Spring is stirring as we awaken from our collective torpor. We are ready for action, and the timing is perfect for the rowdiest holiday of the year: St. Patrick’s Day. A fifth-century Christian missionary and patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick used the green-as-grass shamrock to teach the holy trinity, so we don green clothes and ingest green things. If you feel duty-bound to go all green on March 17, you needn’t suffer the green beer. There are many green comestibles in which flavor outweighs gimmickry; we tracked down the top green foods in our shire.
Owner Ana Rayas was born and raised in Mexico and shares her passion for her country’s food with us. Ana’s kitchen prepares it to order; you cook it at home. We’re crazy about her guacamole; Ana knows that the best guacamole is the simplest; free from fillers and dependent on high quality, ripe avocados. A bit of cilantro and lime juice highlight the fruit’s innate charms. Serve with tortilla chips. From chico (for one) at $4.99 to party (for 50 or more) at $44.99. 1400 County Road 101 N.; 763. 951.3377.
The greenest thing at Kobe Japanese restaurant is the seaweed salad; it’s an unearthly hue that could only come from the depths of the sea. Don’t let the thought of seaweed put you off: these delicate, translucent strands carry just a kiss of the ocean. The dish is mostly about the dressing, which is a simple but compelling combination of mild rice vinegar, a splash of soy sauce, a little sugar, ginger and sesame oil. A scattering of sesame seeds finishes the dish. $5.50. 15555 34th Ave. N.; 763.559.9999.
There are oodles of curry types in Thai cuisine; our favorite is the sweet green curry, a potent green curry paste made from lemongrass, green chilies, ginger, garlic, basil, coriander, shrimp paste and lime juice. Ketsana adds mellow, creamy coconut milk and chicken. The broth is a pale sea green; pea pods and basil punctuate the dish with more green. You can order it as spicy as you’d like; it comes with steamed rice, which handily doubles as a damper. $10.75. 16605 County Road 24; 763.559.0695.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip
One of the most popular appetizers in the history of appetizers is this addictive dip, a pale artichoke green swirled with flecks of chopped spinach. Jake’s version is creamy beyond belief, spiked with garlic and kissed with a pungent Romano cheese. It spreads in glorious goops on the accompanying garlic pita chips. It’s sinfully decadent; the vibrant green color adds an illusion of healthy reassurance—go with it. $9.95. 3005 Harbor Lane N.; 763.559.1595.
When we think of green foods, salad immediately springs (pun intended) to mind. And so salad it shall be at Cowboy Jack’s. The wedge salad is a classic masterpiece, an eloquent and monumental quarter-head of iceberg lettuce, the palest green canvas for more green, cucumber disks edged in forest green. Kicky jalapeños, bacon, roma tomatoes and bleu cheese dressing complete the picture with flavor and verve. $9. 4120 Berkshire Lane N.; 763.559.0257.
Paneer is a simple cow’s-milk cheese akin to our farmer’s cheese, made with curdling vinegar or lemon juice and pressed dry. Palak paneer is a rich blend of the cheese with wilted spinach leaves and a creamy, curry-inflected sauce—much like an American steakhouse’s creamed spinach, and every bit as delicious. Get some fresh naan—oven-puffed flatbread—to swipe up every last bit. $11.95. 4190 Vinewood Lane N.; 763.383.1880.
Chicken Stire Fry Salad
The color green is part of this restaurant’s name; the décor is heavy on the green, too. The menu boasts no fewer than eight salads, including classics like the Cobb, Caesar and the uber-popular Thai chicken salad. But it was the chicken teriyaki salad which caught our eye for its originality and ingenuity. A hefty pile of romaine lettuce is gussied up with Asian-marinated chicken, dark green broccoli, water chestnuts, bright pea pods, red peppers, red onions, mushrooms, roasted cashews and fried noodles, all doused in a sweet-and-salty teriyaki dressing. $10.99 2705 Annapolis Lane N.; 763.553.9000.
Green Apple Martini
The Sunshine Factory
Special martini menus are all the rage and The Sunshine Factory’s is one of the best. The green apple martini boasts Absolut Citron vodka, lime-green apple schnapps and a splash of sour mix. It makes a neon yellow-green hue and tastes like a green-apple Jolly Rancher hard candy that masks the flavor of alcohol, so sip carefully. $7.75. 4100 Vinewood Lane N.; 763.535.7000.