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5 Things: August 16th, 2019

Let’s get right to the meat of this week: There was an enormous rubber duck in town. It spent most of the time deflated, but at least we were graced with its presence, as a part of the Festival of Sail.

A handful of department managers received ServSafe training. In what sounds like an extremely grueling day of collectively leafing through an entire manual on food safety, followed by a comprehensive test on the subject, we hopefully have a slew of new food safety-certified individuals on our staff. We’re not sure yet—test results won’t come back for a few more days—but knowing what I know about my coworkers, I don’t doubt they passed.

Patricia prepared personal pizzas. Pro tip: If you’re interested in trying the latest of her creations, stop into our deli on Wednesday mornings. It seems like she likes to experiment with food on Tuesdays, and everything she makes is either solid gold or extensively gilded.

The latest item, as previously mentioned, is personal pizzas. Made with our own Smoked Bacon, and Hammarlund Nursery heirloom tomatoes, these pizzas are just the right size for one, and they taste great. As I prepare to publish this blog, I have to mention that the pizzas are currently sold out, but don’t worry! This won’t be the last of them.

A variety of pasties are back in stock as of this morning, and the Widmer 2-Year Cheddar Cheesy Crackers will be out later today. Thanks again, Patricia, for all that you do.

We launched a new loyalty program. We’ll still honor completed 10-stamped sandwich cards, and any incomplete sandwich card stamps will be transferrable to the new loyalty card. The way the new system is laid out, you’ll earn a reward (redeemable at your leisure) every six sandwiches/salads you purchase—up to three times per card. We’re calling this program the “Sandwich Lover Extraordinaire.”

Let’s take a look at the new card:

For a more detailed explanation of the new loyalty program, check out this blog post.

We’re hiring!

It always happens this time of year—we say goodbye to students and other seasonal employees, and we’re happy for them and their journeys, but we’re mildly concerned about filling out our schedules.

If any of the descriptions below sound like you, and you’re interested in making competitive wages at a pretty cool place, with pretty cool people, send a résumé to our H.R. champion, Gregory Conley, at greg@nwsmokehaus.com

If you like working alone, at (basically) your own pace, and don’t mind getting a little bit wet, consider applying for our daytime disher position. We’re looking for someone to work daytimes Monday through Friday.

If you’re more people-oriented, and want to work alongside a hardworking team of unique and interesting individuals, we are also hiring in our deli and delivery departments.

Work with the cool kids; send in a résumé!

Finally, we’re running a Labor Day mail order special! 20% off your cart, online only, when you place your order between 8/26 and 9/2, and enter the discount code bluecollar at checkout. Some boring restrictions apply, but you can plan ahead and place your future holiday orders at this discount. It’s either a right-now special or an early-early-bird special, depending on your perspective!

Okay, that’s enough Things™ for now, I’ve got to get to work in the deli.

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NWS HAS A NEW LOYALTY PROGRAM!

Good news, everyone! We’ve finally depleted our inventory of sandwich cards, which means we’ve rolled out our NEW LOYALTY PROGRAM! One free sandwich/salad per ten sandwiches/salads was a pretty sweet deal, but we wanted to shake things up, so we devised a new system to give you more rewards, more frequently.

Introducing the Sandwich Lover Extraordinaire card:

The former sandwich card worked as follows: Each sandwich/salad you purchase earned you one stamp on the card.* Ten stamps earned you one free sandwich/salad.

The new program works as follows: Twenty-one little fish; eighteen red, three blue. Each sandwich/salad you purchase earns you one hole punched red fish. Every six punches along the way, you earn earn the rights to a new prize, which can be redeemed immediately, or at your leisure. When you redeem your reward, we’ll punch a hole in the respective blue fish.

Once you have purchased 18 sandwiches/salads, you’ll have earned all three perks along the way. Maybe you used them as you got them, maybe you redeem all three at once after purchasing that eighteenth sandwich/salad. Maybe you redeem all three at once the next time you come in, or maybe you redeem them individually the next three times you come in. It’s entirely up to you.

We will still honor completed “old” sandwich cards!

If you have filled out a ten-stamped sandwich card during the course of our previous loyalty program, you still get that free sandwich—and the stamps of any incomplete sandwich cards are transferrable to the new loyalty card.

So, what are the prizes?!

After six punches: One free snack stick (“buddy”), based on availability. Whether it’s a Big Jim hatch chile beef stick, a Royale With Cheese bacon-cheeseburger stick, a Smokehaus classic Bison Buddy, or a Smoked Salmon Buddy, you’re in for a treat.

After twelve punches: One free sandwich/salad. We’ve got a handful of options.

After eighteen punches: One free half-pound chunk of Smoked Atlantic Salmon—traditional, cajun, dill, or black pepper & coriander.

Why are you waiting? Start a Sandwich Lover Extraordinaire card today and begin reaping the rewards!

*Sandwich Lab specials—such as the Lake Trout Situation we’re currently running—earn you two punches per unit purchased.

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5 Things: August 9th, 2019

There’s a whole bunch of things going on at the tip of Lake Superior this weekend. Before I get into discussing the week and weekend to come, I’d like to remind you that our pickup and delivery services are a great way to skip the line (except August 11th through 13th), and that Cajun-seasoned cheese curds are back in-stock in our grab & go case.

The Festival of Sail arrives this weekend. The tall ships and an enormous rubber duck will begin showing up today, and will remain in our harbor through Tuesday, August 13th. The Festival officially kicks off on Sunday morning, with a grand parade from 9-11 a.m. In previous years, the draw of this event has effectively doubled the population of our city. And that’s not the only festival taking place this weekend. Friday and Saturday, the 31st annual Bayfront Blues Festival will take up residence in—you guessed it—Bayfront Festival Park. The Blues Fest draws around twenty thousand attendees each year, and consistently features high-caliber blues artists from around the world.

Another Sandwich Lab creation debuted in our deli. The Lake Trout Situation is Jacob’s homage to the classic New England lobster roll and the Jersey Shore. Featuring a smoky, sweet lake trout salad, sliced red cabbage, and wasabi mayo atop a slice of buttery, toasted white bread, this sandwich is served open-faced (for hotdog-style consumption) and garnished with cilantro and crispy smoked pancetta crumbles. It’s available for $10+tax in our deli & via delivery.

The Scavenger Hunt continues. The first week, a participant found the magnet within hours—next to the Observation Park dog park. This week, it was found on the second day—on the back of a sign at the Duluth Farmer’s Market. With three weeks to go, and 7 superfluous clues written so far, I have something special planned for next week, so stay on your toes. The next clue comes out on Monday, August 12th. Follow us on our social media pages and check out the rules here to participate.

Patricia is at it again! This time with vegetarian tofu pasties, in addition to her standard array of cookies, crackers, and pasties. Our baking department, which also boasts two skilled breadmakers in Jerry and Adison (whom I don’t praise enough on this blog, as they have supplied all of our rye, white bread, and ciabatta needs through the Summer), have developed a brilliant selection of high-quality hausmade breads and sweets. I don’t ever want to go back to a world before the Smokehaus had dedicated bakers on-staff.

Did someone say “party?”

We’re having a fish fry! The summer season is hardly coming to a close, but we’re already starting to say goodbye to the seasonal hands on deck, and a handful of other coworkers/friends leaving for school, adventures in new cities, and at least one dream job opportunity. So we’re taking an evening to celebrate, this Sunday, with a small gathering for our staff. Fried whitefish, smoked chicken wings, coleslaw, and crinkle-cut fries are on the menu, and my mouth is already watering two days in advance. Hopefully, the Sunday closing staff will be able to make it out of Canal Park! The deli will be open normal hours—10 a.m. to 6 p.m.—on Sunday.


Now that you’ve read this week’s 5 Things™, go out and have a good rest of your day.

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SANDWICH LAB: The Lake Trout Situation

IN THE DELICATESSEN SCENE, NEVER SHAKING UP YOUR SANDWICH MENU IS CONSIDERED ESPECIALLY HEINOUS. AT NORTHERN WATERS SMOKEHAUS, THE DEDICATED DELI EMPLOYEES WHO INNOVATE ON THE SANDWICH MENU ARE MEMBERS OF AN ELITE SQUAD KNOWN AS THE SANDWICH LAB. THESE ARE THEIR STORIES:


Jacob’s Lake Trout Situation

Like a flavor flash-mob, this sandwich is incoming to shake up your everyday life. 

A minute ago the Smoked Lake Superior Lake Trout was hanging around some lemons and scallions, having an impassioned conversation; but the crispy Smoked Pancetta, wasabi mayo, cucumbers, cilantro and thin-sliced cabbage were just scrolling on their phones, minding their business. Next thing you know, the buttered, toasted, white bread shows up, and suddenly the courtyard (where I imagine this is all happening) comes alive, and onlookers are astounded as these seemingly separate entities come together in a meticulously choreographed song-and-dance.

Meticulously choreographed.

Yes, it has been choreographed, and meticulously. Abs are out and fists are pumping. This Situation of a sandwich required extensive development, but has turned into something quite special. Inspired by the Jersey Shore and classic New England Lobster rolls, with that particular NWS flair, this just might be the smoked lake trout sandwich we’ve been waiting our whole lives for.

Try it during the month of August, and receive not only a scintillating gustatory experience, but two stamps on your sandwich card. This is the cutting-edge of Smokehaus sandwiches. The Lake Trout Situation costs $10 + tax.


WHAT IS SANDWICH LAB?
AT NORTHERN WATERS SMOKEHAUS, OUR WORK IS PLAYING WITH FOOD. THAT MEANS SOMETIMES, IN THE LINE OF DUTY, WE STUMBLE UPON AN AMAZING COMBINATION OF INGREDIENTS THAT EVOLVES OVER SEVERAL SHIFT-MEALS INTO A NOTEWORTHY NEW SANDWICH. OTHER TIMES WE UNCOVER A MORE EFFICIENT WAY TO BUILD A SANDWICH, OR WE SWAP AN INGREDIENT ON A CURRENT MENU ITEM. SANDWICH LAB IS AN ANNUAL GATHERING OF OUR STAFF TO REFINE OUR SANDWICH-LINE SKILLS, TO COME TO AGREEMENT ON ANY CONTROVERSIES, AND—THE BEST PART—TO INTRODUCE OUR PET SANDWICHES TO THE GREATER SMOKEHAUS COMMUNITY.
NOTABLE SANDWICH LAB FINDINGS FROM PREVIOUS YEARS INCLUDE THE CEDARS’S SECRET, THE PURPLE RANGE, THE PHOEBE, AND THE PORK LION. LAST YEAR’S SANDWICH LAB HAD SO MANY GOOD SANDWICHES THAT WE COULDN’T DECIDE ON JUST ONE OR TWO TO ADD TO THE MENU, SO WE DECIDED TO GIVE THEM ALL A CHANCE TO SHINE, AS MONTH-LONG SPECIALS.
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5 Things: August 2nd, 2019

Welcome back to 5 Things™. It’s been a lovely week in town, with a handful of conferences at the DECC keeping our lunch rushes busy. If you find yourself with a bit of a wait for your lunch today (Friday), Jacob will be out on the patio selling beer. What better way to enjoy your pre-sandwich time than an ice-cold regional beer?

Now, to the Things™—

First of all, I am sorry that the first week of the Summer Scavenger Hunt ended so quickly. The first round lasted about four hours. I really thought the hiding spot—tucked behind foliage on a fence-post at the Observation Dog Park—was more difficult. This coming Monday (August 5th), I will do better.

This was a practice round.

We have a new wine in the deli. The late-Spring flavor of vinho verde is leaving our shelves to make room for Trollinger, a wine by Andi Knauss, a German winemaker associated with a collective of natural winemakers known as La Boutanche. Trollinger is a versatile table wine named after the grapes it’s made of, which have moderate acidity and tend to produce light-bodied wines with strawberry, cherry, nutmeg, and smoky notes. It’s available by the glass for $7 and by the (1 liter!) bottle for $42.

If you’re into wine, you’re definitely going to want to see the wine profile project our media team has been working on. Here are a few of the images they created:

As part of our ongoing cookbook project, we tested a few recipes at Wisconsin Point on Tuesday.

While the day began with some prep and packing of gear, things really got started once we hit the beach, when we dug a trench, found a couple of large-but-portable logs to mount our grates, and set driftwood ablaze en masse, until we had enough coals to shovel into the trench.

The first recipe was a grilled summer vegetable salad with a light soy sauce and mirin dressing. I’m talking about beautifully charred and caramelized kale, broccoli, zucchini, portobello mushrooms, summer squash, fennel, and sweet corn, tossed with a simple, high-impact dressing.

Coarse-chopped gremolata gave an herbaceous, citrus-infused flavor to the tender river trout meat.

Once the veggies were finished, we grilled a grip of Cedar Island Hatchery brown and rainbow trout, stuffed with a zesty coarse-chopped gremolata, and later topped with puréed gremolata, for aesthetic as well as flavor reasons.

Our hausmade sausages look fantastic cooked over a beach fire too.

Italian-style sausage, Classic German sausage, smoked Andouille sausage, and smoked Polish sausage—in concentrated powder form.

All of this cooking was done with a couple of simple grill grates, over coals from a fire made entirely of driftwood found at the beach. A few lessons solidified during this field trip—you don’t need a ton of fancy equipment to make a high-caliber meal, and cooking is always better with good company.

The Fish Schtick enters its final weekend. Maybe it’s just the time of the year, but the Fish Schtick has been selling like crazy. Combining the salty, smoky goodness of our Traditional Atlantic Salmon with sweet & tangy Cornichon pickles, tomato, lemon pepper, lettuce, and a swipe of mayo on a hausmade ciabatta, this sandwich is a flavor palette to reckon with, and people are loving it.

We’ve got a situation incoming. A Lake Trout Situation. Jacob’s Lake Trout Situation, to be specific. Inspired by a New England Lobster Roll, this is the Sandwich Lab creation for the month of August.

Smoked Lake Superior Lake Trout salad, crispy Smoked Pancetta, cucumber, wasabi mayo, cilantro, and thin-sliced cabbage will come together and make a scene atop buttered and toasted hausmade white bread.

Like the Fish Schtick, and the other Sandwich Lab creations, this flavor bomb will also earn you two stamps on your sandwich card.

Me waking up from cookbook stress dreams.

That’s the way the news goes this week. There’s a whole bunch of events in-town this weekend, including the City on the Hill Music Festival, a biking festival, Spirit Valley Days, and the opening celebration for Casket Quarry Park in Spirit Valley. The forecast is looking great, with sunny days above 70-degrees all weekend. If you want your NWS fix, but feel like surpassing the line, place a pickup order (online, or over the phone at (218)724-7307 (ext. 1)) or catch us via delivery through Food Dudes or Bite Squad.

Next time you’re in the area, please enjoy Flo’s steady takeover of the wall space around and within our deli.