Cedar + Stone, Urban Table

I have a confession. This mnbucketlist-er was so fitting for my personal taste that I went twice, no joke. Cedar + Stone, Urban Table is the latest addition to the new, updated north side of the Mall of America. Part of the new JW Marriott Minneapolis, it adds a much needed upscale-but-approachable charm to the spaceship-looking foyer. Home to executive chef Everton Clarke and executive sous chef Laura Bartholomew, the place ties itself to Minnesota inspired cuisine and culture. Minnesota cheddar cornbread with maple butter, Jucy Lucy sliders, the pricey but so, so worth it handcrafted cocktails… My favorite? The Cedar Ave. Vikre cedar gin, rosemary, lemon juice and cherry bark vanilla bitters. Crowd favorites have been the short ribs, baked gouda mac and cheese, heirloom tomato pizza with burrata cheese and the coup de grâce charred orange semi freddo with goat cheese and brown butter crumble. I, for one, was impressed with the service and branding, but that’s just me.

 

Lucky’s 13 Pub

Photos by By Rebecca Studios 

A few weeks back, my best friends and I got together, as we do every month for bucket list dinners and crossed off Lucky’s 13 Pub from the #mnbucketlist. With locations in Bloomington, Mendota, Fargo, Plymouth and Burnsville, it’s easy to find one that is near you. With a spacious, rustic atmosphere it was the perfect spot for our big, loud group. They had all sorts of Minnesota-inspired dishes to try, all with their own take on them like the Cheese Curd Burger, the Juicy Lulu, Tater Tots and even Walleye Egg Rolls. We gorged on the free popcorn and the biggest pretzel ever. We were all really impressed with their great tap selection and how attentive and fun the service was too. Whether you prefer dining room, high top or bar seating, they are happy to accommodate. Fun fact: They have bingo on Saturday afternoons at the Bloomington location. Have you even been here?

Cantina Laredo

Photo Dec 28, 1 05 42 PM

Up next on the MNBucketList is Cantina Laredo, one of the newest restaurants in the Mall of America. With 12 locations all over the U.S., it’s about time they open one in Minnesota. Cantina Laredo, on level three, offers a modern, contemporary take on Mexican cuisine. From fresh guacamole made at the table, house made signature sauces like chipotle-wine, to their Mexican brownie that comes on a sizzling skillet of brandy butter (seriously, look at that thing!). Beautiful plating, hearty portions,  and expertly made, top shelf drinks make it a welcome break from roaming around crowds with shopping bags in tow.  They also do private events and offer a rewards card to keep you coming back. Have you checked it out yet?

Davanni’s

Davannis MNBucketlist

I love pizza so much that I drag (usually willingly) my closest friends and even my Mom, pictured above, to any place that gives me my fix. I can’t help it, I have a thing for a good Italian food. So when I found out that it was Davanni’s 40th anniversary this month, I was pretty excited. I mean, to be honest, I didn’t know it had been around that long and also I didn’t know that it started in Minnesota. And I really ought to know these things! Anyway, did you know that they were actually the first to offer hot hoagies in the Twin Cities? Originally called Pontillo’s Pizzeria, Davanni’s first location, off Cleveland and Grand in St. Paul opened October 1st, 1975, they later changed names in 1983. I decided to check out the newly remodeled Edina location, which will be having a Grand Re-Opening / 20th Anniversary celebration on this Saturday. If you want to go, you can meet the owners, get special deals, play trivia, lots of samples AND Indeed Brewing will be tapping a special cask ale from 5-8pm.

I went early so I could see their new bar (lots of craft beer and wine), the new renovations and the overall revitalization of their brand. Let me jump ahead, I was really impressed! It’s definitely not the dark walls, dim lighting and cramped quarters that I often encounter with restaurants that have been around forever (40 is forever for me). The design is bright, modern, and incredibly inviting. The staff was what really made the atmosphere for me, though. Attentive, friendly, great with suggestions and they actually like their jobs, which isn’t always the case in the industry. I’m going to attribute that to being a privately held company and constantly trying new ideas, from nutriment to innovation.

Now let me get into the food.

Davannis MNBucketlist

We devoured all different kinds of salads, sandwiches, beer and dessert. Hey! We are eaters, and also sharers, so we had to have a little of everything! And the pizza? Deep dish, flat bread, thin crust, white sauce, red sauce, you name it – we tried it. The crowd favorite was the Southwestern Chicken Salad, the Turkey Bacon Chipotle Hoagie and the Artichoke Chicken Pesto Flatbread (see, they are trying new things!). I was partial to the Veggie Hoagie and Garlic Cheese Bread. Needless to say, their Chanhassen location (their 22nd store) will get a little too much of my attention in the future. With the Twin Cities bursting with really great pizzerias, the new changes from layout to menu, to keeping the forever favorites like the New York style pizza and pasta and using their own bakery for bread and desserts, I know that Davannis will have a home here for at least another 40 years.

WANT A GREAT DEAL: When you order online, you can get a 10% discount when you use the code “ANNIVERSARY” at checkout through Saturday, October 31. Otherwise in-shop through the end of the month, a regular pop (it’s Minnesota, we say Pop) is only $1.

 A few recent articles: Star Tribune + Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal + KARE11