[FHCx366] National Champagne Day

THIS IS IT! THIS IS THE END!

IT’S NATIONAL CHAMPAGNE DAY!

366 days straight of food holiday challenges. No retrospective in this post. No “here’s our favorites.” Nah, we’ll save that for another time. We have to get to the NYE partying!

And in true SPAK spirit, we want to avoid the actual alcohol (and fizziness for AK specifically) and circumvent the process. Not only that, but we’d probably have people arguing over what’s “real” champagne anyway. So we got these two things from Sugarfina – thanks looking out, SPom!

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Champagne gummi bears and Champagne Marshmallows! The gummi bears tasted like gummi bears.

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The marshmallows had actual gold on them which made them kind of expensive. They were also super squishy and delicate. Not your Stay Puft kind of mallow.

Well that’s it! A full trip around the food holiday calendar. Tomorrow is National Bloody Mary Day, but you probably already knew that!

Happy New Year, and thanks for all the support in our Food Holiday Challenge! Stay tuned in 2017 for further blog posts.

-SPAK

[FHCx349] National Bouillabaisse Day

Say that three times fast.

IT’S NATIONAL BOUILLABAISSE DAY!

It’s even tough to spell it! It’s basically a portmanteau of the words “boil” and “simmer.” Kind of vague for what this thing is: a fish stew. A really tasty fish stew. But there’s all sorts of tradition surrounding this thing that you have to adhere to:

-The ingredients have to be added one by one rather than all at once. Talk about inefficiency for the sake of taste.

-You have to make a rouille, a garlic egg-yolk mayonnaise, and serve it on toast with the soup.

-Serve the soup really hot, with the fish on a separate platter.

Whew!

We went to one of the only remaining restaurants of the Twin Cities that still serves Bouillabaisse (now that Vincent is closed), Sea Change. It’s a pretty lovely restaurant connected to the historic Guthrie Theater.

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Needs no explanation on this menu. Only for the enlightened.

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The rouille is on the bottom of the left piece of toast because SP was clumsy and knocked it over.

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A view with the toast removed.

Really hearty and delicious. If you like seafood, this is definitely a winner.

Tomorrow is National Cupcake Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx335] National Mousse Day

Not mouse, not moose,

IT’S NATIONAL MOUSSE DAY!

Air bubbles making something tastier? Ridiculous… but true! There’s something about the texture of a mousse that really adds to the experience, and of course the French food scientists would be the ones to come up with it.

As if we’ve never featured Lund’s & Byerly’s amazing bakery before, tonight’s mousse was a special treat from the ol’ LnBs (pronounced, “Ellenby’s”).

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He’s so happy that he’s about to be digested!

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Look at that beautiful moussey center…

Tomorrow is National Pie Day (we disagree) and National Eat a Red Apple Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx333] National French Toast Day

In France it’s just called, “toast,” right?

IT’S NATIONAL FRENCH TOAST DAY!

Actually in French it’s called pain perdu, because you use “lost” (i.e., stale) bread to make this delicious treat. But considering how ancient the recipe is, over time we’ve learned that we can still use decent bread.

If we had our way, we would have made a special trip to The Buttered Tin in St. Paul because they make an unbelievably good Bananas Foster French Toast. Heck, SP would have settled for having his Jimmy Dean French Toast Griddler at breakfast like olden times before stores stopped carrying it. Instead, AK was kind enough to demonstrate the basics of making french toast.

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Add in the milk, cinnamon, and vanilla.

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Bread into egg mixture. The word AK used was “plorp.”

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Plorp the other side.

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Fry it up!

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Delicious eggy sweet bread.

In the scheme of things, most breakfast foods are equal in our minds. That is, pancakes/waffles/french toast. But depending on the quality, french toast can really be amazing.

Tomorrow is National Lemon Creme Pie Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx323] National Vichyssoise Day

IT’S NATIONAL VICHYSSOISE DAY!

Cold. Soup. Yay.

Vichyssoise is controversial because the French say the Americans invented it, and the Americans say the French invented it. It’s like neither wants to take credit (or blame) for the creation of this soup. Maybe because it’s not really all that good?

In theory, pureed potatoes and leeks with some cream and stock sounds like it could be great. Potatoes and onion-y flavor is not exactly the gross end of any spectrum anywhere. SPom and SPad were up to the challenge of making this one.

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It was better when heated up. Overall, we’re glad we got to have it. AK suggested that it tasted like a liquid pringle. Just imagine that for a bit.

Tomorrow is National Carbonated Beverage with Caffeine Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx251] National Napoleon Day/National Salami Day/National Beer Lovers’ Day/National Acorn Squash Day

TOO MUCH

TODAY IS NATIONAL NAPOLEON DAY, NATIONAL SALAMI DAY, NATIONAL BEER LOVERS’ DAY, AND NATIONAL ACORN SQUASH DAY!

We’ll try to be brief.

Acorn squash, and many fall/winter squashes, are great additions to most meals. Whether you want to make them savory or a little sweet (SPom uses maple pepper), just mash ’em up and you’re good to go.

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But really want we want to focus on is how we knocked out three of these food holidays at one place. It’s very dear to us: Cosetta’s in St. Paul. Imagine walking into an large building with beautiful wooden structure, delicious looking cakes in a bakery window, the smell of marinara, and the sound of Louis Prima.

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This captures about 1/3 of the cafeteria-style area

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The Italian Hero is what we’re after!

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Salami sandwich. Boom.

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Their pasticceria is also gorgeous, with some of the most elaborate looking desserts you’ve ever seen. They also have unbeatable gelato – a cioccolatto, for example, that cannot be matched anywhere.

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Napoleon!

Okay, pause here. Napoleon, yes, is very much related to Napoleon Bonaparte. Really, this dessert is a Mille-feuille, a many-many-layered pastry with cream and all sorts of goodies. Of course, French people in the 18th-19th centuries associate such a grande dessert with the grande guy himself.

So why at an Italian place? This is hands down the best Napoleon in the Twin Cities. The cream is on point. The layers are delicate and fluffy. And the top is beautiful, as you can see. Most Italian versions of the mille-feuille are actually savory with stuff like spinach and cheese, but Cosetta’s does the classic. So there you go.

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Cosetta’s also has a great beer selection of local stuff for beer lovers!

Phew, we made it! I guess this makes up for tomorrow, which doesn’t have an OFFICIAL food holiday. But we are going to MAKE ONE UP!

That’s right! We declare tomorrow… NATIONAL HONEYCRISP APPLE DAY!

-SPAK

[FHCx240] National Banana Lovers Day/National Pots de Creme Day

And boy do we love bananas!

TODAY IS NATIONAL BANANA LOVERS’ DAY AND NATIONAL POTS DE CREME DAY!

If you haven’t watched Bananya, you totally should.

They say bananas are nature’s cheesecake. We say they’re downright delightful. It’s important to keep bananas around for an easy, peelable snack anytime. Yeah they may be carby, but it’s better than reaching for those Cheetos or cookies.

Fresh from the grocery store banana tree

Look at how much this guy loves bananas!

It’s strange how many of our “national” days revolve around French food. Strange in the sense that we’re mostly war buddies but it makes sense that we still covet all the French food. It’s just so good.

SPom had this recipe lying around and she was gracious enough to help by making it for us!


Yummy!

Tomorrow is National Cherry Turnover Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx225] National Julienne Fries Day

Julie who?

IT’S NATIONAL JULIENNE FRIES DAY!

French Fry lesson time. There’s a lot of different forms of our favorite deep fried potato treat. Thanks to The Nibble, we have this beautiful article. In it, we find some serious wisdom.

The general shape of the french fry is called the “batonnet.” It’s about 0.25″ by 0.25″ by 2-2.5″ while its big brother, the “baton,” is 0.5″ by 0.5″ on the end. Our buddy for today, the Julienne style, which admittedly is used in cutting all sorts of things that aren’t french fries, uses 1/8″ or 3mm – one half each edge length of the batonnet. Nobody knows how the term originates but perhaps after a person with a name like Julienne.

So to honor the french fry, we went French: Barbette in Minneapolis.

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SP‘s “Royale with Cheese” – burger with caramelized onions and brie (yes, brie) with some hollandaise for the fries.

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AK‘s Croque Madame, with that beautiful egg on top.

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J is for Julienne!

We can’t turn down french fries. These were really great. If you’re ever in the Lake Calhoun area, make sure to stop by Barbette!

Tomorrow is National Filet Mignon Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx195] National French Fry Day/National Beans ‘n Franks Day

An important holiday for sure.

TODAY IS NATIONAL FRENCH FRY DAY AND NATIONAL BEANS ‘N FRANKS DAY!

Beanie Weenie, whatever. You take a frank of some sort, mix it in with some baked beans. Our guess is that someone needed to make a dinner out of two convenient, long-lasting foods. Chop up some hot dog and throw it in beans. Boom. There’s even fiber in it, so it’s good for you, right?

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SP‘s favorite baked beans.

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Very good hot dogs. Easy to prepare.

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Franks. Beans.

But there’s a more important thing to talk about today: French Fries.

French Fries are the epitome of the beige food. Ultimately tasty, uniquely made in so many different places, undeniably addictive, and most definitely not good for you in large quantities. In no particular order, we want to salute the following places for their excellent French Fries. Please keep doing what you’re doing:

And many, MANY others. Those are just the first that come to mind. Today we celebrated by picking up a snack at Five Guys. We’ve found among our friends that Five Guys’ fries are polarizing. Some friends say that the reason they give you so many in the bag is because they have to get rid of them, since they’re so bad. Those are people you shouldn’t spend too much time around. Five Guys’ fries are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, fresh and hot, and best covered in cajun spices.

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Thanks for the fries!

Tomorrow is National Grand Marnier Day and National Mac and Cheese Day.

-SPAK

[FHCx174] National Onion Rings Day/National Chocolate Éclair Day

Today is good for your heart.

IT’S NATIONAL ONION RINGS DAY AND NATIONAL CHOCOLATE ÉCLAIR DAY!

When faced with the choice of french fries, tots, or onion rings at a place like Blue Door Pub, your likelihood of popping a blood vessel increases tenfold. How can you say no to any one of those things? A bar staple, the onion ring stands up next to its fried buddies very, very well. SP has always wondered why onion rings are so different in different restaurants and here’s the conclusion:

Battered vs. Breaded. That’s it.

Breaded – Hand-coated with bread crumbs and deep fried. Crunchy and makes a fun mess. Often has bigger slices of onions than battered. Examples of Breaded that we love: Red Robin‘s Onion Tower, Tony Roma’s Onion Loaf, Timberlodge Steakhouse‘s Paul Bunyan Onion.

Battered – Battered, frequently with a beer batter and buttermilk, and deep fried. Very crispy. Examples of Battered that we love: Stout’s Pub‘s Onion Rings, George and the Dragon‘s Onion Rings, and The Hat‘s Onion Rings.

While we wish we could celebrate at all of these places today, here’s our sad attempt at eating onion rings:

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Easier to manage and not overdo it.

We’ll have real onion rings again someday.

It’s also chocolate éclair day. If you haven’t had a chocolate éclair in a while, you’ve probably forgotten how amazing they are. It’s like having a cream puff without excessive mess (there’s still a mess) and with chocolate. What’s better? Very little. Profiteroles, we suppose.

Éclair means “flash of lightning” because that is the speed at which you are supposed to eat them! We tried to slow ourselves down for these.

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Everybody talks about how these Target éclairs are amazing. We had to try them.

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Bavarian creme filled

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Peanut butter.

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Yes.

What a glorious day!

Tomorrow is National Pecan Sandy Day.

-SPAK