Don't cha know: 7 foods you didn't know started in Minnesota

Dennis Yang
The Land of 10,000 Lakes can brag about many things, including but not limited to the birth of our dear artist formally known as Prince, the stapler, and roller blades. But when was the last time you took a bite of your Pillsbury croissants or funfetti cake and thought, "BOOM, Minnesota!"? Not often enough, Hot Dishers. Well, stop being so humble. Here are seven foods you should celebrate with newfound pride.

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The 10 new State Fair foods we can't wait to try

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Juicy Lucys have made it to London, but are they any good?

Categories: Minnesota Made

Wes Burdine
The Juicy Lucy at the Diner in London, England.

As you walk into this cozy pub, you notice its eclectic vibe, like a cross between Psycho Suzi's and the Turf Club's Clown Lounge. You step over a rug unmistakably designed by Minneapolis artist Adam Turman. In front of you are two Juicy Lucys: one traditional and the other with blue cheese.

But this is not Minnesota. This is London, less than a mile from the Thames and the Tate Modern, in the Southwark neighborhood of mostly businesses and upscale condos. Lord Nelson Pub is an oasis of oddity and part of a trend of American-style burger joints that are introducing Minnesota's chief culinary export, the Juicy Lucy, to London.

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Vincent A Restaurant crafts specialty burgers for different stages of the Tour de France

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Du Nord Spirits' first product, L'├ętoile vodka, hits the shelves

Courtesy of the Du Nord Facebook page
First there were local micro-brews, then the Twin Cities craft cocktail boom, and now the latest on the scene is a Minneapolis-made vodka. Du Nord, Minneapolis's first "micro-distillery" rolled out its first firewater Friday. L'├ętoile Vodka ($24), made from Minnesota sugar beets and corn, hit metro shelves following bottle signings and samplings at several locations led by owners Shanelle and Chris Montana. 

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Food truck guide 2014: The best new and returning mobile kitchens in the Twin Cities

E. Katie Holm
Trucks are lining up to feed you. Here's where to find them.
Our ever-evolving food truck scene has undergone yet another wave of transformation. 

Back in its infancy, the main challenges facing these vehicular restaurants were getting proper permits and finding available street parking. Then came the success stories, the kooky concepts, the carts, the one-offs, and the brick-and-mortar dreams. Fairs and rallies were organized. Inevitable turf wars surfaced. Winter-specific trucks like Warming House popped up and made us re-think these mobile kitchens as a spring and summer-only affair. Existing restaurants got the bright idea of adding trucks as an offshoot of their thriving businesses. Kickstarters launched. Some succeeded. But most importantly, the trucks found their fans, the people followed their favorites from downtown lunch to weekend brewery event, getting to know the dedicated makers behind those sliding service windows. 

If you've been meaning to get out and discover the truck that makes your ideal meal, now's your chance: The warm weather means the fleet is out in full force. Here's a handy guide to our picks for best new and returning food trucks.

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Minnesota Made: Kieran Folliard of 2 Gingers Whiskey [VIDEO]

Categories: Minnesota Made

The last time we checked in with videographer Chris Jones he'd just finished documenting a whole hog roast with a local backyard barbecue expert. This week, we caught up with Jones fresh off an interview with Kieran Folliard of 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey.

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, Irish native Folliard discusses how he got from a small village in Ireland to Minneapolis, where he helped establish six Irish pubs, four of which -- Keiran's, the Local, the Liffey, and Cooper -- are still going strong today. Folliard has since sold his shares of the pubs to focus on 2 Gingers, authentic Irish whiskey distilled in Ireland and launched right here in Minnesota. Check out the video interview after the jump.

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Tricia Cornell on how to shop Minnesota's farmers markets like a pro [RECIPE]

The Minnesota Farmers Market Cookbook by Tricia Cornell

It seems like a shopping no-brainer: instead of getting in your gas guzzler and motoring across town to a big box grocery store for your imported asparagus from Peru or heads of garlic from China, you spend your hard-earned food budget at your neighborhood farmers market, supporting the farmers who live and work near you, and getting the best quality produce you can. So why are so many people intimidated by the farmers market, and so few see it as a legitimate place to shop and feed their families?

Tricia Cornell tackles this question in her latest book, The Minnesota Farmers Market Cookbook. Brimming with easy to accomplish recipes, the book also includes a comprehensive directory of farmers markets throughout the region, and helpful notes on each type of produce covered, so you can shop and cook with confidence. She took the time to chat with us about kohlrabi, the lies we've been told about stir fries, and all of her best tips for shopping locally like a pro.

The Hot Dish: Describe your new cookbook. What should readers expect?

Tricia Cornell: The most exciting thing about The Minnesota Farmers Market Cookbook is that it's organized by product, so that you can experience it the same way you experience the farmers market. You can either start at the beginning of a row and walk all the way through, or you can drop in and see what you see in front of you, or you can go straight to the beets if you need beets. So the book is organized that same way.

HD: Why did you decide to write this book? Your previous book, Eat More Vegetables, tackles the questions of what to do with your seasonal produce. How does this book differ from or expand on the first?

Well, that book was also a lot of fun to write. That was 100% my recipes and the foods that my family eats at home. This book allowed me to talk to a lot of really dedicated farmers and chefs, some of them practically celebrities here in Minnesota and some them ordinary farmers market fellows. And the other thing is that this book allowed me to get really in depth and geeky on each vegetable in a way that I wasn't able to do so much in the first book. I take you through how to find a vegetable, when to buy it, what to when you get it home, how to store it...So, yeah, it's a little geekier on the vegetable front.

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Surly beer now offered on Sun Country flights

From the factory lines to your aisle seat
We're big supporters of local people and businesses getting together to collaborate on new projects. Lizzo and Har Mar Superstar performing together on stage, fully decked out in ponchos.  Vellee Deli popping up at Crema Cafe, making it possible to get top-notch espresso and Korean short rib burritos in one fell swoop. But the most recently announced match-up of two Minnesota companies coming together for the greater good is one to get very excited about. Especially if you like to have a little something besides trashy magazines to take the edge off when you fly.

In addition to their regular lineup of macro brews, Mendota Heights-based Sun Country Airlines is now serving Surly Hell, Furious, and Bender fresh from the can on their flights.  

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The 14 open and opening Minnesota micro-distilleries to look out for

Categories: Minnesota Made
Benjamin Carter Grimes for City Pages
The raw ingredients.
While microbreweries have boomed in Minnesota, entrepreneurs and drinkers state-wide have been slower to get into another craft craze: spirits. Now, thanks to a 2011 law change and a host of passionate micro-distillers, Minnesota is about to catch up.

Our cover story this week looks at what to expect from the upcoming crop of local spirits. Here's your roundup of where, and when, to find them.

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COVER: Local Spirits: Meet the micro-distillers who are making craft liquor the Twin Cities' new industry

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Champps Americana's parent company files for bankruptcy

F&H Acquisition Corp. has hit hard times. 

The Wichita-based company that owns 35 Champps Americana restaurants including several in Minnesota, has fallen into considerable debt and recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, reports the Wichita Business Journal.

F&H acquired Champps in 2007 and has acted as the parent company ever since, but the chain was actually started in St. Paul in 1987 by local businessman Dean Vlahos, who reportedly lost $26 million on his investments with Tom Petters. (Petters is currently serving a 50-year federal sentence for orchestrating a $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme.)

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Top 5 ways to use UV's new Sriracha-flavored vodka

Yesterday the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reported that Phillips Distilling Co. is set to release the 20th flavor variety in its line of UV Vodka, and this one's a spicy little number. 

Adding a Sriracha-flavored vodka is an especially smart move by the Minneapolis-based company, given the recent hullabaloo surrounding a California community's demands that the Sriracha plant be shut down because of air quality concerns. An L.A. judge ultimately ruled against the closure, but the possibility of a Sriracha shortage was enough to send pepper fans into a fizz and to cause one Minneapolis donut shop to start hoarding the stuff.

The possibility of Sriracha downsizing or partially closing is still possible, so we thought we'd prepare for that apocalyptic threat by thinking of some new ways to get a little Sriracha into our liquid diets. Here are our Top 5 ways to use the new UV Sriracha vodka. 

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