Bite of the Week: Rock-n-Roll Bowl at Fish Bowl Poké

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler and supported by our underwriter, Bite Squad. There’s an argument to be made that we shouldn’t be eating poke here in Minnesota at all: we’re a long way from hanging out beachside on a Hawaiian island, eating … [ Read more]

Review: 3rd Street Tavern in St. Peter is helping to relight the torch of real barbecue

Step by painful step, Americans are reclaiming the proud culinary heritage of barbecue. Barbecue’s roots are deep, intertwining the foodways of the Caribbean’s indigenous people, traditions arising from the institution of Southern slavery, and regional variants that have become synonymous with hospitality in places as far flung as the Carolinas, Alabama, Texas, and Missouri. To … [ Read more]

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]

Review: Holman’s Table

There’s a lot to be said for liminal spaces. When you’re transitioning from one place to another, you’re in both spots at once—and you’re nowhere, too. In that regard, Holman’s Table—the restaurant housed within the St. Paul Downtown Airport’s adorable moderne-style administration building—is a real doozy. You’re at an airport, yes—halfway between Minnesota and nearly … [ Read more]

Lake Superior as Dinner Table: Q&A with the author of ‘Life in a Northern Town’

Lake Superior roosts above the Upper Midwest like a temperamental god. From its bulk (it contains 10 percent of Earth’s fresh surface water) to the age of its oldest rocks (about 2.7 billion years) to its forceful power (at least 350 shipwrecks), the lake is a titan that influences everything within hundreds of miles of its … [ Read more]

Review: Meyvn brings an expert’s precision to bagels (and deli food)

Deli food looks remarkably easy to pull off. In theory: You make (or buy) some cured meats, you put ’em on bread with some cheeses and dressings and pickles, and presto! You’re charging $12‒15 for a sandwich. In reality, without a seriously dedicated in-house program for meat and someone with taste patrolling the food, things … [ Read more]

Gearing Up for the Hunt: Q&A with the authors of “Untamed Mushrooms”

In culinary circles, mushroom hunting is a serious business. In Russia, it’s a favorite pastime; in France, it’s called la chasse aux champignons, and it’s something of a national mania. The appeal is simple: It’s a chance to harvest beautiful, delicious, commercially expensive gifts from nature, step up your cooking game, and commune with nature … [ Read more]

Review: Care and precision mark the food of Tori 44

Minnesota isn’t widely known as a home of great Japanese noodle dishes, but in recent years some talented locals have been chipping away at the multifaceted problem. You’ve got to have great broth, of course, and that can take months of cooking (and years of learning). You’ve got to source your vegetables carefully and make … [ 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]

Taste of the Twin Ports: A six-stop restaurant blitz through Duluth and Superior

Here’s our Twin Ports tour by the numbers: six restaurants, 14 hours, a five-year-old, and a baby riding shotgun. We had a blast checking in on the insanely active dining scene in Duluth and Superior, although we caution readers that this schedule and/or this choice of traveling companions may create a noticeable strain on your … [ Read more]

Review: Grand Catch is a Mixed Bag

There’s no law against plucking a food from its roots and serving it to people who didn’t grow up eating it. Yes, that’s how you get gas station sushi, but it’s also how you get taco trucks, and if you deny the worth of those, you don’t have any business pretending to enjoy food. And … [ Read more]

Restaurateur Tom Forti on the Iron Range’s deep food cultures

The Iron Ranger is a small, independent restaurant located on the corner of Grand and Lexington avenues in St. Paul, and it has only been open for a couple of months. But its footprint is much larger than it seems. Its story ties into the four-generations deep heritage of Hibbing’s Sunrise Bakery, and is therefore … [ Read more]

Review: Sushi Train’s gimmick delivers real flavor

Have no doubt: The sushi-laden conveyor belt at the heart of Sushi Train is a gimmick. It’s a prop that sets the newly opened downtown Minneapolis restaurant apart from the dozens of other places slinging sushi in the Metro area and beyond—a visual symbol of excess, an eye-catching curio that makes you go, “What? Is … [ 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]

Wood-fired feasting: Lessons from Chef Camp

In the opening of his book “The Magic of Fire,” William Rubel writes that “firelight infuses everything cooked on the hearth with a touch of magic.” This may be doubly true for the campfire, the outdoor hearth that has been bringing people together at dinnertime since before the dawn of history. It was a love … [ Read more]