April 14, 2022

Star Tribune writers, Sharyn Jackson and Joy Summers pick 10 iconic products made by Makers of Minnesota (Season 4 Episode 14)

📸 @KevinCannon


What exactly are the iconic dishes on the Twin Cities food scene?

They are the culinary game-changers and true originals that have made the Twin Cities — and Minnesota — a food destination. They are the must-haves of food writers Joy Summers and Sharyn Jackson of the Star Tribune.,

They selected 10 iconic Minnesota Makers that you can get in local markets to stock your pantry, fridge, or freezer, whenever you’re hungry for a taste of home.

Here are a few Iconic Eats of my own that I thought of after the segment

Iconic Eats Podcast Transcript

Stephanie Hansen 0:01
We have been having such a blast with the makers of Minnesota dinners that we’ve been having at the Lexington we’ve decided to change up the format a bit and have a spring cocktail party. That way more people will be able to experience all of the great makers that we get to talk to we’re going to be having prize brewing V gray distilling, wild state cider, dash fire, cricket, water, spirits, bread, blacks, whiskey, love Joy’s Bloody Mary mix, Dennard, craft spirits Edina roastery, J. Carver distilling, sweet Haven tonic Tattersall, share of shrubs, muddle and mint, and popcorn, salad girl Patty, spice nuts, the salsa collaborative and tea arena spices all there at the Lexington during this cocktail party, so that you can taste all of the unique Minnesota made products that we have to offer. We’ll be doing sample sizes of cocktails and sample sizes of canned cocktails. And we’ve got some great bites for you there. We’re going to be at the Lexington you can get tickets there $40 A person and it’s at the lex mn.com to order and we will have all of the makers with us that night, all of the floors of the Lexington will be open. So you’ll be having a multi dimensional experience at each of the different floors. And be moving through the space trying lots of new makers, products and old makers products that you know and love. It’s the makers of Minnesota cocktail party, hurry and get your tickets because when they’re gone, they’re gone. But we anticipate that this is going to be a sellout we are really looking forward to hosting you. The cocktail party is going to be April 26. That’s a Tuesday night and we will have doors open at six o’clock and we will host you until nine. It’s the makers of Minnesota spring cocktail party. I’ll be there. All of the makers that I’ve mentioned, they’ll be there and we can’t wait to meet you.

Hello, everybody, and welcome to the makers of Minnesota podcast where we talk to cool people doing cool things. And today we are going to diverge from our usual talking to people about their products and how they make them. Because there was a really interesting article that came out in the Star Tribune we’ll call it a feature because I think that’s what the journalists call it. And it was iconic dishes that were featured in the Star Tribune taste section last Thursday. And they had it divided into iconic dishes. And then they had icons to go, which featured a lot of Minnesota makers and products that I thought would be interesting to talk about, because there’s so many, I don’t even know how I could have narrowed it down to 10 if my life depended on it. So I’ve got Joyce summers with me and Sharon Jackson. Hello, ladies. Hello. Welcome to the makers of Minnesota podcast. It is the first time I think either of you have been on this podcast. So it’s long overdue.

Sharyn Jackson 3:04
Thanks for having us.

Stephanie Hansen 3:06
You bet. So do you. I’ll kind of address you by name. Since we have it’s hard to see because we’re assuming So Sharon, I’m going to ask you to explain to me the iconic dishes. aspect and why the Star Tribune decided to take this on?

Sharyn Jackson 3:24
Yeah, well, this idea came to me when I was traveling with my family and I, we were in Phoenix and I was doing heavy googling to figure out what we needed to eat. While we were there. I didn’t want to go to Phoenix and leave without getting some kind of quintessential tastes of the city. And so in that research, I thought to myself, this would be nice to offer to people who are coming to the Twin Cities and doing the same thing and want to know what they have to have here. And so I thought about what are the places that I take friends who are visiting from out of town or when my family comes to visit? Where do we go and not just where but what dish? Do they have to have? Like, what is that one iconic dish from from certain places that you’re getting a really true experience of what it’s like to live here and eat here. It’s not just general dishes like okay, in Minnesota people eat hot dish, right? It’s not, it’s not that this is these are restaurants and producers who are making kind of the apex of their thing. And it’s the thing everyone kind of goes to and knows about and talks about. Some of these are less expected than others, but but I think a lot of people who have had them, even the newer ones will agree that they’re kind of reaching icon status, they’re just doing the best that they can in that in that one dish.

Stephanie Hansen 4:49
So joy, how does this work? You’re the newest staffer. So do you guys all get together and you’re like, these are my 10 These are my 20 and then you whittle down the list.

Joy Summers 4:59
It was A me weeks of constant debate, we went back and forth so much right down to the wire, like, really trying to make sure that we were honing in on places that had stories that were really vital part of the fabric of the local dining scene, making sure that we were being inclusive and fair. But also, it just really yummy. Like, we just wanted to make sure that everything’s really really yummy. So both of us were we were going out to eat separately together, coming back reporting. It was I’ve never worked this hard to compile a list before of so

Stephanie Hansen 5:42
funny because you’ve compiled list joy. Oh my gosh,

Joy Summers 5:45
I have Yeah. In my previous employment, it was a list every day. And this just had more heft and weight and importance to it. We really did everything we could to make sure that we are narrowing in on a collection of eats that really told the story of where we are who we are. And what you you got to tell us like I kept saying this is got it. This is worth driving across town in a snowstorm for Yeah, I think that’s our Minnesota bar.

Stephanie Hansen 6:19
I liked the way that you did that. And you know, it the crispy rabbit dumpling? That’s long Bistro. Yes, like such an amazing taste and something that’s kind of unique to this place. And yet you also had like the basil wings from lap 14, you had of course the sedge one, dry rub wings from Monte Carlo. So it was those things amongst the chicken potpie from the Lexington and the toasted sausage bread from Hell’s Kitchen. And then the unexpected, like shrimp toast from my high which, if you really think about that, that’s an amazing dish that you can’t if you go to high high like you have to order that because it’s exactly with that jam.

Joy Summers 7:09
Yeah, I want to order the whole menu every time I met Hi. Hi. I love that restaurants so much. But somehow that shrimp toast that went from being something that was an occasional special to I think people just kept demanding that it had to stay on the menu. It couldn’t be something that went away and when it did work go away. myself plenty of other people freaked out. Yeah. And, and she brought it back. Like it’s just such a yummy, yummy little taste of food. And such a great little entry into the amazing Southeast Asian cuisine that Christina is doing,

Stephanie Hansen 7:45
I think to share and when we talk about soft eggs and lobster bruschetta from brasa or an excuse me for not from brasa helped me when I look rasa blank. Thank you. It is it is again like something that sort of understated, because it doesn’t sound fancy. And actually, when you get it, it’s not like really fancy but it’s the textures and the culmination of the whole thing that are so good. What was one that you were like, throw down or I’m leaving this room if it doesn’t make the list?

Sharyn Jackson 8:23
Well, I’ll just say on that on the that lobster and eggs bruschetta. Like, I love everything on the menu at Barla grassa. But whatever time I’m there, like you just see them flying out of the kitchen, like one after the other and they have that big open kitchen. And, and you’re just sitting there, I’m having my little pasta or whatever, but like everyone around me has that. And that to me is iconic right there. It’s like the thing that everyone in this huge restaurant knows that they need to get. Yep. And and it’s also really good. But I guess the one that joy and I maybe didn’t totally agree on was the pancakes from Al’s breakfast, I was a big part of that. And, and part of the charm at Al’s is just the experience of being in this miniscule diner that you have to kind of like squeeze past people they even get a seat if you’re lucky enough to get one and and all of that combined. It’s I mean, the place is really more iconic than anything but to me like those blueberry pancakes are the perfect breakfast and I’ve wanted to see that on that list.

Stephanie Hansen 9:27
Yeah, and something about leaving that place with the smell of fryer litre grease in your clothes. Like you really feel like you were there. Like I love that place because of it and you got to kind of prepare mentally for what it is because you’re in the middle of a bite and someone’s like moved down to the lab. Right. But all right, so in terms of the icons to go, why did you include this section? I thought it was unique.

Sharyn Jackson 9:57
Well, I think that I mean And part of it is obvious these are just amazing products that we love and that a lot of people love and, and it’s cool that you can take them home, load up your suitcase with hot sauce, you know if you’re leaving, but I guess the the idea started with our editor Nicole Bidston. Because as we were building this list, she said something brilliant, which was top, the tater needs to be on this icon list. He’s a big fan of top the data and that kind of unraveled itself into Okay, these are more than just Restaurant Dishes that that people need to know about. This is also things you can get at the grocery store.

Stephanie Hansen 10:39
Well and atop the Tater. I think Nicole and I have had a long dissertation on top the tater, because what you don’t realize is if it sits out, I wouldn’t recommend this. But it’s still like the next day is pretty decent. was like wait, this isn’t dairy if it’s like still this good the next day? I don’t know. But that’s a conversation for another day. So there were 10 dishes, sweet science, dark chocolate sorbet, Which one have you picked? That

Joy Summers 11:10
was me, that’s one of my dishes that I like I it’s always got to be in my freezer. It’s something that I will miss if I haven’t had it for so long. And it’s something that’s really easy to share with anybody like if there’s somebody who had can’t have lactose or can’t do dairy or is vegan or something like well, I don’t know if it’s vegan, but it’s definitely got no milk in it. So it’s, it’s an all inclusive flavor of hers. And it is so full of the depth and creaminess for not having dairy in it. That it’s just kind of an astounding bite. And like the rustic a bittersweet dark chocolate cookie. If you are a chocolate fan. This is like the summit of flavor mountain. It’s so good. And it’s Yeah, so that was one that I follow that did or that scoop, I should say from her early days of just doing free samples all the way up to now I can buy it at my grocery store. And I do.

Stephanie Hansen 12:15
She’s a really wonderful person. And I’ve interviewed her before. And I just feel like she’s kind of so she’s so humble that I think sometimes forget what she’s doing over there with just really beautifully executed ice cream is fantastic. Like she’s not going all crazy flavor is she’s got some good flavors that she gets a little crazy on but she really is just honed in on the profile of what that mouthfeel and the ice cream should tastes like which I really appreciate about her. Sweet Martha’s cookie dough, which you can obviously get in the grocery section at the State Fair. This salt did not ruin the nut goodie made the list. Now, I knew the salt did not roll would probably make the list but that you added them not good. He kind of warmed my heart because that little maple balm is not for everyone, but it’s delicious.

Joy Summers 13:04
And they’re just icons like I mean, when you’re talking about the taste of our area like that. That’s the candy, right?

Stephanie Hansen 13:13
Yep. One of the items that surprised me not because I don’t think it’s excellent because I do. But it’s a fairly new entry into the Twin Cities food scene is the next tortilla.

Sharyn Jackson 13:26
Yeah, they are newer. And we do have a lot of great tortillas being made here. But these kind of changed the game. You know, Gustavo really brought an externalization into the lexicon here. And you’re seeing it in more places, not only from other makers, but you’re seeing next to tortillas in grocery stores. You’re seeing it being used on restaurant menus now. And I even had a beer that was made with with those tortillas like steeped in in the myths. So I think that they’re even though they’re fairly newer to the scene, there’s there’s almost a new equity coming from from these nixtamal eyes, these like super corn forward stone or you know, ground. They’re just different. They’re earthier and chewier than other tortillas out there. And I think people are really appreciating them. I think

Joy Summers 14:20
he’s got that heirloom corn, I just have to say, when I open up that bag and smell it, it smells like Mexico City. To me, it smells like walking through the stalls in picking out your fresh produce and everything. It is in emotional connection that I have immediately to the way those tortillas smell and that I can have that in my home. It’s coming out of this little storefront in Northeast Minneapolis. It’s just one of my favorite places that opened during the pandemic like I’m so glad that they’re here and they’re making the Twin Cities a tastier place.

Stephanie Hansen 14:58
I will say when I see They’re using their tortillas on a menu item somewhere. It piques my interest because I know like wow because they’re so good and they’re also freeze really beautifully. I take them and I put them in between sheets of parchment paper and then wrap them up in a plastic and then wrap them up in tin foil so I really get them but they last forever and I just pop five of them out when I’m making a meal or they’re delicious. London Byerly as well. Brace Sue probably doesn’t need a whole diatribe on this show simply because we’ve all had it we all love it. What’s not to love. It’s just comfort food in a in a bowl. And I believe though that there’s

Sharyn Jackson 15:39
one version is called chicken wild rice. And then another version they make is called Wild rice with chicken like and that people know the difference. I just think Minnesotans are amazing,

Stephanie Hansen 15:53
isn’t it because one has the ham?

Sharyn Jackson 15:57
No, it’s there’s a third one with ham but there’s the two different chicken ones one is like, creamy, has heavy cream in it. I guess it’s more creamy than the other or vegetable

Stephanie Hansen 16:09
based. Hmm. I don’t think I knew that you guys.

Joy Summers 16:13
Well, there you go. See and you weren’t gonna skip it.

Stephanie Hansen 16:16
I was because I was just gonna be like, Oh, we all love the wild rice soup. I didn’t know there was a variation that some have ham and some don’t. But so that’s interesting. Okay,

Joy Summers 16:25
I guess pizza. Yeah,

Sharyn Jackson 16:27
he’s pizza. What I lobbied for this hard and it almost didn’t make it but I was like this really has to be in there. I can’t think of one pizza that everyone in the state can agree on besides this. And we a few years ago we did a frozen pizza bracket during like March Madness and Huggies one by a mile. I mean, it was like a huge a huge turnout of votes for Aggie so to me, this can’t not be on the list.

Stephanie Hansen 16:54
Yeah, I’m a big fan. Like give me a thick robe of cheese. That little Zippy sauce and the cracker Karastan I’m there 24/7 I could eat like a whole hog us pizza and often do alone. And other than that you feel sick because you just ate like a half a pound of cheese. It’s my favorite thing to do.

Sharyn Jackson 17:13
And it was like those really like crusty burnt edges like when especially when you get them at a dive bar especially like I don’t know they have that little baggies of cheese that whatever that Yep. They get like, so burnt on the edges, but it’s like so good. That burnt cheese. It’s kind of my favorite.

Stephanie Hansen 17:30
And I don’t know who picked I think maybe joy might have picked the golden fig lavender lemonade.

Joy Summers 17:35
That’s my that’s my taste of summertime. That’s my Mother’s Day. quencher I love her whole line of colors that she has. She does all these great, like, fruity, very seasonal drinks in the cooler section there but that that’s the one that I just want to sit in the backyard. Maybe put some vodka in there maybe.

Stephanie Hansen 18:00
Yeah, for basil lemonade, I think is pretty great to cry baby Craig’s hot sauce I thought was a great introduction. It was like one of the first fermented sauces that I can recall.

Joy Summers 18:14
And it’s just such a unique flavor. Like it’s just like nothing else but it also hits other things you want to hothouse to do a lot of work on the food you want to take heat it up, but you also want to add like a nice acidic flavor. Like to me really great hot sauce livens up cold frozen pizza, like you put some hot sauce on it and all of a sudden it’s a whole new dish. It’s a whole new day, the hangover can hurt you anymore. This is the one I want it on eggs. I want an on pizza. It’s good for cooking with I have the gallon size in my refrigerator. Like I use cry baby cries every single day. It’s really good.

Stephanie Hansen 18:55
It is really good. Now here I’m going to take issue with this last selection. And I want to be clear that it’s not because I don’t think it’s great. I do think it’s great. I think it’s an amazing product. And I think their story is just being written but it feels so knew to be an icon and That’s badass hummus. Now again, I love this product. But I’m wondering what got left on the cutting room floor that like this pretty new comer into the scene got icon status

Sharyn Jackson 19:29
you know, it’s it’s a newcomer in the form of being in a like a plastic container on supermarket shelves with hummus, like the recipe for that has been around since 1979 Mediterranean cruise cafe and Burnsville is one of the oldest Middle Eastern restaurants in the state. And anyone who’s been down there has probably had an amazing time like sitting under that chandelier like watching a belly dancer eating like they have. Yeah, and you know, I think in that way That alone makes it sort of reach icon status for me. And now the fact that it’s everywhere and you can get it in grocery stores, and there’s all these new flavors. And they’re there. They were at the State Fair this year and an adorable Airstream trailer. And they were one of the best new State Fair foods from last year, at least for us. They were like top of the list. So I think you know that history is part of why they got chosen as well, even though I’ve stayed. It’s my favorite hummus.

Stephanie Hansen 20:28
I like the story too, in that it feels very next generation, like the kids are taking what their family has done and giving it a twist and modernizing it. But yet, it’s still that same flavor. So again, like I said, I love it. I was just surprised to see it on the list was there and you probably I don’t know. Can you say like anyone that didn’t make it that you were like so sad that they didn’t because then they’ll hear this and they’ll be sad.

Joy Summers 20:58
Yeah, I don’t think I want to call through the all the places but we can say there were a lot of places that we really struggled with a lot of bytes that we really struggled with. This was another thing where we went really back and forth on it. And can we have a Minnesota icon list? It doesn’t have left? What about Yeah, luda fest? No, no putting loon

Stephanie Hansen 21:19
fest? Oh, how about the 90 year old lutefisk if they just uncovered at the Swedish Institute? Have you guys heard about this?

Joy Summers 21:27
April Fool’s April Fool’s thing.

Stephanie Hansen 21:30
Was it really?

This is hilarious because I always get got on these. I don’t have like, I’m not funny like that. Like, I don’t have a sense of humor. I’m gullible, I believe every

Sharyn Jackson 21:49
day. Did you also believe that piece coffee toothpaste.

Stephanie Hansen 21:53
You know, it’s funny you bring that up because they saw that and thought it was dumb. But I was like, well, there’s caffeine and everything nowadays, so who knows? Okay, that’s really funny. All right. Well, these are things to talk about on the weekly dish tomorrow. I’m sure you guys it’s been great to talk to you. Thank you for your work at the Star Tribune. My tastes section is the highlight of my week. I’m still lobbying it for have it have its own section again, when maybe things pick up because lord knows there’s a lot of food to write about in this town. Thank you so much, Sharon. Thank you joy for being my guest on the show. Thank you. Bye girls. Bye

Transcribed by https://otter.ai