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ICYMI: Sean Sherman Named in Time 100 Most Influential People of 2023

ICYMI: Sean Sherman Named in Time 100 Most Influential People of 2023

Image: Nancy Bundt

The Minneapolis chef behind Owamni is in the mix with the likes of Joe Biden and Lil Nas X.

A Guide to Backyard Camping & BBQ Tips n’ Tricks – Minnesota

A Guide to Backyard Camping & BBQ Tips n’ Tricks – Minnesota

                                  Photo by Pricilla Du Preez On Unsplash

S’mores Hacks and Campfire Stories Included….a night under the stars at home is easy with these backyard camping tips!



Start by Taking a Hike

Immersing yourself in nature and breathing some fresh air will help inspire the camping mood. All state parks and nature centers are still open for use of hiking trails, although most park buildings are closed until further notice.

Top picks include the 18 miles of trails along the Minnesota River at Fort Snelling State Park and the multi-terrain loops through prairies and woodlands at Lake Elmo Park Reserve. (More beautiful hiking spots can be found here.) Plus, all state parks, along with other outdoor recreation areas, have waived their entrance fees during this time. Just be sure to practice social distancing while on the trails and call in beforehand to make sure that the park has not already reached capacity. Peak hours right now are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. For the most up-to-date information, visit dnr.state.mn.us/covid-19.html

Set Up Camp at Home

  • Shelter: Head outside and search for a flat surface to unpack your tent. (With a little extra time to spare these days, now is the perfect time for everyone to learn exactly how to properly pitch a tent.) Make it comfortable with cushy sleeping bags, blankets, and pillows, and if you’re feeling more like glamping, add extra padding with air mattresses, yoga mats, or foam play mats. (Being only steps away from home means you don’t need to worry about how much you haul in.) If you don’t have a tent, opt for sleeping under the stars, in a hammock, or DIY a snug tipi sanctuary with blankets and sticks.
  • Ambience: String lights inside your tent, and if there are nearby trees, hang paper lanterns or twinkling lights.

Cook Outdoors (BBQ Tips n’ Tricks Below)

  • Dinner: Gather up some firewood and start a campfire. Roast hot dogs, bratwursts, burgers, or a slew of sizzling foil-packet dinners directly over the heat. Or, invest in a Dutch oven and cook delicious meals like chili, sloppy joes, or pizza.
  • Dessert: No camping trip is complete without roasting marshmallows over the campfire for s’mores. For a special twist, try a banana boat s’more. Simply slice open the peel on one side, remove some banana for room, add in your favorite s’mores toppings, then wrap it in foil and briefly heat over the fire. Another twist? Fill a waffle cone with mini marshmallows and pieces of chocolate, wrap in foil, heat, enjoy. (And be careful when handling the hot foil.)

Plan Activities

  • Campfire stories: Not all campfire stories need to center around frightening tales. After all, there’s nothing quite as relaxing as kicking back and conversing with loved ones over the warmth of a crackling campfire. Take turns exchanging favorite camping memories, or get the conversations started by playing games like Twenty Questions or Name That Tune. If the urge to spook arises, grab the flashlight and share scary classics such as “Bloody Mary,” or a more family-friendly legend, “A Grave Problem.” These campfire stories, plus many more, can be found here. (For a Minnesotan twist, local author Benjamin Percy recently released a book of spooky short stories, Suicide Woods.)
  • Stargazing: Take time to look up. If it’s a clear night, you can view constellations such as Ursa Major, which includes the famous Big Dipper. Look for the outline of a spoon or a cup with a long handle, and from there it becomes easier to see the image of the “great bear” it resembles. (The cup is the bear’s chest, and the long handle is part of the bear’s head.) Once you locate the Big Dipper, you’ll be amazed at how quickly the rest of the night sky comes alive. Use this guide to know what to look for.
  • Games: Board and card games are always fun, and now, only steps from home, it’s the perfect time to bust out the yard games. Bean bag toss, ladder golf, and Yardzee are favorites. For something a bit out of the ordinary, use yard paint to make your own outdoor Twister game. Or, take advantage of the night’s darkness and get clever with glow sticks, setting up glow-in-the-dark hopscotch or a game of ring toss.

Other Tips

Resist the temptation to go back inside. Pack everything you’re going to need, because to get the full camping experience, you’re going to want to stay outside and embrace nature. But if you need to make a snack run, we won’t judge.

Unable to camp in your backyard? Recreate nearly all these backyard camping tips right inside your living room or basement.

Have fun. Make the most of the inability to camp at a campground. Sure, it’s not exactly the same, but the uniqueness will create good memories during a difficult time.

BBQ Tips n’ Tricks

Fire up your grill, because our backyard bbq class with Stephanie March is in session! Learn how to elevate your ribs, which local sauces are cookout essentials, and the best classic salads from Minnesota delis to pick up for a side dish. Don’t forget to put a beer in your koozie as Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl crowns the king of summer beer styles, all in our August issue, on newsstands now! 


Lucy Francis Miniatures – Hastings, MN

Lucy Francis Miniatures – Hastings, MN

Photo by Caitlin Abrams
Lucy Francis has crafted canine miniatures (such as this pack) for the likes of Shirley MacLaine, Andrew W.K., and Martha Stewart.


James Beard Award 2020 Semifinalists

James Beard Award 2020 Semifinalists

SPAM Alert: Minneapolis, MN

SPAM Alert: Minneapolis, MN

Trendy chefs are celebrating SPAM coast-to-coast, and they’re leaving us in the dust.

Is there anything more Minnesotan than not appreciating how awesome we are? From F. Scott Fitzgerald to the Lakers to Lizzo, we have a weird habit around here of only recognizing how amazing our home-grown heroes are after the coasts bestow their seal of approval.

Well, something similar is afoot in the culinary world right now in regards to SPAM. Our local chefs need to get on it, so that all these coastal chefs aren’t bogarting all the SPAM future culinary relevance. My evidence:

Fancy Brooklyn Loves SPAM

Are you aware that the ultra-trendy Brooklyn, NYC restaurant Swell Dive has been making big news with their chicken-fried SPAM tacos? It’s true! Eater New York critic Ryan Sutton recently called them “fantastic”; “The fried shell packed a gentle crunch, while the industrial luncheon meat, cut as thickly as a Snickers Bar, exhibited the airy snap of an artisanal sausage. A shower of crispy onions imparted aroma and complexity.” That sounds like good SPAM that the Twin Cities would enjoy! But it’s not here.

Fancy Miami Loves SPAM

Meanwhile, Miami star chef Timon Balloo, of the wildly successful Sugarcane Raw Bar restaurants, is all about SPAM at his new restaurant Balloo. He’s even talking about making it himself from scratch. I mean, God bless him and all of his endeavors, but what are people in Miami doing making SPAM, when we make the actual hogs SPAM is made from? If anyone is making artisanal SPAM, I think it should be someone with a lot of Minnesota hogs at hand—you know who you are!

Fancy Los Angeles Loves Spam

Finally, have you asked yourself what fancy movie-star-wanna-be’s were doing all September? Eating SPAM of course, at the three-successive weekend SPAM pop-ups called MUSUBI MADNESS from the Hollywood tiki bar LONO. What was served at such a series of events? Via Delish (although they spelled it incorrectly as musabi throughout the entire piece, we corrected it for them): “A build-your-own musubi bar featuring global variations like Chili Verde Musubi, Filipino Lumpia Musubi, and American Burger Musubi, Korean Fried Rice Musubi, and Spring Roll Musubi” as well as, “a SPAM and shrimp corn dog served with banana ketchup; a SPAM-Infused Soft Serve Sundae that comes with topping options like furikake, teriyaki caramel, and vanilla-braised pineapples; SPAM-themed Tiki Cocktail made with rum, pineapple, Cara Cara oranges, and coconut creme and served over crushed ice.”

Yet, Fancy Minneapolis Loves Not

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