Make Merry with These 9 Winter Wines

Cool Canadian winds have whisked in the holiday season, and with this churn comes a shift in wines to the more savory and layered. Many choose to jump directly into the depths-of-winter wines, like cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel. Instead, try something more transitional this month—something that honors the elements, pairs with a variety of foods, and piques … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: The Cubano at Guavas Cuban Cafe

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. The closure earlier this year of the restaurant Xavi was rightfully hailed as a sad event, but there’s a big silver lining to that particular cloud. The Xavi space at 56th and Chicago Avenue has become Guavas, a … [ Read more]

Review: (Un)Lucky Cricket

Lucky Cricket is a cautionary tale for building a restaurant on a foundation of contradictions There may be no less lucky way to launch a major new Midwestern Chinese restaurant than categorically describing your mom-and-pop competition as “horseshit.” But that’s the tack world traveler and TV personality Andrew Zimmern took while launching his St. Louis … [ Read more]

Frontside 180: JXTA Arts turning vacant lot into a youth-designed art plaza and skatepark

At the corner of Emerson and Broadway in North Minneapolis lies a small vacant lot in an otherwise bustling neighborhood. Though it may look empty and idle, the site is actually in the midst of a radical metamorphosis from a gravel lot into a youth-designed art plaza and skatepark. Previously the home of youth arts organization Juxtaposition … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: Margherita Pizza at The Dough Room

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. The Dough Room is one of those places that make you wonder what, exactly, is going on in the ritzy suburb of Wayzata. It’s a pasta-and-pizza place, but its appearance is almost entirely unlike your classic red sauce … [ Read more]

Liquid Music: Former ballet dancer’s alt-classical series is on point

Curatorial dynamo Kate Nordstrum launched The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music series—now in its seventh season—to international acclaim. From her years training as a dancer to curating concerts across the country, music inspires Kate Nordstrum to action. “As a dancer, you relate to music viscerally,” says Nordstrum. “You think about how it feels in your … [ Read more]

2018 Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Readers’ Choice Award Winners

Each year, we ask our readers to nominate and vote for the best of the best in Minnesota beer, spirits, food, and arts and culture. This year, a record number of readers cast their ballots to determine the winners of the Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Readers’ Choice Awards. These are the breweries and bars serving up great craft … [ Read more]

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10 Notable Minnesota Albums of 2018

Low ■ “Double Negative” If you were to stand on the shores of Lake Superior in February, you might be able to imagine how Low’s “Double Negative” came to be. Like the tumultuous stacks of ice that grow and break as waves crash onto the North Shore, the 12th studio album from the Duluth-based trio … [ Read more]

Artist Profile: The clean, striking designs of Matt Erickson

Matt Erickson has mastered the basic rule of K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple Stupid. At just 27 years old, the graphic designer and artist has honed a refreshingly sparse style—one that can be seen everywhere from labels on Jack Daniels bottles to bags of Caribou Coffee to the mural inside the Uptown Minneapolis Target store.  Erickson’s … [ Read more]

Minnesota Soul: A state with a sparse history of black-owned restaurants looks toward a bountiful future

It isn’t an accident that “Minnesota” and “soul food” are not exactly bedfellows.  Unlike other major northern cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul did not see a significant migration of African-Americans between the first and second World Wars. By the 1940 census, there were just 4,646 black people living in Minneapolis, and about as many in … [ Read more]

Bright Colors, Deep Flavors: In Hai Hai, chef Christina Nguyen has created an autobiographical powerhouse

Three facts about Christina Nguyen, chef-owner at Hai Hai and Hola Arepa: 1. She believes that the customer is right…unless the subject is omelette larb. “It’s the one dish I won’t allow people to get less spicy, because I am a total tyrant and crazy person,” she says. “There are certain things that you should … [ Read more]

Year in Review: Minnesota Beer & Cider in 2018

By the end of 2018, the United States will have more than 7,000 breweries and brewpubs in operation. To help that sink in, consider that a decade ago that number was 1,574. And 40 years ago, in 1978, there were just 89.  This astounding growth in the number of breweries—the vast majority of them independent … [ Read more]

Year in Review: Minnesota’s Arts & Culture Scene in 2018

Minnesota’s arts and culture scene experienced its fair share of high highs and low lows this year. From the #metoo movement bringing about leadership changes at notable organizations to our state making history by electing the first Somali-American to the U.S. Congress, there was no lack of drama, excitement, anticipation, and disappointment in 2018. Here’s … [ Read more]

Year in Review: Minnesota Wine & Spirits in 2018

A martini at Nye’s Bar is a fine drink to reflect on the year 2018 in local spirits. In January, this bar, Nye’s in name only, opened in the dust of the demolished Polonaise Room, a place whose divey charm earned it the Best Bar in America designation from Esquire in 2006—a lifetime ago, from the … [ Read more]

What We’re Drinking: December 2018

Welcome back to What We’re Drinking, wherein The Growler editorial staff look back on recent remarkable beverages. What are you drinking, Growler Nation? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. James Norton, Food Editor ■ Urban Growler Wild Rice Brown Ale Urban Growler’s Wild Rice Brown Ale connects with the mission of its Plow to Pint series by utilizing … [ Read more]