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5 things-Sandwich and a side please

Let’s talk sandwiches, sides and Purple and Rain this week.

It’s no secret that we love experimentation, change, and eating at the Smokehaus. That’s why our menu is ever evolving and revolving. Which is actually sort of tricky since our main sandwich board is all HAND-DRAWN – isn’t it a masterpiece?

smokehaus

So this week some important decisions were made, so that you all can eat more fan-favorite sandwiches and of course sides. A side-note on sides. Let’s be honest, sides can make or break a meal. Did you have a side of bacon with your eggs this morning? Perhaps a side of warm berry compote with your whole wheat french toast? A side of garlicky lemon broccolini with your duck roast? And then there’s lunch. Our bread and butter. Our sides have come a long way! Have you tried our Hausmade potato salad with pancetta and egg? It rounds out lunch-time, just perfectly.

So, here’s 5 things that happened in our small deli this week:

#1 The Thursday special, the Clubhaus (drooling now) has made its way on to our permanent menu! Congratulations Clubhaus! That crispy combo of pancetta and smoked turkey can now be eaten at all hours of the day, 7 days week. Thank the good lord. And,… in its place on Thursday comes the CBLT! Crunchy cottage bacon, lettuce, tomato on Hausmade Rye. It’s the classic combo done Smokehaus-style of course. Order yours with a side of creamy crunchy coleslaw.

smokehaus clubhaus

#2 So, now to the sides. Like I said, sides bring a certain level of satisfaction to every meal. Now, we can assist in your side planning by offering our Pancetta & Egg Potato Salad and our Creamy Slaw (Koolsla, we’re calling it) in our Grab ‘n’ Go area. Obviously, mayo is a factor in these traditional salads, and we use only the best, and most delicious, Duke’s.

smokehaus sides

#3 A certain special sandwich was been resurrected this week by popular demand. Yes, the Purple Range is BACK, baby. It just couldn’t be wiped away, thrown aside, or forgotten about. And customers just couldn’t stop ordering it. For some it’s always sounded like a sort of funny combination, but once you try it, you’re likely to change your tune.

smokehaus sandwiches

#4 Thing number 4 (not sandwich related). Posters have been hung in our front deli windows – check ’em out next time your in line. We’d be remiss if we didn’t let y’all know about all the ways to get our food. Our shop is ground zero of course, but our other departments are popping off in a pretty amazing way. We ship nationwide (shipped to every single state last year!), we deliver ALL of our products locally, and we cater events from small meetings to full blown Viking weddings. Think about it for your next fun thing… we’re here to feed you.

smokehaus catering

#5 And what’s a blog post if we don’t talk about weather. I’m still trying to determine if people talk about weather here more than the west coast, or if it’s just the fact that I personally have talked about weather more here since I’ve moved back. At any rate, we seem to have turned a corner (at long last) from the long winter into the great warming of spring. Temperatures sky-rocketed into the upper 50s/low 60s this week. Our beanie-less heads finally felt the warmth of the sun and the wind through our hair. And then today, it rained. A sure sign of the abundance and growth of spring and summer to come.

duluth rain

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1998 – Year One in Smoked Fish History

A damaged ship that Eric inspected! Photo by the fantastic Pete Clure.

Smoked fish has many histories – and ours officially began back in the 90’s.  To celebrate our 20-year anniversary, we have collected stories from all over Northern Waters Smokehaus for every year we’ve been in business. Our deli opened its doors in 2001 and basically hit the ground running. We’ve been selling smoked fish, meats, salumi, and sandwiches out of that little location for so long that some regulars call us an institution (thanks, y’all). However, our company was actually founded in 1998 on separate banks of Lake Superior almost single-handedly by co-owner Eric Goerdt.

Fresh from his experiences in Alaska and Hawaii, Eric had already begun to make his way into the Twin Ports community. He worked for the Coast Guard inspecting ships for safety and had started several key relationships through this work. As a petty officer, he wasn’t required to wear his uniform on inspections. Eric, ever the rebel, would run around ore boats in his civies, scampering from rivet to trivet, cracking jokes and making folks laugh. “The food on those ships is AMAZING,” said Eric when I asked him about those days. “They ate like farmers – piles of gravy, pork chops, pies: they didn’t have that much (pastime) activity, so food was a big deal.”

Eric consequently started selling the sailors smoked fish – a perfect fit for his burgeoning career. By the end of 1998, he had fine-tuned some recipes and had enough of a business plan to get to work, smoking salmon in small batches at a nondescript business center in Superior, WI. His limited equipment meant a lot of cleaning: he had to fully hose down the one cooler he used in between raw and cooked, so he was constantly busy. As he smoked and cleaned, drove and hustled fish at the ports, his local following grew. “I put the fish in a little cooler in the lobby,” he remembered, “with a bucket beside it for the honor system – it worked!” People from all over the Twin Ports began gobbling down the miraculous kippered fish. When the fish was cooling, he would head over to a tiny brew pub, Twin Ports Brewery, to socialize and drink microbrews (Eric knows as much about beer as anyone I’ve ever met, and even had some rough plans to run his own pub until he realized he might miss out on some elements of family life if he was at a bar until the wee hours). It was at TPB that he met even more people – people who would become close friends and customers. The adventure had begun!

 

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5 Things- Coming out of the Winter doldrums

IN A WORLD where you only have space to write about so many things, you sometimes wish for less things. At other times,  you wish for more things. But for my purposes, I hope for exactly 5 things. This week, dreams came true! So, to wit:

 

Photo by Bob King                                                

Inclement Weather Update: This week started off with some pretty heavy weather… The kind that makes gigantic waves that sometimes go so far onto the shores of Canal Park that it floods our basement. NOT THIS TIME! Nope, other than some treacherous driving (and walking, let’s face it) things went off pretty much without a hitch down here. Our diligent crew braved all kinds of elements and did their thing as usual; brilliantly. Duluth got about 8 inches of blowing and drifting snow, which made travel difficult for about 24 hours. But, by the end of the week and with a couple of days of warm weather, the very late in the year blizzard receded into a distant memory. This weekend should give us ample opportunity to get some warm sunshine on our faces. Worth the wait!

The Northern Bagel Kit has this week passed a milestone! Due to the hard work of our bright and shiny mail order department, an idea that came to fruition has since gone on to become a momentous reality. As of this week, we have shipped The Northern Bagel Kit to 13 states across the US. That means that people across the nation are able to construct their own taste of Duluth and NWS whenever they want to! We’re completely honored that we have so many fans of our humble deli throughout the nation. For those who come from here and are homesick for a taste of something that you can only find in Duluth, you can be sure that this hit the spot.

What’s that in the window? Well, it’s some pretty great illustrations done by our own Florencia! She has been working out the details and drawings for our 3rd floor office window eleganza, and they are giving us life. Look for these to be up in the next couple of weeks. They will be highly visible and will not only point out our great location, but also show off some of the great artistic elements that add to our total package here at The Smokehaus. We’re stoked to see them come to life!

Rose Season! Yessssssss! It’s back! The weather is warming and the season is right for some delicious Rose on the patio! Our pals at Lake Avenue Cafe across the hall have just ordered up a some great Rose selections to drink into the summer, and we can’t wait to try some while sitting on their sunny and cozy deck. Rose has really hit it’s stride in the past few years, and there is an embarrassment of great versions coming out each season. It’s a great one to pair with delicious and fatty charcuterie (think of our saucisson sec warming in the sunshine a little) or just on it’s own for a refreshing taste of summer. If you love a crisp white wine but haven’t really given Rose a chance, there is no better time than now. Do it!

To the dump! Here at the Smokehaus, we recycle, reuse and generally try to pay as little as possible for things when we can, and our favorite payment plan is FOR FREE. Much of the office furniture that we have was found or given to us, and we think that way of doing things makes perfect sense. Sure, we can’t buy commercial-grade restaurant equipment for little to nothing, and of course we spend premium money to bring you premium food products, but if we can make do or get it for free, we usually will. Which is why we’re such big fans of the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District’s reuse center on Rice Lake road in Duluth. Anytime someone brings things in to throw in the landfill that still have a useful life left, they get put aside in a series of buildings until someone that has a need for them ferries them away. It’s all free, and it’s such a great way to not only save money, but also keep rampant consumerism in check. Our Smokehaus offices were in need of another desk, and so off to the landfill we went in search of a free desk. We found a pretty perfect desk for our uses, which by itself would have made it a fruitful trip, but then we found THE PAINTINGS. There was pretty serious debate about who exactly was being depicted in these paintings; is it really Sid Vicious? It kind of looks like him in Anime form… Is that Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes fame, Pete Wentz from Fallout Boy or just someone’s boyfriend? We don’t know, and we don’t really care. We just loved the paintings, and since they were free… why not? Our staff has already gotten a lot of joy out of them, and that’s all we really care about.

 

 

 

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5 things: Travel Channel Edition

The Travel Channel stopped by our Smokehaus this week and we had a blast hosting them! If you followed our live streams and Instagram stories, you already got to see all the glitz and glamour, but here’s a quick recap.

5 things – Travel Channel Edition

#1 Sandwiches – The Travel Channel chose 3 sandwiches to play a starring role in the production. The doughy divas that made the cut are: The Silence of the Lambwich, the Italiensk and (of course) the Cajun Finn! We just can’t contain the magic of the Finn!

travel channel northern waters smokehaus

travel channel northern waters smokehaus

#2 Space – Have you seen our shop? IT’S TINY! But there’s even less room with a TV crew, lights and cameras. We made it through without any major injuries or breaking their equipment, so we’ll call it a win!

travel channel northern waters smokehaus

travel channel northern waters smokehaus

#3 I’ll be waiting in my trailer – Smoking extrordinaire Nick Cleary and master sandwich architect Leif Hinkel put on their TV faces and gave the Travel Channel the inside scoop of what goes into our Cajun Finn. Both of them were pretty cool cucumbers with all the lights and cameras!

travel channel northern waters smokehaus

travel channel northern waters smokehaus

travel channel northern waters smokehaus

#4 Customer Stars – Employees weren’t the only stars for the day. Many of our patrons stopped in and some were interviewed about what they love about our food. It was flattering to hear so many nice things 💗💗💗

travel channel northern waters smokehaus

#5 NEWS NEWS NEWS – The Travel Channel weren’t the only ones who graced our little shop. WDIO and Fox 21 reported on the event. What a day! Keep following our journey and we’ll keep you posted on when our episode will air this summer.

travel channel northern waters smokehaus

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5 things: The Travel Channel comes next week!

Here’s “5 things” that happened at the Smokehaus this week.

#1 First things first! The Travel Channel comes next week!!!! EEEE! We have been planning and scheduling and cleaning and eating and planning and generally feeling excited as we wait for the Travel Channel to come visit us next week! Share in our big day by visiting us on Tuesday, April 10 between 11am and 2pm. They are stopping by to try your favorite sandwich, the most popular, The Cajun Finn! We hope to see you Tuesday for the filming and all the fun!

cajun finn

#2 This week we started selling Cottage Bacon in our deli. Ours is made from 100% Berkshire Pork, from the collar butt cut. Collar butt is the same cut of pork we use in our Porkettas and formerly our Coppa. The collar butt cut comes from the pig’s shoulder. This specific cut is very tender and has an awesome fat marble that is well known with the Berkshire breed. We pump and brine the collar butt the same we do our hams. They brine for roughly one week and take 7-9 hours in the smoker. Sliced to order by the pound and best served pan fried, just like bacon!

#3 Another new item to snag when you visit us this weekend is Blue Earth Brie Cheese. Blue Earth is a bright, grassy, buttery soft cheese made from 100% grass fed cow’s milk. Rich and smooth, Blue Earth reflects the fertile soils that dominate its namesake Blue Earth County. From the maker of the Camembert-style in our grab’n’go, Alemar Cheese Co. (Mankato, MN) continues to create award winning French-style cheese. Enjoy this brie with sweet fruits such as apples, berries, cherries, pears. Sweeten it up by drizzling honey over it. Pairs well with light to medium red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. And is superb with cured meats, such as Cottage Ham, Ham, Salamini, or Saucisson sec!

#4 The van gets dressed up! Our delivery van got all dolled up this week with new van decals. We slapped on some Smokehaus stickers to the old girl so you can wave to us when we are delivering Smokehaus sandwiches, platters, fish, meats, grocery items (anything we sell!) all over town. Didn’t know we delivered? You are missing out! Check out the delivery map.

#5 This first week of April also brought with it frigid temperatures and snow. Some may call this fun. Some may call it a brutal end to a brutal winter. Some may have shed a small tear, and others don’t even bat an eyelash. We live in an interesting weather place next to the giant Lake Superior. We really never know what kind of winter it will be, or how long. At any rate, we push onward and patiently await for that mercury to rise, so we can plunge into that lake!