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A Practical Guide to NWS: Intro to Catering

Catering at Northern Waters Smokehaus comes in many forms—as simple as an All-Season Atlantic Salmon Fillet on a platter with an assortment of crackers, a pop-up at your venue slinging an item or two tailored to the theme of your event, or enough pulled pork and slaw to feed a small army; or, depending on your needs, as complex as a fully-staffed overnight company retreats or weddings in conjunction with our partner Hemlock Preserve.

Hemlock Preserve barn
Inside the barn

We believe that food has the potential to bring people together and define memories, so our catering service is aimed at those who value delicious, high-quality food and want it to be a part of the collective memory of their event. We use the same thoughtfully-sourced ingredients as you’d find in our deli, and whenever possible we use seasonal and regional produce.

Our service is highly customizable, and from the get-go we will work closely with you, giving you detailed quotes along the way. While we have a number of tried-and-true standard and favorite menus at our fingertips, your input is welcome and encouraged. We love the challenge of crafting an impactful menu based on our customer’s vision.

Marble bench for aesthetic purposes only & unfortunately not included. NWS catering is strictly B.Y.O.M.B.

In 2018, we had the honor of catering the annual gala at the Glensheen mansion. The theme was “Secret Garden: Unlocked,” an allusion to an early 20th-century English children’s novel. The menu—which featured English hand pies with lamb, peas, mint, and potatoes; watercress finger-sandwiches with Devon butter on hausmade pullman white bread; gravlax and scallion cream cheese atop rye crisps; Stilton puffs with pancetta and candied walnuts; cucumber cups with fresh pea soup, crème fraîche, cured herring roe, and pea shoots; a selection of cheese with paired fruits and preserves; and a number of desserts, including lavender macaroons and raspberry trifle pies—was meticulously planned and strategically executed to guarantee that each bite could be enjoyed at peak flavor and freshness.

Various cheeses & paired fruits
Macaroons & trifle pies
Watercress & butter finger sandwiches garnished with pansies

Sue Watt, from Hemlock Preserve, went above and beyond with gorgeous serviceware and memorable decorations. A favorite unexpected decoration was the moss-covered remains of a swinging-bench frame, found in an eroded section of a friend’s lakefront property. The piece suggested such nostalgia and history, it wove itself right into the fabric of the magical, overgrown English garden theme. 

Even if you’re not working with a Glensheen mansion-sized budget, you don’t have to miss out on the variety and quality we can offer.

Antipasto platter
NWS salad

For smaller events, we have short menu of favorite platters, organized and priced around your estimated headcount, available for delivery or in-store pickup. Within this menu we are able to adjust items to accommodate dietary restrictions and specific preferences. For most catering orders that don’t require staffing or extensive planning, we ask for 24-hours’ notice. The more time we have to plan for it, the better.

Mary serving tacos at Hoops Brewing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For events that require minimal staffing, using our pre-planned menus with minimal deviations, a couple weeks to a month of advance notice should suffice. Think rounding out the food offerings at your company holiday party, or a pop-up bratwurst stand at your show. 

Fried chicken is never a bad idea

 

 

 

 

 

 

For larger events and events with large staff & travel requirements, 6 months to a year is ideal. Typically, we try to meet face-to-face with you as soon as possible to ensure a mutual personal connection, with time for several meetings and correspondences along the way. Don’t limit your thinking to food and service alone, alongside Hemlock Preserve, we can take care of the venue, flowers, decorations, and settings too.

The Hemlock Preserve barn is lit
All hands on deck at one of our staff parties

Ultimately, however, the best part about working with us for catering is our staff. We’re an eclectic and eccentric bunch of skilled folks who know that work doesn’t necessarily have to feel like work if you have fun doing it. On on top of all that, we all believe in the importance of the work we do, and we know how to throw a good party. Catering is a chance to show off our skills and abilities that aren’t necessarily apparent in the day-to-day work around the deli.

Catering is nothing new to us, but it is always exciting. Join in on the excitement. See how we can help you make your event a hit.

For catering inquiries, call (218)724-7307 and ask for Hannah, or email us at catering@nwsmokehaus.com

 

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5 Things That Happened This Week At NWS

  1. A new shop manager!

    Our current deli manager, Sam, will soon be leaving us to pursue a new and exciting chapter of her life. While she will be dearly missed, we are pleased that Leif will be stepping up to fill her shoes. Leif has been with us for around four years, and has previously demonstrated his mettle as an assistant deli manager. He is one of the funniest people I know, and I’m looking forward to this new era under his iron rule.

    Leif playing music at our 20th Anniversary Party

    Oh, and by the way—Leif and another Smokehaus team alumnus, Sonja Bjordal (from Feeding Leroy) are sharing the stage tomorrow night (January 26th) at Sir Benedict’s Tavern on the Lake. There is no cover charge, and music starts at 9pm.

  2. Winterfest!

    The Minnesota Craft Brewers’ Guild has invited us to participate in their Winterfest event today (January 25th) at 7pm at Union Depot in St. Paul. From the Winterfest page:

    “Minnesota’s craft breweries are partnering with more than 20 restaurants to pair high-end beers with high-class bites at the 2019 Winterfest craft beer festival. The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild event gives craft beer fans a one-of-a-kind new format to enjoy the beers they love alongside specifically designed small plates to highlight the state’s craft beer industry and top chefs.”

    So, yea. As always, we’re honored that people think so well of us and what we’re doing up here in Duluth. We’re bringing some wild tacos to Winterfest. Picture this: Fried potato shell, topped with porketta, fennel, onion, haus-made hot-sauce, and lemon vinaigrette. I am jealous of all of those who get to taste this, rather than simply write about it.

    Tickets for the event are still available. $90/person, or $50/sober driver (food & non-alcoholic beverages included). I imagine no one will leave unsatisfied.

  3. Hoops pop-up!

    It feels like it has been forever, but we’re back on our pop-up game. Tonight, from 5 until we run out of food, we’ll be serving up brats at Hoops Brewing. On the menu, we have Italian sausage with roasted red peppers and onion and beer brats with sauerkraut, with potato salad and creamy Koolslaw available as sides.
  4. Carrot cake cookies!

    This was the best I could do with the resources available, but it still looks pretty tasty, no?


    Patricia, a new member of our team, has been blowing our minds with a variety of cookies and pastries, and we threw a dozen of them in the grab & go case this week: carrot cake cookie sandwiches with honey cream cheese.

    They went fast, but I doubt this is the last we’ll see of them. See, part of the vetting process is that we all have to test them. And, um, we’re going to want to test them again pretty soon here, I’d imagine.

    Basically, here is your reminder that stopping into our deli and seeing what kind of new flavor-of-the-day/week/month specials and deals we have for you is not a terrible idea. We’re always coming up with something new.

  5. We got a new coffee maker! 

    It turns out that when a large part of your business is conducted through FedEx, they want to hook you up with cool stuff. We had a lot of what I heard colloquially referred to as “FedEx Points” and a perennial problem of our high-quality Duluth Coffee Company coffee turning out as burnt, acidic death water.So we cashed in those FEPs and nabbed this new robot friend on the left:

    Left to right: box of scratch paper pads, new coffee maker (lovingly named “Leonardo DaCapresso”), old coffee maker, deep-freeze

    After we “Office Space” the old one, we’ll have all of that extra room for coffee accoutrement, or donut platters or whatever else they come up with.

Here we are again, at the end of our 5 Things. I hope you feel better informed about life around the Smokehaus, or that you’re at least mildly entertained.

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5 Things

5 things that happened this week at Northern Waters Smokehaus

Is it cold where you’re reading this? It’s very cold where I am writing it. Let’s just go ahead and make that a sub-theme for the week. Coldness. Sure, there’ll be other stuff too, but it’s easier to write about your passions, and I am passionate about warmth. If you’re like me, you’re in luck.

  1. We have winter hats!Whether you call it a beanie, toque, stocking cap, or watch cap, it keeps your head warm and it looks cool. I purchased one of these hats for research purposes, and my experience wearing it so far has been favorable. The hat feels and looks good, and kept my head properly warm in 1º Fahrenheit weather. We’ve dabbled here and there in other apparel, but this is our first winter hat, and we found a great company to work with. Brist Custom Apparel & Design is committed to “creating sustainable supply chains. By committing to quick turnaround times and low minimum orders [they] reduce excess waste allowing [them] to focus on high customization and private label design while at the same time giving companies what they need when they need it.”Making great food is our first priority and our primary market, so working with a textile company that can work with our specific needs and is committed to sustainability is a win all around.The hats are available in our shop, with your pickup or delivery order, and via mail-order for $24. You’ve let us warm your heart with our food, now let us keep you warm with our hats.
  2. Delivery has been busy!I’m not necessarily saying the cold weather is to blame (or to thank), but while our deli hasn’t had a noteworthy lunch rush all week, the basement (where our prep/pickup/delivery department is hidden) has been ploughing through large tickets at high speeds. It seems like many folks around town are trying their best to avoid leaving the comfort of their homes and offices. I do not blame them.The 10-day forecast is looking bleak, so here’s your reminder that we deliver all your favorite sandwiches & salads (groceries & apparel too) with no delivery charge (though it is very kind and very acceptable to tip your delivery driver) from 10am-5pm daily, and you can place your order over the phone @ 218-724-7307 (ext. 1) or online at our website (I’d link you, but you’re already here—check our homepage and follow the lead of the image below).
  3. We catered the gubernatorial inauguration! More precisely, we were selected alongside a number of other awesome vendors to provide food for the event. For the event, we assembled a crack squad of our staff to develop a couple of meaningful culinary treats that showcase our heritage and our commitment to exploring the flavor palate.They ended up settling on bison Wellingtons with fromage fort (“strong cheese,” a blend of cheeses with white wine, garlic, & other spices) & mushroom powder, and potato crisps topped with whitefish pâté,* radish sprouts, & brown/rainbow trout roe (from the Brule River).
    We are honored to have been selected, and hope anyone who got a chance to try our hors d’oeuvres enjoyed them.*Whitefish pâté is available in our deli, etc. for $5 per 8 oz. tub for the foreseeable future, and coming from someone who doesn’t especially favor whitefish, it is delicious.

  4. We participated in Food for Thought! Any opportunity we have to give back to our community is an affirmation of what our company stands for. Last night, we took part in Fond Du Lac Tribal and Community College Foundation’s Food for Thought event, which is an annual food tasting event to raise scholarship funds for deserving students.We brought Finnish rye crackers topped with greek yogurt, dill, lake trout and Brule River brown/rainbow trout roe. More information about the event can be found here. Keep an eye out for this event next year!
  5. We are hiring in the deli!If you have ever wanted to be a member of our team, right now is an opportunity to fulfill that dream. Exciting life changes have our shop manager leaving us at the end of the month, and a new shop manager stepping up around the same time, so we have an opening in our deli staff. We offer a competitive pay rate, benefits for those who stick around, and a lot of opportunities to pick up additional responsibilities. As an employee of five-ish years, I can confirm that life around here is never boring and often quite compelling, and you’ll get the strong impression that your employer cares about you (because they do!). If this sounds good to you, drop off a résumé at our deli.

That’s all, folks. Stay warm out there—unless you’re already somewhere warm. In that case, hydrate and regulate your body temperature accordingly.

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Introducing the Adisalad

 

 

It’s a new year, and we’ve added a new salad to the menu—the Adisalad.

Named after its creator, and pronounced very closely to “add a salad,” this salad completes our trifecta of salads, rounding out the trio in several ways. The Adisalad is a size perfectly positioned between the side salad-sized Ensaladita and the takes-me-two-sittings-to-finish NWS Salad. Depending on how you choose your own salad adventure, it can also be gluten-free and vegan-friendly without any omissions, additions, or substitutions.

The Adisalad is composed of a bed of mixed greens and thinly-sliced cabbage, topped with a pickled vegetable medley, chopped Marcona almonds, fresh sliced cucumber, and your choice of Hausmade kimchi or sauerkraut. This salad needs no dressing, as the moisture from the kimchi/kraut and pickled vegetables combines with the oil from the almonds to create a complex incidental dressing. If you want to have the salad gluten-free and vegan, opt for sauerkraut over kimchi. Personally, I prefer the sauerkraut for its more pronounced flavor, but it is great both ways: with kimchi you get some extra vegetables and spice-heat.

Adison first threw together this salad to give his body some honest-to-goodness fuel. Not only is it an energizing blend of ingredients, but eating it feels like you’ve done something kind for yourself, without sacrificing flavor. Adison felt the salad would highlight the pickling and fermentation processes we have cultivated, so he brought it to our annual Sandwich Lab.

When I have the Adisalad, I like to add pickled ginger for extra spicy-sweetness, and quick pickles if they’re looking especially slippery.

The Adisalad is available in our deli & via delivery for $10+tax and is a delicious pick-me-up at any time of the day.

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5 Things That Happened This Week at NWS

The Breakfast Club. 

On Monday, we launched our Sandwich Lab campaign.

The Breakfast Club is a fresh new take on the Clubhaus, and the first of nine monthlong specials we’ll be running this year. Visit the event page for more details.

The Adisalad.

For those of you resolving to eat healthier this year, we’re with you. So we’re adding a new salad to our menu: The Adisalad. Named after Adison, it’s creator, and inevitably a confusing pun, this salad is something I look forward to every shift. Yes, your dear blogging friend is hooked. We’re in the process of training our staff to make it, but the official launch will be soon. Allow these unedited photos tide you over.

More box liners.


I am full of regret for forgetting to snap a few photos, but on Monday we had an awesome time moving nine(-ish?) boxes of box liners. Each box of liners is about 6′ x 4′ x 3′ (source: my subjective memory) so they are obviously quite maneuverable and really more of a job for one person, but we all chipped in anyway. Here’s a throwback photo of the room in which we store them. It is not so full anymore.

This sky over the canal. 

Sometimes the Sun comes out and makes early winter mornings not so bleak.

 

Kimchi. 

Here’s a visual of the size of a kimchi batch. This pile is just about finished. It will ferment for a week before it is packaged. The Adisalad features our kimchi and sauerkraut.

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From TK’s Desk: Raclette

Its Alpine cheese season.

Welcome this magnificently melty cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland: Raclette!!

Raclette is the cheese of legend, based on the story of a man from Valais by the name of Leon. One cold day, with food scarce in the open pastures, Leon heated up a piece of cheese on the open fire to ease his hunger and keep warm. He found the melted cheese had a transcendent flavor. It not only complemented other foods – it made a great, satisfying meal for his family. Popular since the Middle Ages, Raclette is still produced with milk from cows that are fed fresh grass in the summer and meadow hay in the winter.

The word raclette stems from the French verb racler, or “to scrape.” This cheese is a staple in the Swiss & French Alpine culinary culture and has to follow strict regulations from the cows to the creamery to the finishing process (the affinage). Each raclette has to have an official quality mark AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protegée) which is reserved for traditional products with long-standing regional origins.

Melt this cheese and serve it on top of anything from bread to cured meats, potatoes, pickles, or just about anything else.

Enjoy raclette with a glass of Alpine wines, such as the Swiss Fendant, French Savoy, rieslings, or pinot gris. Not into wine? Try it with warm tea or other warm beverages.  

Sold in our deli for $23/lb.

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Sandwich Lab: 7 Things You Should Know About The Breakfast Club—Number 5 Is Pretty Self-Explanatory

The Breakfast Club is…

  1. …the first of nine sandwiches discovered during Sandwich Lab which will be offered as monthlong specials.

  2. …available through the first week of February.

  3. …haus-smoked turkey & pancetta with red onion, cilantro & cream cheese on a Lake Superior Bakehouse bagel.

  4. …a  delightful variation on the classic Smokehaus Club.

  5. …described by its creator as “unctuous, balanced and pretty self-explanatory.”

  6. …the perfect sandwich to prepare any individual for a long day of detention.

  7. …eligible for “double-stamps” (in-store purchases only).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Resolutions: A 5 Things™ New Year’s Special

New year, new blog formatting. My New Year’s Resolutions are to incrementally upgrade my blogging skills, and 1080p.

The Intro

Welcome to 2019! There are many exciting announcements ahead this month alone, but we’ve been working so hard lately, that I’m just going to hit you with some fluff. I present to you: New Year’s Resolutions. With my commentary, of course, for clarification and jokes.

The Body

  1. Joe — Joe has been a perennial seasonal employee of the Smokehaus for many years. This was offered to me at the end of his last NWS shift for the season: “I want to learn ‘Never Going Back Again’ on guitar. Oh, and run a marathon.” Joe presented a reasonable, goal-oriented approach to the topic, which is nothing less than I expected of him. We could all learn from Joe. However, I will never run a marathon.
  2. Mary — “Complete the cookbook.” With the Winter product catalog under our belts, she is referring to the as of yet unwritten Northern Waters Smokehaus cookbook that has been haunting our dreams for years. This is very exciting news for me, since it means I’ll have a bunch of writing projects ahead of me and it effortlessly keeps this blog’s deeper marketing purpose on point. When I informed Mary of the latter detail, she seemed reasonably bummed that I wasn’t just concerned about her life and wellbeing. It’s a cold world we live in, Mary.
  3. Greg — “Do more stuff with music. Instead of nothing.” Greg is a local music legend*, so there’s likely a bunch of people hoping he keeps up with this resolution. *command+f conley
  4. Nic — “Wake up every day at six a.m.” Have you? “No. I’m kind of working up to it. Yesterday, I woke up at six-thirty. Today, seven-thirty. So I’m kind of regressing, but I’m trying. The alarm went off at six and I turned it off.” This sort of rambling, rollercoaster ride crash of an answer that toes the line between honest assessment of the shortcomings of such exercises and blatant off-the-cuff lie designed to entertain is precisely the reason I included Nic in my interviews.
  5. Lucy — “What’s the context? What did the others say?” I let her know some of the other responses. She considered: “Consistently produce music: Now that I have the means to, I have no excuse.” This resolution was challenging to punctuate, but I am pleased with my work, and I’m always pleased to hear about people making time for art. What I’m trying to say here is I am pleased.

    Clip art image of guitar requested by Lucy

A Conclusion

So there’s my top five, in no particular order, and based on who happened to be around and open to answering my question.
Here’s some honorable mentions.

  1. Olivia — “I don’t do those.” Hey, I’m in the same boat. Maybe drink more water, but that’s sort of an every day resolution.
  2. Sam — “I don’t really do those. I’m perfect how I am.”That’s the attitude (~*almost*~) all of us should take into 2019!