Bike to dinner: St. Paul edition

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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

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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]

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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
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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
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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?

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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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Lake Nokomis calls for food vendors

Categories: Dish-cussion

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What foods would you like to enjoy lakeside in 2013?
A request for proposals has been issued by Minneapolis Parks and Recreation, calling for concessions vendors to make their bid to be the next food stands serving customers next summer. 

On April 30, the board put out a call for proposals (which are due May 31) asking that, based on comments from resident's surveys, any potential concessions vendors fit the following criteria from the Citizen Advisory Committee, who says that the ideal candidates would "make people talk about [the chosen concession stand] in combination with the latest and greatest destinations throughout the city."

Two quotes from the survey capture the neighborhood expectations:

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City Pages' Best of the Twin Cities issue is here! Tell us where we went right and wrong

Categories: Dish-cussion

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Find out who our Food & Drink winners were this year
City Pages' mammoth Best of the Twin Cities issue is here! You can read all of this year's winners for Best Restaurant in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Best New Restaurant, Best Chef, Best Restaurant for Romance, Best Street Food, and dozens more in this year's Best of the Twin Cities Food & Drink section here. (You can also browse the entire Best of the Twin Cities issue starting here.)

Then come back and tell us your opinion by leaving a comment below. Which of our choices jibe with your own opinions? Where was our reasoning hopelessly muddled? Feel free to list your own choices for the top food categories.

Don't forget, you can always check out City Pages' winners anytime, on the fly, by downloading our new Best of the Twin Cities app.
Click here to see it in action.
You can also see a slideshow of the Food & Drink winners here.


Little Mekong: St. Paul's answer to Eat Street?

Categories: Dish-cussion

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Ed Neaton
Will you be enjoying spring rolls in Little Mekong?
​This weekend, Mai Village Vietnamese restaurant on University Avenue was the site of a ribbon-cutting ceremony that kicked off the citywide campaign to rebrand the eastern end of the Central Corridor light rail line as an East Asian business district called Little Mekong,  reports MPR News . This concerted community effort hopes to follow in the footsteps of popular Minneapolis destination dining district Eat Street and aims not to exclude or eclipse other ethnic groups in the neighborhood, but to highlight the unique restaurants and businesses and encourage more non-Asian people to explore this area.

This part of Frogtown had similar plans to rebrand as "Asiatown," a distinct retail shopping district with public art displays, in the early '90s, but it was ultimately unsuccessful. Does a rebranding effort like this pique your interest enough to check out restaurants in this area? Do you feel Frogtown has a strong enough identity on its own? Will this be the new Eat Street in 2014? Join in the Dish-cussion below.


What restaurant are you dying to try in 2012?

Categories: Dish-cussion
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Emily Utne
Tilia was a top destination for 2011. Where do you want to eat in 2012?
It's a new year, and there is no dearth of new restaurants opening in the Twin Cities. In 2011, we anxiously awaited the arrival of the Kickstarter-funded Donut Cooperative, welcomed Steven Brown and the fabulous Tilia, and covered every move made by the Dayton brothers as they prepared to launch the Bachelor Farmer

2012 looks like it will shape up to be a banner year, as we look forward to places like Butcher and the Boar (slated to open in February), Humble Pie (Kim Bartmann's revamp of Gigi's), and Jack's reopening, with Barbette's Kevin Kathman at the helm.  

What restaurant are you dying to try in 2012? Join in the Dish-cussion below.

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