Review: The Best and Worst New Foods of the 2019 Minnesota State Fair

The Growler’s review of the new foods at the 2019 Minnesota State Fair was supported by underwriting partner Save the Boundary Waters. Growler food editor James Norton was joined by writers Amy Rea and Maja Ingeman; photographers Becca Dilley, Brenda Johnson, Victoria Campbell, and Sarah McGee; and illustrator Terri Myers Wentzka.  Bristling with heat, spice, … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: Baby Cheeseburger at Band Box Diner

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. Calling the Baby Cheeseburger at Band Box Diner “no frills” really doesn’t express how completely frill-free this lunch option actually is. This humble patty topped with melted American cheese is housed in a thoroughly buttered and griddled bun … [ Read more]

Whirlwind Tour: A 15-stop dining excursion through Door County, Wis.

If you grew up vacationing in Door County in the ’80s and ’90s, you likely remember Wisconsin’s premiere vacation peninsula as being stuffed with classic supper clubs, superb cherry pie, fish boils, mediocre hot dogs and pizza, and little else. Time flies, and (in this case) it brings with it some wonderful changes. While the … [ Read more]

Order Up! Keg and Case 2.0

Updated August 15, 2019 Order Up! is the Growler’s ongoing biweekly account of noteworthy Minnesota restaurant openings, closings, and future openings. Please send any tips to [email protected] All dates are approximate based on best information available; opening dates, in particular, tend to shift around a lot. THIS WEEK’S GIST: The evolution of the Keg and Case food … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: Falafel Sandwich and Mint Lemonade at Zait & Za’atar

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. Falafel goes awry more often than it goes to plan—too stodgy, too bland, too mushy, too hard. The perfect piece of falafel has a crisp, mahogany exterior that gently cracks to reveal a tender (but not paste-y) interior, … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: Jerk Chicken Wings at Octo Fishbar

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. Chicken wings may seem off-brand for Octo Fishbar, the Tim McKee-helmed St. Paul spot probably best known for its seafood towers and crudo plates. But the restaurant’s pimento wood-smoked Jerk Chicken Wings ($8) benefit from the same attention … [ Read more]

Order Up! Boutique Brands Expanding in the Twin Cities

Updated August 1, 2019 Order Up! is the Growler’s ongoing biweekly account of noteworthy Minnesota restaurant openings, closings, and future openings. Please send any tips to [email protected] All dates are approximate based on best information available; opening dates, in particular, tend to shift around a lot. THIS WEEK’S GIST: The growth of boutique local restaurant groups … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: Chicken Fajitas at Familia Dominguez

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. Along with chimichangas, chicken fajitas get a bad rap—just because they’re so often overpriced and phoned in by a host of sub-par Tex Mex spots misses the point that the original dish can be a total banger. Fajitas … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: Sopes at Hodges Bend

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. Hodges Bend, the smoothly sophisticated bar that has quietly slipped into and begun to elevate the University Avenue food and drink scene, doesn’t immediately strike a diner as a spot to eat traditional Mexican fare. The menu is … [ Read more]

Order Up! The Rise and Fall of Minneapolis’ Restaurant Empires

Updated July 18, 2019 Order Up! is the Growler’s ongoing biweekly account of noteworthy Minnesota restaurant openings, closings, and future openings. Please send any tips to [email protected] All dates are approximate based on best information available; opening dates, in particular, tend to shift around a lot. THIS WEEK’S GIST: Empires rise, and empires fall—size, pedigree, and/or … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: Curry to Go from Desi Foods

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. It’s easy to overlook international food markets as a source of delicious ready-to-eat meals, but from Dong Yang in Columbia Heights to United Noodles in Minneapolis to Ha Tien in Woodbury, they regularly produce some of the tastiest, … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: Spam Musubi at United Noodles

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. Some of our favorite foods are syncretic—think chicken tikka masala, the Door County fish boil, tacos al pastor, or even banh mi pizza. By slamming together two or more cultures, you can come out with something equal to or … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: Regular Tibs at Meseret Ethiopian Restaurant

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. Worth the wait” is a phrase of supreme culinary importance. A lot of flavors can only be developed with time: long marinades; gentle, low-temperature trips through a smoker; or endless simmering are but a few examples. Add to … [ Read more]

Holding Court: For 30 years, the family-run Keefer Court has defined Chinese baking in Minnesota

Michelle Kwan can’t leave the kitchen. She’s nearly perfected a green tea cake. With a couple of tweaks, she can claim victory and move on to new challenges: a black sesame cake, a taro cake, a vegan BBQ “pork” bun. Even when she leaves her culinary laboratory, her mind stays with her experiments. “I come … [ Read more]

Whirlwind Tour: Hudson, Wis., is more than just a pretty little city on the river – it’s also a treasure trove of good eats

This Whirlwind Tour was underwritten by the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau. The Growler retained editorial control of the content. Nestled beside the St. Croix River and standing athwart the I-94 Minnesota-Wisconsin border crossing, Hudson, Wisconsin, occupies an enviable patch of territory. It’s the metro’s first stopping point in Wisconsin (countless folks … [ Read more]