are you crazy? you’re done right? how old are you anyway?

are you crazy? you’re done right? how old are you anyway?

I’m preparing for those questions once again. The first time was about 20 years ago. I had a boy and a girl, ages 9 and 7 and was heading into my 40s. Life was easy, the future bright, a perfect little family. Then I found out I was pregnant and we were starting Zubay Family: Part 2. We were excited though. We happily told friends and family our news. Then came the comments Wow, really? You already have 1 boy and 1 girl… Are you crazy? You’re done after that, right? And (my favorite) How old are you anyway? But here we are again with some joyous news! We are adding to the ZZest family. There’s an awesome, super cool building in downtown Rochester: the historic train depot (formally El Loro) is ours to lease. The bones are solid, and the parking lot is a big plus. We have a fabulous design (and great food) in progress. Are we crazy?! Maybe! Times 2! Because it won’t be just one restaurant it will be TWO! We’re having twins! Due Oct/Nov 2016: PORCH. Urban farm fare. For those of you who know the Twin Cities restaurant scene, think Brasa and Revival sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. For those not familiar, think casual, rustic, come-as-you-are, pull up a chair, and SHARE! The bar will pour pilsners of your favorite everyday beers, like PBR, Mich Golden, maybe even Grainbelt. No worries, beer connoisseurs. Craft beers will play nicely right along side the domestics. The full bar will included the usual, but big sister ZZest will influence some great cocktails and the wine list....
on a whim try a pimms

on a whim try a pimms

I read this about Pimm’s in The Eater, “Pimm’s is the most refreshing and polarizing libations the booze world could ever bestow.” I think, I have to agree on that. It’s complex, slightly bitter, quite unique flavor, is the base for the perfect summer cocktail, The Pimm’s Cup. I knew I loved Pimm’s and after some research, I now know why. Check it out. Pimm’s was created by James Pimm, who owned a oyster bar in London, back in the mid 1800’s. He sold Pimm’s as a tonic Pimm’s No.1 Cup. was based on gin, but enhanced with citrus, herbs and quinine, (bingo, that’s why I love it!) Quinine is what tonic is made of and has a dry alluring finish. And quinine was originally intended as an aid to digestion. The original recipe of Pimm’s is said to be known today by only six people. So, James Pimm began selling selling Pimm’s No. 1 commercially and the drink became a must-have concoction among the fashionable socialites of England. Then after WWII Pimm’s brand added No.2 (Scotch-based), No.3 (brandy-based), No. 4 (rum-based), No.5 (rye-based) and No.6 (vodka-based). No. 1 and No. 6 are produced today. Pimm’s is a summer staple in England, especially at Wimbledon where it’s served as a Pimm’s Cup. It is mixed with “lemonade” (ginger ale and lemon juice) plenty of ice, and garnishes that must include cucumber. Fruit is also needed, favorites being strawberries and/or apples. The Brits throw in mint or borage, (yeah… borage? pass.), but we do not at ZZest, we reserve mint, (not borage), for the ever popular Minnesota Mule. As we...
meet team fifa

meet team fifa

 Josue and Andre What a team these two make! Growing up in two different parts of the world Josue, in Veracruz Mexico and Andre, in South Dakota (with a few years of Brazil in there),  both were doing similar things! Check out their chosen team name, Fifa. Andre and Josue both grew up playing soccer. Josue was defense and I’m pretty sure he still plays and plays well, and when he’s not on the field you might find him salsa dancing. I’ve seen his he’s fantastic! Andre was a striker on the Varsity team, although he admitted to never scoring a goal. Awwww, that makes us love him more! He also played basketball and track. When they were not playing soccer they both grew up farming. Josue’s family had a huge farm with lots of vegetables (yes! potatoes!) along with chickens, pigs and lamb. Meanwhile in SD Andre worked on a beef and dairy farm raising and selling organic grass fed beef. Ok, what’s in the refrigerator and what can you make. Josue was up for the challenge getting Andre’s list of, kombucha, left over beans and rice and pomegranates! Without missing a beat Josue said, add salt, pepper and garlic to it all that’s all you have to do! In Josue’s fridge he listed beer, milk and orange juice and Andre quickly created an orange julius with a beer chaser. Team Fifa loves fingerling potatoes, roasted or fried so it’s no wonder that’s the potato they chose for their warzz. #theheatison #potatowarzz #zzest ZZest warrz schedule spoiler alert here’s what they are making: fingerling potato soup . nduja creme ....
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...
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...
restaurants = family

restaurants = family

There’s a lot of industry buzz lately. The closing of La Belle Vie was very sad news. My heart goes out to Chef McKee. I can’t help but think how hard it would be to break the news to your employees. That scenario can run into any business owners mind from time to time. The restaurant business is a hard. The people you work with are like a second family. In some cases maybe even first family. I’m sure in Tim McKee’s case, as ours, every decision made revolves around the staff’s well being. Next in the news, Danny Meyer and the no tipping policy he is implementing in November. It made the headlines on CNN, NBC and Fox and there are a lot of opinions out there. Some people are relieved to be rid of the burden of deciding how much to tip while others want the option available to them. Too bad, no one talked to us here at ZZest because the family here, has it all figured out… Some of you may remember, that ZZest as it sits now, was not the original plan. Here’s the inside scoop if you want ALL the details. Basically we didn’t start out as a full service restaurant and any tips earned went to the chefs. As we grew, and that meant adding wait staff, the staff came together as a family and made some major decisions. They would pool tips. Every person shares in the tips. Kind of like the Little Red Hen story. You help bake the bread, you eat the bread. This creates a very close knit...
All is fair in love and warzz

All is fair in love and warzz

The Chefs are Ready to RUMBLE! I swiped a fun idea from Lyn 65in Richfield MN. Side note: We gotta meet these guys someday! If you ever get a chance, swing up there! Lyn 65 and ZZest seem to be on the same page. Lyn 65 is also in a strip shopping center, (the worse place EVER to put a great restaurant. ha, ha)! But, hey! it’s what we can afford, I bet Lyn 65 were thinking the same thing. Plus, we want to be a neighborhood go-to place, a place to escape the hustle and bustle of a downtown. In the end we really just want to be a restaurant, not the Taj Mahal. We really just want to create amazing plates, not showcase the best band. We really want to serve you all these things in a super casual, relaxed, manner. You won’t find fine bone china settings under a multi level crystal chandelier here. (Remember our chandelier cost 150 bucks!) We don’t want to feel like we are endlessly competing with food photos and “best of ” lists. We just want to be a restaurant. It’s all about food for us. Oh, and, we just want to have fun doing it ! So I noticed Lyn 65 had “Burger Wars”. Their chefs competed against each other for the ultimate burger, If ZZest did burger wars it would have to be Burger WarZZ! Get it? two ZZ’s… It turned out to be a fun event. Our guests love to put their Top Chef Judge hats on. As I recall, Chef Pater won with his Duck Burger. Chef Justin’s...