Purple Pride

Dishes, drinks and desserts for foodies and football fans.
The Natasha at Cafe Maude takes purple to new heights of sophistication.

Everything’s coming up purple! Packed with antioxidants and other nutritional benefits, purple vegetables and fruits are more common in the fall. To celebrate the kickoff of Vikings football season, we can become the purple food eaters.

Edina area restaurants and food shops showcase savory purple dishes to their best advantage. Enjoy a purple profusion of pancakes, drinks, salads, fruits and veggies. And don’t forget luscious desserts brightened by a kaleidoscope of violet, plum, periwinkle, heliotrope and magenta. Prepare for a purple invasion.


Cafe Maude
Purple makes a sophisticated splash with the Natasha, a drink that resembles a blackberry cosmopolitan straight up in a martini glass, garnished with a lime wheel and a blackberry. A craft cocktail staple for eight years running, the lavender-hued Natasha is created with housemade blackberry syrup; the intensity of the shade varies with each berry batch and the season. Vodka, Cava sparkling wine and fresh lime juice complete the tangy mix. The Natasha is “profoundly popular” in a spot known for one-of-a-kind cocktails with attention-getting finishes (including marshmallow Peeps). Todd Staberg, general manager, says with Cafe Maude’s reputation for craft cocktails, people come in for something different and appreciate the careful preparation that goes into each custom pour. “Our bartenders are almost chemists with liquor,” he says. $11.


Linden Hills Co-op
Lively color and savory umami flavor optimize Asian slaw as the all-around good-for-you salad. This Asian salad is “a really a nice twist on coleslaw,” says Madeleine Isaacson, marketing manager. Boasting a hearty yet light crunch, the salad pairs well with seafood. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan made with organic purple cabbage, carrots, fresh herbs, sesame oil, green onion, mirin (non-alcoholic Japanese wine) and rice vinegar. A touch of crushed red pepper enlivens the toss with a zippy snap, while a generous helping of peanuts adds crunch and protein. $8.99 per pound.


Centennial Lakes Farmers Market
Picha Farms has heirloom tomatoes by the bushel from September until frost at the Centennial Lakes Farmers Market. The green-kissed, amethyst-colored Cherokee is a favorite among fields of heirlooms from the five-generation Eden Prairie-based grower. The tomato has a century-old pedigree that reaches back to the native Cherokee people, according to owner Terry Picha. Heirloom tomatoes are not hybridized and stay true to their traditional roots. The result is an intensely complex flavor—far different from the nondescript, uniformly shaped grocery-store varieties. Picha says the Cherokee tastes similar to the more well-known Brandywine heirloom, with just the right meaty-juicy balance, and makes an ideal slicing tomato. Really, all you need is a dash of salt to enjoy high-quality tomatoes like these. $3 per tray.


Cocoa & Fig
If the color purple held a beauty contest, the blackberry French macaron would be a top contender. What began as a spring feature has carried over to a summer and early fall favorite. The blackberry French macarons came about as part of a Cocoa & Fig staff-only recipe contest held during the spring. One of the bakers wanted to create something to cure the winter blues, “something springy,” says owner Laurie Pyle. This regal cookie sandwich radiates purple splendor. The French macaron is not to be confused with the coconut haystack American-style macaroon. Rather, feather-light meringue-almond flour cookies are enriched by a rich, melt-in-your-mouth smooth Italian buttercream filling. The fruity essence of Italian blackberry purée and fresh lime imbues the macarons with wonderful fruity essence. $1.75 each.


Neighborhood Ice Cream Shop
Purple comes by the scoop at the Neighborhood Ice Cream Shoppe. “With a flavor that stands on its own,” blueberry waffle-cone ice cream needs no extra embellishments, according to Eric Wold, owner. Ribbons of blueberry syrup lace vanilla ice cream with a fruity wholesomeness. Milk chocolate-covered waffle cone bits add crunch to the creamy sweetness. As a long-time customer favorite, this is a flavor adults prefer to enjoy in a waffle cone, plain and simple. The cones are made fresh daily. Ice cream cakes and pies are also available with blueberry waffle cone ice cream. $4 single scoop, $5 double scoop, $6 pint, $9 quart.


The Original Pancake House
Though they’re called blueberries, the color is really more of a deep purple. Blueberry pancakes showcase this vivid hue and wallop of fruity flavor. A consistently popular dish for breakfast and beyond, blueberry pancakes make a satisfying meal with staying power. A buttermilk and sourdough combination adds heft to the pancake batter, always made fresh daily. The result is a slightly tart, light and fluffy pancake bejeweled with a profusion of blueberries, from Ellsworth, Maine, which ooze with rich juice as they cook. A slather of freshly whipped butter and maple or blueberry syrup tops off the stack. Gluten-free batter is available at no additional charge. $5.50 Short stack of three pancakes, $7.25 for six pancakes. 3501 W. 70th St.; 952.920.4444;


Fulton Farmers Market
The Japanese eggplant glows with eye-catching purple, although this beauty is often misunderstood. Get past the worry about how to cook it and you’re on your way to a palate-pleasing, healthy meal. “In general, the more colorful the vegetable, the more nutritious. They have more antioxidants,” says Alexandra Cortes, market executive director, who recommends grilling, stir-frying or using it other basic recipes like ratatouille and baba ganoush. The thin-skinned Japanese eggplant has fewer seeds and is less bitter than its more common cousin, and its spongy texture absorbs flavors and melds into other ingredients. Thao Farms and other market vendors are also accustomed to fielding questions about eggplants. $3 per tray or market price.


Sweet Retreat Cupcake Boutique
Building an architectural wonder of cake is nothing new at Sweet Retreat, but their Minnesota Vikings cake is a showstopper. One customer, a bride-to-be, wanted to make sure that their groom’s cake was actually purple because her fiancé loved the Vikings, says Stephanie Kissner, owner. Bright marshmallow-like Italian buttercream frosts four layers of cake sculpted with precision. Goal posts, stadium seats, a domed roof, lined field, bulldozer, backhoe, construction rubble and a score board complete the look. Whimsical details added a personal touch to this cake: The bride-to-be’s favorite team is commemorated with a New England Patriots helmet strewn in the predominantly edible debris. Price varies with custom orders; call for more information.