Insider Guide: Andrew Zimmern

Minneapolis boasts an emerging and exciting food and wine scene. Discover what Andrew says you can't miss while you're here:

Top 5 Culinary Attractions

Farmer's Markets
Nothing represents our "farm-to-table" culinary culture better than a trip to the farmers market. Whether you visit the Minneapolis, Nicollet Mall, or Mill City market, the sense of community and our ties to fresh, locally-grown foods is very exciting to participate in.

Visiting Farms
People don't realize you can visit farms. It's a fascinating way to connect with people. And Minnesota wineries-it used to be you had to fly to Napa to do a wine weekend-why not do a wine weekend here in Minnesota? I think it's much more exciting to see the crush at a Minnesota vineyard. You're not fighting 5 million tourists and hours of traffic, and you can actually interact with the winemaker. There is a tremendous amount of wine experience for the average oenophile participating in Minnesota wine life. Vineyards, cheese makers, abattoirs, fruit farms, orchards-it's all here.

Independent Restaurants
I like independent, owner-operated, tablecloth, food-driven restaurants. Those restaurants represent the best Minnesota chefs who are doing the most innovative things with food in our region.

Ethnic Dining
I have friends who come here and I say, "Let's go out for Vietnamese food," and they say, "I'm from Boston, we've got great Vietnamese." And I say, "Your Vietnamese restaurants are not as good as our Vietnamese restaurants." Our Ethiopian, Somali, Eritrean, Hmong, Laotian, Vietnamese, Cambodian restaurants, because of the vibrancy of our ethnic communities, are as relevant as similar restaurants in other big cities. I could put my favorite 3 Latino taquerias up against any city's-I don't know how you could get a better product than at Pineda Tacos or Taco Morelos.

Seasons
There is nothing better than participating in the outdoors here, 12 months a year. I've taken friends hunting in the fall, snowmobiling and ice-fishing in the winter, boating in the summer...getting outdoors in Minnesota is something I think we do better here than almost any other place. It's just outstanding. That being said, I always tell friends to come in August because you can see the lakes at their best and you can go to the State Fair, which I think is a very vibrant time of year here.

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