By Sara Boyd and Adam Estrem
I think it says something when a local food event, featuring the best from local purveyors, sells out in just a few days. Maybe it says something about the trust the public gives to The Heavy Table, but on a larger level I think it speaks to the fact that more and more people are caring about their food and where it comes from.
The North Coast Nosh III, an event that seems to have some regularity in the Twin Cities now, was co-hosted by The Heavy Table and Open Arms of Minnesota on Friday. Open Arms, a nonprofit that provides meals to locals with life-threatening illnesses, has an amazing facility that opened two years ago. The building has multiple open kitchens and expansive space to house all 300 people and vendors of fine local food.
The sold-out crowd made for one of the most successful events yet — but also meant a bit of a wait for some of the best tastes and a little less elbow room. Still, there’s something seriously enjoyable about seeing so many Minnesota- and Wisconsin-made munchies under one roof — and being able to talk with each purveyor about their passion. While we didn’t have a chance to make it to every table (it just so happened to fall on the same night as our WCCO Holiday Party), Adam Estrem and myself, Sara Boyd, had plenty to say about the stations we hit.
Here are just a few of the purveyors that we were able to taste:
The Beez Kneez Honey
Adam: Beez Kneez, which is a bicycle honey delivery service was sampling some amazing honey from Bare Honey (barehoney.com). I am a huge fan of bare honey, all their honey comes from farms close to the Twin Cities metro. It’s always fresh and tastes like honey should.
Sara: Bogart Loves Bakery is a little bakery with a ton of heart. At-home baker Anne Rucker founded the bakery, which is exclusively spotted at Kingfield and Fulton farmers markets. At Nosh, they featured samples for every taste bud. All start with their classic buttery, brioche doughnut but then the toppings cater to the level of sweet tooth. For those looking to indulge, I highly recommend the Nutella-filled creation that was all around delicious.
Adam: Burnett Dairy has won world and national awards for their Mozzarella String Cheese, mild Cheddar, Fancy Jac, Provolone and Monterey Jack cheeses and it’s easy to see why. There was a nice sampling of most of their cheeses, all with great flavor. I especially liked the Pepper Jac they were sampling, it made me sweat, which is always a good sign.
Adam: The cheese caves of Faribault has brought a wonderful assortment of cheeses. The blu cheese that comes out of these caves amazes me every time I try it.
Sara: This is certainly one booth I would’ve gladly spent the rest of the night sampling. Their cheese is so creamy and smooth and packed with surprising flavors. I tasted hints of apple in one cheese and a delightful tang and smoky note in another.
Adam: A wonderful and fresh look at catering sets Chowgirls apart. These chicks take their food and wine seriously! They were sampling delicious skewers of sausage and squash with a sweet glaze.
Sara: I was already a huge Crispin fan before the Nosh but the new flavors they continually roll out and have available made them a more-than-welcome sight at the event. Their Fox Barrel ciders provided plenty of flavor and too many delightful brews to choose from. The Blackberry Pear has a slight bitter undertone in an overall sweet and tangy taste. Meanwhile the Apricot-Infused Pear gives a great grapey, velvety taste with just a hint of tartness.
Adam: I fall in love every time I eat the charcuterie from Green Ox. Everything about their product is local, from the heritage pigs and the production of their “old world” style cured meats. The flavor is unmatched by any local butcher I have run across.
Adam: Joia Soda is now one of my favorite beverages. A fresh approach to soda making, with incredible ingredient combinations makes this a unique and addicting refreshment!
Sara: Somehow this was my first-ever taste of Joia Soda and I agree with Adam, I’ve been missing out. The flavors are delightful and extremely drinkable. My favorite was definitely Blackberry, Pomegranate and Ginger. Delish!
Adam: Just six weeks old as a company, yet the beers taste like they have been refining the recipes for years. A great mix of hops and malty characters makes for a nicely balanced beer.
Sara: I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with the guys of Lucid Brewing and thought it provided an interesting backdrop to our current beer landscape. As Adam mentioned, these guys are just six weeks out and yet, they’re not the youngest brewery in the Twin Cities. I found their beer, especially the Lucid Air, to be highly easy drinking.
Adam: What can I say about my friend Nate Beck and his hot dogs that I haven’t said already? Let’s be honest, if you try Natedogs’ hot dogs, and it’s not the best hot dog you have ever tasted, than get out of town. He is by far, the best hot dog vendor in MN.
Sara: Even though I’ve had plenty of Natedogs, whenever I see that bright, beautiful orange cart, I can’t resist. The flavors are everything you want and more, thanks to Nate’s homemade sauerkraut and mustards.
Sara: When I saw Patisserie 46 setting up an array of chocolates, I felt an almost magnetic force drawing me in. The amazing thing about Patisserie 46 is that they do so much — fantastic bread, over-indulgent pastries and highly refined chocolates — and they do each to the highest degree. Everything on their table was divine.
North Coast Nosh seems to be on an upward swing, continually growing and expanding. We’ll be waiting with baited breath for North Coast Nosh IV.