She Said. She Said. went on a field trip this week to Brasa. Simple, Good and Tasty was holding a local food dinner there and we were very willing participants. Not only was 85% of the food served local (not an easy task in MN…in January), but many of the food producers were there to talk to. Plus, Chef Alex Roberts, with his multiple James Beard nominations was there to talk about the importance of local food and Brasa’s commitment to it. How cool is that?
We took our darling husbands with us and were also joined by 2 other couples who were loads of fun.
Doesn’t she look fun?
This is her husband. He’s fun too. And he’s a smart ass who likes to get people riled up. I like that about him. (<<—-that was Jen’s comment!)
Aren’t they cute?
Then there was the food. Both of us are fans of Brasa so it’s not surprising that we thought the food was tasty.
Here was the menu (click to view larger):
Some of the items on the menu are things you can always get at Brasa (a good thing) and some were just for this event (also a good thing).
Below is a bit more detail on the food and our thoughts on it.
Yucca and Black Bean Fritter
This was a bonus item to the menu – score!
Jen: I love black beans and I love yucca so I guess you could say I liked this a lot.
Anne: LOVED these!! Wish we’d had more at the table!!
Potato Rolls and Cornbread
Jen: Loved the cornbread, but thought the potato rolls were just okay. Our second round of cornbread was served with honey butter – which I could have eaten with a spoon.
Anne: Lost count, but I’m pretty sure I ate 5 corn muffins total. Could eat those all day everyday. Didn’t try the rolls…didn’t want to waste any carbs on something that wasn’t cornbread.
Smoked beef and pork sausage, house-cured ham and smoked aged cheddar
Jen: I thought both of the meats were very tasty. The cheese tasted like cheddar, but I didn’t think it was anything special. However, I’m not a huge cheese person so I might be the wrong one to judge.
Anne: Loved the smoky cheddar and the ham. I’m not so into sausage, but it was good as well.
Jen: Brette loved this. I liked it, but wasn’t wowed – although I think making your own sauerkraut is pretty cool. It was better than the sauerkraut I tried to make awhile back.
Anne: I liked it. Would never need to eat more than a bite though.
Roasted Red Beets with Hot Pepper Vinegar and Potato Salad with Mustard and Egg
Jen: Loved the beets, but not the potato salad. However, I don’t like potato salad in general. Brette thought it was awesome and he’s a potato salad connoisseur. So, take his word for it, not mine.
Anne: I thought the potato salad was excellent! I loved the interesting whipped potato consistency, in addition to the chunks of potato and egg. Didn’t try the beets.
Smoked Berkshire Pork Shoulder
Jen: This is staple on the Brasa menu and always a crowd pleaser. With that said, I liked the other meats more.
Anne: Liked it; it’s a great Brasa staple that I would continue coming back to.
Delicata Squash with Brown Sugar Glaze
Jen: I could have eaten this all night. It was pretty sweet, but that is probably why I couldn’t stop eating it.
Anne: Very yummy. Squash is not always my fave, but how could you go wrong with all that brown sugar?
Marinated and Whole Fried Chicken
Jen: This was a table favorite. The chicken was super juicy and the skin was perfectly crispy. I didn’t even know it was fried until I read the menu.
Anne: Ditto! It was really good. I ate two pieces!
Stewed Black Beans and Collard Greens with Smoked Mushrooms
Jen: Two more standards at Brasa. I thought both were good, but not great.
Anne: The beans were good. I didn’t try the greens (I find them ishy) and I hate mushrooms.
Cabbage and Apple Coleslaw
Jen: I do like a good slaw and this one did not disappoint. It would be great on top of a pulled pork sandwich.
Anne: I thought this was really good. Light and cool and flavorful- would make a great summer side dish.
Slow Roasted Goat and Rustic Corn Grits with Cheddar
A close-up of the goat.
Jen: My first time eating goat and it will not be my last. I loved it! The pieces I had were very tender and the seasoning was super good. There was a lot of discussion on the spices used. We came up with coconut, all-spice, chinese 5-spice, cinnamon and coriander – who knows what was actually used, but it was very tasty. The grits were grits – they are always on the menu.
Anne: Have I ever mentioned I’m not a real adventurous eater? That said, more unusual things like goat tend to give me the heeby jeebies. (I just picture the hairy little goat head going “meeeeeehhhhh” and it does me in.) BUT, I will try anything once, and so I took one piece of goat and it was really chewy and crunchy and there is nothing I find more gaggy than chewy meat ANDSO I didn’t really like the goat. Perhaps I should have taken another taste, but I did not. The grits- fine.
Jen: This was another non-menu item. I had the ginger scone with some sort of pear on top and it was delicious. I think Anne was eating the chocolate brownie missing from the plate as this picture was taken. Pregnant women cannot wait for photos.
Anne: The chocolate brownie was good (not as good as the corn muffins though!!), as were those caramel cookie things.
Anne’s thoughts in sum: I thought it was a very enjoyable evening. The food was great and I definitely left full. Things got a bit loud in the restaurant so it was difficult to have a conversation with anyone who wasn’t sitting right next to me (perhaps I’m more deaf than the next guy?). Pat and I did talk a bit about how we probably could have dined at Brasa on a regular night with the same group of people, ordered a hearty portion of the same foods, and gotten by a little less expensively. (Does that take into account the two spendy Surlys though dear?) All in all a fine night of dining; I’m glad we went.
Jen’s thoughts in sum: I agree with Anne that although it was very enjoyable, it was a bit loud. I still love Brasa and look forward to dining there again. I liked actually hearing from the chef himself and that there were things I couldn’t get off their regular menu. The company was delightful and overall very enjoyable evening.