Winter Activities

The Best Comfort Foods for Cold Days in Minnesota’s Sweet Spot

November 9, 2021

From pho to cheese-stuffed burgers and everything in between, warm up with these delicious foods that are perfect for a cold wintry day.

Breakfast

Ward off a chilly morning with decadent bread pudding French toast from Good Day CafĂ©. Their homemade bread pudding is made from their caramel, pecan and cinnamon rolls, egg custard with cream, maple flavoring, Grand Marnier and Amaretto, then topped with fresh berries and strawberry cream cheese.  Or try their apple soufflĂ© pancake made with granny smith apples and smothered with a cinnamon and sugar glaze. Their dishes are guaranteed to warm you up!

Or go “Dutch” with a specialty pannekoeken from the Pannekoeken Huis. Pannekoeken are Dutch pancakes that are usually larger and thinner than traditional pancakes (but thicker than crêpes) and served with delicious toppings. Order the Banana Foster, Pineapple Upside Down or Triple Berry. Go traditional and your pannekoek will be served with powdered sugar and a lemon wedge.

an array of donuts and cupcakes

If you’re looking for an on-the-go option, pick up pastries from one of our local bakers. Angel Food Bakery & Donut Bar specializes in raised donuts with flavorful toppings, plus scones, croissants, muffins and cakes. Valley Pastries is known for their giant raised donut holes and homestyle cookies. Honey & Rye Bakehouse offers an array of artisan breads – monkey bread, banana bread, pumpkin bread, coffee cake – as well as scones, croissants, and cookies. At Nelson’s, you’ll find fresh baked pastries, brownies and bars, plus PaPa Q’s BBQserving up breakfast sandwiches and burritos!

Soup

Nothing’s better than a bowl of piping hot soup on a snowy day. Warm up with a bowl of homemade chicken soup from yum! kitchen & bakery. The menu also includes a gumbo, chicken chili and other seasonal specials. Of course, when you’re talking about soup, you simply have to try Mort’s Famous Matzo Ball Soup from Mort’s Deli. This homemade chicken soup comes with a delicious matzo ball and can be served with or without noodles. Or choose the hot cabbage beef, tomato bisque or creamy wild rice.

Wonton soup, a standard of Chinese cuisine, is typically made from seasoned chicken broth (or pork) and filled with wontons, the Asian equivalent of ravioli or tortellini. You’ll find tasty versions at JuYuan Chinese Restaurant and Super Moon Buffet. Or try a delightful Thai variation at Nong’s Thai Cuisine made with pork or mock duck.

Pho is a Vietnamese soup made with broth, rice noodles, herbs and meat, and it’s perfect for taking the edge off winter days. Some of the best pho can be found at Wok in the Park and Sichaun Restaurant.

braised duck ramen at Lat14

Another cozy option? Order a bowel of ramen, a Japanese noodle soup, from one of these spots. The signature dishes at Lat14 include the creamy Tom Yum ramen and braised duck ramen.

Sandwiches

The Juicy Lucy is truly a Minnesota specialty. Created in the 50’s, it’s a hamburger that’s stuffed with cheese on the inside. You can find it on the menu at Schullers Tavern. Their version of this classic features a hand-formed ½ lb. burger stuffed with double the cheese, either American or pepper jack, served on a grilled Kaiser roll. Just be sure to take your first bite carefully – the molten cheese in the middle is piping hot!

Craving even more cheese? The “Not Yo Momma’s” grilled cheese sandwich at the Park Tavern is an upscale version of a classic. It’s made with cheddar and mozzarella, basil pesto, bacon and pickled red onion that’s then toasted with parmesan and served with a side of tomato basil soup. Not to be overlooked, the Chester Bird Post 523 American Legion has an adult grilled cheese that’s oozing with American, Swiss and cheddar, while Bunny’s Bar & Grill has a triple decker version on grilled sourdough.

Entrées

It’s hard to beat the nostalgia and comfort of a chicken pot pie. Hazelwood Food + Drink serves theirs in a wood-fired clay pot with carrots, sweet onion, celery, peas and a savory, flaky crust. JJ’s Clubhouse offers house-made chicken pot pie as one of their favorite dishes. The Local, meanwhile, offers a chicken pub pie made with roasted chicken, tarragon cream sauce and seasonal vegetables. The pot roast with braised beef and mashed potatoes is another classic.

Heat up your taste buds with a spicy order of jambalaya at Yard House. Choose linguine or rice covered with blackened shrimp, andouille sausage, crawfish, chicken, peppers and a Cajun cream sauce. At The Loop, their version includes a breaded chicken breast over rice topped with shrimp, andouille sausage and spicy pepper-tomato sauce. It’s guaranteed to warm you from the inside out.

Fried green tomatoes, collard greens, hush puppies, grits and fried chicken – these southern classics are synonymous with comfort food and Revival serves up generous portions of these traditional recipes. For a slightly more modern take, head to The Block, where you’ll find broasted chicken served with mashed potatoes and gravy and a side of honey cornbread. Or try Doolittle’s Woodfire Grill and their signature smoked rotisserie chicken or the smokehouse BBQ spare ribs.

Pasta

If the cold weather has you craving carbs, treat yourself to some Italian-style pasta. D’Amico & Sons offers fresh-made dishes such as lasagna bolognese made with Calabrese sausage, fettucine alfredo and, of course, spaghetti and meatballs. At Parkway Pizza, order the house specialty Supreme, which features penne noodles loaded with red sauce, then layered with pepperoni, onions, green peppers, green olives, and mushrooms, topped with mozzarella cheese and meatballs. Not into meat? Order the vegan version!

mac and cheese

And finally, for the poster child of comfort foods — a gooey bowl of mac and cheese — you’ll want to head to McCoy’s Public House in St. Louis Park. Theirs is made with cheddar, mozzarella, smoked provolone, Asiago and Romano cheeses, with a buttered brioche crust. Customize it with add-ins including caramelized onions, bacon and blackened chicken, or try one of the signature combos like the buffalo mac with buffalo chicken and blue cheese.

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