Blending traditional recipes with cosmopolitan decor, Sawatdee St. Paul introduces diners to familiar dishes of pad thai and pad see ew, as well as authentic meals of whole roast duck and yellow curry pattaya crab. Guests enjoy Sawatdee's smorgasbord of southeast Asian delicacies spiced to preference; chefs promise to prepare nearly any dish at spice levels ranging from the intense heat of an erupting island volcano to the comparably tolerable mildness of a baby's tantrum.
A ring of blue neon light blazes behind the full bar, which dispenses tropical caipirinhas and thai chili bloody marys.
The Perfect Wedding Show inspires brides-to-be and professional wedding planners with demos and information from cake designers, caterers, florists, and other wedding specialists. Guests can watch models swathed in white sashay down a runway aisle during the fashion show, or cruise vendor booths to interview photographers, book entertainment, and decide who the groom should be. Past vendors have included local and national specialists such as Mary Kay's Bridal, The Cakebox Bakery, and Savvi Formalwear.
Illetschko's Meats and Smokehouse is the epitome of a family business. When Mike, Lori, and Jim Illetschko opened their doors in 2008, they were continuing a legacy that stretched far back in their family tree. Their grandfather Joseph Illetschko was a meat cutter. Their uncles Bob and Denny? Trained at the South St. Paul Sausage School. And Mike himself, who also happens to serve as the chief butcher, is an avid sportsman who has been cutting up steaks since he was a kid.?
With that legacy behind their full-service meat counter, the butchers slice off perfect cuts of beef, pork, and poultry to order. The selection includes dozens of other meat choices, fresh seafood, and fish smoked in-house rather than on the grill of a local fire truck. Their DIY attitude extends to their custom sausage-making and wild game processing services.
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.
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.
Signature Cafe might be a little off the beaten path?but that doesn't mean its chefs sleep on food trends. Their refined home cooking is full of inventive flavor and sustainably grown local produce, helping earn them a spot on City Pages' 2013 list of the "Best Twin Cities Restaurants You Haven't Tried."
A Taste of Home
Not content to source organic fruits and veggies, the chefs at this Prospect Park spot keep things fresh by designing new menus on a weekly basis. Featured dishes may come and go, but their dedication to familiar flavors and recipes remains a constant. Past menus have included hearty meals like boneless pork loin chops with dijon cream sauce, seared diver scallops with orange-ginger glaze, and freshly baked flatbread topped with artichoke and gruyere.
An Enduring Legacy
The 1920s-era building that houses Signature Cafe has a history of feeding the neighborhood. Originally a small grocery store, the humble storefront with its burgundy awning now invites passersby to stop by for a casual bistro meal. With an ambiance that's "cozy, inviting and personal," the dining room "feels like family" according to Gayot.