With flip-flop season upon us, think outside the box! Grab a picnic basket and explore all the culinary experiences Plymouth has to offer. From farmers markets to pizza farms and a glass of pinot, Plymouth has lots of what makes for a great quality of life. Located just 12 miles northwest of Minneapolis, Plymouth is readily accessible to all within the metropolitan area. Here are some ideas to make the most of a friendly suburb on a sweet summer day.
During the summer season, Natasha Obuhov sells pierogi at farmers markets throughout the metro area. When you visit the pierogi wagon, you’ll likely see her husband, Vladimir, on duty, frying the pierogi to perfection for the line of people waiting to enjoy them and serving them with sour cream and crispy pickles on the side.
Golden brown on the outside with just the right amount of crunch, leading to a pillow of filling—potato-cheese, spinach mozzarella, or just about anything your heart might desire, Natasha’s pierogi hit the spot for everyone from adventurous gourmets to picky eaters. Pierogi are an Eastern-European dumpling, similar to Italian ravioli and Japanese gyoza. Obuhov’s food is quintessential Eastern European.
Obuhov makes so many varieties of pierogi that you can never get bored—if you’re the type of person who thinks it’s possible to get bored of potatoes. Non-meat options include potato-cheese, potato-mushroom, potato with smoked salmon, potato-onion, spinach-mozzarella and sauerkraut-mushroom. If it’s meat you want, choices include potato-bacon, pulled pork and American bison. The dough is simple, made from flour, water, oil and salt. There are no eggs in the dough, which makes the meat-free versions suitable for vegans.
India Bazaar (PLYMOUTH)
India Bazaar has been serving the Twin Cities since 2013. Located on Plymouth Boulevard, India Bazaar offers the community a place for groceries, prepared food from its deli and a restaurant. Perfect for evenings when you want tasty food with balanced nutrition but just don’t have time to cook. Both the deli and restaurant offer meat and vegetarian options, which are made in-house and prepared fresh by hand. The grocery has a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, including those common to Indian cuisine such as mango, okra and bitter gourd. In addition to produce, the store has grocery items that almost everyone will love, including many that will be welcomed by vegans, vegetarians and those who follow a gluten-free diet.
India Bazaar has something for almost anything that ails you. If you have a cold coming on and like the folk remedy of spicy food, the deli and restaurant have options that serve up the heat and taste delicious. If you’re craving something mild and easy to eat, try the idli. These fluffy rice cakes made with rice and lentil flour, traditionally eaten for breakfast but good for any time of day, are the ultimate comfort food.
If you feel like you need a change of scene but can’t get out of town, a trip to India Bazaar grocery will surround you with beautiful colors. Incense available for sale offers fragrance. Even the labels on the packaging are like mini-works of art, with depictions of flowers, animals and idyllic landscapes.
3355 Plymouth Blvd.
When picnic time strikes, you’ll want something that’s easy to make and pack that can withstand the summer heat as well as being both delicious and nutritious. Fresh Thyme Farmers Market offers our readers ways to help you pack the perfect picnic. With its emphasis on organic and healthful food, Fresh Thyme blends the spirit of a farmers market with the convenience of a grocery store, so there are plenty of delicious, healthy options for your picnic.
“Especially for picnics, the more color you have in your diet, the better,” says regional marketing director Becca Rowe. "With all the fresh fruits and vegetables throughout our stores, it’s easy to get a whole spectrum of color. Fruit skewers are really simple. We make them in-store sometimes, but they’re also really easy to make. You can create a rainbow of fruit—strawberries, raspberries, mango, grapes.” Since the skewers can lay flat, they also make for an easy-to-pack choice. When it comes to salads, whole grains are a good option. Quinoa goes particularly well with both roasted and fresh vegetables. “If you want to make it a little creamier, you can add avocado,” says Rowe.
Don’t forget about dessert. Though usually the more indulgent part of a meal, there are plenty of ways to satisfy your sweet tooth. Rowe recommends the bulk foods department as a great place to start. “We have yogurt-covered pretzels, yogurt-covered peanuts and raisins, too, which is another great way to make dessert feel more indulgent than it actually is.”
For a dessert that’s as fun to make as to eat, try Mason jar parfaits. Rowe suggests angel food cake with strawberries and a whipped topping. “It’s a lot lighter, and it doesn’t have that heavy cakey feel to it.” It couldn’t be easier to pack—just bring along spoons. Your bowl is already there.
15760 32nd Ave. N
If you’re looking to explore the art of a wine and cheese board, feel free to showcase some creativity in pairing cheese and wine. “There are no general rules here. It is whatever people like,” says Gary Hanscom, wines and spirits manager at Lunds & Byerlys in Plymouth. Hanscom also advocates for a variety of wines and recommends trying your own ideas or consulting with cheese and wine shops for extras like fruit spreads, fresh fruit and nuts. The best advice? Be adventurous. “Different cheeses bring out different flavors in the wine,” he says, “so don’t be afraid of trying different things to see [how it changes the taste].”
Both plain and flavorful crackers can be chosen based on personal preference, but Hanscom prefers plain crackers because they do not overpower the cheese. He also suggests fruits like melons and green apples for lighter wines or blackberries and raspberries for heavier ones.
Emmi’s Gruyere is a cave-aged cheese from Switzerland that has a creamy texture. “It is a little on the sweet side, but also has a salty taste to it with a nutty flavor that pairs well with Forager’s pinot noir. It is a light red wine with berry and currant flavors. The grapes come from the Sonoma coast which has a cooler climate that is great for the growth of pinot noir grapes. The rich flavors of the wine balance really well with the salty, nutty flavor of the cheese,” says Hanscom.
3455 Vicksburg Lane N.
This green, floral oasis features the tranquility of the countryside, but is no further than 15 minutes west of Plymouth in Long Lake. The farm grows heirloom tomatoes and dahlias which can be purchased during their popular summer pizza nights. Two Pony Gardens holds these events to promote their sustainable growing practices, “in the hopes of spreading the love for nature and our very precious ecosystem,” according to their website.
Two Pony Gardens, named after its two resident horses, is unique in its offerings. The farm grows more than 50 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, and 100 varieties of dahlias. Visitors can buy the dahlias to plant or as cut flowers. The farm’s focus on environmental and social responsibility is evident in owner Lisa Ringer’s unbridled passion and excitement for teaching people about the importance of sustainable eating. Events for 2019 are not yet released. Check out the website for updates.
1700 Deer Hill Road, Long Lake