These are a few of our most unfavorite things: Winter weather, mild but still cold, COVID-19 cases on the rise, closed restaurants, rules and regulations, takeout and delivery struggles, cooks and servers furloughed or let go, food insecurities mounting, farmers and food plants laying off workers. And then there are the holidays. Safe distancing and masking. Or, no family celebrations at all. Political stalling on PPP financial-aid laws. So, how are some of our local survivors staying open, existing, and also helping those in need?
Well, since family dinners for the holidays and New Year’s will be smaller this year, Gavin Kaysen’s Spoon and Stable is offering beef Wellington with all the trimmings.
Alex Roberts, at Restaurant Alma, is featuring a Manhattan roast or an herb-crusted pork loin as the mains, and Kiernan Foillard, of Kieran’s Kitchen, is doing his famous charcuterie boards, all with in-house provisions from the food building.
Stephen Brown’s St. Genevieve is doing prime rib and Yorkshire pudding, plus a yule log with buttercream and chocolate ganache, while Fhima’s is offering its famous holiday meals for sale online, for pick-up or delivery. (Chef David Fhima and his son Eli, meanwhile, have turned the restaurant, in downtown Minneapolis, into a food-shelf operation amid the antique deco mirrors, chandeliers, and bar. It looks like a glamorous yet efficient warehouse, where Timberwolves execs and teammates have placed huge food bins and boxes to fill with produce and meals for those in need all over our twin towns.)
Larry and Richard D’amico, of D’amico & Sons, along with their catering chefs (shout-out to Jordan Swiler), have created a holiday brunch menu with their famous vegetable strata and quiche lorraine.
At the Lynhall, owner Annie Spaeth, chef Adam Vickerman, and pastry chef Katie Elsing have created “dinner bundles” for two to four people, featuring Peterson’s prime rib or smoked ham, as well as a vegetarian option. Perfect for that college kid who drives you nuts. They’re also doing brunch bundles, featuring Elsing’s garlic buns. And I mustn’t forget the Lynhall’s limited-edition Christmas afternoon tea for takeout, too.
Oh, and if you like ribs, Janene Holig, of Hot Indian, has added Revolver Ribs (in rotating flavors) to order for pick-up or delivery, Thursdays through Sundays. I’d recommend the Kung Pao and Salt Vinegar ribs, along with her potato stackers and Sara’s Tipsy Pies, as a way to impress anyone, or to treat yourself.
After checking out all their websites for ordering deadlines and prices, please turn that calendar to 2021 as fast as you can.
Ways to Give Back
So many local leaders, chefs, and volunteers are making free, healthy takeaway meals available seven days a week. Made in their kitchens and warehouses, the meals are handed out at numerous locations, including churches and community centers. Here are a few organizations that could use volunteer hours and/or donations:
The Central Kitchen, created by Second Harvest Heartland under CEO Allison O’Toole, is providing meals in collaboration with the Chow Girls Amy Brown and Heidi Andermack, along with Loaves and Fishes, which is run by Cathy Maes, her staff, and tons of chefs and volunteers.
Also, chef and owner Ann Ahmed, along with her staff at Lat14 in Golden Valley and Lemon Grass in Brooklyn Park, are collecting toys for Toys for Tots this weekend (December 18-20) at both restaurants, as there is a huge shortage this year.