, smoked tomato aioli, and gouda, will satisfy both time-strapped professionals and bears disguised as time-strapped professionals. Soups such as the creamy roasted mushroom ($3.45) and sides like the pasta salad ($2.45) pair with mitt-fitting sandwiches better than a monocle and a top hat, while a boxed lunch two-set ($10.95) includes a full sandwich, chips, and a cookie. Weekly specials, meanwhile, will stave off luncher’s ennui with their surprising flavor combinations and unexpected ambushes.