John Garland

About John Garland

John Garland is the Senior Editor at the Growler Magazine. Find him on twitter (@johnpgarland) or in real life at various bar patios in South Minneapolis.

The Very Visible Yia Vang

You can’t miss Yia Vang. If you dine with any regularity around the Twin Cities, you’ll run into him somewhere. His food is always popping up at Lowry Hill Meats. Cook St. Paul. Birchwood Cafe. The Bird in Loring Park. The Good Acre. Dumpling in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild’s Winterfest. And that’s just … [ Read more]

‘Rigoletto’ at Minnesota Opera: Who’s Laughing Now?

A loathsome politician uses his power to prey on women, indiscriminately hopping from one dalliance to the next, abetted by the very people he’s likely to hurt. But enough about current events. The Minnesota Opera has a good show going on right now. Their penultimate main stage performance of the season is Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” imagined … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Absinthe

Absinthe is loaded with misinformation. So let’s get a few things straight: Absinthe in America is as “real” as the absinthe in Europe. Since before Prohibition, we had mistakenly attributed mind-altering properties to a compound called thujone that’s found in wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), the main flavoring agent of absinthe. Thujone is not hallucinogenic and, despite … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktails: Lychee Keen at Hai Hai

Outside of Hai Hai in Northeast Minneapolis, the snow banks are growing and the wind is howling. Inside, there’s sugar cane being pressed, limes being juiced, and a thicket of green herbs covering the bar. As long as I don’t leave this bar seat, it’s no longer winter as far as I’m concerned. Let’s keep … [ Read more]

The Animal at the Table: Better living through whole-bird butchery

The first thing you should do is hold the chicken in your hands. Consider the weight of its body as you wipe it dry with a paper towel, tracing its flesh and bone, dabbing each crevice on its gangly mass. Feel the stippling on the skin, notice the joints and the muscles. It was an … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktails: Martini recipes from Marvel Bar

Gin, vermouth, bitters, ice, stir, strain. The most classic of all cocktails is as simple as it is spectacular. Here, the martini experts at Marvel Bar offer five takes: On Marvel’s house martini Peder Schweigert, General Manager “You’re trying to create this thing that is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s not about … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: White Aperitifs

When you’re making cocktails, there’s easy, and there’s interesting, and rarely the twain shall meet. On the one hand, you can buy pre-bottled cocktails and take your rail booze with a side of preservatives and corn syrup. On the other, you can spend the better part of an afternoon infusing spirits, simmering gomme syrup, and … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Walter Mondale at Young Joni’s Back Bar

February drinking in Minnesota often leads us down dark alleys into dark basements, drinking dark spirits to soothe our darkening spirits. But this alley behind Dangerous Man Brewing is leading me toward something a little more lighthearted. “It’s served up, it’s elegant, and has this really pretty color,” says Adam Gorski, pouring a copper-orange drink … [ Read more]

Minnesota Spoon: West Indies Soul with Sharon Richards-Noel

The lunch menu at the High School for Recording Arts in St. Paul looks similar to any other high school’s—full of things like corn dogs and pizza, those few cafeteria staples that satisfy both the kids’ appetites and the state’s nutritional requirements. Except Wednesdays are different. Just before noon, the aroma of garlic, ginger, turmeric, … [ Read more]

Spirits Close Up: Sherry

There’s no doubt that sherry can be an acquired taste. Sipped neat, one might find it tangy and robust, or acetic and brash. But paired with the right spirit or sugar, it can be transformed to show more like toffee, hazelnuts, and salted caramel. Here’s how to mix it. Bit player: Sherry is an oxidized, … [ Read more]

Eat the Invasion: Does it make sense to promote the idea of controlling non-native species by eating them?

In the 1890s, a group of Shakespeare fanatics in New York devised a romantic plan to honor the bard: release a member of every animal species mentioned in his plays into the wilds of America. After a few false starts, a group of stocky black starlings, casually mentioned in “Henry IV,” flew into the sky … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: I’m Trying to Break Your Heart at Hewing Hotel

The lobby of the Hewing Hotel looks so charming in winter. A glowing fireplace, surrounded by warm accents and cozy chairs. If we were in the mountains, it would be the kind of place you’d wind down with a bourbon après-ski. But Trish Gavin, who leads the cocktail program here, steers us toward something lighter. … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2017: J.D. Fratzke & Matty O’Reilly

The restaurant game has never been an easy one. But the last decade of dining in the Twin Cities has thrown innumerable challenges at restaurateurs—a cook shortage, a minimum wage debate, food costs and rent on the rise, and diners possessed of a fickle, Instagram-fueled, hit-the-hot-new-joint-once-and-never-return mentality. In the face of these challenges, the partnership of … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2017: Yia Vang

What is Hmong food? And a follow-up question: Shouldn’t we know what Hmong food is by now? St. Paul boasts the largest number of Hmong Americans of any city in the U.S. and is home to two Hmong market complexes, each brimming with purple rice and papaya salad. And yet, we remain mostly in the … [ Read more]

Trailblazers 2017: The Bachelor Farmer Beverage Team

There are several fine cocktail bars in town. There are several more excellent coffee shops. And there are lots of places to drink an interesting and thoughtfully selected glass of wine. But nowhere in the Twin Cities does excellence in all three beverages happen under one roof quite like at The Bachelor Farmer, and there … [ Read more]