Once and awhile life throws you a Saturday night and you don’t have plans. What to do? Go to Victory 44 in north Minneapolis. This is where K and I could be found last weekend. Actually you should make specific plans to do this any day of the week you possibly can because Victory 44 is Uh.Maze.Ing.
Don’t freak out over “north Minneapolis.” If I hadn’t said north Minneapolis and you went to Victory 44 you’d think you were eating in a little place by Lake Nokomis. They have a lovely patio and the atmosphere inside is comfortable and casual. The chefs are the servers are the bartenders so they all know everything about what’s on tap and on the menu. We made fast friends with Kevin and he guided us awesomely and expertly through our evening of gorging.
They started us with a snack of homemade ranch corn nuts. I hate anything ranch and I don’t like gas station corn nuts, but these are nothing like anything you’d ever find in a gas station. They were crunchy and savory and fantastic. I ordered a Crispin and K ordered some sort of beer aged in sake casks (sorry, I can’t remember the name) and then they brought us another snack — grapes wrapped in blue cheese and rolled in peanuts. Blue cheese is a little strong for my taste, but its stinkiness was offset by the sweet, juicy grapes and the crunch of the nuts was a nice touch.
Being snacked up, we then ordered bacon fries to share. They were every bit as good as you’d think a bacon fry should be. Thick, hearty french fries with just a hint of bacony goodness. K thought maybe they were fried in bacon fat, but I think that amount of bacon-ocity would have overwhelmed the fries. Maybe a bacon fat drizzle? Doesn’t matter. They were goooo-od.
The ever-changing chalkboard menu had so much goodness written on it we found it very difficult to choose our main courses. K ordered sweetbreads a la carte off the chef’s tasting menu and a foie hot dog. I got the chicken and grits. The good people at V44 have managed to fit in bacon and meat where you’d never imagine it could fit. In addition to the juicy polish sausage, K’s “hot dog” had big pieces of foie gras lining the bun. He said it was absolutely to die for, but I was too busy eating my creamy, cheesy grits and tender, nuanced chicken rolled around summer sausage to even try a bite of K’s food.
In the midst of this orgy of meat, K and Kevin the chef/server had a conversation about the best beers on offer. Kevin totally sold K on La Fin du Monde — a “champagne style” beer in a ginormous bottle. I’m not a huge beer drinker, but I enjoyed a glass of this lightly effervescent, slightly fruity brew.
Full as we were, we decided we absolutely couldn’t miss out on what they had to offer for dessert. They brought out a plate with two pieces of cookie dough (awesome) and a cookie in the middle — peanut butter bacon. Om nom nom…best damn peanut butter cookie I’ve ever had. Then they brought dessert. Yup. The cookie dough and cookie were *pre-dessert*!! Can you stand it?!
The dessert board they brought us was nothing short of art. An apple dessert with homemade caramel and bacon-crumble on top. Chocolate pudding with a caramelly bottom and black sea salt. Beet panna cotta. The most amazing carrot cake I’ve ever eaten in my life. Chocolate brownie with peanut butter mousse. Cheesecake creme with a ginger cookie and strawberry coulis. Speechless. We’re actually trying to figure out how we can get V44 to make dessert for our impending nuptials!
Do yourself a huge favor. Go to Victory 44 today. We’ll probably see you there. I think this is our new home away from home.