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Food & Drink

Food & Wine’s Restaurant Editor Is Obsessed with the Twin Cities

'Boundary-pushing noodles,' 'soul-satisfying pie,' and more local dishes land among her best bites of the year.

a bowl of pasta topped with little shrimps
Khâluna's Bucatini Talay gets a nod as “the most boundary-pushing noodles.”
Instagram: @khaluna.mpls

I know, I know. This is dangerously close to the “Oooh, a national news source paid attention to us!” line. Maybe over it, even.

But I haven’t seen anyone talking about the fact that Food & Wine’s restaurant editor Khushbu Shah just called Minneapolis and St. Paul the “sleeper food cities of the year,” so unfortunately you’re all getting a blog post about it!

The acknowledgement comes tacked on to the tail end of Shah’s Best Bites of 2022, which takes us from Cento in Los Angeles, where she loved the Banana Pudding Tiramisu (the dessert of the year), to D.C.’s Daru, where the Bison Momo are hailed as the “dumplings with the most moxie.” Of the 10 top dishes Shah honors in the yearly wrap-up (for restaurant critics, the year ends in September), New York and L.A. appear more than once, while New Orleans, Cincinnati, Seattle, and Austin all get a nod as well.

You could conceivably get to the end of the list and be like, “Rats, nothing for us this year.” But if you’re a local-angle hawk like I am, you open every last bit of national news and instantly CTRL+F for “Twin Cities”—and there it is, just under the Flash-Fried Artichoke Hearts from Mother Wolf in L.A.

“There were more best bites in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul than anywhere else our restaurant editor ate this year,” the section begins. Shah shouts out the Stuffed Piquillo Peppers at Petite León, which are also a must-order for this Racket staffer. (Good month for Petite León, which just last week made the New York Times’ list of the 50 best restaurants in America.)

Khâluna’s Bucatini Talay are “the most boundary-pushing noodles”; the “most soul-satisfying pie” is the apple one from Myriel. And the tacos of the year? The marvelous, meatless Mushroom Birria Tacos at Ann Kim’s Sooki & Mimi. (Kim also has a lot of eyes on her this month, having just appeared on Netflix’s critically acclaimed food docu-series Chef’s Table.)

If anything… perhaps all those accolades should indicate that these aren’t “sleeper” food cities, exactly? But hey, we’re already basking in the glow of a national nod. No need to bring our Midwestern chip-on-the-shoulder into this as well.