sen yai sen lek

Your CSA: Warm Flavors in a Cool Melon Soup

I hesitate to celebrate the recent drop in temperature that September brought. I don't want to jinx us. It was a rough summer in the Twin Cities this year, with weeks of scorching temperatures right in the middle of outdoor entertaining season. MPR even nicknamed it Humigeddon 2011. During one of the heat waves, I enjoyed a chilled melon soup made by chef Joe Hatch-Surisook, of Sen Yai Sen Lek. On one of the hottest, more airless days of summer, he brought a sweet, cold, cantaloupe soup to a potluck and served it in cups for spooning or sipping.

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To Toast and To Taste!

Last Thursday was no potluck with too much pasta salad. Nor was it the type of garden party that has you weeding your friends' garden while getting munched by mosquitos. A wedding like gala with drunken relatives and bad speeches? Think again.

There is a reason that Toast and Taste at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is called "the best outdoor party of the summer". Don't get me wrong, there may be the time and place for parties that require you to do regrettable things like jello shots or -gasp- dance. However, if you want a fully relaxing yet engaging party with the best spread of food and wine imaginable, Toast and Taste is it. 

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Support the Arboretum and Eat Like Royalty

If you have never been to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, you probably have no idea that it is one of the greatest natural resources in the Twin Cities. I still remember my first time, after being told time and time again that I simply had to go. I was blown away by the size of the place and the sheer number of species of plant, tree and shrub. When walking the many paths and trails, it is somewhat like being transported to other lands, be they forest, prairie or wetland. Certainly it feels as if you have just left the city.


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Sick of Cold Weather? Never Fear! Dinner on the Farm Season is Near

The lawn outside my window is a sloppy montage of green and brown. It’s still cold outside, and I’m still buried under layers of blankets inside my cozy house. Oh Mother Nature, you trickster! It’s almost May and we’ve been so patient! Can we please have our spring now?

I am optimistic!  In fact, a few days ago, I reserved my tickets for the inaugural 2011 Dinner on the Farm event. Knowing that in just a few short months I will be lounging in the sun-warmed grass of Crandall Garden Farme, sipping locally-brewed beer and enjoying a delicious curry dinner prepared with produce grown within hundreds of feet of me, reminds me that -- despite all evidence to the contrary -- a season of bountiful, fresh, local produce; reconnecting with fellow food lovers; and many more farm dinners is on its way.

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Consider Giving Local, Organic, Fair Trade Gifts This Holiday Season

My cousin recently called me up to ask me what her family should get my dad for his birthday. I have a hard enough time figuring out what to get him myself, let alone telling other people what to get him. But then she told me that they were going with consumables as gifts from now on because the members of our family can sometimes be hard to shop for. It occurred to me (although people have been doing this forever) that this was a smart idea.

As the holiday season approaches and the search begins for gifts for those hard-to-shop-for people, consider keeping that idea in mind -- with local, organic, fair trade, and delicious treats. Here are just a few possibilities to get the ball rolling on the shopping list.

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Gorkha Palace Offers Local Yak and Other Tasty Nepalese Delights

Although my love for restaurants that serve good food -- real food, whole food, food grown locally and raised ethically -- is well documented on this site, I've tended to be less effusive in my praise of ethnic restaurants. The reason for this is simple: finding an ethnic restaurant that sources local food can be a challenge.

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Great Reasons to be a Minnesota Local Food Lover

Simple, Good, and Tasty's Local Food Lover program has been getting a lot of good press.

In January of this year, Rachel Hutton from the City Pages wrote:

"It's 25 days into 2010 and you've already taken up a kettlebells routine and finished that novel--but what have you done to incorporate more sustainable eats into your diet? Simple, Good, and Tasty can get you started with its new Local Food Lover card, which offers discounts on local food and beverage from restaurants and retailers around the metro."

In February, Alexis McKinnis from the terrific Girl Friday blog wrote:

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Top Twin Cities Eateries For Families to Get Their Local On

Savory waffle from the top kid-friendly restaurant in the Twin CitiesSavory waffle from the top kid-friendly restaurant in the Twin Cities

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Event Recap: Sen Yai Sen Lek Offers Local Food - Thai Style

Simple, Good, and Tasty's March event (above photo by Kate NG Sommers), held on Tuesday March 22 at Sen Yai Sen Lek in Minneapolis, offered local food with a twist. The ninety plus people in attendance were treated to a local food-based Thai tasting menu, including green papaya salad, Fischer Farms pork Isaan salad, dried Thousand Hills beef, curried egg noodles with beef, and stir fried noodles with Kadejan chicken. The meal was not what comes to mind for most people when they think about local food in Minnesota (no walleye, buttered bread, or wild rice!), and we were thrilled about it.

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"Fork the Fire" Brings Twin Cities Restaurants Together to Support One of Their Own

From the Fork the Fire website:

There’s nothing like the power of food to bring everyone together. That’s why over 80 restaurants will rise up in force to help Heidi’s and Blackbird - two Twin City restaurants that lost everything recently during a tragic fire in south Minneapolis.

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