85: Aloo Tama from the Himalayan

Aloo Tama is a stealthily magical, yet soulful and warming soup.

Aloo Tama is a stealthily magical, yet soulful and warming soup.

As a countdown to the Best of the Twin Cities 2016, coming April 20, we're serving up 100 of our favorite local dishes. Here are the best dishes, drinks, snacks, and sweet treats we encountered over the last year.

Using many of the same spices and techniques that make Indian cooking so bewitching, Tibetan food is familiar yet singular enough to remain exotic. The Himalayan is a St. Paul institution which fairly recently moved to the other side of the river. In a modest yet welcoming storefront, they offer Nepali, Indian, and Tibetan, and say they have individual chefs specializing in each cuisine and you can taste it. A $10.95 lunch buffet is a steal: all you can eat chili chicken, fried okra and potatoes, curries, salad bar, roti, rices, and too many other things to even have in one visit. But a favorite bite is Aloo Tama, an ordinary looking soup with the flavor of a roundhouse punch. It's a favorite staple in Tibetan cooking that gets its unusual flavor from pickled bamboo shoots. Black-eyed peas and potatoes turn it into a classic soul food stew enlivened with the holy trinity of eastern cooking: chile, garlic, and ginger. Cumin, coriander, and turmeric work further warming magic. This alone is worth the price of admission. 

100: Caramel-Bacon Puffcorn at Red Cow

99: Pappadams from the Curry Diva

98: The Kingfield at Five Watt

97: Raspberry Cream Scone at Sun Street Breads

96: Bacon and Bourbon from 6Smith

95: Biscuits and Gravy at Ward 6

94: Burgers from Peppers and Fries

93: The Everything Bagel from Rise Bagel Co.

92: Bent River Camembert from Alemar Cheese

91: Two large pizzas and a pitcher of beer, Original Red's Savoy

<!——————————————EndFragment——————————————>90: Boiled Peanut Hummus at 4 Bells

89: Chaksuka from Shish

88: Fried Green Tomato BLT from Butcher and the Boar

87: Charcuterie Board at Surly Beer Hall & Restaurant

86: Quiche from Le Town Talk