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The 5 best things our food writers ate in the Twin Cities area this week

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Fall coffee flight at Annabelle House

Though its name might give off haunted Halloween energy this time of year, the year-old Annabelle House has a much more innocent presence. The coffee shop is named for owner Ashley Cook’s grandmother, Annabelle. “She passed away four years ago, and she was just such a good host, always keeping people fed and making sure that they were good,” Cook said. And that’s what Cook was going for when she opened the cafe as an extension of her wedding- and event-planning business.

Which brings us to the coffee flights, a series of four cold drinks that nod to the season ($10). In the wedding business, “visual advertising is big,” Cook said. “Part of my job is design. So the flights came out of, ‘What can we do that is Instagram-worthy, but still really fun?’ People have been loving it.”

The fall batch includes a classic pumpkin spice latte, a dark chocolaty s’mores-inspired drink, a sophisticated caramel apple concoction that gives off nonalcoholic cocktail vibes, and a foamy maple cream cold press. Cook has been changing them seasonally, and they’ve been a great way to test-drive new drink recipes. The maple cream cold press, for example, is now a signature menu item.

Annabelle House is on Osseo’s main street, a charming stretch of locally owned businesses (including the must-visit Painted Turtle chocolatier). “It’s a hidden gem here,” Cook said. “When we first moved here it was really quiet, and now it’s starting to flip over and more young families are coming in and younger businesses are coming in, too. It’s exciting to see it come back to life a bit.” (Sharyn Jackson)

232 Central Av., Osseo, 763-205-6769,

Chicken Parmesan sandwich at DeGidio’s

DeGidio’s is a testament to the power of old school restaurants knowing how to adapt to a new dining landscape while still holding onto their roots. There are zero arguments to be made against a simple plate of spaghetti and meatballs with red sauce. In fact, on a recent visit, it’s what mostly paraded out of the kitchen — which has been serving St. Paul since 1933 — to the full-at-5 pm dining room.

However, just a few tiny steps forward have marked a new era for the family-run restaurant, one where fresh dishes can become new classics. First DeGidio’s introduced a burger that’s one for the ages. Now, in a world where you can’t swing a chicken without hitting a spicy fried bird sandwich, DeGidio’s offers their entry to the field: the chicken Parmesan sandwich ($16).

A ground and battered chicken patty is coated in seasoned breadcrumbs and cooked until the exterior is a joyfully crunchy crust and the interior is a juicy flavor wonderland. That could have been enough, but the lily is gilded with a rich, tangy vodka cream sauce, spiked with spicy tart pickled peppers and then enrobed in a gooey layer of cheese, all served on a squishy bun. It is a glorious cock. (Joy Summers)

425 W. 7th St., St. Paul, 651-291-7105,

Raviolo from Aliment Pasta Co. at Red Wagon Pizza

You shouldn’t need an excuse to dine at this charming south Minneapolis pizza joint, but if you’re looking for one, here it is. Alex Dayton is taking his pasta proficiency on the road for a limited residency — Wednesdays from 5-8 pm through November — at Red Wagon.

The highlight was the raviolo ($10), which conveniently had all my favorite fall flavors on a single plate. Stuffed with goat cheese ricotta, it had a welcome tang and texture that’s missing from standard cow’s milk ricotta, and it paired beautifully with the chunks of squash and crisp, tart apples. It was all swimming in a luscious squash/brown-butter sauce and topped with crispy prosciutto and toast points. I wish I would have ordered two. The agnolotti, stuffed with fennel sausage and served with sautéed cabbage, garlic butter and Parmesan ($17), was a close second. (Other offerings were a fried ravioli appetizer and a cacio e pepe anolini.)

The night also served as a reminder of Minnesotans’ good fortune with the breadth of artisans we have. Dayton’s Aliment Pasta Co. is in the Food Building (1401 NE. Marshall St., Mpls.,, where he uses ingredients from fellow makers to produce his standout pastas. (Nicole Hvidsten)

5416 Penn Ave. S., Mpls., 612-259-7147,

Donuts from Thirsty Whale Bakery

The Twin Cities donut scene is really an embarrassment of riches. As of last weekend, add one more to the glazed, raised pile. North Minneapolis’ Thirsty Whale Bakery, which ceased donut-making operations early in the pandemic because of space limitations, has brought back its ultra fluffy fried rings, filled orbs, crackly old fashioneds and glaze-pooled fritters.

“We’ve been waiting (what feels like forever) to bring donuts back,” co-owner Megan Baker wrote in an email. “Our expansion has taken way longer than expected, and it just kind of felt like enough was enough.”

Kyle Baker, Megan’s husband and business partner, is the donut maestro of the business, who is also beloved for his cakes, cupcakes and cookies. He “is one of the absolute BEST out there at making donuts, and it has been a shame that he hasn’t been sharing his talent with everyone these past two years,” Megan Baker said. “Plus, we can’t lie, the extra cash flow from donuts will certainly help with finishing the expansion.”

Donuts are available to pre-order by the dozen, with a couple of non-doughnut delights thrown in ($34.50 a box). Otherwise, singles ($2.25 to $3.35) are first-come, first-served at the tiny slip of a shop. Expect a line. (S.J.)

4149 Fremont Av. N., Mpls., 612-259-7168,

Pork Larb at Hmoob Kitchen

It was one of those unseasonably warm days when I popped into the Hmongtown Marketplace seeking out a favorite dish or two. The marketplace was lively with a thrum of activity; heavenly aromas were drifting out of the east building. When we sat down in the dining area, the doors were propped open to bring in the sunshine and warm breezes.

Hmoob Kitchen is usually my go-to for the stuffed chicken wings, those gloriously large bites filled with cabbage, bean thread noodles and succulent meat. But on this day, a small tub of pork larb ($10) caught my eye. Crispy slices of pork were tossed with toasted rice powder, Szechuan peppercorns, fresh bird’s eye chile slices and an abundance of fresh herbs. I probably should have grabbed a side of sticky rice to soothe the heat, but the fire in my mouth only amped up the nuanced flavors with every irresistible bite. I had every intention of bringing leftovers home, but found my fingers darting into the container as I drove. The important thing is that there were good intentions. (JS)

Hmoob Kitchen at Hmongtown Marketplace, 217 Como Av., St. Paul,