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The big reveal: Star Tribune's lip-balm flavor to take detour at Minnesota State Fair



The new flavor of lip balm that the Star Tribune offers each year at the Minnesota State Fair is a closely guarded secret. 

And no wonder. Past years have broken the mold as the nuances of French fry, mini-doughnut, bratwurst, butter, ketchup, mustard, bacon, fresh-cut grass and, yes, "stick" lip balm have left Minnesotans safe from the harshness of chapped lips. Admittedly, some years were more popular than others. ("Stick" took a little explaining.)

This year went a different route — a detour, if you will — with the flavor of (drumroll, please) "traffic cone."

And what does a traffic cone taste like? Well, the Star Tribune crew (all wearing hard hats and safety vests), who hammered out the details, ruled out “asphalt” and “car exhaust” as flavorings. They took inspiration, instead, from the color of the cone itself, which is (of course) orange.  

And what does “orange” taste like? Think California, Florida and Arizona. Find out with your own tube of lip-smacking balm, available as of opening day, Aug. 23, and for the full 12 days of the state fair at the Star Tribune booth (Carnes Av., at the end of the Grandstand ramp). A limited number of tubes of lip balm are distributed each day; check at the booth for the timing. 

But that's a week away. To ready you for the Great Minnesota Get-Together, the Star Tribune will hold its Preview Party Thursday (Aug. 16) at Strib headquarters (Capella Tower Atrium, Star Tribune Building, 650 3rd Av. S., Mpls.) from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. with free samples of fair food available, while they last. Admission is simply a donation to Second Harvest Heartland food bank.

See you at the fair! And let us know your favorite flavors of lip balm!  

Food & Wine names Spoon and Stable to list of 40 most important restaurants of last 40 years

That’s some pretty heady company.

Food & Wine magazine has compiled its list of the “40 Most Important Restaurants of the Past 40 Years,” and Minneapolis' Spoon and Stable made the cut, along with Chez Panisse (Berkeley), Emeril's New Orleans Fish House (New Orleans), Zuni Cafe (San Francisco), Spago (Los Angeles), the French Laundry (Yountville, Calif.), Shake Shack (yes, the burger chain, which originated in New York City and operates an outlet at the Mall of America), Momofuku (New York City), the former Charlie Trotter’s (Chicago), Alinea (Chicago), Daniel (New York City, and run by Spoon and Stable chef/owner’s mentor, Daniel Boulud) and Junebaby, which opened in Seattle a little more than a year ago.

(For the list, go here).

“These 40 restaurants, some newly opened and some long closed, have paved the way for the country’s current dining landscape,” writes F&W's Maria Yagoda. “As you’ll notice, some of the restaurants on this list opened more than 40 years ago, but they’ve continued to impact the past four decades of American dining, while others on the list opened as recently as 2017 and have already become canon.”

Spoon and Stable opened in November 2014.

“Named a Food & Wine Restaurant of the Year in 2015, Gavin Kaysen’s fantastic restaurant stands for the best of Minneapolis (and Midwestern) dining, ushering a new era for the city, now a vibrant food destination,” writes Yagoda. The James Beard Award-winning [Kaysen], who spent eight years as chef de cuisine at Café Boulud, cooks modern American food that is emotional, fun, and precise, and we can’t wait to experience the next generation of chefs who come up under his influence.”

Kaysen, currently vacationing in Sweden with his family, was blown away by the news. He saw a post from Boulud’s social media team about Daniel getting on the list.

“And since I’m on vacation, I’m trying to stay away from my phone,” he said. “Quite honestly, I never thought we’d be on the list, so I didn’t open the story.”

But on Monday, Kaysen received an email from his public relations team, a weekly summary of his restaurants’ mentions in the media; the F&W story was the second item on the list.

“We were at the zoo in Stockholm with the kids, and are getting into a cab to go to a restaurant,” said Kaysen. “That’s when I saw it. It’s crazy, it’s very surreal to read something like that, to see Spoon on that list. I mean, Momofuko, Spago, Charlie Trotter, Emeril, these are people and places that have literally changed dining in America, not just the state or the city where they’re located. It’s amazing to be a part of it.”

When he returns to the restaurant, there will be celebrating (that's Kaysen, above, in a Star Tribune file photo).

“We’re going to pop open a big bottle of Champagne,” he said. “You can’t even dream that something like this is going to happen.”

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