Bearded Lady

The editor’s profession is not without occupational hazards. Just the other day, I found myself in line at a local barbecue joint, ordering an enormous pulled-pork sandwich. The bun was grapefruit-sized, the meat stacked high, the sauce spiced to perfection. It would’ve made a lovely dinner for two—say, a couple of Sumo wrestlers.

Now, if you’re generous, you’ll dismiss my eating the entire thing as simple overindulgence. But I should also confess that this, um, snack had been preceded by a stop at Liberty Frozen Custard, where I inhaled a dish of coconut cream (the oh-so-fleeting flavor of the day), and that my ultimate destination was Red’s Savoy Pizza, where I was supposed to pick up a 16-inch pie for supper.

For all of this, I blame our food critic, Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl. Every few days, Dara stops by my office to talk about the new sushi bar or cheese shop she has discovered. She describes her latest finds—roasted-cauliflower gnocchi, single-estate chocolates—in such toothsome detail that I find myself making a mental list of places to go and things to try: cupcakes, kabobs, Chardonnays, farmer’s markets. See the hazards?

Dara knows her stuff—as evidenced by the recent decision of the James Beard Foundation to honor her with an award for the Best Writing on Spirits, Wine, or Beer for a piece that appeared in Minnesota Monthly last December. (The article was excerpted from her excellent book, Drink This: Wine Made Simple.) In fact, it’s the fifth time Dara has won a Beard award—the “Oscars” of the food-writing world.

I’m happy to note that our redesign, launched last month, makes the most of Dara’s talents. We’ve jettisoned the lengthy list of restaurant listings to expand our dining section, renamed “Omnivore.” In it, you’ll find even more pieces by Dara—as well as other voices she’s handpicked.

What happened to the listings? They’re now online at—more easily searchable and usable than in print format. We’ll publish the entire roster of 600-plus eateries twice a year, in our November “Best Restaurants” issue and again in the spring. Watch for it.

Joel Hoekstra, Editor


Chris Lee, editor of Midwest Home magazine, is a Minneapolis native who has taken summer vacations “up north” for years. Chris edited our “Ultimate ‘Up North’ Guide” (page 50), and she says she learned a thing or two from the roving band of reporters who explored all that the area offers. This summer, she plans a special detour to walk through the belly of the giant muskie in Hayward, Wisconsin.


Writer John Rosengren has authored six books and hundreds of magazine articles. A 1982 graduate of Wayzata High, John went back to school to examine today’s teenage drug scene for “User Friendly” (page 68)—and he discovered that things have changed dramatically from the days when he was smoking pot daily in the boy’s room. John has been clean and sober since he went through treatment in 12th grade.


Photographer Jeff Johnson shot this month’s cover on Madeline Island, as well as the scene-setting photos in our summer-entertaining feature “Chic Summer Soirees” (page 60). The latter images, in fact, were staged in his own backyard in south Minneapolis. Jeff claims he’s been shooting professionally since real batteries ran cameras. He shoots for many national and local clients.