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Looking back on a delicious year

6 January 2012

Written by Rick Nelson, Star Tribune. January 6, 2012

It’s probably safe to say that 2011 was a watershed year for the Twin Cities dining scene. A record number of influential newcomers blazed their way into the hearts and appetites of local diners, and an impressive roster of familiar practitioners remade themselves in new, genre-shaking ways.

While sifting through the mountain of menus, cocktail napkins and crumpled receipts — all scribbled with notes — that constitute my poorly organized dining diary, my initial conclusion is that paring down countless meals to just 10 memorable dishes is going to be a tremendous challenge.

Not that I’m complaining. It’s a good kind of problem, one that’s rooted in the ever- expanding diversity of the Twin Cities’ culinary community. Better to have many from which to choose, rather than few, right?

Here are my choices, and have a happy new year of eating.

 

Even more pork

Yes, 2011 was definitely the Year of the Pig, particularly at Masu Sushi & Robata, where chef-of-all-trades Tim McKee (seriously, is there anything the man can’t do?) formulated a stunning series of Japanese noodle soups, most notably a handsome earthenware bowl filled with crimped ramen, a barely-holding-it-together poached egg and, you got it, a slab of seductively fatty pork belly. Go there. Order it.

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