My wife and I were headed up to St. Paul, MN for the Northern Lights Rare & Vintage Beer Festival. It was the 4th year that we've made the journey up to sample 3 floors worth of incredible craft beer inside the gorgeous Minnesota History Center. It's a fundraiser for Pints for Prostates, so you're really drinking for a good cause. As if I need one. Hunger struck us in southern Minnesota. Megan launched a full scale investigation into our dining options. Thank you, Google. 3rd Street Tavern was new to us, and their menu sounded delicious. In an otherwise bland stretch of food territory, it was a welcomed site. The restaurant itself was a trendy space with a kind staff.
Kind staff? Sure. But, bring on those beans...
At 3rd Street Tavern they were served up in a nice sized, classic two-toned, ceramic ramekin. There was a large sized helping of the beans at least. Unfortunately, I wasn't given a spoon to eat them with. It's become an increasingly common problem. Am I crazy to want to use a spoon? Fork and beans. Fear not! I was able to overcome. The order itself was a single bean variety, and those beans were over cooked. I mean, well on their way to being refried. There was little substance to them and they'd best be described as mushy. Yes, mushy. I've used it before and, unfortunately, I'll probably have to use it again. The culinary minds behind these beans were not shy with the white onion. At all. Unlike the beans, the onions could have used a lot more time in the pot before they were dished up. The onion flavor was nearly overwhelming in contrast to the brown sugary-sweet sauce the beans were served in. Onion wasn't the only vegetable in the mix, these beans were also cooked with diced red bell pepper. I found this to be a nice addition, and uncommon. There were all sorts of textures in this dish. The mush of the beans and the crunch of the onion were complemented by a plethora of chunks of pork belly and smoked sausage. Easily the best part of the dish. The smoked meat helped add a smokier flavor that the side dish was otherwise missing. The addition of the meat saved this from being a complete mess, with the beans being way over cooked and the onion being under cooked.
Ratings (On a scale of 1-5)
Total Score: 7
For what it's worth,
Northern Lights Rare & Vintage Beer Festival: 5