“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver
The teams from three of my favorite local spots; Victory 44 (gastropub reimagined), Rustica Bakery (astoundingly good bakery in the French and Italian traditions), and Dogwood Coffee (my favorite latte in the Cities), put their heads together and made Parka Restaurant in the off-the-beaten path Longfellow neighborhood in Minneapolis.
This place opened in January this year to rave reviews. I had been waiting patiently to find the time and reason to get up there, and finally, for Mother’s Day earlier this month, I found both. So our family and my mom and dad headed there for dinner together. They even have a great kids menu which my daughters enjoyed (buttered noodles and the mini pizza).
What about us grown-ups? We had some amazing food. Many dishes had little twists on traditional Minnesotan “comfort foods” like ham and pickle tots, more like little croquettes delicate and light, not at all heavy like some fried foods. Or the fried cheese curds, rivaled the ones from the Mouse Trap at the Minnesota State Fair – and that is saying something! But, with the foodie adds of pickled apple and a tart apple butter and chives, set off the salty, melty cheese perfectly.
I had the poached salmon, served mussels and shiitake, with a briny and delicate mussel broth poured over it, with a fragrant green garlic and cilantro garnish. It was light and exactly the right dish to have after the fried food starters. I definitely recommend the dish to anyone else who goes, it was perfectly in balance and there wasn’t a thing I’d change.
My second favorite dish was dessert, the blueberry pretzel…not a pretzel at all, but an interesting combination of roasted blueberries with tangy chevre, sweet vanilla cream, and salty/sweet pretzel brittle.
In short, I definitely need to find more reasons to visit Parka. The menu is compact but every dish the six of us tried was a hit, at once familiar and novel, and every bite a delight!