You gotta eat, and everybody needs a little entertainment. Mash up the two and life gets a lot better. Here's a bunch of ways to do it, this week and beyond:
How much sausage can you eat? If this is a question you don't have the answer to, here's a method for making the calculation: Sunday, May 15, Sociable Cider Werks will host Best of the Wurst, a sausage fest. For $35, you'll sample sausage from 25 different vendors. The list is made up of all the biggest names in local meat, including Clancey's Meat & Fish, Prairie Dogs, Red Table Meat Co., and many others. The ticket price also includes your first beverage. Or, go the VIP route, where $75 gets you access to chef demos and all the cider you care to drink. The Belfast Cowboys will provide ear candy.
Sunday, May 15, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Sociable Cider Werks
1500 Fillmore St. NE, Minneapolis
You know and love Grand Old Day, that Sunday in June when St. Paul's beloved Grand Avenue becomes a pedestrian haven for music, food, and beer. This year they're adding a second day to the festivities, making it Grand Old Days, June 4-5. Here's another new twist: A bunch of food vendors will compete for your attention in the Grand Grub Competition, judged by local food media. Go to the festival, find out who wins, and eat the best of Grand Avenue.
Grand Old Days
June 4 and 5
8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Along Grand Avenue in St. Paul, from Prior to Dale St.
In its short tenure on Payne Avenue, Cook St. Paul has become famous for mashing up a couple of unlikely bedfellows: traditional diner fare and Korean food. Proprietor Eddie Wu has just returned from an epic three-week journey to Seoul, Korea, and his brain is teeming with inspiration. So he's adding a standing Sunday Korean Night at the (usually daytime only) restaurant.
The format will be "small plate drinking style," known as "anju" in Korean, with plates going for $3 to $12. Wu says this is a perfect time for everyone to enjoy the Korean menu, because the standing night means there won't be such a crush of bodies or long lines as there have been during some of their wildly popular pop-up events.
"No one has to shy away because they are worried about too rowdy or loud of a crowd," he assures us. The first menu includes "bindaettaeok," a mung bean pancake with pork and Korean chili oil; butter fried kimchee with bacon and seared tofu; bi bim bop bites, and more. Beer and wine will be available for purchase, as well as Wu's version of SoMaek, a Korean portmanteau of beer and soju (or sake).
Sundays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Cook will halt regular Sunday service at 3 p.m.)
Cook St. Paul
One of our favorite farmers markets is the Linden Hills Market, for its compact size, its emphasis on creative vendors, its food trucks, and Red Wagon Pizza, among many other reasons.
The opening day of the market is Sunday, May 22, and they're advertising dozens of vendors, half of them new, bringing their vendor list up to over 40. (Subscribe to their newsletter for a preview of the full roster of vendors).
Other highlights include free kids’ crafting, loads of farmers selling seasonal organic goods, a brand new BBQ trailer, and a slew of new food trucks. The market opening also falls on the same day as Linden Hills Fest, which includes a kids' decorated bike parade, a silent auction, fish taco tortas from Tilia, live music, and more.
Linden Hills Farmers Market
2813 W. 43rd St., Minneapolis
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
There is a festival for everything, and "Spargelfest" proves even asparagus is reason enough to celebrate. But Meritage has something extra special to ring in the season this year: AAA white asparagus from Europe. The white asparagus can grow to be huge, weighing between a quarter to a half pound per spear, and AAA is the thickest size.You'll encounter these spears in Bavarian markets this time of year, and now you can find them at Meritage.
Through May 15, the restaurant will be incorporating them in a variety of ways: with scrambled eggs and caviar; with poached chicken breast and morels with asparagus and sauce supreme; and pureed into white asparagus cream soup.
Spargelfest, through May 15
410 Saint Peter St., St. Paul
Did you know there are rotating art exhibits at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport? Well, there are. And the current exhibit is The Art of Food: A History of Minnesota Food Production. The exhibit explores how Minnesota has impacted global food production (think: cereal, SPAM, beer, and lots more).
Check out the exhibit now through November 15.
Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport
Thomson Reuters Concourse C Art Gallery, Near Gate C12
4300 Glumack Drive
Speaking of SPAM, did you know that there is a BRAND NEW SPAM museum in Austin, Minnesota? Yup, no more old SPAM. This baby is 14,000 square feet of pure porky goodness. Tour interactive games and galleries exploring the history of SPAM; plus check out local restaurants like the aptly named Piggy Blue’s Bar-B-Que, which have taken to featuring the product on their menus.
A bit of trivia: There are 15 varieties of SPAM available in the U.S., including Portuguese sausage, teriyaki, and tocino.
The new SPAM museum
101 3rd Ave. NE, Austin