Defining a city by its food: 17 truly St. Paul dishes

Defining a city by its food: 17 truly St. Paul dishes

Much poetry has been written as an ode to the city; the place where we were born and/or raised, that has shaped us. Poetry, pictures, paintings and films. We look for these things and as the arts they help us to define ourselves as they define the world around us. However, as the “roving gourmand” Jim Harrison states plainly, “How feebly the arts compete with the idea of what we are going to eat next.” Isn’t it true that a good meal trumps all else? That the Mona Lisa cannot truly be enjoyed on an empty stomach? That we will walk out of an Oscar-worthy film to satiate a begging appetite? That we cannot read, or write, or dream, or laugh when hunger pangs beg the largest question of them all: Who am I, if not someone who needs to eat? So then we define the city by its food. It’s step one, maybe, the base (cornerstone) of how to describe the landscape. We start here. But then we ask what kind of food culture can be created when a city’s identity is changing; when people are moving in, and out, of its borders at a rapid pace? Regardless of what the landscape will look like in 5, 10, 20 years or more, these dishes remain truly representative of the Capital City’s soul. It’s core. And they will keep us fed today so that we may go on and enjoy everything else she has to offer.   17 dishes that define St. Paul Pelmeni at Moscow on the Hill These dumplings are simple. They are delicious. As a happy hour...
Everything is PLNT BSD

Everything is PLNT BSD

We have become more aware of what we eat, where it comes from, and why that matters, than ever before. But if that is how we treat our food, isn’t that how we should treat everything? If you care what you put in your body, shouldn’t you care what you put on your body? That’s the idea behind PLNT BSD, the brainchild of local designer Caroline Yares. The company produces clothes; T-shirts, hoodies, hats, tote bags, and more, made from vegan and plant-based materials. But it’s more than just vegan, more than just the latest trend. It’s a movement that seeks to bring awareness about what plant-based actually means for the world, for the community, and for you. We chatted with Yares to learn a little bit more about the company, her goals and mission, and the plant-based philosophy behind it all. A plant-based mission Big ideas often come from humble beginnings. Apple started in a two-car garage. Starbucks began by just selling beans. And PLNT BSD started with… day drinking? “To be honest, my husband and I were out in the backyard with our chickens, Gretta and Bessie, having a weekend margarita.” Yares laughs. “I told him I wanted a license plate that said PLNT BSD. We talked back and forth about different ideas. I said what about a T-shirt? So we made one about a week later.” And it took off from there. “We attended a few events around town and were shocked to see the response from the community. People wanted PLNT BSD shirts. So we gave the people what that wanted and started PLNT BSD as LLC and...
Confessions of a TC drug dealer

Confessions of a TC drug dealer

A “drug” can mean anything from prescription painkillers to meth made in country labs. But we all know what they mean when they talk about the War on Drugs. The lack of work right out of high school (or college for that matter) has left many Americans looking for alternative means of income. Sometimes those means don’t fit inside the confines of the law. Some might call it a product of an unfair system, the result of a world we didn’t create. Others might say it’s purely opportunistic, preying on addiction and an at-risk population. Regardless, Teddy** always knew he deserved a better life, and that no one was going to hand it to him. Success is attainable in many different ways for many different people. Right or wrong, this is what he has to say. **Name has been changed. We’re not messing around with that drug war.   The confessions of a Twin Cities drug dealer The beginning How did it start? Start? Selling. It didn’t really start. It was always an option, more about when than if. When you were a kid… Yeah I started selling weed in junior high. Bricks of midgrade all full of seeds and shit. I didn’t tell my mom where I got the money, and I didn’t spend it on stupid stuff. I saved it. I had a box in the back of the closet and I kept my room clean so that she never had a reason to go in there. I was saving up. For what? Just the future man. I’ve always known that no one was going to give me...
Restaurant views and reflections: An essay by Jennifer Murray

Restaurant views and reflections: An essay by Jennifer Murray

One of my favorite moments while glancing out of the window during a busy night at work is when the sky is just darkening behind the old brick warehouse buildings of Lowertown and a final burst of sunshine breaks against the brick and windows creating a golden glow of buildings in front of the settling darkness. I have found that it’s usually pointless to try and point this out to my coworkers at Saint Dinette, because we’re often all too busy in the evening to appreciate anything beyond the bustle of the restaurant.  Which is a good thing: that bustle means we’re doing a good job, means people are flocking to a place that we love, eating the food that’s been made with so much care and inspiration that it boggles my mind, and appreciating the atmosphere that is fostered and inspired by the amazing people who own and run the restaurant. The view out of the window is an added bonus, even if it only provides a short moment to re-center myself, because sometimes it’s hard to be an introvert in a job that mainly attracts extroverts and requires sustained bursts of energy in a crowded room.   Sometimes I wonder how on earth I got here, nearly twelve years into restaurant work and finally in a job that I love on every single level. Not that I haven’t loved my previous jobs, but none have had so few negative qualities (Saint Dinette has none of note). Sometimes I wonder how I ever got into and stayed in this line of work.   I recall the views out...
We’re proud of you, Minnesota

We’re proud of you, Minnesota

Minnesota has long stood for progress, made clear most recently by Governor Dayton’s investments in education, protecting the environment, and his stance on refugees. And by putting president-elect Donald Trump in third place on Super Tuesday, and being one of the only Midwest states to vote for Hilary Clinton, Minnesotans soundly rejected the fear-mongering and isolationism that somehow became policy during this most recent presidential election. While the president-elect was running on that platform, a different campaign was being run in Minnesota’s Distict 60B. And while Hilary Clinton may not have made history, one woman in Minnesota certainly did. Progress as the result of positivity Ilhan Omar was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives on the evening of November 8, 2016, and will represent one of Minneapolis’ most diverse neighborhoods. After escaping civil war in her home country of Somalia at age eight, she then spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before finally making it to Minneapolis. Omar also happens to be the first Somali-American legislator in the country. Omar, a strong force for women as progressive DFL activist, community educator, and Director of Policy Initiatives at Women Organizing Women, would have to be considered among the “problems” the president-elect called out during his brief visit to the state. Or his brief visit to a hangar at MSP airport, rather. “…you’ve seen firsthand the problems caused with faulty refugee vetting, with large numbers of Somali refugees coming into your state without your knowledge, without your support or approval, and with some of them then joining ISIS and spreading their extremist views all over our country and all over the world.” But...
Minneapolis ranked one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world

Minneapolis ranked one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world

Minneapolis has been praised for years as one of the best bike cities in the country. The back and forth with Portland for title of U.S. Best is almost a running (biking?) joke at this point. But it seems the competition is over, as Minneapolis just broke into the international scene. The rankings come from Wired Magazine. Using the Copenhagen­ize Design Company’s Index of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, it is one of the most prestigious, and strictest, bikeability indexes you can find. And, for the first time, Minneapolis came in 18th, and was the only U.S. city included in the top 20 just ahead of Hamburg, Germany, and just behind Paris, France. Importantly, it puts the city in the company of the world’s most forward-thinking transit cities, the Amsterdams and the Copenhagens, that are literally paving the way for a brighter future. And where other cities around the world have been slipping (Tokyo, Japan and Munich, Germany were dropped from the list), Minneapolis is only getting started. (Read the full index and criteria here: The 20 Most Bike-Friendly Cities on the Planet) The Minnesota winter worked well in our favor. Our commitment to staying on two wheels through the cold-weather months makes us some of the toughest bikers in the world.  But it’s not just our cyclists, but the initiatives coming from City Hall to support them that factors into the ranking: Minneapolis biking infrastructure, the 120 miles of on-street bikeways, and especially designated routes like the Midtown Greenway, played a key role in our inclusion. There were also a few suggestions; room for improvement that could lift Minnesota’s largest city even higher. While...