Saturday, September 30, 2006

munching in Minnesota-St. Paul's W.A. FROST & CO.

Not that many of you would find yourselves in downtown St. Paul, but if you do, and have time for a wonderful meal, head a mile west of downtown to the beautiful Cathedral Hill neighborhood and dine at the 30+ year old W.A. FROST & CO. (

The Victorian style rooms offer not too comfy chairs, but old worn marble tables, dark tin cielings, huge Oriental rugs, fringed lamps, exposed brick walls and all sorts of paintings (I was seated under a sheepdog with his herd). The servers are helpful and friendly, and I listened to their suggestions--a great idea. I started with an amazing AHI TUNA "Steak Tartar" with homemade Potato Chip, toasted brioche Garlic-Mustard Sauce and a truly magnificent HORSERADISH PANNA COTTA. This would be great with good GEFILTE FISH! A glass of Hopler 2004 Gruner Veltliner was a perfect balance to the acidity. Incidentally, this may be Minnesota's most impressive wine list, with 40 wines by the glass, 50+ half bottles and close to 1000 full bottle choices on over 16 pages!

My server saw me writing and sent me a little bowl of the HARVEST PUMPKIN SOUP with NUTMEG Creme Fraiche and Spiced Pecan whcih was rich and creamy and went superbly with the G.V.

I moved onto a red DIEVOLE "Rinascimento" 2003 Sangiovese blend from Chianti that was perfect for almost any meat, but excellent with my ROASTED BREAST of WILD ACRES FARM DUCK (from Minn.) with Duck-Apple Sausage, Chestnut Foie Gras Austum Squash Ragout and Apple Radicchio Risotto over Apple Cider Sauce. It sounds intense and it was huge and wondrous, but a great combination of flavors. The apple in the risotto was not too cooked and had a little crunch which mimicked the crunch of the chestnuts in the ragout. The sausage was perhaps one of the best I have ever had.

Dessert was less of a success with a COMPOSITION of AUTUMN APPLES including a mediocre jelly-like Tarte Tatin, a fun bowl of 5 little Lady Apples in Caramel Sauce and a yummy Apple Fritter with Honey and Whipped Cream Dollops that I left behind and wnet right for the caramel sauce form the lady apples. The coffee was an amazing press pot of FINCA DOS MARIAS Guatemalan Estate Organic--credit that choice to Samuel. I had TWO pots, as I was headed to the opera.

I must also note they have an amazing cheese list with over 15 choices! I might just have to come back!