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Minneapolis - St. Paul, MN

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Oh, I never did reply to this - in Rochester, I found one good restaurant: Pescara, in the Doubletree Hotel, where I had three meals. The seafood is interesting, fresh, and prepared simply and with care. You can get there via the skywalk. I would be very surprised if there was a better restaurant in Rochester than this.

I probably tried ten different places here, and the only other place of note was a hipster, vegan-centric bar called Bar Buffalo (they also own a decent pub called Half Barrel Bar and Kitchen).

At the Mall of America (don't ask), I went to what was supposedly the best place there: Cantina Laredo. If you go, have a margarita, and gorge on the tableside guacamole which was really very good; other than the guac, we're in Uncle Julio's territory here.

An interesting-sounding restaurant in Minneapolis right now is a James Beard long-listed pizza place: Pizzeria Lola (I didn't go, but a friend did, and really liked it). I also went to Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza at the airport, and it was horrible (maybe the standalone restaurant is worthwhile, but do not waste your time at the airport location).

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