New Wave, Old School: With Due Focacceria, Eric Carrara leverages tradition to define the future

The crunch of a cannoli at St. Paul’s Due Focacceria really resonates. It’s not just a question of the shell, which is wrapped around a form, fried to a crispy, bubbled tube, and then filled to order. And it’s not just a question of the perfectly textured miniature chocolate chips that stud the lemon-zested cannoli … [ Read more]

Minnesota Taco Atlas Update: Prieto’s tempura, El Kevin’s tripas, and the existential quandary of the Lone Spur Grill

We’ve added 12 new entries to our Minnesota Taco Atlas—bringing the grand total in this compendium of carnitas and barbacoa to 82 spots around the Twin Cities Metro. A few thoughts on our recent additions: Prieto Taqueria Bar, Lyn-Lake Minneapolis We didn’t know that Alejandro Castillon could come up with a better shrimp tempura taco … [ Read more]

2019 Year in Review: Food

Country flavors, quality ‘Q, and numerous reboots define a busy culinary year in Minnesota Some years it can be hard to make much sense of the “food story” in any given place. Restaurants open and close, people come and go, and patterns seem faint or downright illusory. 2019 was not one of those years. 2019 … [ Read more]

Game Changer: Chef Eric Halverson’s use of North Country products is changing food culture in Grand Rapids

Everybody asks for ranch,” says chef Eric Halverson of Rapids Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. “We don’t have it. Never will.” In a business where pleasing people is the name of the game, Halverson is hospitable but defiant. The food will always be great, he says—a marriage of mostly local food with a wood-fired … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: Pumpkin pie at Hot Hands Pie & Biscuit

What makes a perfect pumpkin pie? There isn’t, of course, a right answer to the question—as is true for just about everything in life, different people are looking for different things (and if you’re looking for an easy-to-make pie featuring dulce de leche, we’ve got you covered!) But one possible answer for a perfect pumpkin … [ Read more]

King of Croissants: Marc Heu’s University Avenue patisserie sells paradise by the slice

There is often a line to get into Marc Heu Patisserie Paris. The pastry shop occupies a wonky split level space that has hosted a rotating cast of short-lived restaurants, and it sits on a stretch of University Avenue that’s laden with businesses that pack a bit less sex appeal: a mortuary, social services offices, … [ Read more]

Review: Welcome to Willards – Cambridge’s fine dining star is a community space to savor

For anyone who has followed the story of chef Erick Harcey’s career, a dinner at Willards in Cambridge, Minnesota, feels like the richly deserved product of years of effort and evolution. From his time at Victory 44 in North Minneapolis to the breakout effort at Parka on East Lake Street to the briefly shining high-end … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: Pho’s heartier, lesser-known cousin, Bún bò Huế, at Co Tu

Co Tu is refreshingly simple. Tucked in a Bloomington strip mall with a leather shop and a liquor store, they don’t pull you in with gimmicks—they just make good food. With an intoxicating aroma and only a handful of tables, eating here feels like you have discovered a secret treasure, because you have. Bún bò … [ Read more]

The Heat is On: Chef Janene Holig is leading Hot Indian Foods through a period of intense growth

Hailing from Swanville, Minnesota, and of Scandinavian and Polish stock, Janene Holig is not anybody’s initial idea of an Indian chef. In fact, in 2013 when she tried out for the position of head chef for the soon-to-be-launched Hot Indian Foods, the cuisine of India was an almost-complete blank for her. “I’d never worked with … [ Read more]

The Chilito is Dead, Long Live the Chilito

There are some favorite childhood foods that stay with you all your life—the way they smelled and tasted, their texture, and all the times and places you ate them become indelible memories. These are the foods we chase down as adults and enthusiastically foist on our family and friends. To eat them again is joyful … [ Read more]

Seeds of Change: How Cora Baker and Dream of Wild Health shaped the future of Native foods by preserving the past

At the farmers market on the corner of Franklin and 15th in Minneapolis, you’ll find more than the season’s bounty of farm-fresh produce. Here, youth in bright red Dream of Wild Health T-shirts will offer you a cup of cedar maple tea and samples of Three Sisters salsa, a toss-up of sweet corn, summer squash, … [ Read more]

There’s No Perfect Oktoberfest Pretzel in Minnesota—There Are 5

When you hear “pretzels and beer” you can’t help but think of a classic bar pretzel: a chewy loop of mahogany bread sparingly sprinkled with massive grains of salt. But when we scoured Minneapolis–St. Paul in search of the perfect Oktoberfest pretzel, we found that the same “creative-to-the-point-of-anarchy” approach that American brewers bring to beer … [ Read more]

The Great American Chestnut Revival: How science is bringing chestnuts back to American soil

Anyone who has ever come across a raw, wild chestnut—burr intact—will likely remember the experience. My first encounter came while hiking the Camino de Santiago, an ancient pilgrimage route in northern Spain. I entered a stretch of the path where elder chestnut trees—some nearing a thousand years of age—act as anchors for the rigorous journey. … [ Read more]

Growing Hope: The HAFA Farm gives Hmong Minnesotans a long-term stake in agriculture

In Laos, as soon as the first rain falls in April, farmers rush to sow their seeds in the ground. The terrain is sometimes rocky and very hilly for these farmers who have worked the land for hundreds of years, growing crops to feed their families. On a 155-acre plot of land in Hastings, Minnesota, … [ 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]