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]

Up in Smoke: Alejandro Castillon is using the smoker at Prieto Taqueria to unite classic Mexican fare and global techniques

The fiery heart of Alejandro Castillon’s new restaurant is an Oyler Pit smoker big enough to be a sauna. “It’s probably the biggest in Minneapolis,” Castillon says. The monstrous red box can cook six or seven hogs at once and it sports a hood that could comfortably vent a burning SUV. The chef’s takeover of … [ Read more]

Feeling the Burn: How Chile Peppers Change the Way We Cook, Dine, and Even Process Pain

Chile peppers have been on the menu since at least 6,000 years ago, when people living in current-day Mexico cultivated them for their heat and flavor. The world-spanning Portuguese Empire helped spread them to nearly every corner of the planet in the 16th and 17th centuries, and now they’re a cornerstone of dozens of cuisines … [ Read more]

Anatomy of a Hot Sauce

When Craig Kaiser created the hot sauce that would become Minneapolis cult favorite Cry Baby Craig’s, he didn’t expend too much effort. In fact, he says, it was almost entirely accidental. Kaiser was working at Cafe Maude in South Minneapolis in 2011, and a supplier error stuck him with a pile of habanero chiles instead … [ Read more]

Buying and Handling Chiles & Aguachile​: Ceviche with a Kick

Photos by Tj Turner If you’re in the Minneapolis–St. Paul metro area, there are a number of great Asian, Indian, and Latin markets that carry wide varieties of chiles at affordable prices. Products stocked vary week to week, but the best shops have wide selections that satisfy most if not all culinary needs. A few … [ Read more]

When Beer Met Chiles

Jack Pine Brewery’s Vengeance! Jalapeño Cream Ale is no mere novelty. This beer helped the Baxter, Minnesota-based brewery land Brewery of the Year at Grand View Lodge’s Grand Tasting in 2013 and the People’s Choice Award at the St. Cloud Craft Beer Tour in 2014. A bronze medal in the Chile Beer category at the … [ 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]

Our Odds On the New 2019 Minnesota State Fair Foods

A decade of experience in Minnesota State Fair food spelunking has given us a perspective—not jaded, we hope, but optimistically skeptical—that is handy for predicting how the next year’s fare will fare. What follows is your advance, purely speculative guide to the new foods of the 2019 Minnesota State Fair. We’ll share the as-tasted-in-the-field results, … [ 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]