Move over anchovy

Eh? has never been particularly fond of fish on fine fare, but maybe that’s just personal taste. One thing is for sure, Eh? has never had a tuna-topped pizza.

Esko’s own Eskomo Pizza Pies is now in its sixth year of offering the special topping on Fridays during lent. The base is made with an alfredo sauce, rather than classic tomato, and topped with albacore tuna and some other trade secret recipes.

For dine-in orders, Eskomo Pizza Pies has pledged to donate 100 percent of the proceeds from the meal to Queen of Peace School.

Learning safe serving

The University of Minnesota Extension office is offering two courses to help food service establishments meet the educational requirement to be Certified Food Managers.
The certification course, using the ServSafe curriculum, will be from
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 22 at the Cloquet Forestry Center. Participants must attend the entire session to be eligible to take the certification exam, which begins at 4:30 p.m. This seven-hour course includes information about safe food preparation, handling, sanitation and prevention of foodborne illnesses. Registration fee is $175. Registrations are due by April 8.

The Serve It Up Safely course also will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 22 at Cloquet Forestry Center.

Serve It Up Safely is a four-hour renewal course for certified managers. Certified Food Managers need four hours of continuing education credits within three years of becoming certified. University of Minnesota Extension educators and university specialists developed this renewal course that meets these criteria.

Registration fee is $75. All registrations are due by April 8.

The Food Manager Certification Course and Serve It Up Safely renewal course also are available online. For more information, go to www.extension.umn.edu/food-safety or contact Connie Schwartau at schwa047@umn.edu or (507) 337-2819.

Cutting through the competition in Florida

For the second time, Duluth’s Dan Willeck has won a slice of heaven — in 2011, he won an all-expenses-paid trip to Naples, Fla., and this year he’ll head to Amelia Island, Fla., for the championship round of the A1 National Meat Cutting Challenge. After competing against 86 other butchers in Orlando, Fla., last week, Willeck proved he’s a cut above the competition.

In April, Willeck will compete for a grand prize of $20,000 and the “Meat Cutter of the Year” title.

As a meat cutter, Willeck is responsible for hand-cutting every steak served at Duluth’s Texas Roadhouse. In an average year, each will cut about $1 million worth of meat and spend seven to eight hours a day in the 35-degree walk-in cooler where he works making sure the meat stays fresh. Brrr.

Just … brrr.

Army maneuvers

The Salvation Army wants you to donate to the Salvation Army food shelf during Minnesota FoodShare Month.

Minnesota FoodShare’s “March Campaign” is encouraging Northland residents to give to the local Salvation Army. Money goes further than foodstuffs, said Major Bill Cox, a Salvation Army spokesman.

“Each dollar goes a long way,” Cox said. “If you want to do the most good, a $10 gift to us will go further than purchasing $25 worth of groceries on your own.”

The reason, Cox said, is that through its network of retailers and food banks, the Salvation Army can purchase pallets of food for as little as 12 cents per pound, or purchase milk for less than $2 per gallon.

But, Cox says, if people are looking for a more tangible item to give, “peanut butter is perfect. We never have enough of it, and it’s always a welcome protein for families — especially kids.”

To donate financially, bring or mail a donation to the Salvation Army, 215 S. 27th Ave. W., Duluth, MN 55806, or by phone by calling (218) 722-7934. Nonperishable food items can also be brought to the location listed above.

 

Second Turkey Day

College of St. Scholastica first-year students will host “Thanksgiving in the Spring” on Feb. 26 at various local agencies and for people who are homebound.

If you’re homebound and you want a meal, you need to get your order in today. To place your order, call (218) 723-6484.

The meal, prepared and served by the 381 freshmen in the college’s Dignitas program, consists of turkey, potatoes, cranberries, muffins, carrots and apple pie.

In addition to the homebound, the students will serve their February Thanksgiving dinner at the Damiano Soup Kitchen, CHUM, Myers-Wilkins Collaborative, San Marcos, Kids Cafe, Life House, Lakeland Shores, Salvation Army, Rainbow Center, CASDA, Aftenro and Union Gospel Mission.

A cut above?

Willeck, lean and mean from cutting off the gristle, has moved on to the semifinals of a national meat-cutting challenge presented by A1.

The competition is Feb. 25 at the Ice Factory in Kissimmee, Fla., and Willeck will be going up against 87 other professional meat cutters from around the nation. The prize is the title Meat Cutter of the Year, and a purse of $20,000.

According to a statement, Willeck is responsible for hand-cutting every steak served at Duluth’s Texas Roadhouse. In an average year, he will cut about $1 million worth of meat, working in frigid conditions. Literally. He works in a 35-degree walk-in refrigerator.

For the competition, Willeck and other participants will receive 30 to 40 pounds of beef. The contestants will speed-cut two sirloins, one filet and one ribeye. The cutters are judged on quality, yield and speed.

The competition is part of a program created by the Texas Roadhouse chain.

Food for thought

Forget about over-easy and medium rare.

The best answer to “How would you like your (blank) prepared” is “with local ingredients, please.”

The Art of Local Food is from 6-8:30 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Depot and is a fundraiser and silent auction for the Duluth Community Garden Program and the Arrowhead Chefs Association.

The event includes a four-course gourmet dinner by local chefs using local products. The chefs also will talk about each dish. The silent auction features visual, culinary and gardening arts.

Tickets are $40 and available online</a> and at the Community Garden office, Duluth Grill, Whole Foods Co-op.

It’s the beer-lympics!

Have you ever said: “Oh, yeah? I’ll be an Olympic athlete as soon as they make beer drinking a sport”?

Well, Wise Guy, assume the pint pout position.

Fitger’s Brewhouse now has a Sochi Series in honor of the Games. According to Growler magazine, it’s an entire concept that includes seven beers, T-shirts, screenprints and themed pint glasses done by Maxwell McGruder.

Things got a little competitive behind the scenes, according to mnbeer.com.
For example: IPA was pitted against IPA: One with 25 hops from around the world, the other with 25 hops from the United States.

World IPA, Back End Wee Heavy, Slippery Slope Stout and USA IPA are available at the Brewhouse. USA IPA and World IPA are at Burrito Union, and USA Curling Capital is at Redstar.

All seven beers are available at the Rathskellar in the basement of Tycoons. For more info on the beer, go to mnbeer.com.

Let’s talk coffee

Coffee is, in the opinion of Eh?, more essential than perhaps any other beverage — outside of water. So naturally, Eh? is curious how it is produced, from bean to cup.

Alakef Coffee Co. is planning a talk at the Duluth Public Library’s Green Room, 520 W. Superior St., at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The free presentation will discuss in detail how a seed turns into the greatest liquid awesomeness ever.

Samples of coffee varieties will be available while supplies last, so wear your coffee-drinking cap.