[FHCx340] National Sacher Torte Day

TODAY IS NATIONAL SACHER TORTE DAY!

A sacher torte is named after the same guy/family as the Hotel Sacher in Vienna, and his name is Franz Sacher. Austrian, yet Jewish, this guy was 16 years old when he invented the dessert after a kitchen meltdown in Prince Metternich’s court. Ah, Viennese royalty…

But what is it? Chocolate cake? That’s it? NO! It’s a super dense chocolate cake with a dark chocolate finish that obscures a thin layer of delectable apricot jam. That’s a cake we can get behind. Or… a cake we can put in our faces. Thanks to Black Forest Inn, we didn’t end up having to make one today. Theirs was delicious!

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Served with a little cup o’ whipped cream. See that cute layer of apricot?

Tomorrow is National Gazpacho Day.

-SPAK

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[FHCx235] National Pecan Torte Day/National Eat a Peach Day

August didn’t feel like pecans before…

IT’S NATIONAL PECAN TORTE DAY AND NATIONAL EAT A PEACH DAY!

We recently had some chocolate pecan pie, which was great. And pecans (next to almonds) have been a favorite of those who put together the national food holidays: pecan day in April, pecan sandy day in June, pecan pie day in July… We’ll see them again when SP‘s birthday holds pecan cookie day.

But today is about the pecan torte. And just as we didn’t really know what constituted a torte when we had coconut torte day, we had to go with what people told us was a torte. And thankfully, that torte came from Surly Brew Co! Among their many other tasty foods, they have an excellent dessert menu.

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Chocolate cake made with Surly’s Damien beer, hazelnut chocolate, and salted caramel pastry cream, topped with pecans.

It’s a nice little dessert to share! Very chocolatey and salty and the little chocolate balls are fun.

It was also Eat a Peach Day! We aren’t exactly peach country up here in Minnesota. We got these beautiful Colorado peaches at HyVee.

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AK thinks that peaches are weird because they’re fuzzy. If that logic worked on other things, she probably shouldn’t like SP much either.

Tomorrow is National Sponge Cake Day!

-SPAK

[FHCx73] National Coconut Torte Day

Tortle power!

TODAY IS NATIONAL COCONUT TORTE DAY!

Raise your hand if you don’t like coconut. Okay, you look silly, put it down. Most people’s objections mirror that of Tallahassee from Zombieland:

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But it’s amazing! Think of how much we had to work, as a species, to uncover what coconut had in store for us. Who would have thought some gigantic, impenetrable, rock-shaped fruit could have had both sweet milk and tasty, funky-textured flesh? You might get annoyed with it stuck in your teeth, but that’s no reason to get mad. It’s reason to get braces. Or something.

In any case, this isn’t just about coconut. It’s about torte. It’s about SPom baking us this amazing coconut torte. What makes a cake a torte? Some people will tell you it’s about how the cake is made, or how the cake is layered, but honestly, we think it’s just people trying to be fancy.

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Three beautiful layers for our torte

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A frosting made from coconut, light sour cream, sugar, and pecans

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Magnificent. A super moist cake (AK: “I think I like the cake more than the frosting!”) with some amazing coconut goodness spread throughout (SP: “mMmrrhmmmfmfmmMMmm”). Thanks, SPom!

Tomorrow we celebrate National Potato Chip Day as well as π (Pi) Day.

SPAK

Whose house?! Icehouse!

We’ve been dormant! Mostly because we’re moving. Part of this moving business includes getting the new kitchen remodeled (into an extra-new SUPERKITCHEN!) which, of course, means more excuses to go out to eat! Yay. This time, we chose Icehouse. It’s kind of toward uptown Minneapolis, but isn’t that not technically uptown? It’s south of downtown. The neighborhood might be called Whittier but also we might have made that up. How’s this: Icehouse is on the Eat Street bit of Nicollet.

And the inside is real purty. Photo credit: heavytable.com

SP fancied himself a cocktail and decided to forego his usual citrus-focused drink choices for what Icehouse has dubbed the “Little Richard,” which is described on the menu as “zesty jazzberry phosphate rum-punch with vanilla cream foam.” Slightly obscure Mary Poppins references aside, it looked like this:

"HOOOOOO! Shut up." - Kennedy Davenport as Little Richard

“HOOOOOO! Shut up.” – Kennedy Davenport as Little Richard

As a bonus, it makes your burps taste like Jolly Ranchers!

We, as a SPAKtastic unit, love few things more than we love mushrooms, onion, and garlic (in any configuration or combination, really). That said, it of course follows that we ordered the Cast Iron Mushrooms as a starter. It’s a gorgeous varied heap of squishy shroomy goodness, topped with goopy burrata cheese. According to the internet, “burrata” means “buttered” in Italian; hopefully that’s an effective indication of how perfect the texture is. You’d think that exquisite cheesy mushrooms in a cast iron dish (as promised!) would be enough, but it also comes with a side of crostini AND roasted garlic in a sort of oily paste form. No onions to be found in this dish, but that’s not a letdown. Just imagine: delicately grasping a crostino between your thumb and forefinger; trying to contain yourself as you use your butter knife to scoop up some garlic paste and gingerly spread it on the roasty toasty bread; fumbling with your fork to gather up enough mushrooms to adequately adorn the layer of pure garlicky heaven; and, finally… the euphoric crunch resonating throughout your skull as the savory symphony plays on over your tastebuds.

Cast Iron Mushrooms with Crostini and Roasted Garlic

Cast Iron Mushrooms with Crostini and Roasted Garlic

Pure fungal heaven.

SP has spent a couple months coveting the Icehouse Burger from afar, ever since he saw it in a local magazine. One of the things that makes it special is the option of adding a slab of foie gras to it, and we saw to it that this opportunity was seized. Some burgers are the type you cannot possibly avoid getting all over you, and the Icehouse Burger is no exception. Rather than excess ketchup and mustard, what drips down your arm is a veritable stream of fatty duck and even fattier beef juices — plus, a truffle demi-glace, which was poured over the meat as it was served. When you bite into it, it’s like biting into a meat cloud bursting with rain-juice.

“So good. There were onions, it was buttery, sweet, salty, and… **indistinct satisfied muttering**… The fries were so good, too. Restaurant-style, hand-cut fries. They know what they’re doing. **more muttering** Crispy outside, fluffy inside, salted correctly. No way they’d ever let anything sit under a warmer to get soggy and stale. The tomato aioli that came with the fries was nice and smoky. **a sound that might be characterized most closely with “nnnnph”** A burger you won’t regret.” – SP, in a burger-induced haze

The top bun practically bounced right back off after SP put it on. A burger not to be trifled with.

The top bun practically bounced right back off after SP put it on. A burger not to be trifled with.

Meanwhile, across the table, AK chowed down on some Hanger Steak. It arrived on a bed of greens and wild mushrooms with sherry, topped with veal sweetbreads, and a croquetta on the side. Our server explained that the steak is served at a default of medium to medium-well as a result of being cooked sous-vide, which usually isn’t preferred (medium rare is the SPAK way), but the meat came out a beautiful, dark, and ultimately irresistible pink. It was tender, juicy, flavorful, and everything it should have been. It’s unclear what exactly was in this particular croquetta, but whatever it was, it was awesome. The insides were moist and salty, while the outside had a lovely crunch. The thought of what goes into sweetbreads usually gets us both feeling a little skeevy, but once you can get past the inherent rubberyness, the taste is rich and enjoyable. Neither of us remember what the sauce on the plate was, but it paired nicely with any of the other items in the dish. Some kind of remoulade, maybe?

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Lest we forget the sides. This time around we decided to get two to share: 1) Beer Battered Eggplant, and 2) Bacon, Egg, & Cheddar Mac & Cheese.

Beer Battered Eggplant with basil pesto, saffron, and giardiniera dollops for dippin'

Beer Battered Eggplant with basil pesto, saffron, and giardiniera dollops for dippin’

The batter didn’t taste that beerish, but not in a bad way. Nor in a way that makes you feel cheated. It was a very light batter that melts in your mouth without ever separating from the eggplant treasure within. The eggplant doesn’t come out of the battering/frying process too squishy or overly salty, either. Yum!

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The mac & cheese is one of the items we were most looking forward to but, sadly, also the one the ended up being our least favorite. Not because it was bad! It was very good! But something always has to place last. If you tend to enjoy white cheddar mac & cheese with thinner and not so much of the in-your-face types of thick melty cheese, this one is perfect for you. The bacon pervades the dish pleasantly, and the goo from the poached egg on top is a welcome addition (eggs over easy is a SPAK breakfast favorite!). Lastly, the smattering of roasted tomato and rosemary was a very present taste without being too pungent.

And then… there was dessert. We love chocolate. We love chocolate so much that we got both of the chocolate-centric desserts available to us: the Dark Chocolate Torte, and Chocolate Zucchini Cake. Each came with either a sorbet or ice cream, the freshness of which managed to dampen the heavy richness of all the chocolate. We’ll let them speak for themselves:

Dark Chocolate Torte with apricot ice cream, raspberries, and sunflower seeds

Dark Chocolate Torte with apricot ice cream, raspberries, and sunflower seeds. Plus, some sort of vaguely brown butter-esque sauce.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with chocolate sorbet, ganache, oreo crumb, and cinnamon. Although, I could swear there was also a vanilla sorbet. You can kind of see it behind one of the pieces of cake in the middle. But maybe that was just the ganache.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with chocolate sorbet, ganache, oreo crumb, and cinnamon. Although, we could swear there was also a vanilla sorbet. You can kind of see it behind one of the pieces of cake in the middle.

We’re full.

AK