When June hits in Minnesota, so do all things summer: Schools are letting out, cabin weekends commence, and the air is warm. With the change in weather comes a change in what we crave, and what says summer better than berries? This month, we’ve scoured the White Bear Lake area for the best in berry dishes—from sweet treats to salads to cocktails—giving you a guide for where to go when that berry craving hits. So take a break, and get in on the berry-licious dishes the area has to offer.
Raspberry French Toast
Starting with breakfast—or brunch—head to Cobblestone Café to get a classic with a twist. Unlike some breakfast breads, their raspberry French toast is not simply topped with the berries; instead, they’re swirled into the bread for all-around berry flavor. Battered and fried, each dish comes with two slices and syrup. And if raspberry isn’t your favorite berry variety, try it with blueberries. $5.50.
Known for one of the best patios in the Twin Cities, Admiral D’s can offer you a refreshing blended strawberry margarita to take you away from the stresses of office life on a gorgeous summer day. Made with Jose Cuervo Silver, their in-house margarita mix and strawberry purée, it’s the perfect cool berry treat for the adults. $8.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie-lette
EAT!@Banning and 5th
When it comes to foods that say “summer,” strawberry rhubarb pie screams it. At EAT! you can get one—in a serving perfect for sharing (or eating all on your own). The buttery, flaky crust holds in the ruby, glossy goodness, with chunks of strawberries and rhubarb. A perfect balance of sweet and tart, it’s topped with an oats and sugar crumble tempting to eat all on its own. But put it all together and it’s the perfect summer bite. Pie flavors do change daily, so call ahead to see what they’re offering. $3.95.
Strawberry Feta Salad
Mad Jacks Sports Café
On the scorching-hot days of summer, meals need to be light and refreshing. At Mad Jacks Sports Café, the perfect fuel on a hot day is the strawberry-feta salad. If texture is something you’re looking for in food, this salad has the crunch factor. Mixed greens are topped with strawberries, feta, cucumber and candied almonds, and the whole delicious array is tossed with bright and sunny raspberry vinaigrette. The feta adds a perfect salty balance to the sweetness of the berries, while the refreshing chopped (not sliced) cucumbers and candied almonds give each bite a crunch that will satisfy even those eaters who shy away from their greens. And for the carnivores, chicken can be added for some extra protein. It’s a berry-licious dish, and light enough that it won’t slow you down on the warm day. Full size: $10.85. Side salad: $8.46. Add chicken: $3.50.
With all these treats, you should probably bring something home to share, and at Grandma’s Bakery that’s easy as, well, blueberry pie. Loaded with our favorite tiny berry, this pie oozes with sweet flavor that will bring you back to family potlucks in the backyard. Grandma’s flaky crust is sprinkled with sugar to give it a golden-brown finish that is the perfect texture partner for the silky filling. Bring one home—but keep it on the top shelf for safekeeping before dinner. $16.99.
Blueberry Yum-Yum Martini
For those who would rather drink their blueberries, we recommend Ingredients Café’s blueberry yum-yum martini. Made with blueberry purée, sweet-and-sour, lemonade and blueberry Stolichnaya vodka, it’s the perfect night-on-the-town drink. The lemonade and sweet-and-sour add a tart kick to keep it from getting too sweet; and the blueberries remind you that it’s summer and life is good. And if you head over on a Thursday evening, $2-off martinis will make the drink even sweeter. $8.95.
Fresh Fruit Crêpe
Taste of Scandinavia
For breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Taste of Scandinavia can offer up a plethora of berries in its fresh fruit crêpe. The light, thin pancakes are topped with raspberry jam and fresh fruit, including strawberries and, in true Scandinavian style, lingonberries. Whipped cream and shavings of chocolate add a feeling of overindulgence, but it won’t be hard to convince yourself to eat the entire dish. The lingonberries give a tart spin to an otherwise sweet meal that will give you the energy you need to head to the farmers market and pick up some berries to make your own berry-licious dishes. $8.49.