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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!

 

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5 Things: End of 2018 Edition

Here we are, at the final 5 Things™ of 2018. Due to intense holiday exhaustion and an increasing desire to fall deeply into sleep and live off my fat reserves for a few months, I was just going to list our mail-order bestsellers and wax slightly poetic about each, but I remembered that we had an exciting year at Northern Waters Smokehaus, and perhaps this blog would be a perfectly suitable place to talk about it.

So because I am very tired and don’t want to choose between the two, here’s my compromise: For each bestseller, I’ll share an unrelated anecdote about our eventful year.


#5 — Salmon pâté. In the Spring of 2018, Casey Webb and the crew of the Travel Channel’s Man v. Food stopped by our deli for a day. As an employee, I really enjoyed the experience, because it reinvigorated my sense of pride in my work, but mostly because the spectacle distracted our customers and made for a very relaxed shift with a distinct lack of bad vibes (or, for the optimists out there, an abundance of good vibes). Leif made a Cajun Finn so beautiful it probably brought a tear to the camera operator’s eye, but it was at 6am, so I was not awake to verify that claim. I witnessed a minimum of eight takes of Casey popping up into the frame jiggling a whitefish side-to-side. Movie magic in action. The episode aired in June.

Leif!


#4 — Lake Superior lake trout. In August, we had the great honor of being selected to cater the Glensheen Gala. I’m going from memory here, but the gala’s theme was a sort of low-fantasy English garden party, and we brought down the house with lamb hand-pies, boursin endive boats, watercress & butter sandwiches, and an assortment of cheese and desserts. I spent most of the night making tiny dessert pies with chocolate, a whipped cream topping, and raspberry jam, but as the night died down, those of us staffing the gig got to stroll around the mansion grounds to carouse and enjoy the sights. 10/10 would love to do this again.


#3 — Traditional salmon piece. Eric started Northern Waters Smokehaus in 1998, which means we are doing what we do well enough to have celebrated the business’s twentieth anniversary this year. We did so in style with a double-header celebration which began at Hoops Brewing (featuring a line to the free food that wrapped around most of the bar and didn’t slow down) and ended at Rex Bar (featuring a lineup composed entirely of Smokehaus-affiliated bands). We are grateful for our community, which embraces us, supports us, and parties with us.


#2 — Salamini. The first official NWS product catalog is out, and it is sexy. The design team did such a great job that people think we must have outsourced our work, but the Smokehaus is packed so full of talented individuals that it was just bound to be good. Now that we’ve crossed this threshold, it won’t be long until a cookbook hits the shelves. Check out the catalog online here.

Cake by Lake Superior Bakehouse

(I said these were going to be unrelated anecdotes, but you should know that the holiday season completely cleared out our salumi stock, so we’ll be out until mid- to late-January. We offer our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.)


#1 — Whitefish.
Our 2nd-annual Sandwich Lab was such a rousing success that we will be sharing nine new sandwiches and a new vegetarian (optionally vegan) salad with you throughout 2019. Sandwich Lab is a time to relearn and polish our sandwich making skills and to share our personal flavor creations. There will be more announcements coming very soon and plenty of social media content to absorb over the year, but I will say that the new salad changed my life, and while the sandwiches will be monthlong specials beginning in January, the salad is a new permanent fixture on our menu.

This is how we make decisions.

It has been a pleasure writing for you today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself, and I hope your resolutions for the new year are reasonably attainable, and that you attain them all.

See you next year!

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5 Things™

Welcome back to my blog of many things.

I didn’t quite make it to the research phase of writing this blog this week. Things are busy, so some things take a sideline. Here’s some things off the top of my head.

  1. The special that started it all!
    I acquired this bit of information recently, and it has to be one of my favorites: During preliminary research for a piece about the history of our daily specials, I learned that the first NWS daily special was a polish sausage braised with Frostop root beer and “some [okay] sauerkraut we didn’t make.” I haven’t tried this yet, but when I get to it, I’ll share my findings.
  2. New sandwiches!
    Don’t we have enough sandwiches on our menu already? I don’t know. Probably not. In 2018, our Sandwich Lab was too good, so in 2019, we’re adding 9 sandwiches (and a salad) to our menu, for a limited time only. Sandwiches with names like “The Breakfast Club,” “The Spinderella,” and “The Bloody Mary” will be making their NWS debuts as month-long specials throughout the year. The salad (which I have eaten my last ten shift breaks) will have a permanent slot on the menu. There may be some sort of voting at the end of the year to find a new permanent addition to the menu. Again, I don’t know. We’re kind of playing this by ear and trying to have fun with it. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming promotion for this year-long event.
  3. The recipes are being gathered!
    We have barely come down from our catalog release high, and we’re already plotting another major endeavor into the printed medium. I cannot say too much, nor would I like to create any unnecessary expectations, but the near future (at the very least geologically speaking) holds an official Northern Waters Smokehaus cookbook. If you can’t hold in your excitement and need something like this in your life now, stop by our shop, pick up some of our complimentary recipe cards, write a few notecards of your own musings, observations, and anecdotes, then cleverly bind the stack with string to create your own Unofficial Northern Waters Smokehaus Cookbook.
  4. Bison is back!
    It’s been back for a while—both as our corned meat of choice (the ’06 with corned bison is unreal), and alongside our beef pastrami—albeit in limited quantities. We source our bison from North American Bison Cooperative. For our pastrami, we’ve switched from the eye of round cut to chuck roll, and in my humble opinion, it was a wonderful decision. The fat marbling and flavor in that large hunk of muscle is phenomenal, and is well-complemented by our haus-baked Prince Myshkin rye.
  5. Something smells fishy!
    If you have noticed that something seems to be afoot, or felt as though you may find a clue around our deli, it may be due to the Cedar Island Conservancy rainbow trout and brown trout we’ve had in our fish case. They’re smoked whole (like we do with whitefish and ciscos) and they’re beautiful to behold and delicious to taste.

    brown trout

    rainbow trout

Thanks for stopping in. Smell ya later.

Oh, and don’t forget that our new gift cards look awesome and for every $100 worth of gift cards you buy before the end of December, you’ll receive a bonus $20 gift card.

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5 Things December 7th

Today’s post will be a serious one. We’re already a week into December and there’s already been a post about “x things pertaining to mail order” on our blog, but the 5 Things™ this week are still going to pertain to mail ordering our products during the month of December. There’s so much to cover.

  1. Cutoffs for holidays!
    This is all I want in my stocking this year. Full-length jeans that have been turned into short jeans. Free the calf. I am kidding, and apologetic. This was supposed to be a serious post.What I’m really talking about is cutoffs for shipping our products based on holidays which affect shipping or might be your reason for ordering in the first place.
    Here are some relevant dates & times and how they pertain to shipping:Tuesday, December 18th @ noon: Cutoff for placing orders to be shipped nationwide before Christmas.
    Wednesday, December 19th @ noon: Cutoff for placing orders to be shipped within Minnesota before Christmas.Wednesday, December 19th: Last day of regular shipping before Christmas.
    Thursday, December 20th: Last day of MN-only shipping before Christmas. At this point, it is overnight shipping (not flat-rate) only for any last-minute nationwide orders.

    Wednesday, December 26th: Last day of regular shipping nationwide before the end of the year.
    Thursday, December 27th: Last day of MN-only shipping before the end of the year. Last day of overnight shipping nationwide.

  2. A note about receiving orders!
    Although “end of the day” for many businesses is somewhere around 5pm, for UPS deliveries, it is 9pm. How might this affect you? Let me break it down:•Orders placed with us before noon on a given day will be shipped out the next day.
    •Shipped orders arrive two shipping days later. (Orders shipped on Tuesday arrive on Thursday; orders shipped on Wednesday arrive on Friday).
    •Orders arrive based on UPS delivery schedules, which means anytime between X am and 9 pm. Unfortunately, we are unable to guarantee specific delivery times for our standard shipping orders.Say you want an All Season Fillet for your holiday party on Wednesday, December 19th, hypothetically speaking, at 7pm. If your order were shipped out on Monday, December 17th, it could arrive on Wednesday at 5pm, but it could also arrive as late as 9pm. Your party was probably still a hit, but the All Season Fillet arrived too late.The best way to circumvent this requires just a little bit of planning ahead: Have the order delivered the week prior.

    Imagine the same scenario, shipped ahead of time: You place your order at 11:55 am on Tuesday, December 11th. It is shipped on Wednesday, the 12th. It arrives Friday, the 14th—perhaps at a convenient time, but perhaps at 9 pm. You refrigerate your All Season all weekend, and into the next week. On the Wednesday, the 19th, at 6 pm, you lay out a gorgeous array of edible art, centered around our fillet and your party guests rave to their friends and family about the delicious food at the holiday party for months to come.

    TL;DR All of this more succinctly here.

  3. Keep up with the latest deals!
    Sign up for our newsletter. Any online or mail order deals will be tied to a coupon code, and our newsletter is the first place to receive those codes.When you subscribe to our newsletter, you will immediately receive a code for 15% off any order. Active subscribers (those of you who regularly open those newsletter links) receive additional deal offers. There’s a form to sign up for our email newsletter located at the bottom of our website homepage.

  4. A note about our staff!
    December is a hectic month around Northern Waters Smokehaus. The sheer volume of production that goes in our facilities, the sometimes Summerlike lines of patrons rounding out their holiday gift shopping, and the hundreds of orders that ship out each week between Monday and Wednesday. Sometimes it can all feel like a blur.If some error does occur with your order, or you aren’t totally satisfied with our product or service, let us know, be patient with us, and we’ll do what we can to make sure you are. We’re all in this together. Like High School Musical, but with more smoked fish.

    porketta
    here’s a lovely photograph of our porketta, to ease your weary eyes from this wall of text.

    5. We have been included in a number of holiday gift guides!Thank you, everyone who included us in their gift guides! Check them out below.

    Twin Cities Business Magazine 2018 Corporate Gift Guide

    Hemispheres Eat, Drink, & Be Merry

    City Pages Ultimate Minnesota Gift Guide For Foodies

Happy Friday, friends. Until next time.