Taste of the Country, On an Urban Table: Lenny Russo and Daniel Cataldo of ninetwentyfive

If you’re going to tell the story of food in the Upper Midwest, it’s helpful to think of a circle. People here were once intimately interconnected with the land and seasons as farmers, hunters, and fishers, and every ingredient had a story about where it was from and when it was harvested that was intimately … [ Read more]

Spinning the Wheels: The goats (and cheese) of Capra Nera Creamery

The gently pitched and sprawling green fields of Altura, Minnesota, are part of the Driftless Area. The land shrugs and dips, and there are whorls and ripples that make their way across the turf. You are tenderly enfolded by the landscape rather than dwarfed by it. This is where Capra Nera Creamery cheesemaker Katie Bonow’s … [ Read more]

Soil Farmers: How A Renewed Focus On The Land Is Building More Resilient Farms

Peter Allen wants to bury a fence. Tucked within the rolling landscape of the driftless region, on a farm outside of Viola, Wisconsin, a barbed wire fence runs along the spine of a ridge separating a strip of pasture from the valley below. The noticeable three-foot drop between the fence and the field is the … [ Read more]

Smoke and No Mirrors: The effort and integrity behind Northern Waters Smokehaus

I spent a couple decades in real estate, where I saw every kind of sales pitch, from the clumsiest—delivered by a transparently thirsty postgraduate sweating through the armpits of his big-boy sport coat—to the most sophisticatedly smooth. One thing I learned is that we are all selling something almost all of the time, even if it’s … [ Read more]

Taste of the Great Lakes: The changing food scenes of Milwaukee, Detroit, and Toronto

The Great Lakes are home to some of the largest metropolises in the Upper Midwest, and it’s no surprise why. The shipping industry helped build port cities like Detroit, Milwaukee, and Toronto into the towering urban landscapes they are today. But while they are linked in their industrial origins, each city’s identity is as unique … [ Read more]

Go for Goat: Advocating for an under-appreciated protein with chef Alan Bergo

I will never forget the Barbacoa de Chivo at Tacqueria La Huasteca for the rest of my taco-eating life. The goat arrived steaming hot in a shade of brilliant crimson, with long strands of fibrous meat, cordlike, intertwining and trapping the braising juices. The very first bite decorated my white shirt with a streak of murder-victim … [ Read more]

Beyond Bizarre: Andrew Zimmern on the impact of ‘Bizarre Foods’ and his hopes for ‘The Zimmern List’

Andrew Zimmern is an ambassador of the weird. The four-time James Beard Award–winning TV personality, chef, writer, and teacher (and Minnesota resident) has been exploring odd and undiscovered foods around the world in his Travel Channel show “Bizarre Foods” for 11 years. His new show, “The Zimmern List,” which premiered this spring, embraces a different … [ Read more]

Plants: It’s What’s For Dinner

A new crop of vegans and vegetarian food purveyors are progressing a scene started by pioneering restaurants For many local carnivores, the thought of even entering a vegan or vegetarian restaurant is frightening. Why would they want to spend their money on quinoa when there are so many great meats out there? While there truly … [ Read more]

Vilcek Foundation to award $50,000 for immigrant culinary arts professionals

The Vilcek Foundation is awarding $50,000 to three immigrant culinary arts professionals for 2019’s Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise. Since 2009, the nonprofit has awarded Prizes for Creative Promise to encourage and support emerging immigrants who have demonstrated exceptional achievements. Awarded annually in biomedical science and in one rotating category of the arts, it was announced that … [ Read more]

The Very Visible Yia Vang

You can’t miss Yia Vang. If you dine with any regularity around the Twin Cities, you’ll run into him somewhere. His food is always popping up at Lowry Hill Meats. Cook St. Paul. Birchwood Cafe. The Bird in Loring Park. The Good Acre. Dumpling in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild’s Winterfest. And that’s just … [ Read more]

10 Essential Items for a Minimalist Kitchen

If there’s a room in a person’s home that can go from zero to complete mess in no time flat, it’s the kitchen. Bottomless pots and pans, gadgets like dehydrators, immersion blenders, panini presses, waffle irons, and all those utensils—the amount of stuff in kitchens can be simply overwhelming. To clear out the clutter, we … [ Read more]

The Animal at the Table: Better living through whole-bird butchery

The first thing you should do is hold the chicken in your hands. Consider the weight of its body as you wipe it dry with a paper towel, tracing its flesh and bone, dabbing each crevice on its gangly mass. Feel the stippling on the skin, notice the joints and the muscles. It was an … [ Read more]

Carry-on Chicken: An Essay by MaiThao Xiong

My mom used to say, “Peb ruam ruam,” meaning “We are stupid,” to describe herself and my father. At the time, I wasn’t aware that she didn’t mean this literally—it was her way to motivate us to work harder than her and to be more than she could be. Her encouragement and love are not … [ Read more]

Minnesota Spoon: West Indies Soul with Sharon Richards-Noel

The lunch menu at the High School for Recording Arts in St. Paul looks similar to any other high school’s—full of things like corn dogs and pizza, those few cafeteria staples that satisfy both the kids’ appetites and the state’s nutritional requirements. Except Wednesdays are different. Just before noon, the aroma of garlic, ginger, turmeric, … [ Read more]

In The Weeds: Creating a culture of self-care in the restaurant industry

Several years ago, chef J.D. Fratzke went missing from family photos. Juggling his role as co-owner and chef at The Strip Club Meat & Fish in St. Paul and opening a new venture, Saint Dinette, meant he was rarely at home with his wife and his daughter. Instead, he’d arrive at Strip Club around 11am, … [ Read more]