Our first trip to the Minneapolis Farmers Market was one of our earliest outings as fledgling parents with a newborn Lucy. Like all new papas and mamas, we were terrified to take our baby out in the spring, for fear of germs and breastfeeding in public and changing diapers somewhere that was NOT the changing table. But the market was outdoors, and we could wear her safely in the Baby Bjorn while trying out some tasty food and getting dressed and leaving the house for what felt like the first time in months.
I'd forgotten all about this memory from twelve years ago until I got an email from a guy named Brandon a few weeks ago. He works at a small craft meat shop called Man Cave in Minneapolis, and he'd stumbled across my website and blog when he was searching out Idaho foodies who might be interested in trying out their meat (yeah, I know, I can't stop giggling about that, too, because I'm either 14-years-old in my heart or have a dirty mind or both). Anyhow, he was thrilled to realize that not only was I a long-time Idaho blogger who loves to cook and eat fun foods, but that I was also that lady who'd become famous for her awesome radical stand for self-love in a black bikini. It wasn't until we began corresponding about his meat (yup!), that he learned that I also lived in Minneapolis for many years, as a grad student and young mother.
Much of the crew at Man Cave Craft Meats met as students at the University of Minnesota and began making their own sausages and bratwurst with care and flavor and selling it at the Minneapolis Farmers Market and backyard BBQ parties. They have worked their way up as a small business and are brand new to Winco Foods grocery stores (our favorite!) around the West, and here in Boise. For around $3.99/pack, you can try out some pretty tasty meat, friends, from turkey burgers to breakfast sausage.
Brandon sent me a cooler with an assortment of frozen Man Cave Craft Meats to try out. I got a few friends together on a sunny Saturday for a taste test, and we busted open some beers and the BBQ grill and cooked up both the bacon, beer & cheddar brats as well as the buffalo wing style with bleu cheese. While the little girls all loved the bacon, beer & cheddar, I have to say that the clear winner with all the adults was the buffalo wing style brats. They are super spicy and not "Minnesota spicy," as Eric and I used to call the wimpy Midwestern aversion to zest, but LEGIT spicy, in the best possible way. These are so good, in fact, that they need no other accoutrements except the bun (and definitely not ketchup).
Not only did Brandon make our Saturday afternoon a real treat, he also sent me some extra packages of meat and a super cool Man Cave Craft Meats tee shirt to give away to a lucky local Boise area blog reader FOR FREE (you just gotta be over age 18). You guys, I'm super stoked to be hosting my very first giveaway contest, and for something so yummy and affordable and dear to my heart (and my belly). I recommend giving these guys' meat a shot (yup again!) next time you're at Winco Foods and picking up something to grill this coming spring and summer. So, for your easy peasy chance to win a package of their breakfast sausage, the bacon, beer & cheddar brats AND a tee, tell me below what your favorite thing to grill outside is. That's it. No purchase necessary, just leave me a note with a few words. You have until Sunday March 13th, 2016 at midnight to leave a comment and I'll pick a winner AND arrange to hand over your meat prize (and yup! still giggling!) personally.
EDITED TO ADD: Congrats to Brina Anderson for winning the prized meat package, even though now I can't stop thinking about grilled peaches. YUM.