Tuesday, June 29, 2010

pop tarts and pasta.

minneapolis restaurant powerhouses' have struck gold again.
parasole with their uptown darling CAFETERIA and d'amico & partners with the suburban star, PARMA.

cafeteria's official name is UPTOWN CAFETERIA AND SUPPORT GROUP.  funny.  located in uptown across from stella's and adjacent to calhoun square, it is kitschy, in a cool way.  staff uniforms are tees with their job descrips:  "serve", "work" and "pour".  school lunch trays adorn the walls.  on each table, a caddy of mrs. butterworth's, siracha, soy sauce, ketchup and mustard.  top-notch breakfast (house-made pop tarts, caramel pecan french toast) and cafeteria classics (fried chicken, hot tom, crinkle fries and beef stroganoff) and with names like "the brainerd" (walleye) and "employee meal" (who knows), ordering is fun.  take the SKY CAR and sit up top.  do not miss the communal sink + vanity (a la chino).

an AMATEUR pic (i.e., from my phone) but i wanted you to see the cool wood tables

i am going to preface my review by saying that northern italian cuisine is my ultimate fave.  so excuse the prejudice, please.  PARMA 8200 is restaurant perfection.  that is, aside from the  obscure suburban location in bloomington in the normandale lakes development (landmark:  kincaid's).  from the dark, sexy decor (damask covered lampshades, croc pillows on leather armchairs with rustic wood coffee tables and hollywood regency-esque mercury mirrored walls) this place evokes italian glam.  its comfortable but glamorous and not at all intimidating or stuffy.  this is all before the 3,000 square foot patio has opened!  said to include three fireplaces, an outdoor pool table and lounge furniture to seat 118, sure sounds fab to me.  time frame for the patio opening is about two weeks.  menu highlights are the cheese tasting (you pick three), blue prawns served en papillote, linguine with white wine, clams and garlic, chocolate panini with vanilla gelato.....i could go on forever.  there was not one thing on the menu i would not order.  the cocktail list is cool too.  i had the italian soda which featured prairie vodka, a vanilla bean soda and campari to create a bubbly, peachy-pink soda.  the gin cocktail with tomato water and goat cheese stuffed olives sounds like what i will order when i am back for the patio opening.

both having opened in the last week or two, do not be surprised to experience crowds.  but once you have a table, i think you will find that both were well worth the wait.

lindsay piram, 

event designer

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