The Twin Cities' Greatest Hits 2012
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Rapids Archery Club
Make like Jennifer Lawrence with archery lessons at this family-oriented range tucked in Bunker Hills Regional Park. • 1255 133rd Ave. NW, Andover, 763-862-8163, rapidsarchery.org
Recreational racers and pro athletes alike have discovered this boutique bicycle-training and sports-massage facility. • 3725 Minnehaha Ave., Mpls., 612-220-0215, thefixstudio.com
Read-Sweatt Family Tennis Center
If you can shell out $26 an hour to hit in the winter, this place is your best—and cheapest—option. • 4005 Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls., 612-825-6844, rsftctennis.com
Best Big Important Books
On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson (Crown, $30)
The Author: William Souder, lives in Grant
The Backstory: Souder’s Under a Wild Sky, a biography of John James Audubon, was a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist.
The Praise: Souder’s depiction of the embattled Silent Spring author was acclaimed by Publisher’s Weekly as “expansive” and “nuanced,” and his tracing of today’s political rift over the environment back to Carson’s book has sparked widespread discussion.
Before the Lights Go Out: Conquering the Energy Crisis Before it Conquers Us (Wiley, $28)
The Author: Maggie Koerth-Baker, lives in Minneapolis
The Backstory: Koerth-Baker is the science editor for BoingBoing.net, one of the country’s most-read blogs.
The Praise: Koerth-Baker’s clear-eyed demystification of our energy crisis—and the hard choices it presents—earned her a science column in the New York Times Magazine and speaking engagements from New York to Berkeley.
The Round House (Harper, $27)
The Author: Louise Erdrich, lives in Minneapolis
The Backstory: Erdrich’s A Plague of Doves was a 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist. Here, she returns to the same North Dakota Ojibwe community introduced in that book.
The Praise: Among the most accessible of Erdrich’s works, this story of murder and revenge gone tragically wrong was excerpted in the New Yorker and in Dave Eggers’s The Best American Non-
THE WINNER: On a Farther Shore. Souder’s damning history shows how conservation became politicized and exposes the powerful lobbies holding government hostage.
Travail Kitchen & Amusements
Say you want to go out for a big-deal celebratory meal, but you’re not really the shirt-and-tie type. And you’re about as likely to engage a sommelier for help selecting wine as you are to ask for directions. Then head to Travail, where you can get high-caliber food without any of the fuss. In fact, the chef/servers—chervers?—are so laid-back that they have been known to chug beer from a glass boot mid-service, and then send it around the dining room. Tasting menus are the best way to experience the crew’s playful, inventive, and tasty fare, which has included everything from a deconstructed beet salad with white chocolate and blueberries to foie-gras-and-Pop-Rocks lollipops. We can’t wait to see what happens when Travail moves to bigger digs up the street. • 4154 W. Broadway Ave., Robbinsdale, 763-535-1131, travailkitchen.com
Much like watching sausage-making, kombucha brewing isn’t for the squeamish. The process involves fermenting sweetened tea with a bacteria-yeast culture that might be generously described as a gelatinous glob of petrified mucus. But despite its unusual origins, the finished product—St. Paul-based Deane’s Kombucha is our local favorite—is a slightly alcoholic, probiotic-packed beverage with mild carbonation, juicy sweetness, and a vinegar-like tang. The taste is so clean and refreshing, you’d never guess its origins involved such peculiar alchemy. • deaneskombucha.com; available at various metro liquor stores; on tap at Mill Valley Kitchen, 3906 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-358-2000, millvalleykitchen.com
Place to Dazzle
What impresses those who collect restaurant meals like they do Apple products, bicycle miles, and passport stamps? A brand-name chef. Loud music. Lines out the door. Check, check, and check. When your hip coastal pals come to town, take ’em to Tilia, the tiny Linden Hills eatery that often feels like one big party at Steven Brown’s house. They’ll dig the scene, of course, but they’ll be equally impressed by the inspired fare—from gourmet hot dogs to dry-aged duck breast with roasted shallots and preserved prunes—and the reasonable prices. • 2726 W. 43rd St., Mpls., 612-354-2806, tiliampls.com
Wolf Farms Extra Virgin Honey
Now that Rachael Ray has taught America everything it needs to know about EVOO (that’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for the uninitiated), it’s time for Extra Virgin Honey to get the attention it deserves. The EVH produced by Wolf Honey Farm in Baldwin, Wisconsin, is raw honey that hasn’t been heated or filtered. Because the honey is unprocessed, it includes bits of wax, propolis, and pollen, as well as, some fans believe, myriad immune and digestive benefits. But the stuff is worth enjoying solely for its sensual delights: the golden glaze has the consistency of spun honey, and its pure, floral sweetness spreads like frosting. • wolfhoneyfarm.com