Old Home Week Part 3, Minnesota

Woody and I met Jim and Marie Wolf (head of the Beta Baker testers for the upcoming book) for dinner at one of our mutually favorite Minnesota restaurants, Alma.IMG_0767.JPG The restaurant features a three course tasting menu. Some of my favorites were: The deliciously beefy Bison Tartar with celery root, hazelnuts, and truffle-verjus dressing: IMG_0769.JPG The Ricotta Gnocchi with Maine lobster, shitakes, spinach and truffle oil: IMG_0777.jpg and the Braised Beef Shortrib with squash orzo, swiss chard and fresh horseradish cream: IMG_0776.JPG Pastry Chef Anne Bridges had to leave early but she sent out four delicious desserts. Our favorites were the Meyer Lemon Curd Tart with lemon crème and lemon speculous ice cream: IMG_0779.JPG and the Buttermilk Panna Cotta with vanilla bean, dried cherries, and saba IMG_0778.JPG I hadn't seen the NordicWare factory for many years and what amazing expansion has taken place since my last visit. Mike Quinlan gave us a tour of the facilities. I was delighted to see the return of a long forgotten by most pan--the Mary Anne--with its recess designed to create a cake with a depression perfect for acomodating fresh berries. IMG_0766.JPG NordicWare is also now an outsource factory for major companies such as 3M and medical suppliers. We got to see all manner of machinery including the one below which finishes the edges of the pans. I felt right at home surrounded by so many of my favorite Bundt and fluted tube pans. IMG_0760.JPG We made a quick visit to the Wolf's to show them photos on the Ipad from the upcoming book while enjoying a glass of excellent red wine. IMG_0785.JPG Marie made a great dinner recommendation for us--112 Eatery in downtown Minneapolis. The moment I walked in the door of this cozy and well-designed restaurant, and met our wait person Erick, I knew we were in for a treat. IMG_0796.JPG We ordered a whole array of small dishes starting with Lamb Scottadito with Goats Milk Yogurt: IMG_0797.jpg Spicy Fried Shishito Peppers in a delicious sauce of pumpkin seed, cilantro, and cotija (Mexican goat cheese): IMG_0799.jpg Merquez Stuffed Chicken Thighs with Israeli Couscous and Clams IMG_0804.jpg And fabulously melting and tender Foie Gras and Chicken Meatballs with Tagliatelle IMG_0805.JPG Dinner was accompanied by a complementary malbec. us.JPG Although no longer hungry, we could not resist sharing the Nancy Silverton's Butterscotch Budino. I love both butterscotch and Nancy so it was a sure bet! It was a perfect balance of the creamy, sticky, and ever so salty. bandino.JPG This photo tells it all: IMG_0813.jpg And just when we thought the dinner was over, along came this great presentation of spicy caramel popcorn. pop2.jpg Although technically we have finished the upcoming book, there's always just one thing and that happened to be a fabulous raspberry butterscotch sauce that I wanted to retest one last time: IMG_5386.jpg As a grand finale, Woody invited me to my first broomball game. The blur with the yellow helmut that you see below is Woody speeding along to try to knock the ball into the goal. Broomball is similar to hockey only using special tennis shoes instead of skates and a small soccer ball instead of a puck. Woody's first connection was an email sharing with me that my biggest fans were his fellow broomball players and T'ai Chi practitioners. It was freezing cold but well-worth being there to see world-class players at play. IMG_0753.jpg