Our new weekly segment, WanderLand, will cover a local haunt from wherever we are at the moment. Right now we are in Minneapolis, MN and the spot is Pig Ate My Pizza. Located a few miles north of Minneapolis in the suburb of Robbinsdale, this pork-centric pizza and craft beer restaurant is easily one of our new favorite restaurants. With an open kitchen and chefs-turned-waiters on the floor, you really get the feeling you are a part of the madness going on all around you. It's a little loud and a bit warm but when the food starts coming to the communal table, all of that is forgotten.
When looking for a new place to eat we are always trying to find something we haven't seen before. This is often quite difficult as so many places tend to follow the trend of whatever is "hot" at the moment. What caught our eye here though, besides the cool name, was the option to order a 2 person tasting menu for a very reasonable $45. We have ordered plenty of tasting menus before, but never one at a pizza place. Here's how they do it:
The first course comes out pretty quickly, not long after we get our beers-an American Amber Ale from Finch's Beer Co, Fascist Pig Ale and a Witbier from Brasserie Lefebvre, Blanche De Bruxelles. The latter is our clear favorite; light and crisp without being too citrusy. The first plate is a BLT brioche donut. Yes, you heard that correctly and it is as good as it sounds. Sweet brioche dough with bacon fried perfectly and served with two sauces, a tomato jam and an arugula puree.
Next we are served a beautiful burrata cheese crostini. Crispy bread topped with salty, creamy burrata cheese; a mixture of fresh mozzarella and cream. This is topped with a very interesting green pea puree that adds some sweetness and a bit of earthiness. It is finished with micro greens, chili oil and balsamic vinegar. After the richness of the BLT donut, this is a perfect middle course.
The last of our appetizer courses steals the night. After spending a month in Italy this spring, we were afraid we would never look at pasta the same way again. In a way that is true, but our eyes were opened again after trying this dish. At first glance this plate looks like many other pasta dishes with red sauce. After the first taste though, the differences shine through. The first is the small, house made veal meatballs; very moist and delicious. The two deep-fried cherry tomatoes explode with flavor and the toasted Hawaiian bread is perfectly sweet to cut the acid from the tomato sauce. The fresh pasta was as good as any we have had and the sauce, with just a touch of cream, is wonderfully balanced. Fresh basil oil brightens everything. Altogether, just an amazing dish. When we suggested to the couple sitting next to us to try the pasta, they told us they had ordered it on another visit, ate it, then ordered another. It is that good!!
At any other restaurant we would have been pleased with our meal, paid our check and went happily on our way. But we still had a pizza coming! A pizza you are allowed to choose from among their list of about a dozen. Some are pretty standard but they also have a list of craft pizzas you are able to pick as your main course. After much deliberation, we went with the Piggy Pie-a pizza topped with bacon, prosciutto, ham and pepperoni. One would think that with all of that porky goodness the flavors would get jumbled and lost, but not so at all. Thankfully my wife was getting full at this point and I ended up with an extra piece or two.
Next came dessert which was wonderful, but definitely overkill as we struggled to finish. Raspberry filled churros served with a spiced ice cream and raspberry sauce made it almost impossible to walk to the car. A food coma was rapidly approaching as we happily headed for home.
If you have a favorite place in the Twin Cities that we need to visit, please let us know and we will be happy to let you buy us a meal there.