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TCFoodies 2012: A feast of great food writing
I don't want to sound like I'm bragging, but I just spent a few hours going back through the stories that TC Foodies published in 2012, and well, gosh, I really think TC Foodies is the greatest food news source in the Twin Cities. Maybe even on the planet. And I am really not bragging about myself, because we published over 500 food articles and reviews last year, from dozens of contributors, and most of the really good stuff was not written by me.
In addition to the hundreds of restaurant reviews and articles, our contributors wrote about cooking, gardening, food policy, nutrition and more, all with a local angle.
No disrespect to the Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, Mpls-St.Paul, Minnesota Monthly, City Pages, Heavy Table, and all the other food news sources in town — they have great writers and great coverage — but we have dozens of contributors, each with a different expertise and point of view. And our food writers and blog partners venture to lots of places where the other guys seldom go.
Stephanie Fox explores the Twin Cities' ethnic markets in her Global Groceries column, finding little gems you are unlikely to read about anywhere else, from the pickled herring at Ingebretsen’s Scandinavian Deli, to the Filipino foods featured at Phil-Oriental Foods in St. Paul, and the Guy-Am Grocery in North Minneapolis: Your go-to place for West Indian, Caribbean food.
Jeff Skrenes covers north Minneapolis in his NORTH BY NORTHSIDE blog, quaffing the newest neighborhood brew: "I hereby declare Boom Island Brewing to be NoMi's best beer" , and candy bar: "Cakedy Candy Bars are pure Northside sweetness."
John Bailey's Green Line Gems blog "Finding Greatness on University Avenue" regularly discovers hidden gastronomic treasures like "The Big Yum at Big Daddy's" and Date night on the Green Line: Caffe Biaggio, the Gremlin, and Ngon Vietnamese Bistro.
Jim Mork calls his blog "Cooper-Lake Diary", but you never know where his gastronomic peregrinations will take him, from Tasty pork at Cap's Grille to Quantity and quality: India House on Grand Avenue in St. Paul.
Looking for dog-friendly dining in Northeast Minneapolis? Meredith Barzen of Sidewalk Dog has you covered. Need to know The dos and dont's of asking your server out on a date? Nicki Stein-Grohs wrote about it back in January. And leave it to Robin Doroshow, a writer for American Jewish World to discover the Jewish roots of a local Indian restaurant in From India to Minnetonka: Bukhara Indian Bistro.
And TCFoodies publishes some great writing. Ann Bauer's A Night At Mancini's will bring tears to your eyes. Ann, author of the critically acclaimed novel The Forever Marriage, and a blog of the same name, writes for publications like Elle, The Washington Post and The New York Times.
Or check out almost anything we've published by Lu Lippold in her Bite It! column (on hiatus, but I am hoping to lure her back), Usually, I love her for her snarky wit, but one of my favorite pieces from last year, One more thing about the Marilyn Hagerty/Olive Garden fuss, then we're done, really is the last word on the subject:
The point is, no one likes to be mocked. "Sophisticated" people like to mock "unsophisticated" people. The atmosphere fills with hatred. And for what? We’ve all got to eat. Marilyn Hagerty trumped the elitists by acknowledging their mockery but never pretending to share their condescending attitudes.
Carla Waldemar ranks as the dean - or doyenne - of Twin Cities food writers. I started writing about local restaurants in 1976, and unless I am mistaken, she started even earlier than I did. So when she turns in a story like Eight Best Eateries of 2012 I know I'm hearing from a palate I trust.
Amy Rea, who writes the Flyover Land blog, enjoyed A plate-lickin' good meal at Sanctuary, and found Grand Szechuan in Bloomington: more interesting than your usual suburban Chinese fare, and was lucky enough to enjoy a Clandesdine dinner before the Minneapolis Health Department cracked down on unlicensed restaurants in private homes — "Clandesdine worth every penny."
The title of Sylvia Burgos' blog, From the Bronx to the Barn tells her life story in six words. Dive in, and you'll find compelling first-person stories about this former television reporter's adventures in farming, such as Have you seen the cows lately, hon?, but also serious coverage of issues of food farming and sustainability, such as How to attract birds n bees to your garden/farm and keep those feathery visitors coming back.
Gardening was a big topic for many of our contributors, including Cynthia Frost — Community gardens, Minneapolis to St. Paul — kids, vegetables, and opera, and Grace Grinager — MN VOICES | From Victory Gardens to urban farming in St. Paul, Diane Dodge grows food and relationships.
There's a strong Scandinavian flavor to Patrice Johnson's blog Cultural Construct, in articles such as Another year, another lefse-making party, and You say lutefisk, I say lutfisk, but Patrice also explores the local food scene, in stories like Late to the party, but glad to finally check out Hmong Village in St. Paul, and I loved her account of entering the Minnesota State Fair baking competition, in Minnesota State Fair: Bronze versus Silver?
"You know how the media reports that winning the bronze medal in the Olympics is better than winning the silver? Something about how if you win the silver you always wonder what it would have taken to win gold, but if you win the bronze you are all, "Hell, yes! Party time!" Today I experienced the magnificent honor of winning a bronze! And I am all, "Hell, yes!! Party time!" My Ethnic Bread entry, Semlor, took its place as a Third Place Ribbon winner at the Minnesota State Fair. And I couldn't be happier!"
As for myself, I had some great meals in 2012, and wrote about them in pieces like The Bachelor Farmer — Minnesota nice, and great food, too, and Shhh. Don't tell anybody about Mona, the new restaurant in the Accenture Tower in downtown Minneapolis and The 1029 Bar in Northeast Minneapolis: Smack Shack's home away from the truck and Chimborazo: Ecuadorian dining in Northeast Minneapolis, and Think locally, eat globally: World Street Kitchen arrives in Lyn-Lake and The Butcher and the Boar: More than just meat — with terrific photos by Ryan Cutler.
With so many great TCFoodies stories to choose from, I'm sure I've forgotten a few that deserve mention, and if your article was one of them, please accept my apologies.