meet team biggysmalls

meet team biggysmalls

Chef Mike and David Both of theses guys are from the motherland, Rochester MN. And… watch out team Fifa and Iowa their backgrounds come with some culinary substance! Both, are well seasoned athletes with David on the high school football team plus track. Mike dribbled on the courts, threw in the fields and volleyed over nets. Plus he was on track with David in Track and Field! So, they are ready to rumble! Both finished culinary school with David at Cordon Bleu and Mike from the Art Institute of MN. Asked the “what’s in the fridge” question and David (a craft beer maker) reported beer, leftover baked potatoes (wow!) and carrots. Mike had 10 seconds in his head, to put that together a recipe and quickly saute’d the potatoes and carrots in beer and a little Lawry’s seasoning. Ok… that works. In Mike’s fridge… we have lactose free milk, greek yogurt and lamb to which David quickly converted to lamb curry with fresh herbs. So far, is seems, team biggysmalls has to it together! But, again, not just one but BOTH these guys have some past backgrounds that could put the potato into a crafty spin. Chef Mike worked at a hockey rink in charge of cotton and candy. And David? a traveling brat salesman for Caveman craft meats. #letthegamesbegin #whowillreignsupreme ZZest warzz schedule spoiler alert here’s what they are making : potato pave . bacon fat . tabil spice cream ....
meet team iowa

meet team iowa

Jasmine and Matt Both Jasmine and Matt are from the fine state of IOWA, and are teaming up to take on the potato and their fellow line cooks. Jasmine grew up playing softball and volleyball, Matt golfing. So, I suspect a team player and an athlete that relies on himself, will make a very well rounded team. Their culinary backgrounds do the same with Jasmine graduating from Cordon Bleu and Matt working his way through the ranks, ending at Minerva’s a seasonal steak house back home in Iowa. We are glad they both found their way to ZZest! The team mates may go back to their roots to find the perfect potato dish. Matt said he was “scandinavia-ish mostly Norwegian and Jasmine is Czech. And asked their favorite potato dish, neither hesitated. For Matt it was potato salad and Jasmine just good old mashed potatoes. Not sure where they will go with that but they know there are ZZest standards they must meet! Typical food industry employees, their refrigerators aren’t filled to the brim with gourmet items. 3 things in Matt’s fridge are eggs, beer and parmesan cheese. For Jasmine, kool aide, butter and dijon mustard. To get the culinary juices flowing they each had 10 seconds to tell me what they would create out of each others refrigerator ingredients. Matt “ice cream cake” hmmmmm, Jasmine, beer cheese dip. How will this all play out in the ZZest kitchen? Details on their potato dishes will be revealed soon. #staytuned and remember #everyvotecounts ZZest warzz schedule spoiler alert here’s what they are making: local sweet potato mash . duck confit...
booyah we have hooyah!

booyah we have hooyah!

grab a beer and gather around… At ZZest we don’t proclaim to have a huge beer list but, we have a decent selection. And we especially like a beer with a story. Navy vet Paul Jenkins came up with an idea while stuck in traffic one day. There was a billboard proclaiming how a national business “supports the troops.” Yet the unemployment rate for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan is nearly triple the national rate as a whole. For disabled vets, it’s even worse the rate for them is over 80% unemployed. Big business is capitalizing on a brand we earned, Jenkins says. He figured there had to be a way to change that and provide meaningful career opportunities to veterans. So, Veteran Beer Company was founded in 2012 by Paul and Marine Corps veteran Mike Danzer.Our mission is simple. We are applying levels of precision and intensity to create and sell the finest craft beers in the world, so in the long run we are able to employ as many veterans as possible, as quickly as possible. The company is headquartered in Chicago, and brews in Cold Spring MN! It employs veterans in every role, from the supply chain to brewing, bottling and packaging. Veteran Beer started with two beers,Blonde Bomber and The Veteran. They consider their beer both mainstream and crafty. With 5% ABV for both the Blonde Bomber blonde ale and The Veteran amber lager, these are beers that were designed to be sessionable. (basically that means you can drink more than 1! hooyah!) Like ZZest, Veteran Beer Company uses only the finest quality ingredients and...
2 recipes for the new year

2 recipes for the new year

recipe #1 Eric’s Roasted Vegetable Salad with Goat Cheese and Onion Balsamic Viniagrette Remember this little lovely from a couple years ago? It’s actually quite easy to whip up. These were the vegetable combo’s Eric used, but change it up! 1 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, and cut into small wedges. 1/2 butternut squash, seeded, peeled and cut into wedges about the same size as the potatoes a few * beets, skins scrubbed, cut into chunks 1 lbbrussels sprouts halved 1 sweet red pepper or red bell pepper, cored, seeded, ribbed, and cut into wedges about the same size as the potatoes 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary 2 tablespoon , extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon sea salt freshly ground black pepper, to taste your favorite cheese. we often used a slightly aged goat cheese like Cana de Cabra, Bucheron, Humboldt Fog, coarsely crumbled or cut In a large bowl toss together the vegetables (*except beets we always roasted the separately), rosemary, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange vegetables evenly on an edged baking sheet. They should not be overlapping. Roast beets separately to avoid bleeding. Roast at 425F for about 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are tender and beginning to caramelize. Watch closely stir often. Remove from the oven and let cool. This step can be completed a few hours ahead, in which case refrigerate the vegetables and bring back to room temperature before serving. For vinaigrette: 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 3 tablespoons Gracious Gourmet 4 onion balsamic spread (available at ZZest Market!) 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 2 cloves garlic, peeled, and...
the gifting season

the gifting season

and so it begins… the hustle and bustle, the Christmas carols, the ringing of bells, the cars topped with trees. Tis the season, time to buckle down and find THE perfect gifts. Some of us love it. The browsing in stores shelf after shelf, until just the right thing reveals itself. Or the hours online searching for a unique, one of a kind, (with free shipping today only), sort of thing. Others hate the process. Stressing over the time and effort to find the right thing, often settling for a Quick Trip gift card. Although, hey, who doesn’t need gas. But, at ZZest we think food is the answer to all your gifting needs. The downtown location, ZZest Market has an array of items to choose from. From imported and domestic olives oils, vinegars, local honeycomb and imported Spanish delicacies, (just to name a few). We love choosing gifts. Stop by, Izzie is full of ideas for the perfect gift for anyone! To make it even easier we have gift boxes ready to go at the market. Three sizes, three prices. There’s sure to be something for the hard to buy for on your list! Guess what?! we also have gift boxes at ZZest Cafe, for the holidays. You can run in any time. 9 pm? sure! stay for Happy Hour! Check the website for the current selections. Then there’s always a gift card. Your lucky loved one can use it at any ZZest location. This year we have the coolest idea ever! A gift certificate for a chefs tasting! The card itself will only reflect that they are...
one guy gets it

one guy gets it

I ran across this review. I don’t know who this guy is, but, Yelp, in their infinite wisdom, decided that it needed to be a review they would bury; so did Google. It is such a wonderfully written review that I suspect they think it is a plant. But, I assure you, it is not. I have little time in my day for either Yelp or Google Reviews, so I rarely look. Although, I’m so glad I caught this one. This guy gets it. Note in his comment, the lines I highlighted in red. 2/16/2015 WOW. After reading various articles and reviews about ZZest, its almost unanimous that “the food is spectacular, the service is knowledgeable, and the ambiance is casual, yet, refined.” However, its the few reviews claiming the exact opposite that catch my eye. Honest disclosure, I tend to not venture out into the dining world much anymore as I am often disappointed. Instead, I marvel at all the wondrous flavors and creations held in my own kitchen. *cough* . ZZEST IS THE REMEDY FOR THIS. For the people who would rather their dinner plate be sectioned off so that no category of food touches the other– that is, “I would like a piece of meat, with potatoes over there, and the vegetables over here”. Don’t Bother Coming. I see now that the ones who write 1 star reviews of ZZest are self-proclaimed “food snobs” with mediocre power on a review website such as Yelp. These are probably the same people as I previously mentioned, and therefore I say: Don’t Bother. These people, although fine in their...
our #localfarmer Tom Hunter

our #localfarmer Tom Hunter

One of many reasons ZZest’s menu is so special is our close working relationship with farmers. We love Tom Hunter’s Tangled Bank Farm near Wabasha, MN. Tom’s farm overlooks the Zumbro River just like at ZZest, he noted. As a certified organic farm, Tangled Bank Farm dos not use hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, chemical fertilizers; all animals are 100% grass-fed no grain, period. Tom’s cows are Shorthorn beef cows, an old-fashioned British breed. He says, “the sunshine and green grass is producing meat that is high in Omega 3’s and CLA’s, with a good amount of healthy fat, and lots of flavor to go with it. This is meat that is as good for you as it is for the environment.” And his grass-fed burger is memorable. In fact it tastes like burger used to taste, back in the day. For those of you that just grew up with mass produced beef, you’ll have to trust us and give the ZZest burger a whirl! Burger aside, on the menu right now is Tangled Bank Farm’s rosy veal. This is very special, and limited. We just got our first whole veal in. The season lasts through March so, we should be able to take advantage of this lovely meat for the next few months. Eating veal has been shunned by even carnivores, but if you take the time to understand the dynamics of a farm, there’s a reason and a use for veal on a farm. Dairy cows must give birth to provide milk. Their male calves are unsuitable for beef production and too costly to keep on the farm; it’s...
It’s beginning to look a bit like christmas

It’s beginning to look a bit like christmas

Every season for the past 7 years. I panic! I order in July and Sept for Christmas. It’s seems so far away. Surely I’ll be ready. But BAM! The first delivery came a week or so ago. Another…next week. Oh, man…. what was I thinking. Will I really sell all that cheese??? I worry every year and most times I am fine. I remember a story a Lunds Byerly cheese guy told me. He ordered so much cheese that he had to rent a refrigerated semi to hold it all. Everyday he brought a few wheels out. He did it, he sold all the cheese! But, can you imagine how much cheese he had?! I’m pretty sure Lunds Byerly’s has walk in coolers in the back of the stores. I remind myself at least I don’t need a semi! ZZest Market did not have a “Christmas Season” last year, (remember we were just finishing a remodel.) So, I’m not 100% sure what will sell of not, or how much. I do know, cheese is on my menu Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Day. But, hey, things could be worse. There could be a semi outside my house. Tis the season. The boxes are arriving and we are excitedly opening! Let the festivities begin! And, And if you are in a bit of a panic over the season, don’t be, the staff at ZZest Marketare just as good at boxing as un-boxing. Gifts galore downtown. Come...