Big News, Big Changes


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All life is is change. And I am not immune. This year has brought big shifts here at Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, and in case you had not heard about them before, I thought I’d catch you up.

Hank Shaw on the dock in Alaska.

First and foremost, I have moved from California to Minnesota, where I lived briefly 20 years ago. I bought a house in the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul; closed on it last weekend.

The reason for this is that back in February, Holly and I split up. You will still see her photos here and there on this site, as we did a lot of advance work on posts. But she won’t be doing any more photography with me. So I’ll need to step up my photo game…

I spent much of this year on the road, traveling, thinking, learning, reflecting. I’ve written a lot about this over on my other website, To the Bone, which is where I do all my writing that isn’t recipe-related.

I spelled out my reasons for moving to Minnesota over there in a post called California Leavin’, but the short version is that I have many friends here in the Twin Cities, many readers, and, well, I just love the state and the nearby Great Plains.

This website will continue to be the recipe site it has always been, although now that I’ll be in the Upper Midwest, I’ll be focusing a bit more on my new region’s wild foods, from walleye to mushrooms, berries, whitetail deer, you name it. I’ve already started with an article on birch boletes, which are common here in Minnesota.

Here in Minnesota. That’ll take some time to get used to.

But I am excited for this new chapter in my life. I’ve never bought a house before, believe it or not, and I haven’t lived alone in 22 years. Many adjustments, many highs — and lows — ahead. New places, new friends, new foods to explore and most of all, new recipes to bring to you.

Wish me luck, and if you have any Minnesota recommendations for me, let me know in the comments.

~ Hank

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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  1. Welcome back to the Midwest/God’s country. I know you went to school in Madison, about the same time I was in grad school there, so it’s not a new place for you. My wife and I lived in the Bay area for a couple years back in the ‘80’s so I know some of what you’re leaving behind. But the Cities is a great place! Our son and my brother live there and we visit often. Great food, beer and fishing.

  2. Welcome to Minnesota! I moved here from California for 6 months. That was in 1981, and I never left. The outdoor sports, the hunting and fishing, and the food scenes are all wonderful. (So are the music scenes, if you’re into that.) I can tell you that the Twin Ports of Duluth and Superior have a fine collection of microbreweries and local-food restaurants, and the quest for sustainably sourced local food informs quite a few of our restaurants in Duluth and up the North Shore. If you get up this way, be sure to check out Northern Waters Smokehaus, the Duluth Grill, OMC Smokehouse, Sir Ben’s Tavern on the Lake, and farther up the shore, the New Scenic Cafe. There’s more. You can eat yourself silly up here! And then, for a totally different vibe, there’s Grandma’s Restaurant and the associated members of the chain.

    Down in The Cities, you’ve already gotten great recommendations from locals but I haven’t seen anyone mention the Holy Land Deli and grocery store. If you want things with a Middle Eastern spin, that’s a great place to go. They make The Best Tahini I’ve Ever Tasted.

  3. Welcome to Minnesota! I just discovered your site, and was happy to read that you’ve moved here.

    You made the right move. I came here from New York City 20 years ago, and have not looked back for a second. California treated me well for five years in the 70s, but I can’t imagine living there now.

    You also settled on decidedly the best neighborhood in the cities proper of Minneapolis / St. Paul. (Me, I prefer the suburbs.)

    Highland Park is home to my favorite spot for corned beef and pastrami: CECIL’S DELI. 651 Cleveland Av S, 55116; between Bayard & Scheffer. Specify lean meat if that’s what you want.

    You’ll have a lot of fun exploring the state. You know about the Arrowhead, and the morels. A book I recommend is _Backroads of Minnesota_, by Shawn Perich, a veteran outdoor writer whom you may know of.

    Virtually the only thing that brings me into the Cities proper is book-related events, mainly meetings of the Ampersand Club.

  4. Welcome (back) to the cities. Glad to have you in town. My favorite burger in town is in your neighborhood… The Nook! Looking forward to more midwest recipes and your Mexican book when it comes along.

  5. Best of luck on your move. A change of venue might be a refreshing experience, new food ideas (i.e., 300 ways to make a refreshing Jello salad) and perhaps MN will appreciate your left coast vibe.

  6. You picked an excellent neighborhood!
    1) Divide the state into regions and take a few days in each to truly appreciate what each has to offer. I am sure many followers live in each region and can tell you about hidden gems. We are doing this and loving it, learning a lot. The North Shore Drive and Great River Road are a “must do”. (The Great River Road has a 100 Mile garage Sale you might find interesting.)

    2) Explore the neighborhoods of St. Paul. West 7th, Robert Street, Selby Dale, Summit, Como etc. . .Each has a unique mix of shops & restaurants. St. Paul Farmer’s Market is really nice, everything grown locally. There are smaller markets in the various neighborhoods.

    3) Embrace winter. Invest in snowshoes, cross country skies or even winter trekking poles. Take in the Winter Carnival events, the Red Bull Crashed Ice event at the Cathedral, hockey games. Follow the various dog mushing races. Watch or join a curling club. Beef up your scotch/whiskey/brandy selection. It is awesome to sip and watch the snow come down from a warm cozy home.

    4) Enjoy the small town festivals. Dozincky Days, Kolacky Days, Eelpout Festival, October Fest – New Elm, Ice Box Days etc . . .

    5) Explore the vibrant Tap House/Brewery/Cidery locations. Many have food trucks scheduled as well as live music. It seems every town has a brewery/tap house/cidery that is fun to stop at.

    6) Go to the state parks to enjoy hiking, fishing, boating etc. . . you are never very far from water in Minnesota.

    It might be hard to get some the ingredients you are used to, but seeking out some of the high end stores (Kowlaski’s, Penzy’s, Lunds/Berlys) might help. Also some of the neighborhood markets that cater to the Mexican, Somali and Mung communities will have speciality grocery stores that are worth finding. Eversharp Knives is a hidden gem to get knives sharpened and purchase high quality items at discounted prices. They cater to many chefs in the area. While there are many good and excellent places to eat, we have always enjoyed Russel Klein’s Meritage for higher end dinner. Shhh, don’t tell anyone, there is more to MN than lutefisk and hot dish. We don’t want our favorite places overrun.

    Lastly, to promote your business, there are many Gun Clubs/Hunting Preserves that will probably be open to working with you. I can think of at least 3 within 60 – 90 minutes from St. Paul (we are friends of the owners for 2 of them).

    Please feel free to email or DM if you ever want to explore MN further. Without your guidance, I highly doubt I would be eating wild game.

  7. you will have to check out Animales BBQ food truck located at Bauhaus Brewery in NE Mpls. Chef Jon Wipfli makes the best BBQ in the cities. and is an avid hunter, fisherman and forager as well. And if you ever get back up to the Duluth area, I can make some suggestions.

  8. Welcome to Minnesota Hank. I have been a fan of your work for a long time and part of both the Bemidji and Twin Cities communities. May you find much satisfaction in this move.

  9. Hank,
    Matt’s bar for a juicy Lucy is a great place. If you head into western WI, Menomonie has a great bar for wings called The Waterfront Bar & Grill. There is another great small town bar in Woodville Called Peg’s Pleasant View.

  10. I just want to say that I wish you luck in your new endevors and ‘new life’. That was brave of you to post about your personal life. I’m sorry. I love your recipes, newsletters, and website, and look forward to what’s to come!