The Dish: Food news, local views, and a throwback meal delivery review

The Qamaria Yemeni Coffee Shop in Little Canada


Openings and closings

There are three interesting openings to report this month, although none are in South Minneapolis. The first is Little Canada’s Qamaria Yemeni Coffee Co. (3 Little Canada Road E.), part of a small national chain. It’s drawing rave reviews and it’s open seven days a week; 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until midnight on Friday through Sunday.
About 10 miles to the west, in Columbia Heights, is a new Middle Eastern coffee shop/specialty food store called The Golden Nuts (4801 Central Ave NE). In their own words, they carry “nuts,

Items in the bakery case at the Golden Nuts

seeds, snacks, coffee, Turkish delight, chocolate, sweets, dried fruits, za’atar and other spices, dates, specialty food, Ramadan decorations, Arabic TV boxes, and more.” They serve coffee and bakery items in-store and sell all their wares online at The Golden Nuts is also open great night-owl hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and 11 a.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday.
The third space sounds like it actually is a third space. Tap In (2618 Lowry Ave. N.) is a restaurant, bar and community gathering and co-working space. Tap In is a project from an endeavor called New Rules which seeks to activate such spaces in neglected or under-used properties in BIPOC neighborhoods. The beautiful inviting space was repurposed from a long closed gas station on Lowry Avenue in North Minneapolis.
In closing news, we’re very local. We just learned that Peppers and Fries on East Lake Street closed unexpectedly last month.

Tap In is a renovated gas station in NE Minneapolis

General food-related news

Finally a Twin Cities chef has won the James Beard award for Best Chef Midwest. Hai Hai and Hola Arepa chef Christina Nguyen, who has been nominated in this category five times, won the coveted medal.’s Em Cassel wrote an explainer on Kruse Markit Bistro called “Five Things to Know about Kruse Markit, Kingfield’s All-Day-Cafe-Slash-Shoppy-Shop.” I’ve never heard of a shoppy-shop, but fortunately she explains that, too.
Twin Cities Eater has a piece on the best Ethiopian restaurants in town. Go to, select “Twin Cities” from the Cities menu, and scroll down a short way to June 12. (the nationwide version) has a great piece trying and ranking vegan hot dogs.
Also, had a very thorough guide to Twin Cities farmers markets and U-pick produce markets.

Labor news in the food industry—one national, one local

I wrote about Amy’s Foods’ labor issues a while ago. What I may not have mentioned is that I, like many others, chose to boycott Amy’s until workers gave the go ahead that agreements have been reached. I just heard this month that an agreement was reached in late April, and shortly after that workers cleared the boycott to end. I think it was the very real threat of them losing their B-corp status, a community benefit rating for justice and sustainability.
Locally the big labor news in food and hospitality is that workers at two Daniel del Prado places—Colita and Cafe Ceres—are planning to unionize. Only weeks before that, the big news was a very similar unionizing drive starting at Ann Kim’s newest place, Kim’s in Uptown. Both groups of workers are organizing with Unite HERE Local 17, which already represents First Avenue and Indeed Brewing.

Factor meal plated


I went to lunch with two close friends in mid-June hoping to have a restaurant review as usual. But I don’t do negative reviews, and frankly my experience (and theirs) was negative. So instead I am reviewing meal services again, but with a new twist. There is a new trend of meal delivery services that deliver refrigerated, fully prepared meals in little trays like TV dinners, but not frozen. Younger people will possibly be unfamiliar with the term TV dinners. You can Google it, though. See what the Smithsonian says:
I recently tried a service called Factor for a couple months. It was OK. These things are marketed as

Another Factor meal in a skillet

super-healthy and otherworldly delicious, and I just didn’t think that was physically, scientifically possible. Turns out I was right and they were wrong, but they were better than I expected on both counts. These meals are meant to be microwaved, but I temporarily don’t have one. I had to improvise by using the oven. In some cases I heated things in a foil pan, then plated it. In the case where it was all mixed up, like with a “veggie bowl” type thing, I heated it in a small cast-iron skillet and served it straight from there. Poshly, of course.

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