Oy joy

Several kosher groceries and delis have closed in recent years, so it's good to see that a kosher convenience store that opened late last year in St. Lous Park appears to be going strong. The Kosher Spot, 4216 Minnetonka Blvd. (at Joppa Avenue), aims to provide a "one-stop kosher shopping experience." Offerings include fresh kosher meat, poultry and deli products; a variety of fresh Cholov Yisroel cheeses, yogurts/leben, milk and eggs, as well as frozen dairy items; a wide array of Israeli products, along with ethnic spices and cooking products, specialty items for the kosher baker, and candy, cookies, babka and more. The store has ample free parking and offers carryout service. They'll also try to stock product requests as best they can.

Hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mon-Wed.; 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Thurs.; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fri. and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sun. The store is closed on Saturdays.

All about sauerkraut

Attention, sauerkraut fans. Frank's Kraut has launched two resources for all things kraut: Sauerkraut News Bureau (www.sauerkraut.com) and the world's only sauerkraut Wiki: www.SauerkrautWiki.com. They were developed to keep "foodies, shoppers, fitness junkies, health enthusiasts and history buffs apprised of all the latest (and oldest) news on one of the world's most popular foods: sauerkraut," according to a press release. The Sauerkraut News Bureau will contain info such as newly developed restaurant offerings, festivals, health findings and "celebrity sauerkraut sightings." The SauerkrautWiki invites anyone with an interest in the product to help the Wiki grow with historical facts, news items, scientific findings, celebrations and old uses of the product.

Three cheers!

We are thrilled to report that Steve Hoffman, freelancer extraordinaire for Taste, has won the coveted Bert Greene award (from the International Association of Culinary Professionals) for Narrative Culinary Writing for "From the wild," an essay on hunting, that ran on Thanksgiving Day.

Hoffman's earlier three-part series, "Letter From France," which focused on the food his family encountered in the tiny village of Autignac, was a winner in last year's competition held by the Association of Food Journalists.

Read an excerpt at right, or the full story at startribune.com/taste.

A friend and I had spent a January morning ice fishing, then an afternoon with shotguns slung across our backs, snowshoeing the cedar-lined shore of one of those Boundary Waters lakes that look like claw scratches along the Canadian border.

The day's result: Zero fish. One snowshoe hare.

Back in camp we balanced a soup kettle on a teetering propane stove, melted some snow and slowly defrosted a frozen block of venison stew. By headlamp, in the late afternoon darkness, we scooped olive oil, turned gelatinous from the cold, into a camp skillet, browned the skinned and butchered hare, then added the thighs, shoulders and saddle to the bubbling, wine-rich stew.

An hour later, squatting outside a glowing tent, we improvised a table from an upside-down enamel pot in the snow, set the kettle of stew on top of it, and ladled out two steaming bowlfuls. Clouds of our own breath drifted through the cones of our headlamps, as we forked up gravy-glazed carrot and onion, and big, dripping cubes of venison shoulder, our forks clanking against the metal bowls with our shivering. We peeled fat shreds of glistening hare from the bones with our brittle fingers, and agreed that there was really nowhere else we'd rather be. Excerpt from Nov. 28, 2013, Taste section: "From the wild."