We’re lucky in Southeast Minnesota — we now have so many local farmers of meat, dairy, produce and other goods, we can start getting picky. You may have visited the farmers market enough times, for example, to know which stand has the best strawberries or where to go for the best cuts of meat or freshest eggs.
If you’re a local food savant or you still aren’t sure where to start in your quest for more local (read: more flavorful, more nutritious, more supportive of the local economy) sources of food, look no further: Simply attend Feast! Local Foods Marketplace this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Mayo Civic Center.
In addition to many local producers, several local restaurants who source their food locally also will be there with food or beer/wine samples on hand.
Look for Mac’s Cafe and Restaurant, Kinney Creek Brewery, Grand Rounds Brewing Company, Forager Brewery, F Town Brewery (Faribault), Salem Glen Winery, Cannon River Winery and Four Daughters Vineyard and Winery.
On the Chef Demonstration stage, look for Tonic owner Nicci Sylvester’s presentation on the benefits and how-to of juicing, and Forager executive chef Jordan Bell’s demonstration of a spectacular-sounding dish: raw lamb and spelt grain salad with burnt purple cabbage and dried morel.
The festival is your chance to meet with the people behind the scenes, ask them how locally sourced ingredients enhance their menus and get a taste of what can be done with some of the freshest foods around.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for kids age 4 to 12. If you’re interested in the beer and wine tasting, you can pick up at $25 all-access wristband, or pay $5 per vendor if there are just a couple you’re wanting to check out. If you get your ticket ahead of the festival at People’s Food Coop or any Rochester Hy-Vee store, you can get $1 off adult tickets.
Get hungry (then Thirsty)
Although I’d like to keep it to myself (and I can’t; it’s always busy), I need you guys to know that the Thirsty Belgian (2650 S. Broadway, Suite 600) is always a solid place to spend a happy hour, or a date night, or to pull up a seat to watch a soccer match or anything else.
They always have an interesting set of beers on tap, including some sours and other adventurous brews, but the food is also great. Bonus: I’m pretty sure they have one of the highest percentages of menu items that use gouda cheese in town. For that reason alone, I could go every night.
And they’ve recently updated the menu to include even more yummy dishes (and more gouda), including the smoky gouda bacon mac and cheese or the Hanz & Franz pizza with Polish kielbasa and wild rice bratwurst, house mustard (the good stuff) and sauerkraut. I love that they offer a “Paleo platter” for the carb-conscious, which includes lots of veggies with hummus, olives, nuts, fruits and cold cuts. For dessert, try the new cinnamon sugar pretzel sticks, which are served with cinnamon frosting and Nutella. That’s all kinds of right.
Epic tap takeover at Wildwood
Speaking of bars with outstanding food menus, Wildwood Sports Bar and Grill (1517 16th St. SW) is giving you another reason to stop in tomorrow, Friday. Starting at 5 p.m., Surly Brewing Company is staging a tap takeover of a whopping 14 of Wildwood’s tap lines.
So stop by tomorrow after work and grab some nosh (may I suggest the jalapeno bacon burger, the tatonka (bison burger), the ginger-lime lettuce wraps or the chicken avocado bacon pressed sandwich) and your favorite Surly and see the goodness in the world again.