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Twin Cities named "underrated food city"

In a somewhat backhanded way, Thrillist recently listed the Twin Cities as one of seven most underrated food cities in the United States.

"What makes a great food city isn't necessarily Michelin stars or food trucks per capita," the article states. " While NYC, LA, and Chicago have always shined brightest, and upstarts like Austin and Portland might be the kings of meals on wheels, there are a ton of cities out there where tradition and innovation mix into unique melting pots... full of melting food."

Our own Dara Grumdal, food writer extraordinaire, enthusiastically fired back in the article that "Minneapolis is underrated because everywhere in the Midwest is underrated! Oklahoma City, Omaha, Madison... We're underrated because the coasts have all the people and all the media outlets, but we have all the farms. Duh."

She also went on to praise our bread, pork, dairy...and beer, of course. "We drink beer so good you would die, like America's only real farmhouse ale, Olvalde. What does farmhouse ale mean? It means we can grow and malt barley here, on black-dirt-rich land, just like Europeans did 200 yrs ago. Here's why Minneapolis and St. Paul are the most underrated American food cities: we have the good stuff, we enjoy and support it so much we don't let our artisans export it, so you don't even know about it... and we have the time to kick back and relish it."

Peavey Plaza preservation efforts awarded

The International Committee for the Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites, and Neighborhoods of the Modern Movement—better known as Docomomo—has initiated a new program, the Modernism in America Awards. Docomomo US is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to the modernist movement. The juried awards program honors individuals and organizations dedicated to preserving and/or renovating midcentury architecture and design.

Among the award’s inaugural recipients are the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, and the Minnesota Chapter of Docomomo US for the groups’ efforts to save Peavey Plaza in Minneapolis. The groups were given the Advocacy Award of Excellence.

Designed in 1975 by M. Paul Friedberg + Partners, the plaza is located adjacent to the newly renovated Orchestra Hall. The groups collaborated to “successfully communicate Peavey Plaza’s on-going importance and prevent its demolition,” states the Docomomo website. “The Board of Directors of Docomomo US is impressed by the well-coordinated collective nature of these efforts; their outreach to a wide audience including local constituents and national interests; and their use of a combination of advocacy tools including the solicitation of pro bono design concepts by the plaza’s original landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg.”

Keri Pickett receives kudos for ice-skating documentary

Keri Pickett, a Minneapolis photographer and author, has become a filmmaker as well. She created an ice-skating documentary titled The Fabulous Ice Age, which is now available on Netflix. The film was also featured on the front page of the arts section of The New York Times.

The film documents the history of touring ice shows, and includes interviews with former skater and producers. Pickett shot and edited the film with a four-member team for about $200,000, and worked with the Minneapolis-based post-production company Pixel Farm Digital.

Pat's Tap, Pig & Fiddle receive national fame

Included in Food & Wine's 2014 list of "Best Gastropubs in the U.S." are Pat's Tap and Pig & Fiddle. "Whether they take a heavy cue from British tradition or hew more to modern American style, these top-notch pubs all have two things in common: exceptional meals and beers to match," a description accompanying the slideshow states.

Source: Food & Wine

Time names Jucy Lucy one of nation's "most influential" burgers

Time magazine has named the Jucy Lucy, a mainstay of Matt's Bar, as one of "the most influential burgers of all time."

The burger was put on Matt's menu in 1954. "This twist on the cheeseburger—in which the cheese is melted inside the patty— ... gained national attention in 2008, thanks to a feud between two Minneapolis bars that both claim to have 'invented' it. Since then, there have been numerous imitators, proving that a little innovation and a dash of hype is all it takes to reinvigorate enthusiasm for a classic," the article states.

The Jucy Lucy is number 10 on the list.

Source: Time

HGA wins National Award for Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum

The Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum, designed by HGA Architects and Engineers, which offices in the North Loop neighborhood of downtown Minneapolis, has earned a National AIA Honor Award. Designed by Joan M. Soranno and John Cook of HGA, the 24,500-square-foot mausoleum is buried into a hillside at the historic Minneapolis cemetery, yet was designed to maximize daylight. Clad in rough-textured gray granite and white mosaic-marble, the modernist structure's materials palette continues throughout the interior.

The entrance to the two-level mausoleum opens into a foyer and reception center with white marble floor, folded mahogany walls, and large window walls and clerestory windows. The windows provide views to the oak trees and sky, nearby Lake Calhoun, and the cemetery’s iconic chapel and monuments. Daylight through the window openings also accentuates the curves and angles of the white, sculptural ceiling.

A wide stairway processes past the foyer’s large windows and limestone wall to the lower garden level. To the west, a curved Venetian-plaster wall guides mourners to the chapel where committal ceremonies are held. The chapel's nine, deeply angled vertical windows bring in daylight. Embedded in the angled juxtaposition of the chapel's curved ceiling and wall are light slots, from which soft light emanates.
Extending east from the stairway lobby is 180-foot-long corridor connecting alternating bays or pods of six columbaria rooms (for cremated remains) and six crypt rooms (for caskets), in addition to three family crypt rooms. LED light slots every 20 feet highlight the floating ceiling planes. To the north, the chambers are inserted into the hillside. Each has a round oculus or rectangular skylight positioned in the sculptural planes of the ceiling. To the south, the crypt rooms and columbaria project into the cemetery’s landscape. Window cutouts or glass doors bring daylight in, while providing views to the historic landscape.

The mausoleum is the second National AIA Honor Award earned by Soranno and Cook. It's the fifth National AIA Honor Award for HGA.

Source: HGA


Alec Soth posts a flurry of images on The New Yorker's Instagram

Photographer Alec Soth, who has a studio in the South St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul, uploaded a blizzard of images to The New Yorker's Instagram feed from New Year's Day through January 5. Uploading from @littlebrownmushroom, Soth submitted images of a poem he was typing by Wallace Stevens (titled "The Snow Man"), wintry scenes, spooky assemblages, snowmen, and houses in Frogtown.

In a December 18, 2013 blog post on The New Yorker's website, Soth and writer Brad Zeller--who run a website called The LBM Dispatch--were profiled. The writer called the duo's project of self-described "North American ramblings" a project that "recalls the documentary-style photography of days long gone."

Source: The New Yorker

Republic and Happy Gnome on list of 100 best beer bars

Draft Magazine recently published its annual list of  "America's 100 Best Beer Bars 2014." Republic, at 7 Corners on the West Bank in Minneapolis, and The Happy Gnome, on Selby in Saint Paul, made the list.

Draft divides its list into four sections by geography: West, Midwest, South, and Northeast. "After six years of making this annual list," the article states, "we had to rethink the definition of a top-notch beer bar. New ones are opening every second, and 'good beer bar' no longer equals a zillion taps; there’s just more to it now. We needed to walk out of these places saying, 'Now there’s a bar that really, really cares about your experience with beer.'"

Elsewhere on the Draft website, an article titled "Beertown, U.S.A.: Minneapolis/St. Paul" calls out a wide selection of micro-breweries,  bars and eateries worth visiting.

Source: Draft Magazine

Kate DiCamillo new Ambassador for Library of Congress

Minneapolis author Kate DiCamillo, who has won numerous awards for her books Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux, is the Library of Congress' new Ambassador of Young People's Literature. "The position," according to the LIbrary of Congress website, "was created to raise national awareness of the importance of young people's literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of the lives of young people."

The appointment is a two-year term. The selection criteria, in addition to authoring books, includes being "revered by children," a "dynamic and engaging personality," and having a "known ability to relate to children."

In a New York Times article, DiCamillo said she moved to Minneapolis on a whim and "It was the best thing I ever did." DiCamillo is the fourth author appointed to the position.

Sources: Library of Congress, New York Times

Saint Paul Hotel among the world's best says Travel+Leisure

Among Travel+Leisure's recent selection of top 500 hotels, only the Saint Paul Hotel make the cut in Minnesota. Writing about the hotel in its prestigious list, "The World's Best Hotels 2014," T+L said that "Despite the greeting by a doorman in a top hat, there's a delightful lack of pretense at this historic luxury hotel."

The article lauded the 1910 hotel's architecture by Reed and Stem (the same architects designed Grand Central Station in New York City), English garden, restaurants and bars, and views of downtown Saint Paul and the Missisippi River. And who knew? For guests of the hotel, an on-site seamstress is at-the-ready to fix a hem or sew a button.

Source: Travel+Leisure

Accenture study finds Minneapolis top city in arts funding

A survey conducted by Accenture, based on an online questionnaire for 500 consumers ages 18 and older in 13 U.S. cities with substantive arts communities, found Minneapolis had the largest number of donors.

"When asked what kind of financial support they make to the arts," an article on the report says, "65 percent of respondents don't make separate donations, aside from the cost of membership and attendance at events. Of that, respondents in Minneapolis (47 percent), New York (46 percent), Washington D.C. (43 percent) and Boston (43 percent) had the largest number of donors." 

The survey asked respondents to weigh in on their approaches to arts philanthropy and engagement with the arts, and was part of a study examining how digital technologies can increase arts support. In an Accenture article about the study's findings, David Wilson, managing director the corporation's state and local government practice, and a Guthrie Theater board member, said, "Similar to so many organizations and businesses today, the arts are looking for new ways to connect with the millennial generation. This survey suggests that embracing new technologies and communications tools is crucial for arts organizations to remain relevant to the next generation of supporters."

Source: Accenture

League of American Bicyclists analyzes trends

The League of American Bicyclists recently published an analysis of bicycling in U.S. cities for 2012.

The report, “Where We Ride,” examines “changing commuting patterns and transportation choices.”

Minneapolis is listed among cities with the most bicyclists on the street. 

When it comes to the number of bicycle commuters Minneapolis has, the city ranks second to Portland, the report shows.

The report also analyzes the impact of factors like population, bike/walk/transit-share programs, female bicyclists, age, college towns. and more. 

One finding is that “More and more Americans are realizing that bicycling is a practical, reliable, and economical means to get to and from work -- and it’s also healthy and fun,” the report states. 

Source: The League of American Bicyclists 

CKC Good Food recognized by Homegrown Heroes Awards

Nancy Close, the founder and CEO of CKC Good Food, a St. Paul-based school-meal catering company, recently was singled out for her efforts to bring healthy food to local schoolchildren. 

Close received an honorable mention at the Homegrown Heroes Awards from the Homegrown Minneapolis Food Council at a presentation at the Walker Art Center earlier this month. 
“Awards honor those who help expand the community’s ability to grow, process, distribute, eat and compost more healthy, sustainable, locally grown foods,” a prepared statement from the company reads.  
Sarah Reuben, a public health specialist with the Healthy Living Team in the City’s health department, nominated Close for the honor. Reuben had worked with the company to start salad bars at several Minneapolis charter schools. 
Source: CKC Good Food

3M and Target included in Fortune's Blue Ribbon list

Two local corporations, 3M and Target, were included in Fortune magazine’s list of Blue Ribbon Companies, which was released last week, Twin Cities Business reports. 

The Blue Ribbon list includes companies that have gotten high marks from Fortune on other lists the magazine has published throughout the year.   

3M has appeared on four of Fortune's lists, as has Target. Wells Fargo, a company with strong Minnesota ties, also appeared on four Fortune lists this year.  

Source: Twin Cities Business 

Louise Erdrich receives American Book Award

This year, Minneapolis author Louise Erdrich was recognized with an American Book Award for her 14th novel, The Round House.

Erdrich’s novel, set on an American Indian reservation, tells of a teenage boy’s struggle in the aftermath of an attack on his mother. 

The American Book Awards “celebrates the diversity of the country’s literature,” according to an article in the Star Tribune. The awards were established in 1980 by the Before Columbus Foundation, a nonprofit organization, founded by author-poet-playwright Ishmael Reed, that promotes multicultural literature.

A ceremony for the 34 authors who received awards took place at the Miami Book Fair International last month. Erdrich is also the owner of Birchbark Books, an independent bookstore in Minneapolis.

The awards don’t involve a cash award or individual competitive categories, the story adds. 

Source: Star Tribune 

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