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]

The Ramen Architect

John Ng of Zen Box Izakaya is a designer, engineer, and builder (of soup) If he weren’t a chef, John Ng of Zen Box Izakaya might be a kung fu master. This is literally true: the architect-turned-izakaya co-owner has been practicing martial arts for 16 years, having begun his training while living in San Francisco. … [ Read more]

Hunter, Writer, Butcher, Cook: Jamie Carlson and Minnesota’s wild foods movement

Jamie Carlson’s idea of a perfect field snack is a raw antelope liver, taken directly from the freshly killed animal itself. “Raw antelope liver is the sweetest thing you’re ever going to have,” he says while tending a campfire at Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan. “Pull it out, rinse it off, put a little … [ Read more]

Food for Thought: A U of M partnership yields some exotic fruits

Across the country, campus dining tends to be where mediocre food comes to a bad end, ladled from plastic bags into heating vessels and then into troughs where it is consumed with a mixture of indifference and resentment. “Banquets” are sorry affairs, dominated by overcooked vegetables, cloying desserts, and rubber chicken entrees more appropriate 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]

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]

Smoke and No Mirrors: The effort and integrity behind Northern Waters Smokehaus

I spent a couple decades in real estate, where I saw every kind of sales pitch, from the clumsiest—delivered by a transparently thirsty postgraduate sweating through the armpits of his big-boy sport coat—to the most sophisticatedly smooth. One thing I learned is that we are all selling something almost all of the time, even if it’s … [ Read more]

Go for Goat: Advocating for an under-appreciated protein with chef Alan Bergo

I will never forget the Barbacoa de Chivo at Tacqueria La Huasteca for the rest of my taco-eating life. The goat arrived steaming hot in a shade of brilliant crimson, with long strands of fibrous meat, cordlike, intertwining and trapping the braising juices. The very first bite decorated my white shirt with a streak of murder-victim … [ Read more]

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]

Tradition & Transcendence: The modest virtuosity of Shigeyuki Furukawa

Shigeyuki Furukawa is turning a cylinder into a plane. I don’t know the exact geometry of it, but I do know that it looks much more like magic than like mathematics, and that it is happening before my very eyes. With the tips of the fingers of his left hand, he is holding a peeled … [ 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]

Minnesota Spoon: Thomas Boemer’s expansive vision for cooking with fire goes beyond barbecue

Chef Thomas Boemer’s eyes are watering. He’s standing in front of an improvised outdoor kitchen, made up of a cinder block fire well, with a steel-mesh grate laid across it for a cooktop, and a two-course block wall stacked on top of that for a windbreak. It is so rough-hewn and brawny looking as to … [ Read more]

Minnesota Spoon: The culinary languages of Adam Eaton

Developing the dishes for a new restaurant menu is a little bit like giving birth. There is the initial joyful conception. There is a long and sometimes painful gestation period, and there is the final delivery into the world of something that is both part of its creator, and that will ultimately have to interact … [ Read more]

Recipe: Adam Eaton’s Moose Bolognese

This month, Minnesota Spoon’s Steve Hoffman gathered with some hungry friends at the home of Jon Wipfli to travel around the world with Adam Eaton. Eaton prepared foods of numerous styles and regions, but most notable was his recipe for Moose Bolognese. Read this month’s Minnesota Spoon story here. [pro_ad_display_adzone id=”79944″ align=”right” info_text=”Advertisement” info_text_position=”above” font_color=”#6d6d6d” … [ Read more]

Recipe: Eddie Wu’s Bi Bim Bop

This month, Minnesota Spoon’s Steve Hoffman joined Eddie Wu of Cook St. Paul in the gardens of Urban Roots. After picking fresh vegetables, Wu assembled his version of bibimbap, the classic Korean “mix-rice” bowl. Read this month’s Minnesota Spoon story here. Here, Eddie’s gives us his Bi Bim Bop recipe. It’s a fusion of hot … [ Read more]