What you need to know to dumpster dive in the Twin Cities

Categories: Weird Food

Wilder Burnham navigates a dumpster
When I was in my early teens, being punk and loving trash went hand in hand. Dumpsters cut out the middle man, providing my friends and me with all the snacks and random trinkets we desired -- without us ever having to enter a store. At punk shows and potlucks, we came equipped with crates of Odwalla juice scavenged from a suburban dumpster, where whole cases were thrown away if one bottle was defective. The same went for wine, beer, and anything else that came in a pack. There were dumpsters for everything -- a chip dumpster, a bagel dumpster, a pizza dumpster, and even a toy dumpster. And we're not talking small quantities either. On a good night, we'd score enough bagels to feed a punk house for a month (and yes, the amount of carbohydrates I consumed was slightly appalling).

But dumpster diving isn't reserved for smelly teenaged punk kids. Anyone can search for treasures in the trash, whether they do so for anti-consumerist, ecological, profit-driven, or survival purposes. All it takes is a willingness to move past the stigma and get a little dirty.

"It's kind of like going to vintage stores but for food," said diver Greg Baker. "Instead of looking through a box of records, you're looking through a bag of lettuce or something."

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The unhappy tale of Chatterbox's happy hour lobster

Chatterbox - Highland Park

The Chatterbox Pub unveiled a new happy hour menu two months ago. It included new food and drink specials, as well as $2 off everything on their regular beer and wine list.

Much of the new menu is familiar happy hour fare: chili cheese fries, pork sliders, pub pretzels. But at the Highland Park and Linden Hills locations, one new item stands out -- a whole live lobster for $14.99.

Yup. A whole live lobster. For happy hour. At the Chatterbox.

Too good to be true? We checked it out.

See also:
The Hunter's Moon at FIKA: A fully developed drink of the week

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Jake's Wayback Burgers brings nine-patty cheeseburger to Twin Cities

Double cheeseburger? Triple cheeseburger? How about a nonuple cheeseburger?

Hold on to your arteries, everybody. Jake's Wayback Burgers is bringing its Triple Triple Burger to Woodbury this month.

See Also:
Top 5 Cheeseburgers for National Cheeseburger Day

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Zombie Pub Crawl and Glam Doll Donuts to host donut-eating contest

EU Photography
Zombies love brains... and Glam Doll Donuts. Duh.
Everyone knows that zombies have a palate for brains, but did you know they've also got a taste for doughnuts? Well, sort of.

This year, ahead of the first-annual World Brain Eating Championships, the Zombie Pub Crawl organizers will determine some of the brain-noshing contestants by hosting a competition for the best doughnut eaters.

See also:
Zombie Pub Crawl unveils 2013 music lineup

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Make stuffing out of White Castle sliders [VIDEO]

Courtesy White Castle
Pile 'em up and stuff 'em in. Thanksgiving, White Castle-style

During the week leading up to Thanksgiving, many home cooks find themselves searching for alternative recipes to accommodate the various needs of their dinner guests. Gluten-free, vegetarian, diabetic -- it takes all kinds. But if you're wondering how you can make your fast-food-addicted cousin, double-dog-daring sister, and meat enthusiast uncle more comfortable around your Thanksgiving table this year, perhaps you should consider this kooky recipe for stuffing made out of hamburgers -- specifically ones from White Castle. 

Slider stuffing: It's what you crave? 

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Jax Cafe's Hunters Dinner menu includes alligator and rattlesnake

Categories: Events, Weird Food

Jax Cafe.jpg
Flickr Creative Commons
Jax Cafe has been a mainstay in the Twin Cities restaurant scene since 1933.

Jax Cafe, whose tagline is "Serving steaks, not trends," will be dishing up anything but steaks on November 14 at its Hunters Dinner.

Alligator and rattlesnake are among the menu offerings at the $80-a-head dinner, which owner Bill Kozlak says will draw hunters and epicureans alike.

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40-year-old cheddar cheese to be sold in Wisconsin

Categories: Weird Food
40yo Cheddar.jpg
Photo courtesy of Ken McNulty
The famed 40-year-old cheddar Edward Zahn found in his cheese shop.
Edward Zahn was cleaning out the walk-in cooler in his Oconto, Wisconsin-based County Line Cheese shop when he came upon a very happy accident: several boxes of cheddar cheese that had been repeatedly pushed back by new products over the years.

If it were almost any other foodstuff, Zahn's discovery would be more along the lines of a science experiment, but with cheese, a lot of it just gets better with age.

And Zahn's 40-year-old cheddar, as well as 34-year-old and 28-year-old cheddars he also found, are part of what is most likely the oldest collection of cheese ever assembled and sold to the public, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

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Cub Foods tests eco-friendly bags made from crustaceans

Categories: News, Weird Food
Paper or crab-stic?
Following a model that has worked well for Lund's, Byerly's, Target, and Rainbow Foods, Supervalu Inc.-owned Cub Foods is now focusing on expanding its reusable bag program. Cub says the goals for the program, over the next few years, are to use more recycled material in its bags, make sure the bags are safe through more stringent toxin testing, and reducing the cost of the bags.

To meet those goals and produce more eco-friendly bags, Cub is working with Go Clean, a Santa Monica-based company that manufactures antibacterial, antimicrobial, lead-free reusable products, including bags, reports the Minneapolis-St.Paul Business Journal. The company's secret ingredient?

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The Sample Room now serving pig's head

Categories: Weird Food

pig head sample room.jpg
jm3 / Flickr
Go ahead--pig out
The Sample Room kitchen has enjoyed a reputation for being risk-takers, rule breakers, and pork belly pioneers. Making the most of their connections to local farms, it's the cozy little neighborhood restaurant that other neighborhoods can only dream about.  

Still, one has to give them extra credit for their latest menu, which includes half a pig's head. You read that right. Here's the link--go ahead, click on it. Under "Meat Dishes," look for the Half Pig's Head Smorgasboard (note they somehow resisted the temptation to call it a snort-gasboard) with red onion, pickled egg, pickles and Dijon mustard for $18.  

It's a daunting order.  Even for foodies that slurp down raw oysters and rejoice in eel sushi, we still largely shy away from any food capable of looking up at us with a vacant stare.  But if we're going to put our fork where our environmentalist sensibilities are leaning, it's probably high time we learned to eat more of the animal and stop letting our pets have all the fun.

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Andrew Zimmern wins James Beard Award

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Bizarre Foods guru Andrew Zimmern
Minnesota food celebrity and TV show host Andrew Zimmern has won a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Television Show on Location. His popular Bizarre Foods show is now in it's seventh season, with new episodes airing on the Travel Channel Mondays at 8 p.m.

The James Beard Awards are known as the Oscars of the food world. The foundation was set up in 1986 in honor of culinary pioneer James Beard.

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