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Tu B'Shevat Seder celebrates nature with style

History says that a Tu B'Shevat Seder began as means of reawakening the soul to the gift of nature, just as nature was reawakening in the Holy Land. Over time, that sense of lush wonder was lost — until last year when Beth El Synagogue hosted an eight-course food and wine experience. It's back this year, with foods prepared by some of the Twin Cities' best chefs, including Dawn Drouillard of Fabulous Catering; Jack Riebel of the Lexington, Il Foro and Paddy Shack; T.J. Rawitzer of the Bitwell Restaurant Group and the Third Bird, and Phillip Becht of Victor's on Water. Each course will highlight one of the seven species of the land of Israel: wheat, barley, grape (wine), fig, pomegranates, olive (oil) and date (honey). Each course will be paired with an exclusive wine flown in for this occasion. The seder is 6-10 p.m. Jan. 25 at Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park. Reservations are $125 per person, with limited seating. Deadline is Jan. 18. For more information about the event, call 952-873-7300. To make reservations, visit

Oy, there's more

Crossriver Kosherfest, billed as "the Midwest's largest kosher convention," is back after last year's success, enticing local foodies from noon to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 10 at Temple of Aaron in St. Paul. Returning is Chicago Milt's BBQ Guide for the Perplexed Kosher Food Truck, along with 15 new vendors from around the country. Local vendors include Prime Deli, Vitali's Bistro, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Rita's Ice, Menchies, Just Truffles and Aviv Vodka. Activities include classes and kids' activities. Cost is $10 for kids (includes kids' meal) and $15 for adults.

Birchwood hosts Brooklyn's best biscuits

To boost news of its new cookbook, "Bien Cuit: The Art of Bread," the renowned bakery in Brooklyn is partnering with 10 bakeries around the country to have a recipe featured on their menus for a limited time. Here, that means that Cherokee Biscuits are on the menu at Birchwood Cafe, 3311 E. 25th St., Mpls., from now through New Year's Day. Bien Cuit owner Zachary Golper said that the Birchwood and others are "the bakery beacons of their local communities, only sourcing the finest ingredients and passionately creating wholesome, amazing loaves from scratch every day." Check it out.

Calling female chefs

The James Beard Foundation now is accepting applications for its 2016 Women in Culinary Leadership Grant program, with 22 positions available to help female chefs build in-depth leadership and management skills in the kitchen and in restaurant management and entrepreneurship. Among the mentors this year is Minneapolis restaurateur Kim Bartmann (Barbette, the Third Bird, Gigi's Café, Pat's Tap, Red Stag Supper Club, Tiny Diner). Deadline to apply is Jan. 20. To apply, visit