Last night I had the joy of attending the Minneapolis Foundation’s Fourth Generation Fund annual fundraiser, Graze 4 Good. Each year, they bring chefs from some of the best restaurants in the Twin Cities to make a selection of small plates for diners to graze on, complimented by signature cocktails, a culinary-themed silent auction, and decadent cakes.
It was a foodie’s dream, and, naturally, microgreens abounded. Click through to feast your eyes (pun intended).
To begin, cocktails: these are two of the three signature cocktails crafted by Bittercube. The first is a gin-based old fashioned and the second was an aquavit-based punch.
Chowgirls offered locally-grown mushrooms from just down the street over a celery root puree and braised short ribs with kimchi on a crispy wonton. (Sorry the wonton picture is blurry – I was too excited to eat per usual.) The mushrooms were probably my favorite dish of the night.
Travail Kitchen and Amusements lived up to the “amusements” quite well: duck fat fry with salmon roe scooped out of a giant paper mache salmon and a bite of watermelon radish, avocado puree, and some sort of meat plated on the back of diners’ hands. It was sort of like a more delicious tequila shot with no alcohol.
The chefs behind Surly‘s not-yet-opened restaurant had some fantastic offerings as well. Pictured is some sort of crudo with tomatoes and fish I believe, topped with avocado puree, something that was either black-bean-based or squid-ink based (my guesses based on the color), and a microgreen.
They also had a smoked boar sandwich on a rye bun with a really good sauce. The boar was prepared similarly to prosciutto and was quite delicious. I ate this while I was standing in the drink line, and thus did not have enough hands to photograph it.
Doug Flicker, the chef from Piccolo, made a pork belly bite with razor clam, some sort of sauce, and a microgreen. While some people may not like biting into what appears to be a big piece of fat punctuated by a little bit of meat, I am a huge fan of pork belly and find it absolutely delectable. This pork belly was super tender and flavorful and I could feel my arteries closing as I ate it.
Flicker’s other offering was a chicharrone (fancy word for pork rind) topped with pickles, hot sauce, micromint (a special microgreen!) and white bread puree. Yes, you read that correctly: white bread puree. They basically take white bread and put it in a food processor with some seasonings and it turns into a sauce of sorts – it was the consistency of mayo but had the flavor profile of regular white bread. This was probably the most inventive dish of the night, since pork rinds and white bread aren’t exactly what I think of when I think “gourmet foodie experience.” Sadly I was once again too excited to eat and didn’t get pictures of these.
I’m a total loser and also didn’t get any pictures of the dishes from Tilia, one of my favorite restaurants. I also missed out on tasting a couple of their items because I ran out of time! However I did taste a bay and rosemary custard with nori bacon and maple syrup, which I am counting as a victory since it was technically just for the VIP pre-party. (They must have had leftovers. It was served in the eggshell as a little cup, and it was a fascinating taste because I couldn’t really tell if it was dinner or dessert. Regardless it was quite scrumptious.
Dessert really took the cake (again, pun intended). Since this year marks the 100th birthday of the Minneapolis Foundation, they challenged three chefs to create the ultimate birthday cake. Katy Gerdes from Angel Food, Katie Elsing from Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant, and (my favorite) John Krauss from Patisserie 46 competed against one another to bake the best cake. While Angel Food won with their chocolate peanut butter one, my personal favorite was Patisserie 46’s classic and decadent chocolate cake (pictured above on the right side).
All in all, it was a fantastic evening and the proceeds go to the Fourth Generation Fund, which a young professionals’ grant-making board that I am incidentally a member of. Later this year, we’ll give out grants to local nonprofit organizations that provide services and support around this year’s focus topic, aging. For more information about Fourth Generation, click here.