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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Supatra’s Thai Holiday: The longest month of the year






It happens at the same time every winter, but it always feels like a shock. Supatra’s Thai Cuisine, located at 967 West 7th Street in St. Paul, locks the doors, turns off the lights, and a posts a sign in the window that strikes fear and hunger into the hearts the entire staff of The Growler: “Supatra’s Thai … [ Read more]

Can Can Wonderland is weird and that’s why you’ll love it






The seating area next to the main bar at Can Can Wonderland // Photos by Kevin Kramer The expression on my face must have conveyed awe to the bubbly host that greeted me at the door. “It’s weird right?!” she asked with boastful pride and earnest excitement. Having successfully navigated a catacomb-like warehouse in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood, I … [ Read more]

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Minnesota Spoon: Sameh Wadi’s last meal






“First you pour the arak,” insists Sameh Wadi. “Then you add the water. And only then do you add the ice.” Outside the windows of Jon Wipfli’s kitchen, the first big winter snow sits thick on a pair of spruce trees. It is an unexpected setting for a round of arak—a Middle Eastern version of … [ Read more]

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The Growler presents Pha Khao: A Lao Pop-Up






Update: Due to overwhelming demand, two additional seatings have been added on Friday, Jan. 20 at 6:00pm and 8:30pm. Buy tickets here. In our January issue, we’ve been learning about Lao food with Ann Ahmed of Lemon Grass Thai Cuisine and Christina Tia of House of X Tia, and we thought our readers might enjoy a chance to do … [ Read more]