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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Uptown Art Fair adds food to its artistic lineup

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The Uptown Art Fair Kitchen Window 1st Annual Culinary Arts Competition

This year the Uptown Art Fair added culinary art to its list of artistic genres by staging a live, onstage culinary competition. Chefs from around the Twin Cities were paired with local artists and tasked with creating dishes and artistic pieces based on a selected basket of ingredients.

As a judge for this year's event, I was asked to grade both the dishes and the art presented by the local artists in the first round on Friday and in the semifinals and finals on Sunday.

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Forks Over Knives premiered to packed house

Categories: Review Recap

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Forks Over Knives opens on Friday at the Landmark Lagoon Cinema in Uptown
It was standing-room only in the Lagoon Cinema last night, as people lined the walls of the theater to see the premiere of Forks Over Knives, the new documentary film by Lee Fulkerson that espouses the life-changing (even life-saving) benefits of a plant-based diet. Never has a jam-packed movie theater been so conspicuously free of tubs of popcorn and vats of soda. We all knew we were about to be schooled, and no one was interested in being caught with their hand in the popcorn jar in the middle of the lesson.

Because, you see, the message of the film is not simply that we should engage in Meatless Mondays and cut back on sodium. What it proposes is a much more radical shift in lifestyle that eschews animal products, dairy, processed foods, refined sugar, and even extracted oils. Yes, even that oft-touted bastion of healthy fats and omega-3's, olive oil, is off the menu now. The Hot Dish stuck around after the film to hear what the panel of experts, which included local chef and cookbook author Robin Asbell and Star Tribune journalist and cooking instructor Beth Dooley, had to say.

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Travail Kitchen and Amusements crib sheet

Categories: Review Recap

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Emily Utne
Get the dessert tasting.
Here's a quick recap of this week's Dish column on Travail Kitchen and Amusements with the essentials of what you need to know when you go to the new Robbinsdale restaurant:

Who should go: Anybody who's short on cash but looking for gourmet grub in a relaxed environment.

What to order: The whole menu. Seriously. Go with a big group and just order one of everything. The menu changes regularly, but a few of the mainstays--the burger, the fish and chips, and the charcuterie plate--are definitely worth ordering. But save room for the multi-course dessert tasting.

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Uptown Cafeteria crib sheet

Categories: Review Recap

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Alma Guzman
Give the desserts a whirl at Cafeteria.
Here's a quick recap of this week's Dish column on Uptown Cafeteria and Support Group with the essentials of what you need to know when you go:

Uptown Cafeteria and Support Group
3001 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 612.877.7263; www.uptowncafeteria.com
appetizers $7-$10, entrees $9-$20
Hours: M-Th: 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Fr: 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sat: 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sun: 8 a.m. to 1 a.m.


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Grecco's and Roman Anthony's crib sheet

Categories: Review Recap

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Kris Drake
Get the lobster gnocchi at Roman Anthony's--or try it DIY at home.
Here's a quick recap of this week's Dish column on Grecco's and Roman Anthony's, with the essentials of what you need to know when you go:

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Which restaurant dishes will never come off the menu?

Categories: Review Recap

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Eric Hanson
These dishes aren't going anywhere...
While talking with several restaurant folks for this week's Dish column about menus, I came across several stories about dishes that staff would never dare remove from the menu.

For example, Richard D'Amico, a partner in the D'Amico restaurant empire, told me that it's not unusual for the Naples Campiello to sell 150 of its famed chicken salads during lunch. The salads are so popular that they have to staff one employee just to prepare them. "Three years in a row, we raised the price," D'Amico says, but even that didn't deter customers from ordering the salad. "Certain items like the chicken salad become so popular, and you had better be in love with that dish because it'd be asking for it to take it off."

Several other Twin Cities chefs/restaurateurs dished on the dishes the offer that are far too popular to ever be removed from the menu:

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Patisserie 46 crib sheet

Categories: Review Recap

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Craig Lassig
The high art of les petits gateaux.
Here's a quick recap of this week's Dish column on Patisserie 46, with the essentials of what you need to know when you go:

Patisserie 46
4552 Grand Ave. S., Minneapolis
612.354.3257, www.patisserie46.com
Prices start at $1; whole cakes priced up to $38
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 7 a.m. -6 p.m. and Sunday 7 a.m. -2 p.m.


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