I love living in New York, but I also love leaving it from time to time to see what‘s happening out in the world. So I was delighted to spend the past four days in Minnesota hanging out with corporate chefs from chain restaurants, a couple of CEOs from small chains, and officials from Hormel, which sponsored a meeting about pork, coordinated by Nation's Restaurant News' extraordinary event planner (really, she is) Monique Monaco.
We talked about how pork fits into current menu trends and toured one of Hormel’s plants on the Minnesota-Iowa border. The restaurant people flew from Minneapolis in a Hormel corporate jet, the NRN people took a road trip in which I learned that our publisher loves to sing along with the radio. He plays a bit of air-guitar, too.
We also had two nights to dine out in Minneapolis and had truly great meals at a tapas place called Solera and a chef-driven, ingredient focused restaurant called Cafe Lurcat.
Given how much pork we had consumed in the days leading up to our dinner at Cafe Lurcat, we managed to pack away an impressive amount of food.
Qdoba chef Ted Stoner proved to be a particularly good eater: Unbeknownst to him, a porked-out Jeff Sinelli, top dog at Which ’Wich?, slipped half of his wagyu beef onto Ted’s plate.