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People who take their diet seriously have a friend in Spoonriver owner Brenda Langton: Vegetables, and specifically locally grown, organic vegetables, are the root of most of her dishes, and cream, butter, sweeteners and oil are only garnishes. Even without the prop of fat, many of the dishes are not merely artful and creative, but downright sensuous. For example, a summer heirloom tomato and watermelon salad looks like a sculpture, with pillars of carefully cut watermelon, tomato, and herbs all placed in a line, but as you use a fork to knock down your tiny candy-colored skyscraper city you find summer sweetness in its most lilting form. No wonder so many diners at Spoonriver pause at some point, wondering, What's the name of that spa that all the rich people go to in California? Never mind, Spoonriver's biodynamic and organic-heavy wine list; playful cocktails, including a prickly pear Margarita made with house-infused pineapple tequila; and the vibrant sunset-colored room prove that you don't have to leave Minneapolis to eat with enlightenment.
In honor of Bastille Day, we thought it timely to add a little French flavor to this week's food fight. We gave both Minneapolis and St. Paul a shot at sidewalk crepe dominance, pitting Meritage's cre... More »
Quick: When you think of vegetarian food, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Beans and rice? Pasta? Tofu à la king? Not so at Brenda Langton's Spoonriver, which proves that vegetarian cuisine doesn't have to wear Birkenstocks or smell like patchouli. Spoonriver is the gourmet-natural evolution of her Café Brenda: a long, sleek eatery with big glass windows, a narrow bar, and a specialty cocktail list. The food is still pure and healthy, it just feels more refined: The pairings are more daring, flavors more delicate, and the presentation more elegant. We've delighted in such dishes as tangy, Asian mock duck; house-made beet ravioli; and mushroom-pistachio terrine, perked up with mustard, fruit chutney, and cornichons. But what we're really hoping will return this summer is a sculptural salad of heirloom tomatoes and watermelon, accented with hints of basil, celery, and vanilla. With a menu also boasting several naturally raised meats (Fischer Farms pork tenderloin, Wild Acres duck and chicken liver pâté), one of the best aspects of Spoonriver may be that vegetarians can bring their meat-eating companions without any kicking and fussing.
Quick: When you think of vegetarian food, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Beans and rice? Pasta? Tofu à la king? Not so at Brenda Langton's Spoonriver, which proves that vegetarian cuisine doesn't have to wear Birkenstocks or smell like patchouli. Spoonriver is the gourmet-natural evolution of her Café Brenda: a long, sleek eatery with big glass windows, a narrow bar, and a specialty cocktail list. The food is still pure and healthy, it just feels more refined: The... More »
Salads are the new fast food. Belly up to your local Au Bon Pain and they'll toss up the greens with a manic speed, coating the mixing bowl with dressing and layering on the now omnipresent Asiago cheese. This is a good development for the lunchtime crowd, but a successful salad is really more than the sum of its ingredients. There's a craft when it comes to pairing flavors, and Brenda Langton, the local queen of organic cuisine, has mastered it. Witness her divine creations at Spoonriver:... More »
What carnivores fail to understand is that vegetarians are vegetarian for a number of very good reasons: They don't want to hurt animals, and they don't want to end up in the cardiac care unit, the oncology unit, or frankly any hospital unit whatsoever. Brenda Langton really gets that, gets it deep down in her soul, and so she serves vegetarian food that is clean, healthful, true, and visionary. Also, it's delicious. A savory wild mushroom and pistachio terrine served with fruit chutney is... More »
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