Dining Out for Life Tonight

Don't forget to stop at your favorite local restaurant for Dining Out for Life tonight.

From Dining Out for Life:
This year, over 155 participating restaurants
in the Twin Cities, Duluth, Red Wing and Rochester
have agreed to donate a portion of their proceeds
to The Aliveness Project, a local nonprofit organization
that provides on-site meals, food shelf
& other supportive services
for individuals living with HIV/AIDS and their families.

Last year's Dining Out for Life raised $127,000 in donations from restaurants, sponsors and individual diners!
This year, our goal is $130,000!
For a complete list of restaurants in our area, click here:


[where: Minnesota, Food, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, 55418]

Black Sheep Pizza

We finally had a weekday off in early April, and the first thought that crossed my mind (besides sleeping in) was having lunch at Black Sheep Pizza. Gerg was all for that, as a pizza lover.

Black Sheep makes their pizza in a coal-fired oven, and they're burning Anthracite coal, which burns relatively cleanly with little soot, making it ideal for their purpose. They're making their sausage and meatballs in house. They source their cheese from Wisconsin. Black Sheep founder Jordan Smith was quoted in a piece by Heavy Table:
“I try to buy local ingredients where it’s applicable, and do business with local vendors so that the dollars stay in our local economy. Sometimes it gets overlooked how critical that piece is, in the buy-local movement. I’m not going to get olive oil from Minnesota. But I can buy my olive oil from a local company as opposed to a multinational company like US Foodservice or Sysco.
That's the kind of philosophy I like to support. It makes me wonder if they're aware of Valli dell'Etna Olive Oil, a family-run olive oil business with distribution in Minneapolis?

I digress. Back to the pizza.

We'd heard that the wait can be long at Black Sheep, so we thought a weekday lunch would be the best option. When we arrived at 1:30pm on a Monday, there were two tables of couples enjoying pizza, and a couple of people at the bar. "Huzzah!" thought I, "This plan is going splendidly."

After looking over the menu, recalling recommendations from friends, Heavy Table, and a couple other reviews, we settled on a starter of roasted vegetables.

The roasted vegetables were mighty in flavor. The onions melted in my mouth. The mushrooms were packed with tangy, garlicky flavor. They were served with a surprise dollop of goat cheese. We ordered them with a side of their savory and zesty marinara.

As for our entree, we selected the 12" fennel sausage, hot salami, onion and cracked green olives pizza.
The flavorful crust was chewy and a bit crunchy and handled the ingredients with aplomb. Green olives and hot salami are bold in flavor, but the star of the pizza show was the house made fennel sausage, which brought a balance to the other salty ingredients. With their zesty marinara doing its thing in the middle, we had a winning combination on our hands and in our bellies.

Find your winning combination!
Black Sheep Pizza
600 Washington Ave N
Minneapolis, Minnesota
(612) 342-2625

[where: Minnesota, Food, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, 55418]

A New Gig

After a few phone conversations and a handful of emails with Minnesota Monthly's dining critic and senior editor Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, Elizabeth Dehn, Jason DeRusha, Stephanie Meyer, and I have teamed up with her to write Minnesota Monthly's Dara&Co blog.

My team role: MNMO's sustainable food correspondent.

I'm looking forward to my role, which involves writing about interesting local producers and products and sustainable practices.

You can read my first blog post here: http://www.minnesotamonthly.com/media/Blogs/Dear-Dara/April-2010/Heirloom-Season-Has-Begun/

I intend to continue blogging here in addition to my day job and the work I'll be doing for Minnesota Monthly. So it seems that all of my days and many of my nights will be devoted to reading, researching, and writing about sustainable agriculture and sustainable foods, and I'm definitely not complaining about that.

[where: Minnesota, Food, Minneapolis, Twin Cities, 55418]