Secrets

Upcoming: The Minneapolis-St Paul International Film Festival

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One of the cornerstones of the thriving film scene in Twincy: FilmTown™, the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF) returns again with bold, exciting and moving works, an impressive slate of 350 new films representing 70+ countries by emerging and veteran filmmakers.

We want to give you an early alert that next week we’ll be doing recommendations for films to see, but also giving away a bunch of tickets to our regular readers for ten selected films that will be excellent intro points for the massive event. So you’ll want to open your newsletters next week to get our on regular readers (we need a better name than that, actually) list for the tickets.


Secrets of the City Award: Ngon Bistro’s Barrel Aged Cocktail Flight

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Some publications save up their awards for special once a year blowout packages—but not us! We’re giving out awards whenever we want to, in whatever categories we want to, because that’s what we’re like.

“Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the Bible says love your enemy.” That’s the Frank Sinatra quote engraved on the service paddle for Ngon Bistro‘s Barrel Aged Cocktail Flight, a true highlight of any restaurant we’ve been to in recent memory. We’re excited to give this award, but will warn you that there’s an immediate problem with the $28 deal for four of the drinks—there’s five to choose from and they’re all good. Actually, they’re all really good: Sazerac, Bistro Bijou martini predecessor, Old Fashioned, Black Pearl smokey rum, and the Phalen Boulevardier, it’s like picking between your children. Plus, even though the flight is billed as “1/2 size”, you’re going to have to share your four close-to-full-sized drinks and that can lead to some tense conversations as well. We’d also give this award if this offering were anywhere, but the fact that it’s at one of the top restaurants in MPLS + STPL makes it all the more important to go and experience for yourself.


Burger Hunter: Bad Waitress

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Week after week, Mike S. impresses us with the depth and breadth of his burger knowledge. Staff and readers love him so much we added him to our header today! Check out all The BurgerHunter’s meaty exploits at the #GreatAmericanBurgerHunter tag on Instagram.

They hold a secret power to the dining experience. Some are great and some should try a bit harder. We all have stories. Stories of the good, the bad, and the OMG Never Again! Wait staff are a big part of the experience. So this hunt takes us to the Bad Waitress, where they take that whole bit out of the equation. Yup sit down, look at your menu and write down what you want and go do this damn thing. Get up and move, yo. No, it’s actually pretty slick and they do bring you out your food. Thank goodness. Around these parts business meetings and breakfy are running hard, but I’m self ordering the Black-Top Bacon Cheeseburger. Diners do good burgers, folks. Almost always. This one is choice. Bun is a soft mound of rebound. Fresh from The Wedge. Meat is grass-fed with a loose pack and seasoned lightly. Delicious beef. Very clean but not lacking anything here. Juicy to the nines. Drips a plenty on the plate. “Can I get another napkin?” Maybe? Not sure TBH cause you’re a bit on your own here. Really tho, it’s kinda nice. Back to the beef. It super fresh tasting and I like it! The cheese is savage. A white cheddar thunder _____. What? It’s a white cheddar and it’s way good. Now the bacon is super crunch; in pieces, poised, positioned, and presented like a wedding cake. It’s really a nice touch. The salad is all organic and v refreshing. My lettuce was so happy to see me and I put the BBQ sauce on the side for a few dips. Not all that ‘ness cause the flavor alone is beautious. Pro tip: No throwing shade up in here cause no ones listening.

Scorecard:   Flavor: 8.9   Presentation: 9   Originality: 7

The Bad Waitress Diner and Bar (Northeast), 700 Central Ave NE MPLS; thebadwaitress.com


Price Points: Hometown Treats

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The very first publications were basically just lists of prices for the necessities you would buy throughout a market; that’s what we’ve got here, some of the costs throughout MPLS + STPL. If we had the time, we’d include this in every newsletter! All costs are in American dollars.

Union Kitchen
MN Hmong hotdish $12
Hmong sausage, char root vegetables, bamboo shoots, green coconut curry, tater tots

Baja Haus
Shrimp & Basil taquito $13
Chipotle and basil marinated shrimp, guajillo sauce, Cotija cheese, lime cream
Tequila lime prawns $33
Australian prawns on top coconut yucca, salsa fresca

Taco Cat
The McFly $8.99
Braised chicken tinga, red cabbage slaw, crema, cilantro, salsa verde
The Larry $8.99
Chicken, chorizo, cheese, onions, cilantro, crema, and salsa

MN Twins Home Opener It’s Today!
Target Field $20 (Standing room only)

Ryan Adams
Palace Theater, July 28th & 29th (Sold out) $48
Resale Online $70-150

Def Leppard + Poison + Tesla
Xcel Energy Center, April 21st $67 (Upper Level) $716 (Front Row + Meet & Greet)


Twincy Cheat Sheet: Drink It Up!

The Drink

It’s almost impossible to keep up with the arts and the culture and the entertainment and food and drink and the people and the places here in MPLS + STPL, so we’ve put together this list of stuff that we’re using as talking points this week and sharing them with you to pretend like they’re you’re own.

Who: 89.9 KMOJ’s Walter Q-Bear Banks

Any fans of The People’s Station—perennial reminder of how good KMOJ is on Saturday afternoons—know host Q-Bear, who has sadly come down with some serious health issues. And is the new norm for our healthcare system, he needs help with his medical bills. Luckily his fans, including us, are rallying around him with a GoFundMe page.

Where: Not the Target Center

We’re kicking ourselves for not going down to the Target Center and asking Lil’ Wayne fans if they honestly believed he was going to show up to the show. Security was telling fans as they entered that Weezy was having plane trouble and wouldn’t make it to his make-up show. Here’s hoping he books another Twincy appearance that he doesn’t make.

When: Tonight! 7 PM!

Rain Taxi hosts another big reading, this time with Red Pine aka Bill Porter. “One of our era’s greatest translators of ancient Chinese poetry and sutras” will be at Plymouth Congregational Church to talk about his book Finding Them Gone: Visiting China’s Poets of the Past. Also keep an eye out for Rain Taxi’s upcoming Somalis in the Twin Cities event that discusses immigration and politics in our dark times.

What: The Drink

Ok, we got a sample of The Drink glacial water sent to us and thought it was kind of a joke at first. It’s basically pure water from an aquifer below the Schmidt Brewery that’s been rebranded since being acquired by Urban Organics, the up-and-coming hydroponics farm in St. Easy. Re-branded water? But after taking our free gigantic jug of water to a party this weekend, we’re on board. First, it’s $1 a gallon. Second, everybody (mostly skeptical) agreed that it’s pretty good novelty water. You can try it at Historic Well House, 888 West Seventh St, which is open 24 hrs a day. Are we going to drive over there to get all our water? Probably not. But if you’re really into water, definitely check it out.

Why (Not): Lineup Announcements

How can you distinguish your block party or festival from the glut of other summer events? Play up the lineup announcement. We know about the regular on-air reveals from The Current (for Rock the Garden) and Cities97 (for the Basilica Block Party), but the newest announcement happens at April 15th at Mall of America when Sue McLean Associates announces the 25th Anniversary of Music at the Zoo with a concert from Eric Hutchinson. Maybe it’s time for a Secrets Fest and a week of performances to reveal the fest?


Field Report: Wednesday Wings Night at UniDeli

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Most of the time when we go out it’s nothing too crazy—maybe we’re too jaded? But whenever something out there really wows us, we of course have to share with you. 

We’re not sure that UniDeli is much of a secret foodie hot spot anymore—we clearly could identify a family that was eating there last night because of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives—but it’s still a go-to for its ramen and more. That more, btw, is often the Korean wings, but the small deli now does different types of wings on Wednesdays, too. Last night was wings covered in a thick and subtly spicy green curry paste, and God Damn! They were fantastic! Pencil in a visit for an upcoming hump day wing day.


Burger Hunter: Icehouse

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Week after week, Mike S. impresses us with the depth and breadth of his burger knowledge. Staff and readers love him so much we added him to our header today! Check out all The Burger Hunter’s meaty exploits at the #GreatAmericanBurgerHunter tag on Instagram.

How does one even begin to understand the amount of good food up and down Eat Street. Nicollet Ave needs a documentary. If only Twincy had a few creatives . . . We are heading to chill out at the Icehouse. No silly, you don’t need your coats or skates, just your appetite to go to crush-town. The Icehouse Burger is for bon vivants and those looking for the finer things. Now there’s some pretty fancy upgrades that can be done to this burger that include adding foie gras and a truffled bordelaise. I didn’t go there but will be doing that soon. Instead, I went standard issue. The meat is a grind of sirloin, brisket, and chuck. Strong start. Seasoned up with shallots and thyme. Gives it a more earthy flavor profile. Almost meatloafy . . . Bun is described as an “everything bun.” And folks it’s that. More seeds and what have you than in a hippies corduroy pants pocket. Works fab with the meat. Baked in house fresh daily. The burger is topped with a French cows milk cheese known as delice. Kinda bitter and tangy but soft and creamy. Works nicely with the caramelized onions. Foodspo bro. I go hard, cuz. Lettuce is crisp and keeps things in place. Flavor is full-bodied and deep. Juicy and cooked to perfection. I had a challenge dialing in on some of the flavors here cause there’s some seasonings that make you pause, in a good way. Thyming is everything and can throw a guy off. You understand, right? Well, go find out for yourself and bring the relatives cause this place is fun!

Scorecard:   Flavor: 9.1   Presentation: 9   Originality: 9

Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet Ave S, MPLS; icehousempls.com