Left at the Fork

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Category: Minnesota (page 1 of 2)

Betty’s Pies, Two Harbors MN


Betty Lessard was a North Shore legend. It was a legend built upon a pallet of flour and lard. Yes, her dexterity with the rolling pin knew no equal. It was in 1956 that Ms. Lessard took control of the family smoked fish shack, over time turning the small business into a cafe, and then a cafe whose raison d’être was pie. She’d bake up to a hundred pies each morning for her loyal customers. Continue reading

Grizzly’s, Duluth MN


Grizzly’s is a twelve-location Minnesota restaurant chain – a few of them can be found in the neighboring states of Wisconsin and North Dakota. Even with its small size, they have the soul of a national chain, which is to say no soul at all. This location in Duluth’s Canal Park would seem to be ideal for them – Canal Park is well-dotted with restaurant chains as well as hotels filled with travelers who love to eat and drink at them. The evening we were there, however, did not bode well for them. Having walked over from packed and bustling Canal Park Brewing, we found Grizzly’s to be subdued and mostly empty.  Continue reading

Checking in at: Canal Park Brewing Company, Duluth MN

Canal Park, the entertainment district of the city of Duluth, is a little peninsula that juts out into the bay, where old waterside warehouses have been converted to restaurants, brewpubs, bars, and hotels. Canal Park Brewing is one of the most popular spots in the area, especially with those staying at the nearby, walkable hotels. Continue reading

The Little Mermaid Cafe, Askov MN


The Pine County Historical Society is a local museum in the Danish-American town of Askov, MN. A small piece of that museum is devoted to The Little Mermaid Cafe, which serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week. We were lucky to be there during the Askov Rutabaga Festival, when they featured a special Danish Dinner from 11A until 2P. Continue reading

Askov Rutabaga Festival & Fair, Askov MN, August 25th through 27th 2017


What’s America’s least-favorite vegetable? It’s hard to pick just one but certainly in the running are turnips, okra, Brussels sprouts, and rutabaga. We’d have included beets on that list until the last few years, which have seen an explosion of interest in the vegetable – beet salads with chevre and walnuts are on every other upscale menu today. Continue reading

Pizza Biga, Minneapolis MN


You’d figure that a place that operates as a bakery by day and a pizzeria by night would probably feature pizza with a superior crust. And you’d be right. Turtle Bread Company has three locations in Minneapolis, where, as well as turning out rosemary olive levain and sticky buns, the bakery serves as a grocery, coffee house, and breakfast and lunch spot. The Chicago Avenue location becomes Pizza Biga in the evening, where rounds of handmade pizza dough are topped and quickly baked in a wood-fired oven. Continue reading

Checking in at: Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub, Minneapolis MN

Northbound Smokehouse is not a barbecue restaurant. The idea here is that almost everything on the menu includes some element that’s been smoked in-house. There’s a dip made with smoked artichokes, poutine built on smoked cheese curds, a salad that incorporates smoked beets… as well as more traditional items like smoked fish, beef, and even some pulled pork. Continue reading

Henderson Sauerkraut Days, Henderson MN, June 24th through 26th 2016

Fermented cabbage. Fragrant. Sour. Buckets and buckets of sauerkraut. All you want, all weekend, free. What more inducement do you need to visit the small town of Henderson, Minnesota during the weekend of June 24th through 26, when they hold their annual Henderson Sauerkraut Days? Be sure not to overdo it on the kraut if you’re planning on competing in the sauerkraut eating contest. You want plenty of appetite available for the competition. You’ll be consuming two pounds of the stuff as fast as possible. Winners typically complete the challenge in a matter of four minutes or less, often after squeezing as much brine as possible from the shredded cabbage (they’ll give you 30 seconds to “prepare” your two pounds of kraut). Continue reading

Shake Shack Arrives in Minnesota June 9th

As we alluded to in our post last week about their 2017 Detroit opening, Shake Shack will be making Minnesota the 15th state to host the burger and shake restaurant. That debut will take place next week, June 9th, in the Culinary on North expansion of the Mall of America in Bloomington. Beef will be supplied locally by the Revier Cattle Company of Olivia. They’ll be pouring local craft brews from Summit, Lift Bridge, Badger Hill, Grain Belt, and Brau Brothers. Continue reading

Shake Shack Makes Michigan Debut Next Year

16 — that’s how many states will host a Shake Shack when the burger joint opens in Detroit in 2017. No date has been set but the location has been selected: 660 Woodward Avenue in the First National Building, adjacent to Campus Martius Park. As with all Shake Shacks, this one will feature local craft beer as well as concrete flavors specially designed to incorporate local products. Shake Shack can currently be found in 14 states and the District of Columbia (and many other countries). Minnesota will be their 15th state this summer.

Northern Waters Smokehaus Spinning Off Restaurant in Duluth

Perhaps you’ve been fortunate enough to sample Eric Goerdt’s house-smoked salmon or whitefish, or some of his smoked ham and bison pastrami. Even if you’ve never been to Duluth, Minnesota, Northern Waters Smokehaus‘ reputation may have spurred you to place an order by mail. Or maybe you’ve paid a visit to his place in the DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace and enjoyed a Banh Faux Mi (smoked Berkshire ham, country pâté, quick pickles, Smokehaus kimchi, cilantro, hoisin, chili sauce, and butter on a hero roll) or The Big Dipper (smoke-roasted MN Berkshire porketta, provolone, peperoncini, green olives, and butter on stirato) – all meats made in house. You may have wondered, could it possibly get any better than this? Well, we’re all about to find out! Continue reading

Kolacky Days, Montgomery MN, July 24th through 26th 2015

From The Kolacky Capital of the World comes the 81st annual Kolacky Festival in Montgomery, Minnesota! First held in 1929 when … what’s that? What’s a kolacky? We quote the festival website: “A kolacky is a small dinner roll-like pastry which is folded, enclosing filling in the center. The most common fillings include prune, poppyseed, apricot, apple, blueberry and raspberry.” They come from the Czech Republic or, to be more accurate, Bohemia, which is what that region of Europe was called when Montgomery was settled by Czechs in the mid-1800s. It’s been over 150 years and they have not forgotten! Continue reading

Giordano’s Arrives in Minneapolis Later This Month

National expansion continues apace: Giordano’s brings its deep-dish Chicago pizza to Minneapolis on July 15th. The restaurant will be located at 2700 Hennepin Avenue South. Look for Giordano’s soon at a city near you!

Hopkins Raspberry Festival, Hopkins MN, July 11th through 19th 2015

What’s a raspberry festival without raspberries? Why, that would be the Hopkins Raspberry Festival in Minnesota! When the festival began, in 1934, the area was surrounded by raspberry farms. The farms are long gone and, while the festival continued to be held, the raspberries eventually disappeared from the raspberry festival as well. In 2009, for the 75th edition of the raspberry festival, they experimented with bringing the raspberries back – pints of berries were sold all over the festival, just like in the old days. But the gesture towards a new tradition didn’t take. Continue reading

Northern Waters Smokehaus Opening Sit-Down Location

At Northern Waters Smokehaus of Duluth, Minnesota, they handcraft smoked fish and meat and create artisan salumi. You can even get imaginative and beautifully constructed sandwiches built around their exquisite products. There’s just one problem. It’s all take-out only. That’s soon to change, as the owners are opening a second Duluth location, this one to have table service, in the Mount Royal Center. They are designing new dishes that incorporate their smoked fish and meats, all of which will be available at their planned September 1st opening.

Betty’s Strawberry Pie

We were saddened to hear the news earlier this week that Betty Lassard, founder of Betty’s Pies in Two Harbors, Minnesota, recently passed away. Why not remember Ms. Lassard by baking the first pie she ever baked? The Lake County News Chronicle has posted the recipe for that inaugural pie, a fresh strawberry number topped with whipped cream, and a pound of lard in the crust (lard produces the flakiest pie crusts)! The story is more than a recipe – read about Betty Lassard here.

Betty Lessard, Founder of Betty’s Pies of MN, Has Died

Betty Lassard agreed to run her family’s fish shack on Minnesota’s North Shore, but only for two weeks. It was 28 years before she left. Along the way, Betty began selling donuts, added a grill, and then, with a decision that would change her life, made and sold pies. By the time she sold the business in 1984 Betty’s Pies, of Two Harbors, MN, had become one of the region’s major destinations. Even after selling the business, Betty could often be found in the kitchen, giving the current owners pointers and recipes. Betty Lassard, whose license plate was once PIELADY, passed away Thursday night at the age of 90. We send our condolences to the family and friends of Ms. Lassard.

The Origins of Murray’s of Minneapolis

Food travelers know well the pleasures of dining on a Silver Butter Knife steak at the 69-year-old Murray’s of Minneapolis. But do you know how that Silver Butter Knife moniker originated? The Minneapolis Star Tribune raids its historical files on Murray’s, resulting in some fascinating reading about the original purchase of the building in 1946, the developing reputation of Murray’s, the use of 30 pounds of butter a day just for its famous garlic toast, and, yes, the man who went around the country awarding silver and gold butter knives to steak restaurants.

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Another Favorable Review of Deli Man

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LAF in the A.M. February 13th, 2015

A Morning Menu of LAF-Style Food News and Stories to Begin Your Day


What Makes Southern Food So Good?

Widman’s Named Best Candy in Minnesota

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Chick & Ruth’s of Annapolis Turns 50 This Year

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