Heavy Table Hot Five: April 7-13

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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.

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Paige Didora / Heavy Table

Paige Didora / Heavy Table

1-new - oneButter-Braised Chicken at the Hope Creamery Farmer’s Dinner at Cook St. Paul
The Hope Creamery Farmer’s Dinner at Cook St Paul was meticulously delicious, and the most memorable course was Butter-Braised Chicken, Leeks, and Béarnaise. For such a pedestrian protein, it was divine: tender and flavorful. The beautiful, earthy leek rings brightened up the sauce, making for a well-composed dish.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Paige Didora]

James Norton / Heavy Table

James Norton / Heavy Table

2-new - twoFrozen Clam Chowder from Coastal Seafoods
Coastal Seafoods is so perfectly tuned to show off its fresh seafood that it’s easy to lose sight of other things on offer, including a collection of house-made frozen food items including crab cakes and soups. Among the latter are a clam chowder that stands up to some of the best we tasted during a six-year sojourn in New England. It’s not as cream-dominated as many chowders, letting other flavors (onions, herbs, the clams themselves) shine through for a lighter, more balanced experience that still imparts a creamy contentedness.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by James Norton]

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

Brenda Johnson / Heavy Table

3-new - threePoke Bowl at SotaRol
Not exactly what you would find in a poke (pronounced poh-kay) purchased by the pound in grocery stores or served in fast food restaurants all over Hawaii, but it’s pretty darn close. SotaRol’s Salmon Poke ($11) has its elements in correct balance — rice topped with lightly marinated fresh salmon, avocado, cucumber, shallots, and a dash of sesame oil and soy sauce, garnished with toasted sesame seeds and strips of nori (dried seaweed). We needed to add a little sriracha for some heat, but the overall flavor was classic “poke”: light, fresh, and very healthy! This meal-in-a-bowl has crossed the Pacific and is becoming popular in eateries all over the continental U.S. It will be popping up in more Minnesota restaurants as well. A poke-focused spot called The Cove is coming soon to Dinkytown.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Brenda Johnson]

James Norton / Heavy Table

James Norton / Heavy Table

4-new fourCherry Pie from Savory Bake House
You can always count on the folks at Savory to get the balance right (whether they’re serving up something sweet or savory), and the cherry pie we tasted last week was no exception. Sweetness and tartness were in harmony, the filling was firm without being dry or joyless, and the crust was tender and flaky.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by James Norton]

Ted Held / Heavy Table

Ted Held / Heavy Table

5-new -five Falafel at Zait and Za’atar
I’m always happy to welcome a new Middle Eastern restaurant to town. Zait and Za’atar, which opened last month in St. Paul met my falafel expectations (for $6) with soft pita, generous and delicious hummus and tahini, fresh salad, and most importantly, quarter-sized falafel balls that were crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and green in color from fresh parsley. If you’re so inclined, ask for hot sauce. The owner is apparently so secretive about the spicy green sauce, he won’t even tell the servers what it is.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Ted Held]

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James Norton

James Norton is editor and co-founder of the Heavy Table. He is also the co-author of Lake Superior Flavors, the co-author of a book about Wisconsin’s master cheesemakers, and a regular on-air contributor to Minnesota Public Radio.

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