Secrets

Burger Hunter: Icehouse

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Week after week, Mike S. impresses us with the depth and breadth of his burger knowledge. Staff and readers love him so much we added him to our header today! Check out all The Burger Hunter’s meaty exploits at the #GreatAmericanBurgerHunter tag on Instagram.

How does one even begin to understand the amount of good food up and down Eat Street. Nicollet Ave needs a documentary. If only Twincy had a few creatives . . . We are heading to chill out at the Icehouse. No silly, you don’t need your coats or skates, just your appetite to go to crush-town. The Icehouse Burger is for bon vivants and those looking for the finer things. Now there’s some pretty fancy upgrades that can be done to this burger that include adding foie gras and a truffled bordelaise. I didn’t go there but will be doing that soon. Instead, I went standard issue. The meat is a grind of sirloin, brisket, and chuck. Strong start. Seasoned up with shallots and thyme. Gives it a more earthy flavor profile. Almost meatloafy . . . Bun is described as an “everything bun.” And folks it’s that. More seeds and what have you than in a hippies corduroy pants pocket. Works fab with the meat. Baked in house fresh daily. The burger is topped with a French cows milk cheese known as delice. Kinda bitter and tangy but soft and creamy. Works nicely with the caramelized onions. Foodspo bro. I go hard, cuz. Lettuce is crisp and keeps things in place. Flavor is full-bodied and deep. Juicy and cooked to perfection. I had a challenge dialing in on some of the flavors here cause there’s some seasonings that make you pause, in a good way. Thyming is everything and can throw a guy off. You understand, right? Well, go find out for yourself and bring the relatives cause this place is fun!

Scorecard:   Flavor: 9.1   Presentation: 9   Originality: 9

Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet Ave S, MPLS; icehousempls.com


Price Points: Good + Boujee

bellecour

The very first publications were basically just lists of prices for the necessities you would buy throughout a market; that’s what we’ve got here, some of the costs throughout MPLS + STPL. If we had the time, we’d include this in every newsletter! All costs are in American dollars.

Tullibee at the Hewing Hotel
Lefse $14
Fingerlime, radish, rabbit belly
Wild Acres Duck $30
Sauce of grilled bones, walnut, beet

Bellecour
Bouillabaisse $28
Sea bass, mussels, clams, baguette, rouille
Cauliflower Roti $17
Capers, brown butter, raisins, madras curry, lemon
Escargots en Croute $14
Burgundy snails, garlic & parlsey butter, puff pastry

Can Can Wonderland
Mini-golf round $12
Old Fashioned Mastadon $11
Indeed Stir Crazy $5

VANS Warped Tour
Canterbury Park, July 23rd $38

Sublime with Rome
First Avenue, July 19th $35


Quick Q+A: Chris Besinger + STNNNG

stnnng

It’s, well, stunning that local artful noise rock outfit STNNNG, favorites of many MPLS + STPL music makers, have been making music as original and powerful as they have, for as long as they have, and as they continue to do—STNNNG’s loud poetic journey continues this Spring with a brand new album, Veterans of Pleasure, which arrives on March 31st.

Before the record’s debut and their sure-to-be wild release show at the Entry on April 14th with Gay Witch Abortion, we checked in with frontman Chris Besinger on the current state of STNNNG, recording with audio legend Steve Albini, their songwriting, and the look of the new record.

Secrets of the City: It’s often impossible to schedule a coffee meeting with just one person, much less five dudes that have been together long enough to do five full length albums. How does STNNNG manage to get together? Project management software? The draw of alcohol?

Chris Besinger: And when you add in other band demands, families, kids, dogs, etc., it can be a struggle. Unless we give ourselves a firm deadline we’d never get anything done. In this case we made a decision write a bunch of songs for a record, booked the studio time and made sure we were basically ready when the dates rolled around. Booze helps.

Why go back to working with quasi-underground recording celebrity Steve Albini? Did you owe him money because he’s a card shark?

I can’t remember if he was playing online poker between all the takes this time or last time, I think that was last time. Steve is very easy to work with, he’s smart, he’s fast, when you say “I want this vocal to sound like this one Ken Nordine record” he not only knows what you are talking about he has the microphone. It seems like people have a lot invested needing him to be an asshole or a larger than life figure or something, he’s basically just about the most mellow person I know. Of course, if you ask for his opinion his going to give it to you, whether you like it or not.

The new album has that mix of classic-intense-energetic-STNNNG on tracks like “King Vulture” and classic-lost-in-the-swelling-ocean-of-sound STNNNG on tracks like “That Other Place”, which is awesome. Do you think STNNNG has a characteristic sound? Is it something the band goes for or avoids or neither?

The best songs just feel right when we are writing them. Sometimes when we are writing the songs an idea will bubble up and someone will say “Naw, that’s too obvious, too much like something we’d do” and other times we will be working on something and it’ll be, “this doesn’t sound like us”. We are just trying to please ourselves and I’m sure we have a signature sound, but I don’t know if I can really identify it, I’m too much in the center of the hurricane to notice. Everyone in the band has their own thing, their own ideas, what they want to add to a tune, so hopefully our sound as it were is all of our voices speaking in unison. Or a less bullshit answer might be, now we just try to write stuff that isn’t super hard to play live.

I remember seeing STNNNG play at MCAD several years ago and thinking “these guys should only play places like student lounges, beaches, prisons, etc., because they’re too good and original for just the same old bars”. Do you think your music is more suited for any types of venues or are you still happy to play shows at the Entry because the sound is really good and they have those big beers and you get a crossover wristband?

The Entry is awesome to play because it is the place to see a band as an audience member, best sound, best lines of sight, best vibe. I enjoy playing the weirder, not exactly-venues-venues as well, they can be a ton of fun and I like to be able to really connect with the audience, physically, psychically. No matter the location I do my best to get our point across. I don’t know if we could deal with a prison, I’d probably get killed. My wife is constantly annoyed, worried, rolling-her-eyes at my onstage behavior. “I hope I have our medical insurance card on me” is her oft repeated line when I try to balance on something high up or aggravate some teenage girls or some other similarly life-threatening act.

And the crossover wristband is not to underrated, I saw Erykah Badu in the Mainroom once!

Is this cover art, the painting “Bacchanalia” by Reynier Llanes, the best album art of the year of any band? It’s just magnificent.

It isn’t just the best album cover of the year, it is the best album cover ever. People should stop making album covers because we just perfected it.


Burger Hunter: The Bulldog Northeast

Bulldog NE

Week after week, Mike S. impresses us with the depth and breadth of his burger knowledge. Just wait til you see his logo, we cannot wait to debut it. Check out all The Burger Hunter’s meaty exploits at the #GreatAmericanBurgerHunter tag on Instagram.

Coping it sweet in Northeast, MPLS on a random weekday might find you pondering your lunch time happy place. Low and behold I found mine at The Bulldog Northeast. Now you should have at the very least heard of this place or hopefully had a drink or something here. It’s got cred. Menu is Burger-forward and we’re into it. So I went with the Peanut Butter and Bacon burger which should be called the Knife and Fork burger. We will get to that later . . . Let’s start with the beef. The grind is brisket, sirloin, and chuck. Golf clap. The pack is firm. Chef knows medium and flavor of the beef is dialed. It’s topped with a Surly spiced peanut butter that is now and forever part of my fam. Is anyone listening???!! Bottle that shit! STAT! Sorry I get carried away. Next up on the burger is an apple-wood bacon that works beautifully on this super concoction. This whole thing is kind of a breakfastie hangover super crave town munchies ensemble. When you need to flat-out crush, this is it folks. Now they put a fried egg on it with a little Wood’s maple syrup. The runny egg always adds nice flavor to meat. Instagram Stories were made for this. But with these specific ingredients the egg is really the Pope Francis. Brings it all together and almost can’t live without. A keystone if you won’t. That brings us to the bun. The croissant. A noble choice but it just can’t hold up. Sweet and buttery and perfy choice to pair with these ingredients, but if your looking to hold this burger you might have a messy ordeal on your hands. Hence the Knife and Fork burger. Love the flavor of this ride. Sweet, full bodied and bold. It’s not hiding nor covering up. Just satisfying the soul.

Scorecard:   Flavor: 8.7   Presentation: 7   Originality: 10

Bulldog Northeast, 401 E Hennepin Ave, MPLS; thebulldognortheast.com


Upcoming: Rain Taxi + Mia Present Susan Stewart + Ann Hamilton

Rain Taxi poetry

Here’s something we’re pretty into, especially after that unbelievably huge turnout for George Saunders.

Rain Taxi proudly hosts its first event ever at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, join them as poet Susan Stewart and artist Ann Hamilton, both acclaimed figures in their respective fields, present their collaborative pieces Channel and Mirror along with other works at this special afternoon appearance on Saturday at 2 PM at the Mia.

Susan Stewart is the author of five books of poetry, including Columbarium, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her latest book, Cinder: New and Selected Poems (Graywolf Press), gathers poetry from across her thirty-five-year career, including many extraordinary new poems. Ann Hamilton is an internationally renowned visual artist known for her the sensory surrounds of her large-scale multimedia installations. Noted for a dense accumulation of materials, her ephemeral environments create immersive experiences, and her attention to the uttering of a sound or the shaping of a word with the hand places language and text at the tactile and metaphoric center of her installations.


Burger Hunter: The Rock Elm Tavern

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Week after week, Mike S. impresses us with the depth and breadth of his burger knowledge. Just wait til you see his logo, we cannot wait to debut it. Check out all The Burger Hunter’s meaty exploits at the #GreatAmericanBurgerHunter tag on Instagram.

Rockford Road/ take me home/ to the place/ I belong. We know that would have to be a burger joint somewhere . . . The Rock Elm Tavern in Plymouth, MN is starting to earn some really good burger banter in the foodiesphere. Okay, let’s go! The Rock Elm Burger is their big home run hitter. This beauty is boss. The meat is angus grass fed from the sustainable legends in Olivia, MN Revier Cattle Co. Now these burgers literally glisten. They are shiny af! The reason for that I believe is because the cows are fed flax seed for the last 6 weeks. It not only makes these burgers runway ready and all pretty but adds a depth of flavor that grass fed beef honestly needs. Also makes them healthier than salmon. That’s the rumor anyways. Ok let’s move on . . . Bun is totes my style. Soft and butter grilled. From Emma Krumbee’s in New Prague, MN. The burger is topped with a candied walnut aioli that I’d like to spread on everything in life. They use a montamore cheese that’s simply magical. It’s in the parm family, so yeah, get to know. The mushrooms are house roasted and come to party. Although the sweetness from the candied aioli keeps them in check. They are just right there, not all up in your biz. If you haven’t noticed there’s a giant flavor bomb going on here. It’s a sweeter ride, but the bitter green beast arugula helps calm that done a notch or two. This burger is ridiculously good. There’s a creaminess with the toppings, a perfect med cook, and hella juicy. Everything is soft. Beautiful inside and out.

Scorecard:   Flavor: 9.2   Presentation: 7   Originality: 10

Rock Elm Tavern, 16605 County Road 24: Suite 211, Plymouth; rockelmtavern.com


Quick Q+A: Ace Rice + PLOT

PLOT Gallery

This Friday, PLOT gallery, clothing and accessories store, will host a new group exhibition F.A.M.E.—Female Artists of Minneapolis Exhibit—that features paintings, photography, fashion, and furniture from Suki the Saint, Georgie Jones, and Tessa Warnke. And although the artists have vastly different backgrounds and styles, show curator and PLOT founder Ace Rice mixed the work together to present a timely snapshot of ascending local artists.

Ahead of Friday’s opening from 6-10 PM—the show will only be open for viewing Friday night and Saturday, so bump it up on your social calendar—we sent some quick questions to Rice about the show, gallery, and their neighborhood, which is also ascending.

Secrets of the City: How were the artists in your upcoming F.A.M.E. exhibition selected?

Ace Rice: I have been watching Shame & Suki via social media for over almost 2 years. They have both been on my radar for a bit. Shame actually modeled in our first product shoot for our website, and her aesthetic is super creative and with out bounds. As for Suki, she got on my radar by diligently posting her work on Facebook. I have only recently been introduced to Georgie Jones’ fashion work by Shame, but loved the direction and energy of her pieces.

Did the opportunity to do this show with these artists just now presented itself or did you build the show around the artists? Or both?

I built the show with Shame in mind first and thought Suki would be a great compliment; however, I’ve been trying to put together an art exhibit with Suki for a while.

Is this F.A.M.E. show basically the opposite of the recent Machine Gun Kellyshow?

The F.A.M.E. is really about supporting our mission to be a space for the local arts community. Doing art shows with national artists is fun, but I think some of the art appreciation gets lost in the celebrity buzz of it all. For example in the past we worked with Machine Gun Kelly, his fans are going to be happy just to be in the same room with him and I think the art become a secondary focus. For F.A.M.E. the art is the focus, as we hope through the art displayed attendees will grow to have an appreciation for the artist themselves.

Curating can be a difficult balance between highlighting important and powerful work versus popular exhibitions to bring in an audience. Do you try to do a little of each, keeping them separate? Or does each show for you have to have certain elements?

At this point we try to just focus on presenting art and artists that we like, whether they are popular or not. We hope that all of the artists we work with can bring a crowd, but realistically that can be a challenge for up-and-coming artists, so we try to build and leverage our brand to draw consistent audiences out. It is important for PLOT to be a space for artists to develop their craft/presentation and grow a stronger following. We look at our selves as a bit of a training ground for younger aspiring artists.

Is Near North on Glenwood, where PLOT is located, going to be the next big deal neighborhood in MPLS + STPL?

PLOT is located at 167 James Ave North, Minneapolis MN 5505, near the intersection of Glenwood and Cedar Lake, tucked away behind the dreaded Minneapolis Impound Lot. And yes! This neighborhood is hot, or at least I think so. We are within 1 mile of Downtown, Northside, Southside, Kenwood, Bryn Mawr, and Golden Valley. This area has been neglected by the city for a while, and feels like that perfect place to make our mark.

We want to make sure we highlight your very cool MLK dad hats. Who designed those, what’s the story behind them?

I design all of the merchandise currently on our website. The goal behind the product is to get people to support PLOT even if they can’t buy a huge painting, so we provide more affordable ways to continue to support what our gallery is about. The MLK hat is a part of a collection called Heroes and Heirs, highlighting figures from the past that we feel are deserving of praise due to their contributions to their communities.

PLOT, 167 James Ave North Unit, MPLS; plotting.co