Heavy Table Hot Five: May 26-June 1


Each Friday, this list will track five of the best things Heavy Table’s writers, editors, and photographers have recently bitten or sipped. Have a suggestion for the Hot Five? Email editor@heavytable.com.

shepherd-song-banner-ad-horiz-3The Hot Five is a weekly feature created by the Heavy Table and supported by Shepherd Song Farm.


Tricia Cornell / Heavy Table

1-new - one - hot fiveBrisket Bowl from Gastrotruck
Those of you who crave lighter fare when the summer heat hits, avert your eyes. If, however, you think summer means nothing more than a long series of opportunities to consume smoked and grilled meats, track down Gastrotruck. The brisket has a deep, dark flavor and just enough sauce. Order it as a sandwich or a bowl (with brown rice). Either way, you get generous, well-considered sides, like baby arugula and a potato-and-green bean salad with a whole lot going on. (Veggie lovers, if you’re still reading, Gastrotruck does make a mean black bean burger, also available as a bowl.)
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Tricia Cornell]

James Norton / Heavy Table

2-new - two - hot five Traditional Steak Pasty at Lands End Pasty Company
This week we met with 15 food artisans for half-hour interviews and sampling sessions as part of our first Heavy Table Listening Session at Lakewinds Food Co-op. Interview #1 was Pete Jacobson of Lands End Pasty Company, and he arrived with a still-warm steak, potato, onion, and rutabaga hand pie that we dove into for breakfast. Like the best of its kind, this pasty was stick-to-the-ribs hearty, well-seasoned but not overly salty, and covered in a crust that was tough but tasty, and durable but not leathery or bulletproof.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by James Norton]

James Norton / Heavy Table

3-new - three hot fiveSorghum Caramels from French Broad Chocolate Lounge
Asheville, N.C. is a bit of a drive, but we found ourselves there last week as a planned vacation to Barcelona became an impromptu road trip from Miami to Minnesota. While taking in the local scenery, we ended up at a chocolate and ice cream shop called French Broad Chocolate Lounge (named after the river, not a type of person) — and it turns out the founder, Jael Rattigan, originally hails from Minneapolis, which brings us full circle. The shop’s product is fantastic. The elevated but straightforward ice cream flavors rival those of Jeni’s, and the chocolate is luscious and full-flavored. We tried chocolates filled with caramel made from locally grown sorghum molasses, and they were rich, velvety bombs of caramelized sugar and chocolate intensity.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by James Norton]

Paige Didora / Heavy Table

4-new four hot fiveDagos at Dusty’s Bar
Dusty’s is an easy-to-miss dive bar in the shadow of the Grain Belt complex. It serves food from a scratch kitchen, and its dagos — in St. Paul, generally a cheesy, saucy, patty-shaped-meatball sandwich; here more a pork-based hamburger — are flavorful and addictive. Try the classic, with caramelized onions and peppers, or the California, with lettuce and tomato ($8 each, sides $1).
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Paige Didora]

Brianna Stachowki / Heavy Table

5-new -five ’Tuckey-Style Old Fashioned at The Lexington
The ’Tuckey-Style ($12), as the name suggests, is the classic without a twist: Wild Turkey 101 bourbon, house bitters, and orange zest. This critical recipe tweak resulted in a near-perfect drink: an appropriate level of alcoholic heat, classic orange oil aromatics, and a truncated finish that doesn’t overstay its welcome on the palate.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted from a review by Paige Didora]

Join Our Newsletter, Win Tickets to Morel Feast

The post is sponsored by Morel Feast and Morel Fest at The Hook and Ladder Theater.

Heavy Table’s bi-weekly newsletter includes a roundup of our best reviews, Q&As, and tasting notes, plus updates from our sponsors and friends like Chef Camp.

If you sign up for our newsletter before midnight, May 30, 2017, we’ll add your email address to a drawing for two tickets to the upcoming June 2 Morel Feast, featuring beer from Indeed and cooking from chefs including Steven Brown and Jim Kyndberg. Tickets retail for $80 each and include food and beverages, plus live entertainment.

If you’re already on our newsletter list, shoot us an email at editor@heavytable.com for a chance at the tickets, and use (or mention) the email address you’re using on the list.

Shredded Brisket Sandwich at Lucky Brisket BBQ Food Truck

Ted Held / Heavy Table

With the early arrival of spring this year, we are already well into food truck season. Schedules are mostly set, lines are long, and all the nearby benches are occupied with lunching workers cradling cardboard boats and eating carefully so as not to spill on their chinos — unless, for example, you’re at the state Capitol on the day after the conclusion of the legislative session, and there is light rain under grey skies. In that case, there won’t be lines at the two food trucks that, like our legislators, determinedly showed up for the special session.

One of the two trucks (a trailer really, but nobody says “food trailers”) is Lucky Brisket BBQ, bedecked in orange, windows open, awning drawn up to protect diners from the rain, neither of which have shown up yet beyond a trickle. The smell of smoked meat hits the nose at about the same distance that the logo becomes legible. The menu is focused, nothing more than brisket and pork sandwiches and coleslaw and beans for sides.

Ted Held / Heavy Table

We tried (what else?) the shredded brisket sandwich ($9) with coleslaw ($2) and were delighted with the result. A generous pile of brisket, blackened edges and all (with a visible smoke ring), is served on a soft white bun. The meat is toothsome and lean — sitting an even distance between melt-in-your-mouth tender and jaw-achingly tough. It’s smoky, yet the taste of the meat shines through. As we like it, the brisket is served without sauce, but Lucky Brisket’s own brand of sauces (spicy, smoky, and original) are a worthy accompaniment. The creamy coleslaw is crunchy and obviously fresh.

Owner Matt Falck is a newcomer to the food truck scene, having launched just this spring, but he’s been honing his craft in barbecue competitions for five years, and his Facebook page shows a variety of trophies and awards. The truck humbly claims that this is “BBQ Born From Competition,” which makes us wonder why we don’t go to more barbecue competitions, and also whether there are taco competitions, or lobster roll competitions.

Follow Lucky Brisket BBQ on Twitter, and you can get your fix around St. Paul.


Morel Feast and Morel Fest: The Foraged Feast of the Season!

This post is sponsored by Morel Feast and Morel Fest.

Indeed Brewing & The Hook and Ladder Theater present:

Morel Feast
Friday, June 2

An all-inclusive foraged feast featuring a collection of outstanding local chefs, including Tilia’s Chef Steven Brown, Radisson Blu’s Chef Jim Kyndberg, Town Talk’s CoChefs Kacey White and Charles Stotts, and also a “mystery chef.” Guests will enjoy live music by Parisota Hot Club in the transformed space of The Hook (featuring an “electric forest’”art installation), with all-you-can-eat mushrooms and all-you-can-drink pairings of local craft brews by Indeed Brewing and a specially curated wine selection.

Morel Feast Menu
Prosciutto wrapped asparagus with lemon Morel butter
Smoked Trout stuffed Morel tempura, table-fried with ramp remoulade
Morel Masala, served with basmati rice
Morel Cavatelli Primavera
(A very special menu item TBA)
Morel ice-cream desert

MORE INFO & TICKETS: http://thehookmpls.com/event/morel-feast-2017/

James Norton / Heavy Table

Morel Fest
– Saturday, June 3 –

Morel Fest, is an indoor / outdoor music and arts festival from 2 p.m. till 10 p.m., featuring butter-fried morels (while they last), craft beers from Indeed, and live performances by Romantica, Kind Country, Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers, Bernie King & The Guilty Pleasures, Flood Brothers (MO), Javier Matos, and King of the Tramps (IA).


Cocktails at The Lexington

Brianna Stachowki / Heavy Table

After years of rumors and remodeling, The Lexington, St. Paul’s 1935 dining institution, has finally reopened.

Owners Josh Thoma and Kevin Fitzgerald, the duo behind Smack Shack, have teamed with co-owner and chef Jack Riebel to update the classic while maintaining the requisite historical elements.

Brianna Stachowki / Heavy Table

Upon entry, it’s not immediately clear what is original and what is made to look that way. Each of the many dining rooms has its own feel. The main room is dominated by dark wood paneling and oil paintings and has pleasantly warm and subdued light. Another dining area is lighter in color, while still another was given a few modern touches that would fit in at a boutique hotel.

The entire place has a decidedly special-occasion feel, which may make a casual drop-in, even at one of the two bars, unlikely.

Despite the updates, “The Lex” fits firmly into the supper-club style of dining. Compared to other restaurants of the same era, such as The Monte Carlo or Murray’s, this relaunch is more supper and less club, with no neon in sight, and a generally muted scheme.

Beverages are overseen by Geoffrey Lee Trelstad (formerly of 4 Bells in Loring Park) and fall in line with the updated classic model.

Brianna Stachowki / Heavy Table

The Scofflaw ($12) is made with Old Overholt rye, dry vermouth, lemon, house grenadine, and creole bitters. It strikes the palate in one simple chord of sweet citrus and berry until a mild heat sets in on the finish. The rye character is not present, but the warmth cuts through the first rush of sugar.

Brianna Stachowki / Heavy Table

Less successful is the Jalisco-Style Old Fashioned ($12), which is one of a group of variations on the classic cocktail. Agave syrup dominates the Cazadores Reposado tequila, while the whiskey-barrel-aged bitters and orange peel do little to restrain the sugar bomb. Because the balance is far too sweet, the aged profile of the tequila is completely covered save for a brief smoke. The bitters are lost as well, but the orange peel lends some brightness.

Brianna Stachowki / Heavy Table

The ’Tuckey-Style ($12), as the name suggests, is the classic without a twist: Wild Turkey 101 bourbon, house bitters, and orange zest. This critical recipe tweak resulted in a near-perfect drink: an appropriate level of alcoholic heat, classic orange oil aromatics, and a truncated finish that doesn’t overstay its welcome on the palate.

Service at the Lexington was fair but with a general lack of confidence that made the place feel like it had just opened. At the bar, though, the service didn’t detract from the overall experience.

The few bar snacks that we sampled were excellent. They included the Fried Chicken Sliders ($9) with a vinegar-dressed slaw and a faintly sweet bun. Most impressively, the dark-meat chicken was moist and tender. Also, try the briny Chopped Celery Caesar ($12), which is tossed with a bright lemon and caper dressing and topped with a boquerone.

The Lexington, 1096 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN 55105; 651.289.4990