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The Most Restorative Dishes in the Twin Cities

Feeling flu-ish? We've got your cure.

Ramen inside Zenbox Izakaya
Ramen inside Zenbox Izakaya
Joy Summers

It’s cold and flu season. Everyone you know is sniffly and achey and whiny and coughy.  Stave off the bugs, or ease into recovery, with these soul soothing, restorative dishes.

1

Zen Box Izakaya's Kimchi Ramen

Everything on the menu at Zen Box is guaranteed to return the rosy glow to your cheeks, but the standout here is the kimchi ramen. Lean over a steaming bowl filled with copper hued pork broth, fresh ramen noodles and loads of kicky kimchi and earthy wakame. The ramen is served at lunch and dinner, so you might want to go back for seconds. The house hot sake wouldn’t hurt either.

Image credit: Zen Box Izakaya

2

El Taco Riendo's Chilaquiles

Standing in line at El Taco Riendo can be a bit intimidating. A bizillion choices swirl above and time is ticking down. It’s your turn, what do you order?! The chilaquiles. Every. Single. Time. Golden tortilla chips are doused in red or green salsa and tossed in a fry pan for a few minutes, then topped with chicken, sour cream and grated cheese. The result is a deliciously messy heap of soft and crunchy, spicy and mild, hot and chilled. Ask for both rice and beans, take your plastic tray and slide into a booth. Dig in. You’re ok now.

Image credit: Facebook

4

Domo Gastro's Kimchi Fries

At this Central Avenue newcomer, they top a massive bowl of some of the best fries in town with caramelized kimchi and a fried egg. The caramelization takes away the sour notes of the kimchi and leaves it sweet and tender. The chef (could be anyone here since the staff rotates positions) drizzles the whole thing with Domo sauce and some fresh cilantro. Who knows what's in this sauce, but who cares? Bring us more.

Image credit: Yelp

5

Chimborazo Ecuadorian's Caldo de Bolas de Verde

Caldo de bolas de verde is a hearty soup from the coastal region of Ecuador. Just reading that makes you feel better already, amIright? At Chimborazo, plump green plantain dumplings are filled with tender meat and veggies and plopped into a thick, spicy peanut broth. If you look up a recipe for this dish, you will find that most are in Spanish and include about 40 ingredients and 25 steps to prepare. You know what’s easier? A drive to Central Avenue.

Image credit: Yelp

6

Como Dockside's Gnocchi

Pimento is having a bit of a moment, and nowhere does it carry a more curative punch than on the smoky pimenton gnocchi at Como Dockside (Dockside to locals.) The gnocchi are smaller than one might find in an Italian eatery, but what they lack in girth they make up for in their soft yet chewy texture and that addicting sour cream fondue they are swimming in. The crispy onions strewn on top seal the deal.

Image credit: Dhila Backstrom Photography

7

Friends Cafe's Burmese Curry

In an unassuming strip mall off Rice Street in St. Paul, sits Friends Cafe, serving Burmese and Thai food in a sparse, sunny little space. It is, as the name implies, exceedingly friendly and welcoming. The dish of choice when feeling under the weather? The shrimp and eggplant Burmese curry. The dish is simple and hearty with a unique flavor profile, filled with plump shrimp, supple eggplant and not much more. Piled on top a spoonful of fluffy jasmine rice, the combination is so satisfying there is no need for further complexity.

Image credit: Yelp


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