Resurrecting the Country Bar






The Country Bar is dead. Long live the Country Bar. Some have bemoaned the conversion of the grody dive into a more polished hangout—yet another victim of the suburb-ification of Uptown Minneapolis. But the redux of the infamous Country Bar isn’t trying to put on airs, despite the temerity of serving—gasp—barrel-aged cocktails. The space received a desperately needed […]

When the moon meets the pie: How an Afghan restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis created one of the best pizzas around






As of this writing, Donald Trump’s baby-carrot fingers are inching ever closer to the country’s nuclear codes, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is melting at an apocalyptic rate, and the Panama Papers are exposing the ridiculous shell game the rich and powerful are playing with the world’s wealth. To quote Kendrick Lamar, “Boys and girls, I […]

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Interesting vegetables: 8 takes on meatless meals in the Twin Cities






Michael Pollan’s maxim on eating is easy enough to follow. Eat food. We’re on board. Not too much. Not a problem. Mostly plants. Well yeah, but, wait—mostly? We give it an honest try, planning a week of lunch salads and shopping for brunch at the farmers’ market. Then Friday night rolls around, we go out […]

Minnesota Spoon: Smoked brisket recipe from Thomas Boemer of Revival and Corner Table






The brisket hit the smoker at 8am. The whiskey was open by 11am. An early start is important. It’s well established that good barbecue should begin around dawn. It needs the better part of a day to drip, blacken, and break down into tender perfection. That’s why Thomas Boemer, chef at Revival and Corner Table, […]

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What’s in a label? Decoding food claims, from natural to non-GMO






Transparency. It’s the new buzzword among consumers demanding to know what’s in their food and brands showing off their ever-shortening lists of ingredients. Packages are dotted with more stamps and badges than ever, but that doesn’t mean the average shopper truly gets a clear idea of how their food was made.  “A stamp on your […]

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Alex Roberts on the history and unexpected virtue of masa






By Alex Roberts, as told to John Garland What we do at Alma is try to honor tradition without saying we’re cooking something traditional. Brasa is the same way—I’m not saying I can make rice and pigeon peas like your Puerto Rican grandmother. But I try to learn from tradition what is the best practice. […]

The Wide World of Beer: 15 of the world’s greatest food & beer destinations






One of the first dedicated temples of beer and food I ever visited, perhaps the first, didn’t even make the cut when I was compiling a list of 100 Great Beer & Food Destinations for my latest book, “The Beer & Food Companion.” It was In ‘t Spinnekopke, which I and a generation of early […]

The artful science of beer and food pairings






Taste begins with chemistry. Esters, phenols, aldehydes, linear-terpenes, ketones, lactones, thiols, and a host of other compounds lock into olfactory receptors, sending electric pulses through the olfactory bulb and into the inner sanctums of the brain. On the tongue, a different set of chemicals stimulate sensations of bitter, sweet, sour, salty, and umami. These stimuli—smell […]

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Grand Designs: Alma is expanding to make you feel more at home






Have you ever been to Restaurant Alma? The acclaimed restaurant has been quietly sitting on the corner of University and 6th Avenue Southeast in Minneapolis for 17 years now, while Dinkytown was razed and rebuilt with luxury apartments and St. Anthony Main has waxed and waned. It’s not new or hot, and you can’t sum up […]

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Green businesses are sprouting at The Plant






Beer is the key to everything, says Carolee Kokola of Bubbly Dynamics, landlords of Chicago’s The Plant. The Plant is a former meatpacking plant that’s been repurposed as into a food-production facility. The goal is to have a building with zero waste and a self-generated power supply—no small feat for a large industrial building. While open to […]

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Community Supported Agriculture: What it is, how it works, and why it’s worth considering






Tis the season for fresh, locally grown produce, farmers’ markets, restaurants boasting seasonal menus, and community gardens bursting at the chicken wire. Another way to enjoy just-picked, seasonal goodies is to join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. No, you don’t have to till the land and harvest the crops (although the farmers would probably […]

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Minnesota Spoon: Smørrebrød with Erick Harcey of Upton 43






Things on toast have special place in my heart. I honestly can’t think of a better vehicle for getting food into my mouth than buttered, toasted bread. There are no rules and it fits into any meal of the day. Chef Erick Harcey of Upton 43 shares my enthusiasm, and he’s upping the ante with […]

Beyond the beautiful gardens: Can urban farms grow our food?






Along bike paths, in church parking lots, and between high-rise apartments, vegetable gardens are beginning to green. Soon, urban growers like the farmers behind Stone’s Throw Urban Farm and the high-school students of Youth Farm will be filling CSA boxes and farmers’ market stalls with glossy eggplants, vibrant peppers, and verdant kale—the freshest, most delicious […]

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Out of the woods: Mississippi Mushrooms is growing exotic fungus in the heart of the city






Driving through the 50-acre Upper Harbor Terminal, located along the Mississippi River in North Minneapolis, is a navigational adventure that flusters the GPS and makes one’s car feel miniscule among the semi trucks and Caterpillar machinery. But this is the route to the Barge Terminal Building, where Mississippi Mushrooms, purveyors of the exotic mushrooms that […]

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Climate Generation gets the Birchwood Boost






As our month of conservation-themed stories draws to a close, we at The Growler have been thinking about how to be more involved in these pressing global issues in the course of our everyday lives. One thing we’ll do is eat at the Birchwood Cafe (I mean, we do that anyway, because we dream about those savory waffles), […]