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Crystal Grobe is a local food writer who loves trying out new restaurants to gain inspiration for cooking in her own kitchen. She loves Minnesota and is always on the go in search of new foods, events, music, and friends with her husband, Ryan. Find more of her work on Café Cyan and Bite of Minnesota, where she blogs for WCCO.

Town Talk Diner - by Crystal Grobe
27 1/2 E Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55406

Showing up at a popular Minneapolis restaurant without reservations on a Saturday evening makes me nervous, but at 6:30pm, Town Talk Diner had no problem seating our party of four. The several tables that were open quickly filled up after the 7 o'clock hour and the place was soon buzzing with activity.

We looked over the extensive drink menu and were torn between the lighter hand-crafted cocktails and the adult malts and floats. The former presented exciting ingredients such as orange bitters, bacon washed bourbon, and crème de violette while the latter offered familiar flavors of chocolate and banana, but with a special addition: bourbon. We all went for the lighter cocktails as we wanted to leave room for the food.

Starting out, the must have appetizer at Town Talk is the cheese curds. With a light and crispy scallion-caper batter, they melt in your mouth. The bacon ketchup served alongside the cheese curds was a perfect match. For a second appetizer, we ordered the Mediterranean Platter that consisted of pita chips and three spreads: hummus, olive tapenade, and the to-die-for tyrosalata which is a mix of feta and jalapenos. Once we ran out of pita chips, none of us were opposed to eating the remaining dips with our forks.

For dinner, we ordered two sandwiches and two entrees. Being a lover of fried eggs on toast, but having never tried a fried egg sandwich, it was an obvious choice. The sandwich was a perfectly fried egg, a slice of ham, tomato and cheese served between two large slabs of Texas toast. Not only did I love the sandwich, one of my dining partners said if Town Talk was open for breakfast, he would stop by every morning for the Fried Egg Sandwich.

The other sandwich ordered, a brat burger, was a pleasant surprise. Instead of a bratwurst sliced in half, it was a handmade brat patty topped with bacon and spicy sauerkraut. The spiciness from the sauerkraut served as an excellent replacement for the standard spicy mustard offered with most brats. It was served with a mound of garlic parsley fries and lemon aioli that we all quickly inhaled.

As for entrees, I could not wait to try the Mushroom Risotto which was delightfully creamy, but not too rich thanks to the balsamic vinegar drizzled over the top. The oyster mushrooms gave this dish a meaty texture while the scallions offered some visual flair throughout the dish and as a garnish.

The Mac N Cheese was better than homemade and the addition of bacon was a smart choice. Along with the breadcrumb topping, the bacon lent a nice crunch and chewiness to compliment the cheesy macaroni.

While we did not order dessert, our waiter was kind enough to bring out a special treat, house made peanut butter and chocolate bites. These hit the spot and served as a perfect ending to a perfect night out.

Additional Information:
Parking is metered and non-metered street parking on Lake Street and side streets nearby. Valet is provided on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The Twin Cities Food Finds Restaurant Guide is the most complete annual reference directory for those who enjoy dining out in the Twin Cities.   |   TWIN CITIES FOOD FINDS GUIDE 2012
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