Heavy Table Hot Five: Feb. 24-Mar. 2

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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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James Norton / Heavy Table

James Norton / Heavy Table

1-new - oneSakatah Cheese from Alemar
Made from cow’s milk and aged in grape leaves, Sakatah isn’t a simple object or a simple flavor. The cheese we tried was intensely salty and peppery, and possessed a profoundly funky finish. By itself, it was aggressive but palatable, but on a freshly baked baguette it was absolutely delicious, the crusty substance of the bread moderating and cradling the intensity of the cheese. Its earthiness is complemented still further by a sweet spread with a similar umami-rich element – we tried it with a fig and orange spread and the result was a fantastic flavor bomb.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by James Norton]

James Norton / Heavy Table

James Norton / Heavy Table

2-new - twoRIS from Inbound Brewing
There’s a snappy, almost pepper-like bitterness in Inbound’s Russian Imperial Stout that keeps RIS from slumping into the oversweet, overboozy stupor that can define this category of big brews. Dried fruit can often dominate this sort of special release, but in this case the flavor trends more toward dark chocolate and bold roasty notes that balance out the beer’s mild but persistent bite.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by from an upcoming review by James Norton]

Amy Rea / Heavy Table

Amy Rea / Heavy Table

3-new - threeThe Molcajete from La Terraza
The Molcajete from La Terraza in Mankato is sized for sharing and is served in an eye-catching giant heated stone serving bowl. It’s a thick, earthy stew of fajita beef, chorizo, shrimp, and chicken served over a bed of grilled cactus leaves, onions, and peppers. The whole thing is tossed in a thick, gravy-like sauce made of tomatillos and roasted chiles (but no worries, the heat level is mild). There’s so much flavor going on here that it’s a little delirious, but in a wonderful way. Take advantage of the puffy tortillas to act as a solid base for the stew-like concoction.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Submitted by Amy Rea]

Varsha Koneru / Heavy Table

Varsha Koneru / Heavy Table

4-new fourButternut Squash Daiquiri at Cafe Alma
A butternut squash cocktail doesn’t sound like something you would want to order, especially in favor of the other great cocktail choices on Cafe Alma’s menu, but this one is worth trying. The squash notes are subtle, but add a wonderful earthiness to the drink. There is a burst of lemon for freshness and acidity, which balances the mild sweetness of the squash.  If that isn’t enough, the drink is served in an adorable hollowed gourd, and topped with a velvety sage leaf, making it one of the best looking cocktails around.
[Last Week on the Hot Five: #1 | Submitted by Varsha Koneru]

Tricia Cornell / Heavy Table

Tricia Cornell / Heavy Table

5-new -five Beef Tagine at Moroccan Flavors
A speedy, elegant lunch from a warming tray? Yes. In the heart of the Midtown Global Market, you can get an authentic, slow-cooked tagine. The beef is rich, sweet and mildly spicy, served with apricots, prunes and almonds over rice. Or choose chicken and squash, served over couscous.
[Last Week on the Hot Five: #3 | Submitted by Bruce Manning]

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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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