Open-source seeds challenge Monsanto, support International Day of Farmers' Struggles

[Today], Thursday, April 17, the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI) will release over 29 seed varieties into the global commons and humanity's “moral economy.” This new initiative hopes to provide a counterweight to private patenting of seeds, which has undermined farmers’ rights around the world.

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The stress cycle and restaurant noise

I’ve been writing about my experiences when I go somewhere for a meal. More and more, noise has become an important ambience issue. It led a local writer to lash out at places that make one raise one’s voice to be heard. It became part of an ongoing news story:

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Breaking the rules: Pizza Nicoise

There are, in some regions, rules about what belongs on a pizza. Italian purists refuse to stray from thin tomato sauce and a scant dusting of cheese. Neapolitan pizza bakers must follow strict regulations about everything from the dough ingredients to the way the crust is formed, from the toppings to the baking temperature and the kind of wood burned in the stone oven.

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The Rookery — Travail's micro-plate sister in Robbinsdale

We finally made it over last week to the Rookery, Travail's new a-la-carte sister restaurant in Robbinsdale. The two restaurants share one big open space in a new building, so it's a little hard to tell where one restaurant starts and the other ends. As we entered, at around 8:30 on a Thursday night, there was a long line of customers waiting for tables. When I asked, I was told that there would be a one-hour wait for a table at Travail - which offers only a prix-fixe tasting menu for two - but that we could be seated in the Rookery immediately. (Travail's standard fixed-price menu is $110 for ten courses for two people, but it does offer an early-bird special of $85 for diners who are seated before 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and a $90 date night special all night on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.)

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Andrew Zimmern on Rye Deli's closing: Assimilation, lack of commitment to blame

On Monday, March 31, Rye Deli in Minneapolis closed its doors, proving to be just another one of the many recent delicatessen failures in the Twin Cities. Minnesota chef, restaurateur, and TV personality Andrew Zimmern has never been shy about his passion for seeing a successful Jewish deli in the Twin Cities. He also now seems prophetic in claiming that Rye would not be the one—initially giving the deli an F grade, then upgrading it to the still lackluster C+ a year later. Immediately upon the news of Rye’s closing he took to Twitterwith his thoughts.

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A light in Swede Hollow: New owners continue delicious work

Swede Hollow Café owner Ruth Campbell, left, is pictured with house managers Helen Lindberg and Shirley Yang.

The Swede Hollow Café, located at 725 7th Street East in St. Paul, was established in July of 1997 in the historic Stutzman Block Building, which was built in two stages from 1885 to 1889. The building was a dynamic part of the Dayton’s Bluff community until it fell into disarray in the early 1990s. In 1994, the building was purchased and restored by the Upper Swede Hollow Neighborhood Association (USHNA).

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Hotdish pizza: A Midwestern idea, minus the canned soup

My mom's menu rotated according to days of the week and we knew which day of the week it was by the smells coming from the kitchen. Weekends were my favorite when tacos, burgers, and pizza took turns at our table. Sundays were Mom's night off and we kids served ourselves peanut butter toast and canned fruit cocktail before settling down with the Wonderful World of Disney.

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Farmers markets, chili cook-offs will have specific food safety regulations

State food inspection law has been changed to specifically regulate farmers markets.

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Activism, innovation and pragmatism: Andrew Johnson's first 100 (and a bit) days

Andrew Johnson is the youngest member of the Minneapolis City Council at only 29 years of age. (“Also the only single one,” he reminds me to mention.) One of seven (of 13) CMs newly elected in November 2013, he is also one of the ones most likely to succeed Gary Schiff in being the leftward pull of DFL progressivism on the Council. Johnson says it has always been his dream to be an actual politician, but not one he expected to attain, nor did he have a master plan to get there. He says circumstances just “opened a path” and he took it. Before that he had made his living as an IT systems engineer, while working tirelessly in his spare time as a neighborhood and environmental activist. His style is robust activism, with an emphasis on innovation, yet tempered with a keen pragmatism beyond what is expected with his youth and inexperience.

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Passover-friendly restaurants around the Twin Cities

Passover starts tonight, beginning a week of wondering if you’ll be able to find anything on any menu in town that’s kosher for the holiday. Well we’ve got you covered! Here are the places that will make it easy as we remember how we were slaves in Egypt, now we’re free, and next year in Jerusalem! Because it’s really all about the food for us, right?

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