One of my favorite dining options is a Deli; it evokes great memories that typically includes artisanal cheese, cured meats, fresh baked bread and homemade soups. Add to this a great spirits/wine/beer store in Minneapolis or its knock off mini twin without the libations in St. Paul and you have France 44 and The Cheese Shop.
Living on the east side and working on the west side has brought me in favor with establishments that cater to both of the Twin Cities. A few weeks ago I chose France 44 along with my work pal Rossy for lunch and a tour of the craft beer cooler. Soup and sandwich sounds simple and can be, but how about these? Pick one, The Smurk with turkey, provolone, caramelized onion, and harissa, The Speckwich with speck, chevre, olive tapenade, greens or The Warm Apple filled with apples, blue cheese or English cheddar, Ames Farm honey and Red Table ham, add to this an ample serving of the Shrimp Tomato Stew or Squash Ginger Bisque, perfection! The sandwich menu includes a dozen or more specialty sammies along with the ability to customize your order and soup of the day.
The menu also offers Daily Specials, Cheese Boards, Meat, Salads, Sides and Desserts. Best of all the cheese and meat is available for sampling while your sandwich is being prepared, making it a challenge to leave without a robust bag of delicacies.
Not to be forgotten, while on St. Paul’s Grand Avenue and yearning for a late lunch, I made my way to The Cheese Shop. Although small in comparison to France 44, I was greeted with enthusiasm and left pleased along with a chicken liver, provolone, gherkin, coarse ground mustard sandwich. And yes while waiting for its preparation I sampled and shopped… next thing I know a 1/2 pound each of the Fourme D’Ambert blue cheese, Fra Mani Salametto, La Quercia Tamworth Prosciutto and yes the Speck made it into my shopping bag!
Deli must translate to “being happy” in some language!
Bill’s Beverage of the Month
‘Tis the season for fresh hop beer and here’s a good one. Notes from the Brewery: “This mouthwateringly delicious IPA gets its flavor from a heavy helping of citra and mosaic hops. Don’t worry, no fruit was harmed in the making of this beer.”