From pot roast to porchetta, here’s a rundown of our food writers’ dining diaries over the past seven days. What were your top eats of the week? Share the details in the comments section.
Porchetta from Lake City Sandwiches
Still working from home, with nary a skyway in sight, the make-my-own-lunch thing is getting old.
A COVID-necessitated pivot from the owner of Nightingale, this takeout and delivery-only ghost kitchen/sandwich shop is a new answer to the usual “what’s for lunch” question now that it’s added daytime hours.
I ordered the porchetta ($13), which, like all the sandwiches here, come on owner Carrie McCabe-Johnston’s pride-and-joy housemade focaccia. Really, any sandwich would be a good pick on that hearty Italian pan-baked bread. But the porchetta “was the impetus of the place,” McCabe-Johnston told me a few weeks ago when I talked to her about ghost kitchens.
The pork belly comes from Peterson Craftsman Meats in Osceola, Wis., and it’s cooked down to crispy little bits that pop with flavor, then piled onto a swoop of sharp pecorino cream and some arugula, and topped with pickled red onions.
McCabe-Johnston was inspired on a trip to Italy by the shops in Florence that seemed to always have roasted porchetta, salami and fresh-baked focaccia just waiting to be devoured. She started testing recipes on her Nightingale staff long before COVID struck, and when the pandemic foiled her plans to open a stand-alone sandwich spot, she folded into her existing kitchen.
“We’ve been eating focaccia sandwiches for a year,” she said, “and nobody is sick of it yet.”
Oh. and don’t skip the add-on of housemade dill pickle potato chips. (S.J.)
2551 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls. Delivery and pickup, 11 a.m.-midnight daily.
Growing up in Brittany, France, Claire Corvaisier probably ate crêpes — the particularly Breton kind made with buckwheat flour — once or twice a week. Usually, they’d come paired with the signature drink from that northwestern coastal region of France, hard apple cider.
So it was a natural pairing for Corvaisier to set up a kitchen (ok, two circular crêpe griddles) behind the bar at Minneapolis Cider Co. and launch Breizh Crêperie (pronounce it “braise”).
“I just couldn’t find anything like what I grew up with here,” said Corvaisier, who has been in Minnesota for seven years. “So, I started my own business and decided to do it myself.”
Corvaisier has been making savory and sweet crêpes at fairs and events under the name Oh Crêpe!, but with most of those gigs canceled it’s nice to have a home, she said. Briezh officially opens Monday (Oct. 26).
For the team behind Minneapolis Cider Co., crêpes — without their need for a full kitchen — seemed like the best way to test out a food program. (They previously served charcuterie, and had food trucks outside.) “It’s a smaller-scale way to bring a fuller menu to life,” said co-owner David O’Neill.
O’Neill and company hope the cidery becomes “a destination” for thoughtful food and drink pairings, which will be suggested on the menu. At a preview, I sampled two of the savory crêpes with buckwheat batter ($6 to $14), which are known as galettes and are gluten-free. The Brie and honey, tucked into a crisp and lacy envelope of that nutty flour, was a standout, and their raspberry cider was a refreshing way to wash it down. (Pictured above: a galette with prosciutto with Emmental cheese, tomatoes, pesto and arugula.)
As is traditional, Corvaisier makes sweet crêpes with wheat flour. And they go far beyond the classic Nutella/banana combo. Try caramelized pears with an ultra-dark chocolate syrup and a “bone dry” brut cider. C’est magnifique. (Sharyn Jackson)
701 SE. 9th St., Mpls. Dine-in and takeout available 3-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 3 p.m.-midnight Fri., 11 a.m.-midnight Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun.
Malted “Forever” Brownies by Claire Saffitz
One of my co-workers messaged me Wednesday when my story about Claire Saffitz went live on our site that I was living the dream. She’s right.
I was a little star-struck interviewing the breakout star from Bon Appétit, who has now stepped out on her own. Her first cookbook, “Dessert Person,” came out this week, and it might not have the recipes you’d expect, if you know Saffitz from her show “Gourmet Makes,” in which she used her extensive smarts to reverse engineer commercially produced junk food.
If Saffitz had included Pop Tarts or Twinkies in the book, I probably would have given them a shot.
Instead, “Dessert Person” is filled with pastry classics, but with Saffitz’s brainy spin. She coaches you down to the finest details, and offers essential kitchen tricks you didn’t know you were missing. Grate the butter before mixing into flour for a rough puff pastry. Make caramel in layers by repeatedly sprinkling sugar into the bottom of a hot pan. Bloom cocoa in hot water to bring out the chocolate flavor in a brownie recipe.
I made those brownies, twice in fact. They’re so fudgy, I could probably take a butter knife to one and spread it on crusty bread. (Note to self: try that right now.) The recipe is at the bottom of the story (found here), and while you’re there, read all about Saffitz’s next career move, how a Minnesota summer camp introduced her to some of the junk food she recreated, and if you are (or were) a BA video fan, get some insight into the drama that went down there this summer. (S.J.)
Dorothy’s Pot Roast at Spoon and Stable
Tuesday’s snowstorm immediately flipped my appetite into pot roast mode. I tweeted as much, noting that my profoundly lazy self might go against type and take on the recipe that chef Gavin Kaysen shared with the New York Times a few years back.
“You can always cheat a bit and buy the pot roast from @spoonandstable,” Kaysen tweeted back.
I’m ashamed that I didn’t think of that myself. What I didn’t know is that this affectionate homage to his grandmother Dorothy Kaysen’s cooking just reappeared on the S & S takeout menu this week, after a monthslong absence.
The take-and-bake meal ($75, two to three servings) features a few thick slabs of fat-rippled, fall-apart-tender pot roast (the superb beef hails from Peterson Craftsman Meats) in a shallow pool of intensely flavorful, rosemary-perfumed jus. Sides include roasted carrots gleaming with truffle-enhanced butter and a decadent potato purée that is surely a 50-50 dairy-tuber split, although a 60-40 ratio cannot be ruled out.
In short: this is an ideal cold-weather meal, one that demanded almost no exertion on my part — just an easy half-hour reheat at 350 degrees, in oven-friendly packaging — and yet gave so much in return. Leave it to the professionals, right?
Turns out, the restaurant recently surveyed its clientele, and one of the big takeaways was that people are hungry for take-and-bake takeout.
“We’re playing with braises, everything from short ribs to chicken thighs to lamb shanks,” said Kaysen. “We’re contemplating lots of things that people can pop in the oven. Convenience is everything now.” (R.N.)
211 N. 1st St., Mpls., 612-224-9850. Open for dinner 5-9:30 p.m. daily (takeout 4:30-8 p.m.) and for brunch 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sun.
O.G. Chicken Yum Yum Rice Bowl at World Street Kitchen
I love the back story behind this signature dish.
This dynamic restaurant started as a food truck that operated out of Saffron, chef/co-owner Sameh Wadi’s former (and much-missed) Middle Eastern restaurant.
Like so much of what Wadi was initially serving on that pioneering food truck, this multiculti rice bowl grew out of the research-and-development exercise otherwise known as the Saffron staff’s daily family meal.
“We knew that we had a good idea on our hands because if we craved it, that meant others would be happy with it, too,” said Wadi.
For a takeout-ready dish, the painstaking sense of detail is extraordinary. The egg is nurtured in a sous vide process for an hour, which barely sets up the whites while the yolk inches toward a custard-like texture. Fried onions mimic the crunch of crisped-up rice, a nod to Wadi’s affection for bibimbap, the classic Korean rice dish. Chicken thighs are marinated in yogurt, chiles, lemon and chermoula, a combination that harmoniously works with a pop of another Korean staple, fermented soybean paste.
When the brick-and-mortar version of WSK opened in 2013, Wadi concocted other Yum Yum bowls, and now his beef-kimchi version is the top seller, followed by chicken, tofu and lamb.
One constant has been the overriding sense of value: the portion size is as generous as always, and the price ($12) has climbed just $2 over the past decade.
“Good food shouldn’t be for a certain set of people,” said Wadi. “Good food should be for everybody.” (R.N.)
2743 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., 612-424-8855. Open for curbside pickup and delivery 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.