Minneapolis getaway highlights with vegan crepes and ice cream at Crepe and Spoon, raspberry cheesecake at J. Selby’s, sandwiches from the Herbivorous Butcher food truck, and cocktails at Twin Spirits Distillery.
I celebrated my birthday last week by taking a road trip to Minneapolis/St. Paul.
We were just there at the end of December/beginning of January. However, the Twin Cities have an entirely different vibe when the weather is a comfortable 70 degrees, as opposed to -14.
So we got on the road and headed north…
J. Selby’s in St. Paul
Our first stop in the Twin Cities was J. Selby’s. David and I have been dreaming about their version of a Big Mac ever since our last visit.
So our orders were no question – the Dirty Secret for David and the Solo for me. (The Solo is their single patty version. I requested that it be prepared “dirty style,” though, so that it still had all of the same toppings as the two layered version.)
The Dirty Secret comes with two Herbivorous Butcher burgers, special sauce, lettuce, and vegan cheese. The Solo is served with the Field Roast burger. You really can’t go wrong either way.
You get a choice of sides, and we both opted for their classic, diner-style fries.
It was my birthday after all, so clearly cake needed to be involved. We shared a slice of raspberry cheesecake.
The cheesecake was made by Vegan East, a vegan bakery that already has a location in White Bear Lake. They’re in the process of opening a second location in Uptown Minneapolis, in the same space where Ecopolitan used to be.
Holy smokes. This cheesecake was incredible.
Often vegan cheesecakes have an underlying coconut flavor, because of coconut oil in the filling. However, this one didn’t have a dominating coconut taste at all. I’ve had a lot of vegan cheesecakes over the years, and I’d say this one was the most similar to the dairy-based kind I remember from my pre-vegan days.
The tartness of the raspberry drizzle balanced the sweetness of the cheesecake. If only I was a person who could drink coffee at night, it would have been amazing with a cup of joe.
Speaking of coffee, we went back to J. Selby’s before heading out of town on Saturday, because on the weekends, they offer brunch.
I had J’s Mess, which is a sampler platter of their breakfast menu. Biscuits and sausage gravy, tofu scramble, toast, and home fries filled out the meal. This would easily be enough to serve two, but I didn’t mind having leftovers the next day.
The home fry-style breakfast potatoes were the star of this affair, and they re-heated well in the air fryer once I got home.
David got the tofu scramble with breakfast potatoes. He also ordered a side of Herbivorous Butcher breakfast sausage to go with it.
Crepe and Spoon in Minneapolis
The last time we were in Minneapolis, Crepe and Spoon had only recently opened. However, we weren’t able to work it into our visit.
Admittedly, ice cream wasn’t quite as much of a draw when they were having record-breaking cold temperatures. Also, a member of our party was gluten-free, and at the time, they didn’t offer gluten-free crepes.
That has changed now, though! In addition to gluten-y vegan crepes, they offer gluten-free vegan crepes, cones, and cookies as well.
Crepe and Spoon is a super cute space with a chalkboard menu, old school ice cream case, and a crepe-making station.
There are all kinds of mouthwatering options that would keep me coming back again and again if I lived in the area. You can get your ice cream made into an ice cream sandwich using cookies from Vegan East. You can have ice cream in a crepe or waffle cone. You can have crepes that are savory or sweet. So many options!
I started with a savory crepe with Herbivorous Butcher ham, and non-dairy smoked gouda. The cheese was nice and melty in a compact way that held the vegan ham in place in the crepe.
In the past, I’ve been let down by vegan crepes, because they tasted too wholesome. This crepe tasted exactly how I remember non-vegan crepes tasting – light, bouncy, and mellow, so as to not overwhelm or mask the ingredients inside.
David went with a banana and cocoa crepe. They make their own vegan Nutella-style spread in house with cocoa and hazelnuts. Then the crepe was dusted with powdered sugar. So good!
Of course, I couldn’t go without a scoop of ice cream.
Most of their ice cream is vegan, except for 2 non-vegan flavors in the case. Look for the D’s next to the flavor names on the case or menu board to know which ones to avoid.
(Update: Now everything at Crepe & Spoon is vegan.)
Since I was so smitten with the Vegan East cheesecake, I didn’t want to pass the opportunity to have it in ice cream form, along with swirls of strawberry for their strawberry cheesecake ice cream.
I loved finding just the perfect bite with every spoonful.
David chose a waffle cone with scoops of pistachio and coffee. The coffee had a nice, pronounced coffee flavor, and the pistachio had a big almond-extract flavor going on. The two flavors worked well together.
Herbivorous Butcher food truck
That night we met up with Laura from Bite Sized Beet at Twin Spirits Distillery. The Herbivorous Butcher food truck was parked in the parking lot that evening, and so it was a good opportunity for cocktails & noshes all in one place.
Laura was also meeting with a couple of friends. I was surprised to recognize one of them – Rachel, a co-owner of Crepe & Spoon, who had given us samples aplenty earlier in the day. It’s a small vegan world, especially when Laura is around. She knows everyone!
Twin Spirits Distillery is woman-owned, which is very cool. Their cocktail room is open in the evenings, Wednesday through Saturday. They have both indoor and outdoor patio seating. They offer tours as well.
David and I ordered grapefruit juice and gin cocktails with mint, which weren’t listed on the menu.
I stuck with water after that, but David had a second cocktail.
I couldn’t find the name of this one on their website, but needless to say, it comes with the cutest garnish known to humankind. Look at that tiny clothespin! I’m filing that idea away.
The big cocktail winner, though, was one that Rachel ordered – the veggie pho (pictured in the background above). It had all of the flavors of pho, but in a light, cool, and refreshing cocktail.
It’s like summer’s answer to the Bloody Mary.
For food, David and I both got the vegan chicken sandwich from the HB food truck, which was topped with tomato, arugula, onion, pickles, and garlic mayo. You could also have it buffalo-style, but we opted for plain. This is one hearty, flavorful sandwich!
In case you’re curious, the other options on the food truck menu included southwest mac & cheese, mushroom sandwich, rice & beans, curry spinach, and a few desserts.
Glam Doll Donuts
And that’s another Minneapolis/St. Paul trip in the books! It seems like every time we go to the Twin Cities, we leave increasingly impressed at the growing food scene there. They’re proving in a big way that awesome vegan eats aren’t reserved for the coasts alone.
For more travel posts from Minneapolis & beyond, check out my travel page.