Return to a Midwest jewel

Minneapolis is an interesting city. Less population than of the Westside in Los Angeles, but has a big city feel with a strong urban core. So I’m happy I got a 2nd chance to visit.

The streets between the skyscrapers feel dead, but if you venture up to the 2nd floor, a network of sky bridges connects nearly every building in a continuous mall, much like Hong Kong.

This Skyway network means a lot of local eateries that get overwhelmed by office workers at lunch. But if you venture back down to street level, you can find one of the town’s best-known diners, the Hen House.

This place is full of mashups, including the drinks menu which has a Kombucha Mimosa! I’m torn between two mashup menu entries, Cinnamon Roll Pancakes vs Mac & Cheese Melt. The waiter’s description of the pancakes didn’t help either: “it’s exactly what it sounds like”.

Not knowing what to expect, I go with the waiter’s suggestion of the pancakes instead of the melt. When it arrived, it’s hard to put into words other than “it’s exactly what it sounds like”

The plate comes with two pancakes topped with a generous drizzle of cinnamon roll glazing. I would have preferred a cream-cheese glaze, but the sugar glaze gets the job done. The pancakes themselves are made from cinnamon roll dough and rolled up with sugar and cinnamon before being sliced to cook on the griddle as pancakes.

It’s a buzzard combination, but it works. The pancakes are fluffy and airy like a good buttermilk pancake. It’s all sweet and cinnamon, and you get the occasional toffee-like chewy and crunchy bits where the cinnamon sugar mixture leaked out and caramelized.

The best part is that since this is a diner, the breakfast menu is available all day. Which means you don’t have to feel guilty washing it down at lunch with a Grain Belt Premium lager.

White on white on white


Located on the 12th floor above Macy’s in downtown Minneapolis, the Skyroom is a lunch cafeteria that Richard Myer would be proud of. Curving white walls, white furniture, and even a white piano surround a soup and salad bar, and stations for pasta, burgers, Mexican food, and American deli sandwiches. Of course, being from LA, I passed on the Mexican station and made my way to the deli counter. Top of the list: a smoked turkey with applewood smoked bacon sandwich on cinnamon-raisin bread with cranberry aoli. The bread, pullaway style, cut thick and toasted, was sweet and packed with cinnamon. Unlike many delis, both the bacon and the turkey were rich with smokey flavor. The turkey portion size was a little small, but the ample amount of bacon made up for it. Coupled with a peppery coleslaw and your typical pickle wedge, this made for great way to spend a warm lunch watching the cold snow fall.