#Grapegate: 5 Dishes the New York Times Could Have Chosen

Categories: Dish-cussion

Christian Schnettelker

My Minnesota grandma's ubiquitous holiday salad was what was colloquially referred to as an "ambrosia."

Your grandma probably had one, too: Jello whipped together with Cool Whip, Maraschino cherries, mandarin oranges, mini-marshmallows, and pecans. As a kid, the nuts made me look at the thing with an accusatory eye each time it hit the table, for every single holiday, in my great-grandmother's beveled crystal bowl. But dutiful kid that I was, I'd still take a dollop of the sugar bomb, fish out the marshmallows, and cast aside the nuts.

Maybe the now-infamous "Minnesota Grape Salad" was someone's grandma's iteration of an ambrosia?

Maybe. But still...

See also:
#Grapegate: Top Tweets From the Great Grape Salad Controvery of 2014

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#Grapegate: Top Tweets From the Great Grape Salad Controvery of 2014

Maccheek on Wikipedia
The tastiest of controversies
For those of you who don't spend all day on social media, yesterday the New York Times ran a post entitled "The United States of Thanksgiving," in which NYT food writers "scoured the nation for recipes that evoke each of the 50 states."

For Minnesota, they chose grape salad, which led hundreds to beg the question on Twitter and Facebook: What the fuck is a grape salad?

See also:
Where to Get Thanksgiving To-Go in the Twin Cities

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Step away from the trough: A call for more formality in dining

Categories: Dish-cussion
Flickr - Amanda King
What ever happened to formality?
Editor's note: A few weeks ago, Hot Dish explored the idea that traditional manners are passé, an outdated formality that dampens the dining experience. Now, we're looking at whether formality should in fact have more of a place at the table.

While there's no reason to return to the days of stuffy formality, most people need a little refresher on dining decorum. Channeling our baser instincts is good from time to time (and it's humbling to remind ourselves that we are, indeed, animals), but not while eating. Slurping, slouching, and smacking don't just look bad -- they're downright offensive.

See also: Embrace your eating instincts: A call for an end to table manners

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Embrace your eating instincts: A call for an end to table manners

Categories: Dish-cussion

Photo by Jonesing1 via Flickr
It's Friday night. You and your significant other are celebrating the end of a long week with a candlelit dinner at Capital Grille. The waiter fills your water glass, from which you take delicate sips. No chugging. No slurping. You silently berate yourself for the millisecond during which your elbow brushed against the table. Is your partner using the right fork? You decide to let it slide.

Let's rewind.

You're two years old. Your mother has seated you in a wooden high chair and is presenting you with a plate of chopped up hot dogs and watermelon chunks. She places a fork in your hand. You throw it on the floor. She demonstrates the proper way to eat a watermelon chunk. You smash it into your forehead. You can eat however you want, so long as some of the food ends up in your stomach.

See also:
Manners 101: Etiquette queen Angelyn Davis gives it to us straight

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Bike to dinner: St. Paul edition

Dawn Brodey
The chariot of the dining bicyclist.

Dare we say it -- summer has finally arrived -- and as it does, increased numbers of weather-weary Twin Citians are taking to their bicycles and hitting the town. They pedal the Lakes, the Grand Rounds, the Greenway, or any of the many urban bike lanes. It is for good reason that we are regularly voted among the most bike-friendly cities in the country.

But bike-friendly isn't the only feather in our cap -- we are also regularly voted among the best cities for foodies. So why not combine the two?

A few weeks ago Hot Dish brought you a course for your courses -- a bike-friendly route with recommended stops for appetizers, dinner and dessert. Beginning and ending in Minneapolis, the 10-mile course was a big hit.

Now Hot Dish pedals East and presents a course for your courses in St. Paul. This seven-mile route hits some of Saint Paul's classic locations and new favorites -- and burns a lot of calories along the way.

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In Pursuit Of: The perfect Manhattan

Dawn Brodey
A perfect pair. Manhattans as presented by The Monte Carlo.

It is understood, especially around Hot Dish, that the culinary arts are just that -- an art. We are lucky to amble among some of the finest displays of food culture and then report back to you, our readers.

But reporting about any art is itself, well, an art. Especially when it comes to classics -- those items with which foodies have had more time to apply countless variations. And so we present to you our newest column: In Pursuit Of. We'll visit and revisit culinary classics at different Twin Cities eateries and bars in pursuit of just what makes them so great.

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Soul Food Junkies: Local filmmaker works on documentary about soul food and its "unhealthy" side effects [VIDEO]

Photo Courtesy of B FRESH Photography
A plate of soul food prepared by the Hurt family on set of Soul Food Junkies

Soul food, is it putting black communities in jeopardy? This is the question asked by director Byron Hurt in his newest film, Soul Food Junkies. The film takes a mostly lighthearted look through the history of soul food, but it also tells stories of hardship and illness brought to communities of color through unhealthy, high-fat diets. The film is narrated by Hurt as he tells his personal family story of his father's addiction to unhealthy eating while exploring the cultural roots of what we now call soul food. 

Local photographer/videographer Rebecca McDonald served as part of Hurt's production team during the filming of the documentary. We were recently invited to her home for the premiere of the film. McDonald's significant other/aspiring caterer Cheo Smith provided guests with a nice soul food tasting before the showing, in which he tried to highlight some healthier takes on soul food classics, but he was kind enough to not omit some beautifully pan-fried chicken.

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It's the end of the world. Where do you want to eat your last Twin Cities meal?

Categories: Dish-cussion
Mayan Calendar wiki image (400x300).jpg
This feels a little Y2K

It's a common chef's game, late at night after the burners are snuffed and a short glass of something strong is poured. Throbbing feet cool at the edge of a bar rail and the game begins: "What would your last meal be?"  There was even a Top Chef episode where famous chefs like Lidia Bastianich and Jacques Pepin revealed what they would choose as their last bite of food before the Big Sleep. (They picked roast chicken and roast squab, respectively.)

Today's supposed Mayan apocalypse is apparently a bit of a dud, but it did get us thinking about a similar question: If you had only one night left to dine at a Twin Cities restaurant, which would you choose and what would you order?

Leave your answers in the comments below.

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Pinkberry coming to Mall of America: Dish-cussion

Categories: Dish-cussion, News
Emily Utne
More fro-yo is on its way, but do we really need it?

The resurgence of frozen yogurt shops in the Twin Cities is a lot of things: unexpected, illogical, a boon for the sprinkles industry, and a welcome trend to the health-conscious who lurk among us. But the most notable thing about this craze is that it seems to be showing zero signs of stopping. With Yogurt Lab just opening its new location in the IDS Center, FreeStyle Yogurt set to open a new store in Tangletown, and now the chain that arguably started this (fudge) ripple effect is coming to the Twin Cities. That's right y'all, we're getting a Pinkberry.

See also:
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Andrew Zimmern and Sameh Wadi in political Twitter spat: How much do we want to know about our celebrity chefs?

wadi map.jpg
Controversial globe shot: Can you spot what's missing?
As contentious debates go, the dispute between Palestine and Israel is right up there near the top. Many lives have been lost and a peace accord has been elusive. It's not a discussion one would expect to be addressed between two chefs, on either side of the divide, aired over social media, but that is exactly what happened yesterday. 

It came to light that chef Sameh Wadi of Saffron and World Street Kitchen had posted a picture of a globe on his Facebook page showing Palestine but not Israel. His accompanying caption read, "We need more world maps that are correct, such as this one!" Wadi is of Palestinian origin. When one "friend" pointed out, "This 'map' is missing Israel..." Wadi responded, "Exactly the way that this should be." Television personality and fellow chef Andrew Zimmern saw the picture and publicly called out Wadi.

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