Pho to go

The grab-and-go section gets even more interesting at Kowalski's Woodbury market, at 8505 Valley Creek Road, which now features Lemongrass Bol de la Vie. The to-go restaurant offers Vietnamese street-style foods including pho noodle soups that diners can customize by adding the ingredients they prefer among the various broth options: ginger coconut curry, Vietnamese chicken and vegetarian lemongrass. There also are banh mi sandwiches with a "signature spread" and several Asian salads. Dessert? Try sticky sweet rice porridge topped with seasonal fruits. Everything is MSG-free.

Joia for the world

Congrats to the Twin Cities' own Joia soda for being named best carbonated beverage of 2011 by BevNET, which covers the drink industry. The BevNET panel noted Joia's "unique approach to flavor" such as combining pineapple, coconut and nutmeg, or grapefruit, chamomile and cardamom. The resulting beverage is something "both different and familiar, a combination that is difficult for many brands to achieve." Joia sells in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles for about $6 at local grocers, food co-ops and specialty stores. To learn more, visit

Virtual recipe box

The huge food website,, has announced a platform that lets you import electronic cookbooks and sort all recipe content into your personal Epicurious recipe box. The initial launch features 75 titles from Random House, including such authors as Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, Martha Stewart, Rocco DiSpirito, Lidia Bastianich and Andrea Nguyen. Users set up a recipe box before buying a book, then can access their recipes across multiple digital devices through the Epicurious app, including the iPhone, iPad and the Android. The cost to download an e-cookbook into the Epicurious recipe box ranges from $10.99 to $24.99. To learn more, visit

And a healthy new year

Both Mississippi Market co-ops in St. Paul are featuring demos and classes all month with an eye toward healthier eating. Wondering about detox methods? Want to calm your sugar cravings? Ever made kimchi? Or do you just want to learn how to shop healthier, yet economically? Check out the selection of classes at