We were tempted to return to our longtime favorite restaurant in Minneapolis – Lucia’s in Uptown – but we (or make that I) decided to be a little more adventurous. Glad we did. We had a fantastic meal at Bar La Grassa (BLG) in the Warehouse district 9check out the deer popping out of the facade above!) – eating wonderful Italian food that Des Moines, alas, doesn’t have much of. As advised, we nabbed two seats at the bar overlooking the very busy chefs who seemed to be effortlessly whipping up endless plates of inventive pastas and bruchetta. We had a hard time choosing what to eat from the extensive menu but it helped that you could order half portions of pasta. We loved everything we tried – tomato-based bruschetta with creamy ricotta (a lot of the ingredients here are reportedly source from Bologna); another bruschetta topped with carpaccio, greens and shaved Parmesan. The pastas were all excellent – we had raw tuna atop some extremely spicy and orange pasta made with hot chili oil; pasta with a veal ragu; and black pasta in a light squid-flavored butter with perfectly cooked mussels and roasted tomatoes. For dessert, we split a chocolate panna cotta that came with a crisp delicious flat cookie. Perfect (but we were too full to finish it.) This place even got me to eat lima beans – which were served as a free amuse buse (or whatever the Italian version of that is) marinated with bits of cauliflower, carrots, etc. We were also very glad we had reservations because as promised, on a Saturday night, the place was jam-packed. Great place!!
For lunch on Sunday we went to Patisserie 46 on 46th and Grand – I remembered getting a bread at this place three years ago and seeing the amazing looking sandwiches. This time the sandwiches weren’t on display but the ones we ordered were fantastic – a grilled panini with brisket, cheese and light horseradish (must remember to do this with my leftover brisket) and a delicious BLT with lots of crispy hearty bacon on a chewy baguette. The pastries and breads and sorbet also looked terrific. Next time!