Archive for the ‘Beer & Wine’ Category

“…expanding the horizons, expanding the parameter…” – beastie boys

26 Jun

Minneapolis chef and sustainable food advocate Scott Pampuch joins The Iron Horse Hotel

June 19, 2011 (Milwaukee, WI) – Minneapolis chef and sustainable food advocate Scott Pampuch will take the reins in Food & Beverage at The Iron Horse Hotel ( on July 1. Owner Tim Dixon announced today that he has hired Pampuch to consult on all F&B operations for the award-winning 100-room experiential hotel, including the hotel’s restaurant Smyth, Branded bar, the 450-seat outdoor venue known as The Yard and all hotel banquets and special events. Pampuch will work with The Iron Horse Hotel’s culinary team and front-of-the-house F&B staff.

Founder of the acclaimed Corner Table restaurant in the Twin Cities, Pampuch (pronounced “pam-poo”) plans to bring his passion for fresh seasonal ingredients and simple Midwest cuisine to the thousands of guests that frequent The Iron Horse Hotel annually. He was voted one of Minnesota’s 25 top chefs by his peers and is the creator of Tour de Farm MN, a dinner series that celebrates local farmers and food artisans who cultivate their harvest.

The Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director for Minnesota Valley Country Club, Pampuch ( has been sharing his musings on food and farms as the new host of Ovation’s “In Search of Food.” Episodes have included preparing a raw, vegan and gluten-free meal for musician and avocado farmer Jason Mraz and lunch for 300 hungry middle-school students, using healthful ingredients, within a strict time limit and a school-board-approved budget of $1.15 per child.

The transition from local restaurateur, to chef and F&B director at a regional country club, now to a top-rated hotel in the Midwest represents a progression for Pampuch, who will oversee a $5M multi-outlet venue at the award-winning Iron Horse Hotel.

“We’re thrilled to have Scott come on board,” said Dixon, who will turn to Pampuch to oversee his other culinary ventures, including Stack’d Burger Bar ( and Dixon Development’s new hotel and F&B concepts.

Pampuch describes his cooking as simple, straightforward and seasonal, and a reflection of local agriculture. “I love the James Beard quote, ‘I don’t like gourmet cooking or ‘this’ cooking or ‘that’ cooking. I like good cooking.’” The chef teaches techniques through cooking classes that range from pig butchery to seasonal vegetarian dishes.

“Milwaukee is exploding on the sustainability scene, with inventive and flourishing operations like Sweet Water Organics and Growing Power’s Will Allen as a national leader on agriculture and food policy,” added Pampuch. “I’m excited to tap into these resources and continue to push the envelope on creative cuisine already happening at The Iron Horse Hotel.”

Pampuch’s food advocacy includes engagements on Minnesota Public Radio and other local TV and radio appearances, as well as national culinary events, syndicated television and a documentary. He was featured in “Primal Cuts: Cooking with America’s Best Butchers.” Awards have included Best Restaurants 2010: Farm to Table, Locavore of the Year, Best of Food + Dining 2009, Best Neighborhood Café 2009, all from Mpls. St. Paul Magazine; and Best Restaurants: Farm Fresh, Locally Raised, March 2006, Critics Choice: Chef-Driven Zagat Survey. He was a James Beard Awards Semi-Finalist in February 2008 and named a Foodservice News Top 25 Chef that same year.

The Iron Horse Hotel ranked #10 in the U.S. on Condé Nast Traveler’s 2011 Gold List and on the magazines “Hot List” of new hotels in 2009. The hotel was name Boutique Hotel of the Year in 2010 and 2011 by BLLA, on National Geographic Traveler Magazine “Stay List” 2009 and featured in the top 10 in all of the Americas by Tablet Hotels. The AAA Four Diamond Award winner ranked #11 of all U.S. hotels on in 2010 and ranks #1 in Wisconsin on the influential guest review website.

Brigette Breitenbach,, 414.750.7298 office 414.750.3098 mobile

Heidi Nelson,, 612.246.4815 office

Mike Phillips in our kitchen for Wine Week

09 Oct


This is a shot from Tuesday night during Minnesota Monthly Wine Week.  It was a pleasure to have not only one of the best chef’s in Minnesota in the ktichen, but also a good friend.  Mike Phillips was the chef from our first ever Tour de Farm event. 


What you see here is an example of amazing local ingrediants taken to a very high level.

Thanks for coming in and helping us out.

Tour de Farm Best of Dinner

30 Sep

In one week you will learn whose hand that is.

This coming week October 6th through the 10th, we are participating in MN Monthly Wine Week.  This is going to be a very fun week for us here at the restaurant and we hope you join us.  The theme for our wine week feature is that we will be offering a 5 course ” BEST OF TOUR DE FARM” menu. 

Some of you may already be familiar with our tasting menu’s at the restaurant.  Our tasting is all spontanious that night, at that moment in the kitchen, for your table.   Yes. that is how we do a tasting menu, all the time.  This menu is going to be different.  This week, and this week only, you will be able to relive one course at a time from every tour de farm dinner.  We will be taking a menu item and a wine paring from every Tour de Farm Dinner that we did this year and offer that as our 5 course menu this week only.  What I have listed below is the courses, the farms, the chef that originally did the course.  Our menu will be to replicate those dishes.  ( impersination is the highest form of flatery)  

1st Course

Hidden Stream Farm

Mike Philips


2nd Course

Walker Art Museum

Jim Grell

Fennel salad, green goddess dressing, + 1

year aged Northern Lites Blue cheese

3rd Course

Grassroots Farm

Scott Graden

Roasted beet + mozzarella salad

4th Course

Cedar summit Farm

Lenny Russo

Prime rib of grass fed beef + fingerling

potato + heirloom tomato jam


Star Thrower Farm

Jd Fratzke

Sheep’s milk cheese + cheese cake

The other bonus of coming in to dinner this week, is that when you do the tasting menu, you will get to get on our email list for Tour de Farm notices through out the winter months as well as a calander in advance of the dates for next year Tour de Farm dinners.

I would highly reccomend that you call for reservations and inform us if you wish to do the tasting menu.  Also, on Tuesday night there may be a special guest in the kitchen.  To be announced at a later date. 

So, I got this phone call the other day and I said, well sure.

18 Apr

Policy and a Pint: Think Globally, Eat Locally?

Wednesday, May 6
Doors 5:30 p.m. | Program 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Varsity Theater

1308 4th Street SE, Minneapolis
Admission: $10, $5 for students with valid ID
Appetizers from the Loring Pasta Bar included
Register now

Want to fill your plate with food from our local farms? It’s more complicated than we often realize. Join moderator Steve Seel, DJ from 89.3 the Current, Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, food critic for Minnesota Monthly, and Scott Pampuch, chef at the Corner Table in Minneapolis.

Beer Geeks Unite!

24 Feb

These are my beer guys. Everybody needs beer guys.  These two gentleman are affecting the beer scene in Mpls/St. Paul and beyond more than anyone really knows.  If you know who they are, you already know how much they have contributed to the beer movement in the Twin Cities.  If you don’t, here is a little insight into who they are. 

Corey Shovein – Hohensteins

Why beer, how did  you get in the business and why are you such nut-jobs when it comes to beer?

Got into this business while I was going to school to be a drama teacher. The owner of a company called All Saint’s Brands asked me if I had any time to put into second job. At that time I was going to school from 7 am to 2 pm and working at the empire known as Super America from 3 pm – 11 pm. Not a lot of time in there to squeeze in another job. I did however ask him what it was I would be doing. It was at that moment that the magical words “Beer Importer” were uttered and I told him that I think I could find a few hours here and there to help him out. Nut-job? Doesn’t everyone turn into a nut-job if you love what you do. I have to constantly pinch myself to make sure I am not in some sort of Super Bowl commercial. I get paid to talk about beer. Drink beer. Travel to places to drink beer and meet lots of great people. My wife tells me all the time its not a real job. 

What is worst beer you have drank?
Easily Bud Light. Tastes like spit.

Best beer experience?
I was In Belgium with Lanny and enjoying for the first time a delicious bottle of Westvleteren 12. My first “beergasm”. You always remember your first. Right?

What is your favorite wine?
What is wine? Turley Zin. Im a big fan of the bold fruit flavors in this wine.

What’s your suggestion to make beer drinking a better experience for people?
Try as many as you can and use a glass whenever you can because it opens the beer up a bit

Where do you see the industry going? What do you think of local brew scene?
I see the “craft beer” industry getting stronger every day. That has its positives and its negatives. Craft beer’s rise in popularity has opened the eyes of the large commercial breweries and forced them to find ways of capturing some of that craft scene. Lets just say good beer has gotten into a fist fight with commercial beer and has at least connected on a few blows. T.V commercials that talk about how much they nurture every beer before it gets packed up and shipped out instead of using scantily clad women or dogs to advertise their beer. The American consumer is drinking better beer at 21 than they were 10 or 15 years ago. If you start at 21 with the good stuff your palate won’t let you go back. Even in a tough economy. For the first time the U.S. craft scene is influencing the global beer community with their creativity and quality.

Local scene. Is is certainly more fertile than ever. Does that mean all the beer is good? No way! Brew good beer and people will drink it. Brew bad beer and people will send it back. Just because it is local does not mean it is all good. I believe people should support great tasting local beer not every local brewery. You are doing the industry a disservice by supporting mediocrity or worse. Unfortunately on the distribution side larger big money wholesalers, non-alcoholic wholesalers, wine wholesalers etc…. are trying to make a quick buck on the popularity of craft beer now. In my opinion stick to what you are good at. If everyone is trying to get a piece of the action be prepared for a lot of mediocrity on the shelves. The market will be flooded and their will be a ton of old beer being sold. When that happens all the band wagon jumpers will hop off again and go back to what they were doing before.


Lanny Hoff

Why beer, how did  you get in the business and why are you such nut-jobs when it comes to beer?
To be honest, I backed into the business. After graduating from college, I wandered the landscape almost aimlessly looking for a calling. I ended up at a homebrew shop, met a guy who was starting an importing company, took a position as an unpaid intern and before I knew it, I was national sales manager. Now, 14 years later I am part owner of Artisanal Imports, Inc. and represent my beer from the Mississippi River eastwards. Except in Minnesota where I cover both riverbanks.

What is worst beer you have drank?
With the exception of every bad homebrew of mine and beers that are just plain messed up, I would have to say Crucial Brew. It was a high-alcohol version of Red Stripe and tasted like Old Spice Aftershave. Don’t ask me how I know that.

Best beer experience?
The first time I passed through the gates of the Koningshoeven Trappist Brewery in Tilburg, Holland. It brought tears to my eyes it was so beautiful. I have a lot of love for that brand and the people that make it. Although I am pointedly non-religious, Koningshoeven and the Trappist Monks who run the place have my respect and radiate a calm, intelligent power. Very impressive.

What is your favorite wine?
One of the reasons I like beer is that it’s easier to keep track of. There are so many wineries, it’s hard for me to remember them, so don’t expect too many specifics. I like dry pink wines and am particularly fond of Spanish Rosado. For everyday wine, I’m a huge fan of Sineann Red Table Wine. Not sure if you can get it in MN, but I order from the winery and dig it very much.

What is your suggestion to make beer drinking a better experience for people?
Relax and trust yourself. If you think you don’t like it, move on. Don’t ever finish a beer you don’t like. It’s cheap and vulgar. Dump it out or order something else!

Where do you see the industry going?  What do you think of local brew scene?
There will be a continued expansion of craft and specialty beers and more people will jump on the bandwagon. It’s a genie that, once uncorked, cannot be bottled again. The local brew scene is looking better all the time, but without naming any names I would say I’m underwhelmed with some of the beer. We seem oddly satisfied with mediocre beer in this market and I am baffled at how some brewers can stay in business. It seems odd to me that some restaurants and bars have a “local only” policy for their beer list and choose to carry beers that are poorly made to satisfy this self-imposed limit. I don’t see any restaurants featuring “local only” wine, and I sincerely doubt that a good chef will choose low-quality “local” ingredients when other options exist. The localvore revolution is a good thing, but we can’t throw standards and quality out the window. Be critical! If the beer (or wine or food) is not good, do without or find something else.
Having said that, the bar is rising all the time and things are getting better bit by bit. There are many rays of sunshine and I am hopeful that our scene will continue to grow and improve.

All I can say after all that.  Get to know a BEER GUY!

Go ahead. Answer some of the questions yourself and let us know.