The 5 best things our food writers ate and drank in the Twin Cities area this week

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The Ziigwan from Makwa

Roseville has a new runaway hit coffee shop in Makwa. The small shop has already become a beloved gathering spot and ground zero for its signature drink, the ziigwan ($7.50). Both are the work of owner Jamie Becker-Finn.

“We make gallon batches of it and still we’ve been running out every day,” said Becker-Finn, who also happens to be a state representative. The ziigwan is a combination of True Stone cold brew, oat milk, maple sugar and caramel, making for a toasty, cold and gently sweet kicker. The day I visited, the shop was a mix of other political people and Roseville neighbors, and almost everyone was ordering it.

Becker-Finn highlights her Ojibwe heritage at the buzzy and busy shop, with a sign that greets customers in Anishinaabemowin with boozhoo and thanks them as they leave with miigwech. (Joy Summers)

2805 N. Hamline Av., Roseville, makwacoffee.com

Dubliner BLT from Brit’s Pub

Former restaurant critic Rick Nelson retired earlier this year, but his influence still runs deep — especially when it comes to his favorite foods. We’ll keep eating Yum Bakery’s Patticake, pancakes from Al’s Breakfast, wild rice soup and anything from Alma, not because Rick loved them but because they’re just that good. And this time of year? His mind was (and still is) always on the BLT. Now mine is, too.

I ordered one to-go from downtown Minneapolis stalwart Brit’s Pub (though I should have enjoyed it on their idyllic rooftop green, perfect for blue-sky happy hours). Their Dubliner BLT ($15, with fries) is fairly traditional save for one major — some might say blasphemous — exception. Freckle-toasted sourdough, lots of mayo, melt-in-your-mouth hickory-smoked bacon, thinly sliced tomatoes, a handful of salad greens? Check. And … cheese?

Before you say “that’s not a BLT,” just try it. A thick slice of ultrasharp Irish cheddar was a stand-up counterpart to the smoky, juicy, tangy, earthy ingredients. The people of Dublin have been doing right by summer’s ultimate sandwich. (Sharyn Jackson)

1110 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., britspub.com

Lemon bar from Heartland Hooga Bakeshop

Full disclosure: I wanted to write about the gloriously gigantic 6-ounce brown butter butterscotch cookie from this darling farmers market stand. It was the best butterscotch cookie — maybe even the best cookie — I’ve had in a very long time. So good, in fact, that three of us devoured it before anyone could snap a picture. Rookie mistake not buying two.

So you’ll just have to settle for Jessica Babiar’s Mom’s Lemon Bar, which really isn’t settling at all. “I learned the hard way that they have to stay on the menu,” she said. It’s easy to see why. The popular bars are very close to her mom’s recipe, and the first thing that went on the menu of her new bakeshop, which officially opened in January. “No matter where I am, I’m always comfortable when I’m eating a lemon bar.”

The sweet buttery crust is topped with a so-tart-it-makes-you-pucker filling and a powdered sugar glaze (with a salty-lemon zest twist), not the classic powdered sugar that’s sprinkled on the bars at potlucks everywhere. Her mom always made them with the glaze, and moms always know best.

For now Babiar sells her cozy Midwestern treats only at the Chanhassen Farmers Market, with a website for online ordering in the works. She and her husband moved to the area during the pandemic (“I don’t recommend moving to a new state during a pandemic,” she said). And although she’s been baking throughout her life, she just finally decided she was ready to Hooga as part of her livelihood.

“It’s what I love to do,” she said. “I’m always a Midwesterner at heart. I bake oversized, cozy treats with big flavors that look familiar. Basically, I bake for an adult’s inner kid.” (Nicole Hvidsten)

Chanhassen Farmers Market, Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m., City Center Park, 7700 Market Blvd., Chanhassen. Follow Babiar at instagram.com/heartlandhooga

Plain Jane burger with bacon at Everywhen Burger Bar in Centro

There is so much room inside the new Centro on Eat Street that owner Jami Olson knew that tacos alone wouldn’t do. The original Northeast location had always housed two restaurants (first Popol Vuh, then Vivir). So, that expanded mind-set was already in the restaurant’s DNA. This week, Centro, Vivir and the brand-new Everywhen Burger Bar restaurants opened in one handy location.

All are fast casual, with QR codes on the tables for ordering, and together feel like a small-scale food hall. There is a full bar, a few grab-and-go snacks, treats from pastry chef Ngia Xiong, all the menu hits from Centro and Everywhen. All are also built for expansion. (A second combo location is expected to open in St. Paul’s Highland Park next year.)

The burgers are built for fast prep and deliver, with preformed patties sizzled up quickly on the griddle. The Plain Jane ($9) is the off-the-line basic burger with beef, cheese, fat pickle slices and a little mayo. It’s all served on Xiong’s pillowy, golden brioche bun, which elevates each bite far above other fast-food burgers. Two thick slices of crisscrossed bacon ($2) don’t hurt, either.

The new Centro is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner with a brunch service expected to launch soon. (J.S.)

2412 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., centrompls.com

Szechwan green beans at David Fong’s

Judging from the packed parking lot, I wasn’t the only one with nostalgia on the mind. A steady stream of people were filing in and out of the restaurant, many promising to return soon. And they’ll have to — David Fong’s has announced that they’ll close at the end of August after 64 years in business.

The beauty of Fong’s is that you know exactly what you’re getting, from dining to decor. On this visit, we dove into our favorites — orange chicken, lettuce wraps and sesame chicken — and tried something new, the subgum wonton ($20.85), with barbecue pork, chicken, shrimp and a bunch of Chinese cabbage, pea pods and mushrooms all mixed together in a light sauce and topped with crispy wontons. But the visit isn’t complete without an order of Szechwan green beans ($14). It’s not a complex dish, just fresh green beans stir-fried in spicy garlic sauce. But it is delicious and comfortable. Just like Fong’s. (N.H.)

9329 Lyndale Av. S., Bloomington, davidfongs.com




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