Growing Strange and Beautiful: The Sheridan Community Garden

The lot at the corner of NE 15th Avenue and 3rd Street NE in the Sheridan neighborhood of Northeast Minneapolis used to be overgrown and forgotten. Today, it is lush and blooming with zinnias and marigolds, a grape arbor, fruit trees and rows and rows of vegetables. The Sheridan Neighborhood Organization (SNO) Community Garden is in … [ Read more]

The Mill: NOLO’s Kitchen & Bar opens October 9, Basement Bar not long after

September 13—September 19 Going for a bit of a “where everyone knows your name” vibe, NOLO’s Kitchen & Bar will open its doors to the public on Monday, October 9 in the historic Gardner Hardware Building at 515 Washington Avenue. Look for an announcement about NOLO’s companion space downstairs, the Basement Bar that will open in a few … [ Read more]

Minnesota Spoon: Back to the Stone Age with Twin Cities bakers embracing Old World traditions

If you’ve ever gotten used to the taste of Folgers coffee—as I have, intermittently, during life’s dark stretches—and then opened a bag of just-ground, freshly roasted coffee beans, you will understand my state of mind last Friday, as I walked into the production room of Baker’s Field Flour & Bread, in Northeast Minneapolis’s Food Building. … [ Read more]

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Back on the Farm: Cultivating the next crop of farmers

Jim Weninger has been an Agriculture Education instructor and Future Farmers of America (FFA) advisor at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School, located 45 miles west of Minneapolis, for 34 years. Back when he started, many FFA students were “farm kids”—children whose families derived their income from production farming. That is no longer the case. Today, only … [ Read more]

The Food Hub Dilemma (or what we mean when we say we support local farmers)

What’s the best way to support a local farmer? Buying their product, obviously, that much is clear. But how? And where? I’ve been providing mostly scattershot support for my farmer-neighbors. I eat at restaurants known to feature their products. I browse farmers’ markets and have a CSA share. I try to eat with the seasons, … [ Read more]

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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