Photo by Katherine Harris
Have you ever suffered ingredient envy while gawking at the cool stuff that shows up on restaurant plates and thought: I could really do something if I had those microgreens/poussins/tomatoes that taste like lemons/exotic bar syrups? Well friend, it’s your lucky day because Minneapolis’ most awarded restaurant, La Belle Vie is debuting a CSA—Community Supported Agriculture—box program for 30 or so people. CSAs come from farms, and oftentimes restaurants such as La Belle Vie take all the production of some of the best; so this CSA is a way for non-LBV chefs to get at that very fancy local agriculture.
“I wanted to do a new fun thing at La Belle Vie for the summer, for the growing season,” chef and owner Tim McKee says. “Every month [through September or October] we’ll pack up a box with what we think is cool and great from our local farmers. Maybe some ramps from Chad at Lovejoy Farms. Maybe a couple poussin [very young chickens] from Wild Acres. Maybe a couple of pieces of foie gras from Christian [Gasset, owner of Au Bon Canard]. Some tomatoes that we love. A cocktail mix [made by Adam Gorski using the fancy chef-made syrups and juices the bar is famous for, you’ll add your own liquor at home.] A few little treats of some sort from Nikki [Francioli, the pastry chef.] And we’ll include a recipe, for the dish we would make from what’s in the box.” The inclusion of that recipe is remarkable in and of itself: La Belle Vie almost never releases recipes.
So, could you cook like a great chef, if you actually had the ingredients? Now you can find out. What would the version coming out of the La Belle Vie kitchen itself taste like? Sit on down: The dishes so represented in the box will be exclusively available to CSA subscribers on an insider’s menu. “Ideally, you’d come in for dinner, and pick up your CSA box as you leave,” McKee told me. What does it cost to get in on such a CSA box, with its attendant access to the CSA-subscribers-only menu? $100 a month. Want in? Call them: 612-874-6440.