Love, Anger, and Salumi: A picnic with Mike Phillips of Red Table Meat Company






Mike Phillips looks tired. That’s because he is tired. Mike is the quiet Twin Cities institution who over the years has given us Chet’s Taverna, The Craftsman Restaurant, and, though we have yet to prove ourselves entirely worthy, Red Table Meat Company. Yes, he gets up for work at 5am most days, but that’s not … [ Read more]

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The Food Pedalers: Why food companies in the Twin Cities are betting on bike delivery






To start her bicycle delivery shift with Brake Bread bakery, Hannah Field straps her bike to a sizable trailer, which doubles as an advertisement and a bread transporter. “Fresh Bread By Bike to You” the trailer reads, “BrakeBread.com.” As she makes her weekly deliveries to homes and local businesses, which serve as makeshift CSA stops … [ Read more]

Minnesota Spoon: Travail cooks traditional with Bob Gerken, James Winberg, and Mike Brown






So they arrived, the guys from Travail Kitchen & Amusements. Or rather two of the three guys. The third guy might swing by later. The two guys, Bob and James, got out of their white pickup. Introduced themselves. We smiled at each other. Bob had kind eyes and a scruffy black beard that failed to … [ Read more]

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Minnesota Spoon: Baja on the Lake with Billy Tserenbat and Zach Schugel






Billy Tserenbat arrives at our house with the odds stacked against him. We are here to create a kind of Baja California beach party as a way of getting to know Billy’s new Wayzata restaurant, a beach-centric, Mexican-influenced, fish and seafood celebration called Baja Haus. Except that a sunny May sky has turned suddenly woolen … [ Read more]

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RJ’s Meats in Hudson installing a meat vending machine






In the most uber-Wisconsin development of the day, RJ’s Meats, the terrific butchery in Hudson, took delivery of a Regiomat meat vending machine from Germany. The refrigerated unit will be stocked with an unspecified selection of meats in the near future. The company claims, via Facebook, that the machine is the first of its kind in … [ Read more]

Get the tasting menu and listen to the whole song






When someone asks me about the point of a chef’s tasting menu, and why it’s worth ordering, it takes me a while to get beyond “don’t you want to see what they can do when they’re turned loose?” I realize not everyone thinks that way, or that they might blink at a three-hour dinner. So … [ Read more]

Stoking the fires of Northern food






The Upper Midwest is opting out of coastal culinary trends in favor of flame and smoke The word “provincial” is generally not intended as a pleasantry. It revolves around the idea that there is the center of civilization (Ancient Rome, modern New York, Tokyo, London, you take your pick) and that you’re in a distant … [ Read more]

Minnesota Spoon: Back to base camp with J.D. Fratzke






J.D. Fratzke tucks a brown paper bag under a small teepee of sticks. It’s been raining here, last night and early this morning. He searches for drier kindling, finding only a little. The chef will make do. We’re perched at a campsite above the St. Croix River, surrounded by scraggly trees and a cool wind … [ Read more]

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American Masters serving up new foodie docs on Beard, Pépin






Set your DVRs: The 31st season of American Masters will include two new documentaries as part of a two week “chef’s flight” of foodie documentaries. The new films are biographies of James Beard, the acclaimed chef and teacher and namesake of the James Beard Awards, and Jacques Pépin, the inimitable French chef whose Gallic charm transformed generations of home … [ Read more]

Minnesota Spoon: Anaerobic exercises with Matti Sprague






Matti Sprague and I appear to be talking about fermentation. We are standing in Jon Wipfli’s well-lighted kitchen, and we are using all the words that you use when you talk about fermentation. We are talking about salting down vegetables, creating anaerobic environments, and encouraging the right kinds of microbial life while discouraging the wrong … [ Read more]

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GMO vs. Organic






Could they learn to work together? A growing population—and a changing climate—may demand it. Pamela Ronald and Raoul Adamchak are an unconventional couple. He’s an organic farmer; she develops genetically engineered crops. Sometimes the discussion among their friends and colleagues at dinner parties turns tense. After all, organic farming types and advocates of genetic engineering have … [ Read more]

Minnesota Spoon: Making peace with beef






The case for a more sustainable steak with Jon Wipfli and Erik Sather I suffer from a chronic condition that I keep mostly under control. You haven’t heard of it. It’s called Sustainability Exhaustion. Most days I live just like you. I stand blinking in the fluorescent glare of the pre-wrapped meat section, trying to … [ Read more]

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Rent-A-Goat: Can we use ruminants to stop invasive plants and restore the natural landscape?






When Sue Wika bought her farm in Ashby, Minnesota, it was overrun with weeds. “You could barely move through the oak savanna,” she recalls. “So much prickly ash, and buckthorn too.” It’s all the same scene—from her prairie expanse in Grant County to the hardwood forests of the Driftless Area—invasive plants are taking the soil … [ Read more]

NYT’s Francis Lam to replace Lynne Rossetto Kasper on The Splendid Table






American Public Media announced today that New York Times Magazine columnist Francis Lam will become the new host of The Splendid Table. After 21 seasons, Lynne Rossetto Kasper is retiring at the end of 2017, and will continue to contribute to the program throughout the year until her retirement. Lam will host his first show … [ Read more]

Five Tables and the Sea: The restorative simplicity of Anne Majourel






Steve Hoffman, our Minnesota Spoon columnist, has spent the last five months in the Languedoc region of southern France, and submitted this tribute to his favorite restaurant in the world for our Travel Issue. What if a restaurant existed on a steep hill just outside a French fishing port? And what if this restaurant featured … [ Read more]

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