Final Nominees for The James Beard Awards- And We Are in the Running!


The James Beard Awards Final Nominees are in!! And Minnesota is in the running with FOUR local establishments! The final award winners will be announced in May- so check back to find out the final winners. Keep your fingers crossed!

Best New Restaurant

Bâtard, NYC
Central Provisions, Portland, ME
Cosme, NYC
Parachute, Chicago
Petit Trois, Los Angeles
The Progress, San Francisco
Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis

Outstanding Restaurant (Did not make Finals for this Category)

Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY
Highlands Bar and Grill, Birmingham, AL
Momofuku Noodle Bar, NYC
Per Se, NYC
The Spotted Pig, NYC

Outstanding Baker (Did not make Finals for this Category)

Joanne Chang, Flour Bakery + Cafe, Boston
Mark Furstenberg, Bread Furst, Washington, D.C.
Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery, NYC
Belinda Leong and Michel Suas, B. Patisserie, San Francisco
William Werner, Craftsman and Wolves, San Francisco

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional (Did not make Finals for this Category)

Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE
Ron Cooper, Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, Ranchos de Taos, NM
Ted Lemon, Littorai Wines, Sebastopol, CA
Rajat Parr, Mina Group, San Francisco
Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY

Best Chef: Midwest

Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis
Justin Carlisle, Ardent, Milwaukee
Gerard Craft, Niche, Clayton, MO
Michelle Gayer, Salty Tart, Minneapolis
Lenny Russo, Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market, St. Paul, MN

Outstanding Restaurateur (Did not make Finals for this Category)

JoAnn Clevenger, Upperline, New Orleans
Donnie Madia, One Off Hospitality Group, Chicago (Blackbird, Avec, The Publican, and others)
Michael Mina, Mina Group, San Francisco (Michael Mina, RN74, Bourbon Steak, and others)
Cindy Pawlcyn, Napa, CA (Mustards Grill, Cindy’s Back Street Kitchen, and Cindy’s Waterfront at the Monterey Bay Aquarium)
Stephen Starr, Starr Restaurants, Philadelphia (The Dandelion, Talula’s Garden, Serpico, and others)

Outstanding Service (Did not make Finals for this Category)

The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN
Marea, NYC
Quince, San Francisco
Restaurant August, New Orleans
Topolobampo, Chicago


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MN FOODIES REJOICE! The James Beard Awards Semi-Finalists Are Announced

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Foodies all over Minnesota rejoice, because this years semi-finals list for the best in the American food industry include a whopping 14 nominations from our home state! The results are to be announced March 24th, so check back to see the winners of the annual James Beard Awards- in it’s 25th year anniversary.

Proclaimed as the Oscars of the food world, the James Beard Awards celebrate all aspects of the food industry, including chefs and restaurateurs, cookbook authors and food journalists, restaurant designers and architects, and more. The James Beard Awards are the highest honor for food and beverage professionals in America. Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards recognize and celebrate our nation’s culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields.

Minnesota’s nominees include:

Best new restaurant:

Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis.

211 1st St N, Minneapolis, MN 55401

Outstanding restaurant:

La Belle Vie, Minneapolis.

510 Groveland Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403

Outstanding baker:

– Stephen Horton, Rustica Bakery, Minneapolis.

3220 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55416

– John Kraus, Patisserie 46, Minneapolis.

4552 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55419

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional:

– Eric Seed, Haus Alpenz, Edina.

5127 Skyline Drive, Minneapolis, MN 55436

Best chef: Midwest:

– Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis.

50 2nd Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401

– Jim Christiansen, Heyday, Minneapolis.

2700 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408

– Doug Flicker, Piccolo, Minneapolis.

4300 Bryant Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55409

– Mike Brown, Bob Gerken, and James Winberg, Travail Kitchen and Amusements, Robbinsdale.

4124 W Broadway Ave, Robbinsdale, MN 55422

– Russell Klein, Meritage, St. Paul.

Historic Hamm Building Administration Office, 410 St Peter St, St Paul, MN 55102

– Michelle Gayer, Salty Tart, Minneapolis.

920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407

– Lenny Russo, Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market, St. Paul.

Compass Hospitality, 289 5th St E, St Paul, MN 55101

Outstanding restauranteur:

– Kim Bartmann, Minneapolis (Barbette, Bryant-Lake Bowl, Red Stag Supperclub, and others).

Outstanding service:

Restaurant Alma, Minneapolis.

528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414


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Don’t Miss this Weekend! International Eelpout Festival in Walker MN


Feb 19, 2015 – Feb 22, 2015

Found in the little northern town of Walker, is an unusual gathering that has been a winter staple for the past 30 years. Leech Lake, Minnesota’s 3rd largest lake, hosts it’s annual EELPOUT FESTIVAL this weekend- an homage to one of the ugliest bottom-dwelling freshwater fish. As any true Minnesotan, thousands of visitors swarm Walker and Leech Lake, in search of a quirky and fun outdoor experience. The opening ceremonies begin Thursday, February 19th at 5:00pm with lighting of the torches in Walker City Park, and will continue until Sunday night! For a one-of-a-kind time, check out the annual International Eelpout Festival this weekend in Walker, Minnesota!

Some of the many events scheduled for the Festival include:

Eelpout Ice Fishing Contest
Official Scale Times
February 20 @ 12:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Weight in @ Walker City Park
Friday 12:30pm-5:00pm
Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm
Sunday 9:00am-10:30am

DJ Dance Party and Karaoke Contest
February 19 @ 7:00 pm – 11:55 pm

Live Music all Festival long at the Chase’s 502 Bar and Restaurant.
Friday- American Bootleg 8pm-12:30am
Saturday- American Bootleg 8pm-12:30am
February 20 @ 10:00 am – February 21 @ 12:00 pm- Urban Myth

Eelpout Fish Fry
February 20 @ 10:00 am – 8:00 pm

Eelpout Curling
February 20 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

 2nd Annual Kids Perch Jerk
February 21 @ 12:00 am – 1:00 pm
Savings Bonds will be awarded to the three biggest perch caught. Holes will be drilled for kids to use. Please bring the poles and bait for them to use. Other small prizes will be giving out also!

EelPout Rugby
February 21 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Bemidji State Rugby team come by and watch and play!

Polar Pout Plunge
February 21 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
In Front of the Chase on the Lake. The Main Event that you do not want to miss. Freeze your butt off for Charity!

Eelpout Derby
February 21 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
In Front of City Park Coors Castle. Race for fastest fish for a chance to win prizes!

Fishing Contest Awards Ceremony
February 22 @ 11:00 am – 11:30 am
At the Walker City Park

For more information, email:

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St. Paul Winter Carnival: Don’t Miss the LAST week!


January 22nd- February 1st 2015

With parades, scavenger hunts, sledding, Beer Dabblers, scantily clad cat shows, and races for people and snow plows alike- there is something for everyone at St. Paul’s Winter Carnival! Oh yeah, not to mention the towering man-made ice castle, an event that goes back to 1885!

This weekend is your last chance to get in on the action. Listed below are just a few of the festival’s events for the remaining 6 days:


Where: Rice Park     109 4th Street W, Saint Paul, MN     Phone: 651-223-7400

Friday Jan 30, 2014

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm Ben Rogue

8:00 pm – 10:00 pm Devon Worley

Saturday Jan 31, 2015

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Rachel Schroeder

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Sleigh Belle Dancers

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Priya Vedula

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm Pie Eating Contest

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm Grateful Red

5:30 pm – 7:30 pm PARADE and Overthrow

8:00 pm – 9:30 pm Verretta


Where: Landmark Center Cortile     75 W 5th St, St Paul, MN 55102

When: Wednesday January 28th 12:00-1:00pm

Nona Marie Invie is a current member of the chamber folk sextet Dark, Dark, Dark, and has recently experimented with fusing her music with mind-body movement work (an idea growing out of her participation in St. Paul’s Yoga Rocks the Park). In January, Nona and fellow band member Fletcher Barnhill will collaborate with yoga teacher Alyssa Hill to bring live music and yoga to the Landmark Center’s Cortile. In addition to connecting the two worlds of music and movement, it will also be an open invitation to the people of St. Paul to stretch themselves over their lunch hour. Bring your yoga mat!


Where: Rice Park

109 4th Street W, Saint Paul, MN

When: Saturday, January 31st  12:00 pm2:00 pm

Take part in the inaugural Frozen Bean Bag Tournament.  This is an 8-team bean bag tournament that takes place on 4th Street near the James. J. Hill Library in Rice Park.  It is outside so come prepared!

The cost is $25.oo per team.  Entry fee includes entrance into the tournament; 2 drink tickets (one for each member of the team) for the ice bar (non-alcoholic options available for participants under 21) and prizes for winning teams.

The tournament will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Must be registered for the event.

There is way too much fun to list here, so check out this link for more information, and come on down to St. Paul for the last week of our Winter Carnival!

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If it’s the Holidays, it must be lutefisk time!

pic of lutifisk (Small)It is the holiday season and many Minnesotans will eat lutefisk. It is one on our most infamous foods – dried cod that has been reconstitute in a bath of water and food-grade lye. It doesn’t have much of a taste and looks like a serving of gelatinous goo. But for thousands of us, it is a celebration of the tradition and heritage.

Where do Minnesotans eat it? They eat lutefisk dinners in church basements, restaurants and VFW posts across the state. Many families cherish a tradition of serving it every Christmas, along with Swedish meatballs.

The tradition of lutefisk started in Norway several hundred years ago as a way to preserve all of the cod that was caught in the spring. Folklore says it was the food of the Vikings, but lutefisk experts don’t know for sure. In the 1800’s, Minnesota Scandinavian ancestors brought the food to the Upper Midwest.

The largest producer of lutefisk in the country is right here – the Olsen Fish Company in North Minneapolis. All of their dried fish comes from Norway. The company reconstitutes it back to its original form in the plant. This process takes two weeks and involves soaking it in water and food-grade lye, or sodium hydroxide. The chemicals are used to “fluff” the fish up and to help preserve it. In 2012, they sold 450,000 pounds.

Does everyone like it? Many Minnesotans have never tried the stuff because of the look or the smell. Andrew Zimmern, of the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods, said it is one of the worst foods in the world and he eats anything!

So maybe if you haven’t tried the Minnesota tradition of lutefisk yet, this will be the year to do it!

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Minnesota Hot Dishes

Fall is here and Minnesota natives love to make and serve hearty hot dishes for their families and friends.

tater-tot-hot-dish-11 (Small) (Small)Hot dish is a casserole which typically contains a starch, a meat and a canned and/or frozen vegetable, mixed with canned soup. The hot dish is cooked in an oven and served hot in a single baking dish and commonly appears not only at family dinner tables as the main course, but at communal gatherings such as family reunions, potlucks and church suppers or funerals. When served at gatherings, they are served with potato salad, coleslaw, Jell-O salads and pan-baked desserts known as bars.

The history of the hot dish goes back to when “budget-minded farm wives needed to feed their own families, as well as congregations in the basements of the first Minnesota churches.”[1] The most typical meat for a hot dish is ground beef, and cream of mushroom remains the favorite canned soup. Pasta is the most frequently used starch, but tater tots and wild rice are very popular also.

Just how popular is the “hot dish”? It frequently appears, along with other unique Minnesotan dishes such as lutefisk, in the radio program A Prairie Home Companion and is also described in Howard Mohr’s book How to Talk Minnesotan. It is an integral element of the book Hot dish to Die For, a collection of six culinary mystery short stories in which the weapon of choice is hot dish written by Pat Dennis. Minnesota public television station, KSMQ in Austin, Minnesota, produced a 2012 documentary video entitled “Minnesota Hot dish”[2] providing a historical and humorous look at the popular dish. Hot dish is so popular Senator Al Franken holds a hot dish competition for the Minnesota congressional delegation! This year’s winner was Rep. Tim Walz for his “Turkey Trot Tater-Tot Hot dish”!

[1] Harron, Hallie. (February 1996), Vegetarian Times

[2] “Minnesota Hot dish: The Documentary,”, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 11, 2103

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When is the best time to buy or sell a house in Minnesota?

blog man (Small)I hear this question a lot: What is the best time to sell my home or to buy a different one? Let’s take a look at the retail world of clothing. Consumers get the best deal on summer clothes after July 4th or later, just as they get the best deal on winter clothes at the end of winter. So does this trend hold true for the purchase and sale of homes? Not really. There are some considerations a buyer or seller should think about that could have an impact on the transaction.

What time of the year is a better time for buyers to buy?

First off, you can’t ever time a home purchase. It is not like going out to buy a car or a cell phone. Buying a home is a journey done in your own time and after you have done the research, looked at homes and have your finances in order. At any time there are buyers coming into the market and there are other buyers who have done their research and are serious buyers. No one gets to control this ever changing flow. What is important to remember is that the inventory of homes fluctuates by the season. In spring (March-May in Minnesota), there is an increase of homes on the market and more homes means more options for buyers. It also means more buyers are looking, which means more competition to get that perfect home. While there are fewer homes listed from October-December, buyers may find the best buys during those slower selling months of the year.

When should sellers sell then?

Conventional sellers most likely would not list their home before the holidays or in the dead of winter for obvious reasons (snow and cold….brrrr). But serious buyers really don’t care about the season or timing. They are motivated when they are ready to buy. After the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s festivities are done, buyers start to think about resuming their home search or entering the marketplace as a new buyer. So what are the pros and cons to listing then? Listing January-June/July, sellers will have more competition, however there will be more buyers in the marketplace looking for homes then. If you list in the “off season” (August-December), you may be ahead because there will still be serious buyers out there and they will have fewer homes to choose from.

So as buyers and sellers strategize about when is the “BEST” time, the reality is – it is never easy, and it truly depends on your situation, what you have to buy or sell, and the market in general. Major retailers like Target can control inventory and monitor competitive activity. In real estate, there is not one buyer or seller – they are all unrelated and disconnected and there are all types of homes at all price ranges making it nearly impossible to pick the “perfect” time to buy or sell. I would be happy to help you figure out what time of the year is best for you to start your home search or put your home on the market.

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