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Nordic invansion: the view from here

Since early October I've been traveling to libraries across Western Minnesota to speak about "Jul: Swedish American Holiday Traditions." It is a weekly (sometimes more often) trip into places I haven't explored before, and meeting the most extraordinary and enthusiastic folks around. In Cokato I met up with a childhood buddy from Gaylord. Sheila brought us to Bait and Hookk where we dined on the best lobster bisque I've ever tasted and shrimp and grits so good I nearly licked the plate. Occasionally we city folk think our restaurants can't be beat and that small towns just don't cut it when it comes to fine dining. I will never be so close minded again.

Speaking of small towns and dining... having never visited New Scenic Cafe in Duluth (I know, I know, I don't get out much), until last week I'd only heard about the amazing food happening there thanks to Chef Scott Graden. He taught a class at American Swedish Institute that still has me fantasiz…

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