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FDC visits Iron Fork 2014

Three quarters of FDC (plus Matt’s wife, Kate!) spent an evening at the 9th-ish annual Iron Fork. The concept of Iron Fork will be familiar with those of you who have seen the show Iron Chef, except instead of famous chefs competing they have local Minnesota restaurateurs, instead of Alton Brown hosting they have drunk radio DJs, and instead of luminaries such as Lou Diamond Phillips judging they have a 197 year-old, four foot tall woman who may have been eating her last meal (too much?).

It was a really cool event, as we had not only the opportunity to watch the competition, but also talk to the chefs and sample what they made afterwords. The latter piece of that was particularly important, as watching people cooking is actually really really boring. Kudos to the video editors at Food Network for somehow getting me to watch dozens of episodes of Chopped. Not every show has the benefit of Giada De Laurentiis to keep me invested.


Be still, my beating (artichoke) heart

The food the competitors ended up making was awesome. I give them even more props for working in a cramped space filled with a bunch of other chefs scurrying around in addition to the hosts leaning in for interviews, photographers snapping pictures for the paper, and “photographers” snapping poorly lit selfies. – congrats to Coup de Etat (an FDC favorite) and some chef from the culinary institute for tying for first place. I will say I was a little miffed that they had a tie for first; flip a coin, have some sort of overtime cook-off, run the chefs through an obstacle course, or just pick whichever chef’s name was first alphabetically. I don’t care, just pick a winner next time, Iron Fork.

On the outskirts of the Iron Fork arena, several other local restaurants brought dishes to sample. My speed review of what I ate:

  • Mattie’s on Main: Hoisin Pork Lettuce Wrap – A little skimpy on the pork, but the sauce was super delicious.
  • A Cupcake Social: Gourmet Cupcakes & Cookies – Must not have been feeling too social that night since there wasn’t enough to share.
  • Erté: French Onion Meatball Tartine – I’m not a huge french onion fan, but props to Erté for bringing more than enough food for everyone (and for everyone again (and a third time)).
  • Rusty Taco: Roasted Pork Taco – Other than what the Iron Fork contestants ended up making, perhaps the best thing I ate.
  • Sea Salt Eatery: Raw Oysters – The oysters themselves were plesantly ocean-y, but the real highlight was watching Matt and Brad’s sinuses explode when they put too much horseradish on theirs.
  • Tiny Diner: Deviled Eggs – The diner was so tiny I couldn’t find the food they brought! Maybe next time.
  • The Third Bird: Pearls Before Swine: Aka another way of tricking Drew into eating liver.
  • Lund’s and Byerly’s: Assorted Chocolates – I just want the sea salt on chocolate trend to die. Now.
  • Pizza Lucé: Artichoke Dip – Seeing that I was taking notes as I walked by, they asked me not to judge them. I agreed. If I were to judge them, though, I would have said this was really gross. 
  • Filfillah: Homemade Baklava – Hard to mess up. They didn’t.
  • Signature Café: Smoke Tomato Risotto – My mom’s is better.
  • Pour Wine Bar & Bistro: Blue Ball Meatball – Hilarious name, delicious food. BALLSY move putting blueberry, maple syrup, and red pepper flakes in a sauce.
  • Kyatchi: Veggie Delight Roll – More like Kyatcheapskates who didn’t bring enough food for everyone.
  • Blvd Kitchen & Bar: Roasted Beef Tenderloin over Chive Mashed Potatoes – You’re probably thinking “Wow, that’s sounds awesome, I wish I got to eat that”. I also was thinking that as I looked down at the empty table.
  • Boneyard Kitchen & Bar: Bourbon Poached Pear Salad – My only prior experience at Boneyard involved sitting at a table at 4pm on a Sunday with music at space shuttle level decibels, watching a drunk girl knock over our mustard bottle and telling my friend that she wasn’t racist as an excuse for breaking our mustard. For that reason, and having winning friends as a motivation, I passed.
  • Workshop at Union: Yuzu Puff – I still don’t know what a yuzu puff is, but I would eat another one.
  • Noodles & Company: Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese – I will echo Matt’s comment that this definitely wasn’t the worst thing we ate that night.
  • Danny’s Bar & Grill: Homemade Smashed Meatball Crostini – A giant meatball covered in tomato sauce and parmesan (good) on top of a tiny piece of bread (confusing).
  • Absolut: Some Sort of Vodka Drank – Alcohol-y.
  • The Bar: The Pitcher of Water Sitting on Top of It – Pretty solid.