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MINNEAPOLIS — Are you heading to Minneapolis to see the Eagles take on the Patriots in Super Bowl LII? You're going to need to eat while you're there, so here's a handy list of restaurant-driven occasions in the Twin Cities area next week.
Jan. 28: What's being billed "Surly Bowl LII" is taking place the week before Super Bowl Sunday. Newcomer HopCat is devoting the day to an all-Surly, 52-tap takeover. "This will feature the largest variety of Surly-made beers ever assembled in one place," said Surly spokeswoman Tiffany Jackson. "Well, outside of someone's basement cellar, at least." The options will range from rare cellared beers — including all 11 Surly anniversary beers and seven varieties of Darkness, the brewery's Russian imperial stout — to favorites such as Furious (IPA) to Hell (lager). Doors open at 10 a.m., and the first 100 guests receive a free commemorative pint glass.
HopCat, 435 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-276-5555
Jan. 28: Exercise and beer. Sounds good, right? Run, jog, or walk the 100 Yard Super Beer Dash, taking place between these two North Loop breweries. Live music, too, and food-truck fare. Check-in starts at 10 a.m., and the race follows at 11. Tickets $40 (10 percent of proceeds go to local nonprofits), and the price includes a commemorative T-shirt and a beer at each brewery.
Jan. 29: Bundle up for this outdoor cooking fest (from 6 to 9 p.m.), held under the pavilions at the St. Paul Farmers Market. Chefs Adam Eaton of St. Dinette, Thomas Boemer of Corner Table and Revival, and Tim McKee and Shane Oporto of Octo Fishbar will collaborate on a flame-cooked winter feast. Laurel Elm of St. Dinette, Nick Rancone of Corner Table and Revival, and Erik Eastman of Easy & Co. are teaming up to produce an array of a la carte libations that fall in the warm, chilled, and spiked categories. Outdoor games and music, too, plus ice sculpting. Tickets $45, or $125 for the VIP option, a reception that begins at 5 p.m. inside the adjacent Market House Collaborative that will feature a raw bar, cocktails and wine.
290 E. 5th St., St. Paul
Jan. 29-Feb. 4: One of the Twin Cities great burgers (it was my favorite burger of 2016, and my line of work puts me in front of a lot of burgers), the cheeseburger at Lowry Hill Meats, is usually something of a rare commodity, in that butcher/co-owner Erik Sather only offers it on Wednesday. (What makes it so great? In part, it's the beef, an ultra-fresh collection of brisket, sirloin, chuck, and strip trimmings from a single animal trimmings — they're raised with care in Blooming Prairie, Minn. — that's topped with house-made American cheese and served in a house-baked, brioche-style bun.) But because a certain high-profile sporting event is headed our way, Sather is planning to offer this standard-setter every day for seven days.
Lowry Hill Meats, 1934 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., 612-999-4200
Order by Jan. 30, pickup on Feb. 4: The brain trust at this top-performing bakery is ready to transform the taste — and taste level — of the basic Super Bowl bash. "I was thinking of my own personal Super Bowl menu," said partner Meredith Schwarz. "I'm going to have Doritos, and pizza, and some kind of Velveeta dip, but then I thought, 'I work for Rustica, why not craft it up?' " And then she thought of doing the same for the bakery's customers. Here's the menu: a bread bowl, crafted from Rustica's signature miche — a round, rustic sourdough — that's filled with a smoked kale dip. "It's a classier spinach dip, and that nutty niche can really hold up to the smokiness of the kale," said Schwarz. Pizza has been given an upgrade to a savory galette, topped with goat cheese, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes. Dessert is a hand pie with a blueberry-mascarpone filling. Most prices are in the $4 to $7 range, and there's one hitch: all items must be preordered, by Jan. 30, primarily to accommodate the mix and ferment needs of that spectacular miche. The good news? Pickup is anytime after 11 a.m. on Feb. 4. "Everything will be freshly baked," said Schwarz. "Unlike the average Super Bowl party item."
Rustica Bakery & Cafe, 3220 W. Lake St., Mpls., 612-822-1119 and 8107 Eden Prairie Road, Eden Prairie, 952-479-7631
Jan. 31 through Feb. 4: Downtown Robbinsdale's four-star culinary magnet has all kinds of plans, and all are available, as always, through the restaurant's prepaid ticketing system. First up: Co-chefs Mike Brown, James Winberg, and Bob Gerken plan to boost the restaurant's 20-plus course tasting menu — served in two seatings, Wednesday through Saturday night — with all kinds of fat-cat additions all week long. "Oysters, prime rub, truffles, suckling pig, the works," said Brown. Cost is $207.
For those seeking a more modest option, chef Nick O'Leary (a former Travailian and the founding co-chef of Borough) will be in the spotlight in the back of the restaurant on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, serving a 10-course "classic Travail menu" in two seatings for $104.
On the weekend, the collective will be creating a 10-course brunch — one seating on Saturday, and two on Sunday — at $104 per person, including bottomless mimosas. A bloody Mary bar "experience" will be available for an extra fee.
And during the game, the restaurant is planning a bash that'll start at 4:30 p.m. "It'll be a station-driven experience, like a high-end Costco," Brown said with a laugh. "A fun, food-driven party with basically unlimited food and drinks." Translation: prime rib, truffled pasta, ahi tuna tacos, multiple variations on chicken wings, a whipped potato bar, a seafood tower, and more. The $207 ticket includes unlimited beer and bubbles. Oh, and Brown is promising ice sculpting in the parking lot. "We're going to get out the chain saws," he said.
Travail Kitchen & Amusements, 4124 W. Broadway Av., Robbinsdale, 763-535-1131
Jan. 31: The mega-brewery and beer hall are open to the public all week, with regular hours (and tours!), with game day hours of 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A special event takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 31. Surly's Ultimate Winter Feast with the Great Northern will provide "an authentic Bold North night under the winter moon," said Surly spokeswoman Tiffany Jackson. The brewery is teaming up with the Great Northern, Mucci's Italian, 612 Sauna Society, and the Minneapolis Kubb League for an evening of warm food, cold beer, and beer garden campfires, with classic music spun on vinyl by DJ Brian Engel. Fare will include rainbow trout skewers, porchetta with all the right fixings, sweet and savory pasties, duck pastrami pickle roll-ups, s'mores kits, and fried-to-order doughnuts from the deep-fried dough masters at Mucci's. Tickets $35 (and only required for those buying food and/or beer).
Surly Brewing Co., 520 Malcolm Av. SE., Mpls., 763-999-4040
Feb. 1: There are still tickets remaining for the fourth-annual Culinary Kickoff. "It's a really cool chefs' dinner," said Spoon and Stable chef/owner Gavin Kaysen. The evening starts with cocktails and includes a four-course dinner (with wine pairings), prepared by Kaysen and star chefs Charlie Palmer (New York City's Aureole), Michael Mina (San Francisco's Michael Mina), Adam Sobel (also of Michael Mina), Scott Romano (from Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, Calif.), and Spoon and Stable pastry chef Diane Yang. Music by New Power Generation. The evening is a benefit for the Culinary Kickoff Scholarship Fund for the Culinary Institute of America. Tickets $1,250 per person.
Spoon and Stable, 211 N. 1st St., Mpls., 612-224-9850
Feb. 3 and 4: Former Surly Brewing Co. chef Jorge Guzman is cooking up a storm at this great new downtown coffeehouse at a pair of events he's calling Pig & Piña. On Feb. 3 from 6 to 10 p.m., the theme is "taco takeover." The pre-made tortillas are being supplied by Masienda. "Not a lot of people outside the chef community know who they are, but they're heirloom corn tortilla makers," said Guzman. "You look at the ingredients on their package, and it's just four: heirloom masa, water, lard, and lye. You look at anyone else's, and it's like 20 ingredients." His plan is to offer a smoked pork taco with salsa verde, a beef taco, and a squash/mole poblano taco, all at $5 a pop. Chips and salsa, too, and a DJ, and beer from Able Seedhouse + Brewery. On Feb. 4, Guzman will be lighting up oak and hickory in two smokers in the parking lot and throwing a ribs bash (with more beer from Able). "We'll have 500 racks of ribs," he said. "Either spare ribs or St. Louis cut, I haven't decided yet." The fun starts at 10 a.m. and goes "until we run out," said Guzman. "I know it's going to be difficult to come downtown on the day of the game, but it'll be worth it."
Northern Coffeeworks, 1027 S. Washington Av., Mpls., 612-353-4222
Feb. 4: Visit this lobster-centric restaurant on Super Bowl Sunday (3 to 11 p.m.) and dig into chef Dave Buxton's "Big Game" menu, which will include shrimp tacos, seven-layer dip, bacon-wrapped mac-and-cheese hot dogs, crab and Tater Tot hot dish, chicken and waffle fries with gravy, king crab rolls, and more. The restaurant's full brunch and dinner menus will also be available, as well as happy hour drink specials.
Smack Shack, 603 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-259-7288
Feb. 4: What's more Minnesotan than a potluck Super Bowl party? "Bring your dish to share to the taproom and let's have a potluck Super Bowl together," reads the message on the brewery's Facebook page. Head brewer Jon Erickson will be tapping $5 pints and tulips throughout the game. The party runs from 5 to 9 p.m.