We can see the end of the tunnel; the long winter nights are slowly giving way to the promise of spring. So to get us through the last vestiges of cold weather, we revisit a few warmer-upper dishes that will have you feeling satiated, satisfied and oh, so toasty.
House Special Pho
Ha Long Bay
One man’s exotica is another man’s comfort food. Pho, the Vietnamese beef noodle soup, is a perfect example. To many Vietnamese, pho is a daily cure-all, and we’ve caught onto the magical properties elixir. We love their house special pho, full of toothsome noodles and perhaps eye of round steak, flank steak, soft tendon and meatballs. The labor-intensive broth is gently beefy, a bit sweet and redolent of spices like allspice, cardamom, star anise and ginger. Other ingredients include onions, cilantro, fresh basil and lime, with Sriracha sauce served on the side. $8.95.
Chicken Pot Pie
You definitely want chicken pot pie this time of year. The Station’s version comes in individual-portioned crocks sporting triangles of golden, flaky puff pastry. Tender chunks of chicken beckon from a rich white gravy. There are also peas, carrots and potatoes—period; no “creative” fusion, odd spices or unrecognizable ingredients. This is familiar territory, sure to make you sigh with sweet nostalgia. $11.75.
Roast Pork and Potatoes
Roasted meats are a sure-fire way to warm the cockles of your heart—and your belly. And among them, pork reigns supreme. Olive Joe’s keeps it simple with a roast loin; the result is succulent and tender, with just a hint of smoke. It’s served on toast with brown gravy and mashed potatoes. $10.
Chicken Wild Rice Soup
It wouldn’t be a Minnesota winter without the familiar, mouth-watering flavors of chicken wild rice soup. Cravings is known for its delectable version of the Midwestern classic, derived from an old family recipe and staking its claim on their menu since they opened in 1995. Though many food companies have tried to persuade them to change their recipes to cut costs, Cravings continues to make it their way all these years later—because it’s that good. $4.50-$9.
Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is an old-school favorite among adults and kids alike; it’s recently made a comeback in gourmet guise, with fancy cheeses, interesting pasta shapes and other unexpected ingredients. Take the mac ’n’ cheese at Roma: The noodles are doused with a creamy, cheesy Alfredo sauce and studded with green onion, smokehouse bacon and tender bites of seasoned sautéed chicken. American and blue cheeses pair up to hit both high and low notes; the result is creamy and pungent in equal measure. $16.
Black and Bleu Sirloin
Gordy’s menu is full of fortifying red meat; their signature is the black and bleu sirloin, a 12-ounce slab blackened on the grill and liberally stuffed with blue cheese. If that weren’t enough, the beast is smothered in a yolk-rich, tarragon inflected Béarnaise sauce. The beef packs a wallop of solid protein; the cheese and the sauce contribute a good deal of fat. This time of year, fat is our friend, especially when paired with protein—it’s the ultimate concoction to keep you humming for hours. $30.99.
Are you a foodie at heart? Do you dream in noodles, meats, cakes and sauces? If you think you have the stuff it takes to muse on White Bear Lake’s dining options, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org today.