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Dining Dish: Dining Out and Doing Good


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A taste of sweet things to come from Sea Change's new pastry chef Sam Valesano. Her take on a dreamsicle.

Courtesy of Sea Change

The sun is shining, my mukluks are packed away, and I am ready to share my happiness with my fellow man, woman, and childran... ren. Anyway, there are two great opportunities for dining out and doing good on the horizon. Tonight is Share Our Strength’s annual Cakewalk event. All the best pastry chefs in the cities show up with delicious little nuggets to share with guests. Led by James Beard Award winning chef Tim McKee and James Beard Award nominated chef Michelle Gayer, it is always a great time. This year, in addition to folks like Diane Yang, pastry maven of La Belle Vie there will be other baking maestros including Erica Strait of Foxy Falafel (bringing it gluten-free) and Sam Valesano of Sea Change. Sea Change’s chef Jamie Malone just shared the news that Sam has been promoted after working for years in the kitchen under Niki Francioli. I can’t wait to see what she’ll be bringing. Tickets are still available for $65 and there will be a craft cocktails and a few salty bites on hand. All proceeds go to Share Our Strength in an effort to end childhood hunger for children in our area. It’s a fantastic amount of fun for a great cause.

Another way to do good and get yourself over to the new Travail/Rookery space (which really must be seen and fully experienced to appreciate) is to grab yourself a ticket for Graze 4 Good. Some of the most innovative chefs in the cities are creating dazzling dishes to benefit Fourth Generation Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation. Last year, Mike Brown and crew brought an entire wooden tree bearing foie gras fruit—it was bananas. Or, cherries, to be more precise. Fourth Generation Fund which helps Minneapolis’ youth become successful professionals through all kinds of avenues. Tickets are $100 for VIP grazing or $50 for general admission, which let’s be honest, you could easily spend for a Travail night of fun anyway. Purchase them on their Eventbrite site

If that’s a little too rich for your blood, but still want to help neighbors and have fun, simply make plans to hit Kieran’s on Saturday March 15th at 4 p.m. Finnegan’s, the local beer that gives all of their profits back to neighbors in need is launching a reverse food truck. A kelly green vehicle will be on hand to load up on non-perishable food items and are equipped to take credit card donations.

Meanwhile the Kickstarter machine keeps rolling. Mattie’s on Main needs some help to get up and running. The restaurant is owned by the same guys who own the neighboring Wilde Roast Cafe. The plans for the renovations at Riverplace are huge and include an expansive patio and a stage for cabaret performers. With 28 days to go, they’re fast closing in on $10,000 raised.

Back in the world in which you pay and are immediately rewarded your very own foodstuffs, City Foods Studio is hosting an open house this Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Some of my favorite local small businesses are now operating inside this building, including Buddy’s Nut Butter who make a honey spiked course ground peanut butter I can’t live without. Serious Jam whose penchant for boosting fresh fruit flavors with a little bit of booze make the perfect hostess gift. Froz Broz ultra dense, incredibly rich ice cream with imaginative flavors that I’m basically obsessed with will all be on sale, plus several more new favorites waiting to be discovered.

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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