our best next door neighbors

our best next door neighbors

Amy came in for her birthday. I asked her and Josh if I could take their picture for a blog post. She said, “Sure! I wondered how someone would make the cut, ha,ha.” I said, “I have to have a story to tell and I have a good one on you!” Once upon a time, several years ago, Amy and Josh came in and sat at the chefs counter. We were all feeling like we were getting to know Amy and Josh and none so more than Bre. Bre could say the darndest things. At the time Bre greeted everyone with Heeey, Girl! I think Josh was taken back at first but played along. We all felt comfortable around Amy and Josh. Josh ordered his entree, (long forgotten what it was, except it had micro greens on it). When it came out Josh had a few bites and really started to heat up. He asked the chef if there was something spicy in the dish. No, no peppers, nothing. Bre breezed by and Josh told her the dish was really, really, really hot. Bre told him there were no peppers and what a girl he was thinking it was hot!. She laughed, I laughed, and we all went about our business while poor Josh got warmer and warmer. Finally, we got to thinking he might be in some discomfort. I told Bre to bring him a bit of ice cream. What you need to remember is the story sounds like really bad service, but, Josh and Amy are like your next door neighbors, we felt REALLY COMFORTABLE around them!...
adding to the zzest family

adding to the zzest family

Oh gosh… how we all love seeing Finn and his family! It was Finn’s grandma who first discovered us shortly after we opened. She comes often to visit and to take care of Finn. I think she is a pretty awesome cook too, so I am surprised they venture out! But, it wasn’t long before we got to meet Brian and Amanda and of course Finn. Brian would be surprised to know we actually have his last name in the system and I think spelled correctly! But, when he calls we just usually use Finn or Finn Bart! Amanda will say Finn cut his culinary teeth here at ZZest. He really does travels a lot, but, declares ZZest to be one of his favorite restaurants. Cheese boards are his usual choice and at this point I don’t think he has eaten one he doesn’t like. Finn has left drawings for our refrigerators, robots made from cardboard and lots of other great items for us! He once was interviewed when we were chosen as one of 100 best patios in the nation. (He talked about cheese) It feels like Amanda and I are telepathically connected. Right before I send an email blast out, she is feeling the need to visit ZZest. Also, we connect in the soft hearts that easily tear up, kind of people. I’ll have a hard time seeing her come Sept. 16th, they already have a reservation. Tissue, please! A couple years ago, Brian and Amanda declared it was their “summer of ZZest” as the 3 and many times 4 of them, came quite often. When this...
NYE 2016

NYE 2016

The Chefs have been working on the menu under the careful watch of Chef Justin who, as much as he would love to be in the ZZest kitchen that night,has to do a little chicken frying at that other place… Porch. Been there yet? It’s great! Also, in house Somm, Jason, has been working on some gorgeous wine pairings with Tyler Melton from Libation Project. Jason too, will be busy that night at Porch, but Tyler is stepping in to give us a hand. This is going to be fab menu with some (in Tyler’s words) pretty geeky wine. I like geeky, and I like fun, Tyler is fun! Call for reservations 507.424.0080. Two seatings 6pm and 8:30pm ZZest NYE Chef’s Tasting 6 courses $65 wine pairing $25 1- charcuterie and cheese . accoutrements 2- chanterelle mushroom soup . parsnip . chestnut . pickled pear 3- clam . potato . herb gelee . house oyster cracker . intermezzo – thai basil . black pepper . caramelized pineapple 4 -braised lamb . cavatelli pasta . cavolo nero . pomegranate . ramp vinegar . coffee 5- veal leg steak . sunchoke . soybean . pickled cauliflower. dukkah . brown butter 6- black tea cake . creme fraiche . caramelized orange . parmesan and lemon crumble NOTE-Sometimes there’s a last minute substitution needed but so far things are looking...
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...