Birchwood Dinner as Good as it Sounds

birchwood dinnerThank you so much to those who came to last night's Simple, Good, and Tasty dinner at Minneapolis' Birchwood Cafe. For the second month in a row, more than 30 friends and foodies filled one of the Twin Cities finest local, sustainable, organic restaurants.

The Birchwood was beautifully decked out, the food was terrific, the beer and wine pairings were exceptional, and the sense of community in the room was palpable. I started out the evening with a toast to "trust": trust in the food, trust in the menu (which almost nobody had seen), trust in the farmers, trust in the Birchwood, trust in the chef, and trust in each other. Trust is a critical, wonderful thing that doesn't get enough air time when we talk about food.

Tracy Singleton, owner of the Birchwood, discussed the restaurant and what they stand for. Jimmy Red Layer, the Birchwood's house manager, talked about the food, beer and wine throughout the night. Chef Marshall Paulsen spoke about the dishes he preapred and where they came from. Photographer Chris Bohnhoff took pictures (hopefully we'll get them up on the site soon). But there's no question that the food was the star of the show. Here's what we ate: 

Best key lime pie ever?

First Course: Localvore Trout and Cheese Plate
Bullfrog Fish Farm Smoked Trout, PastureLand Raw Aged Cheddar, Castle Rock Blue Cheese and Monte Chevre Bucheron with DragSmith Radish Butter, Surly Bender Mustard & local Rhubarb Chutney

Second Course: DragSmith MicroGreens Salad
On Bibb Lettuce with DragSmith beets, onions, watermelon radish, Wholegrain Milling sunflower seeds and Poached Garlic & Honey Vinaigrette

Third Course: Chilled Asparagus Soup
Cilantro Lime Crème Fraiche, Ramp Oil, Macadamias

Fourth Course: Poached Wild Acres Chicken & Morels
Willd Ramps & Nettles, Wild & Basmati Rice, Honey Lemon Rosemary Sauce, Ramp Oil & Birchwood Baguette

Dessert: Birchwood Cafe’s Famous Key Lime Pie Birchwood CafeFeaturing Ingredients from:
BullFrog Fish Farm, Downsville, WI, DragSmith Farm, Barron, WI, Wild Acres Game Farm, Pequot Lakes, MN, Hope Creamery, Hope, MN, Whole Grain Milling, Welcome, MN, Garden Farme Honey, Ramsey, MN, South East Minnesota Food Network, PastureLand, Goodhue, MN, Castle Rock Organic Dairy, Osseo, WI, Montchevre Bucheron, Belmont, WI, Bushel Boy Farms, Owatonna, MN, Surly Brewing Company, Brooklyn Center, MN, Minnesota Wild Rice, Birchwood Bakery Breads & Crackers, Morels foraged by the Birchwood chefs

If you're at all interested in local food in the Twin Cities, I hope you'll come to next month's dinner. You're guaranteed to meet excellent people and eat excellent food, and you might learn something too. Heck, you might even have some fun.