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]

Eat the Invasion: Does it make sense to promote the idea of controlling non-native species by eating them?

In the 1890s, a group of Shakespeare fanatics in New York devised a romantic plan to honor the bard: release a member of every animal species mentioned in his plays into the wilds of America. After a few false starts, a group of stocky black starlings, casually mentioned in “Henry IV,” flew into the sky … [ Read more]

Minnesota Spoon: Thomas Boemer’s expansive vision for cooking with fire goes beyond barbecue

Chef Thomas Boemer’s eyes are watering. He’s standing in front of an improvised outdoor kitchen, made up of a cinder block fire well, with a steel-mesh grate laid across it for a cooktop, and a two-course block wall stacked on top of that for a windbreak. It is so rough-hewn and brawny looking as to … [ Read more]

Recipe: Thomas Boemer’s Turtle Soup

In December, Thomas Boemer invited Minnesota Spoon’s Steve Hoffman to witness him work magic over a makeshift outdoor wood-fire stove, which is serving as the de facto test kitchen for Boemer and business partner Nick Rancone’s new restaurant concept in the Keg & Case Market. Over open flames, Boemer prepared Lake Superior herring fillet, pork … [ Read more]