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Hell’s Kitchen

No, not the one in New York.

A bit before the third Lord of the Rings movie was publicly released, I went to Minnesota to visit an internet friend and see the third movie. And while there was a lot of good food on that trip, some delightful culture (highbrow and lowbrow – including a delightfully communal book arts center), and some wonderful people – the one thing that really stuck (other than how much I wish to see that same friend again – because she’s amazing) was this restaurant we went to for breakfast near the end of the visit (because if it had been earlier in the visit, I might have attempted another meal there).

Now before I talk about this restaurant, let me assure you that fine dining in the twin cities is an art form. In fact, I don’t think I have been anywhere else that has taken the business lunch to such a high art form that most restaurants have black and white cloth napkins so that they can match the color to blend in with your suit pants, be they khaki or pinstripe.

So – Hell’s Kitchen

Full of kitsch. Not only is it full of hellish glee, but for breakfast all of the servers are attired in their pajamas and other nightclothes. And they seemed happy.

There were some hard choices on the breakfast menu. My friend chose the Lemon Ricotta Hotcakes, and they were some of the finest pancakes I have ever stolen off of someone’s plate. I tried something completely out of character. I mean, I’m a bagel girl – I think everything breakfasty tastes better on top of a bagel. If I’m getting an omelet, it’s going to be cut into little bites and mushed into the cream cheese on top of my bagel. You get the idea.

Instead, I decided to be daring and I tried the hot cereal. No, really. Well, not really, since it wasn’t really oatmeal or farina or grits. Nope, it was rice. Wild rice with roasted hazelnuts, dried blueberries, sweetened cranberries, heavy cream, and maple syrup on the side. And this converted me to the warm cereal side of the cold morning breakfast side of the force.

It’s almost cold enough to be fixing this – and I’ve got some wild rice in the pantry and a recipe that needs some cranberries coming up.

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