Healthy or Hearty, Plenty of Choices for Minnesota Wild Fans This Year

Updated: 02/18/2014 9:53 AM KSTP.com By: Sarina Long

Taste of MN Wild: Walleye BLT, one of Chef Steidle's favorite new item
Taste of MN Wild: Walleye BLT, one of Chef Steidle's favorite new item
Photo: KSTP

The Minnesota Wild are just a few days away from the start of their 2013-14 season. Puck drops at the X Thursday night at 7 p.m. as the Wild take on the Los Angeles Kings.

Today, I had a chance to preview the new and exciting tastes that await fans at all home games. There are a variety of options to choose from -- hearty or healthy, they won't disappoint.

There was even a wine sampling – which unfortunately I could not take part in but I'm sure it is wonderful – featuring a cabernet created by the Wild’s own Zenon Konopka in his ZK28 line (www.zkwines.com). More to come in part 2 of Taste of the MN Wild from my chat with Konopka’s girlfriend, Michelle Finley on “The Wild One”– fitting name for a guy who spends plenty of time in the penalty box game after game.

Chef Jason Steidle of Levy Restaurants gave us the scoop on all things food at the X at the Taste of the MN Wild.

“We’ve got several new items this year – three new sausages made custom for us by Husnik’s meat company down in South St. Paul. They’re a small meat processing company, small enough to make custom sausages for us but large enough to produce enough to supply to the X.”

Here is what’s available on the 100 and 200 level of the arena (items marked with an * are only available in the Club Level):

“We still have The Loon Sausage (fyi, it’s not made from loon, it’s a pork sausage) which was here the past few years which is made from wild rice and Wisconsin cheddar cheese. Local products.”

“Our Assistant Director of Operations (at Levy Restaurants), Jay Hackett is from Kansas City and he is the one who said ‘You need to make brisket, mac and cheese and put it on a bun.’ So here it is – something that fans don’t normally see. It’s kind of a wow item and it’s been getting great reviews today.”

 “We have a couple new burgers this year,” Chef Steidle says.

“This is a nice comfort food. It’s a bit heavy but you know it’s something you can enjoy when it’s cold outside. It’s a nice big dish, not just a sandwich or a hot dog, it’s an entree and it’s portable so fans can grab it and take it to their seat. They probably won’t be hungry after this dish.”

Where does Chef’s inspiration come from?

“You kind of look and see what’s selling and what’s not. We went to the farmers market and also out to eat at all the wonderful restaurants across the river and got a ton of ideas. You come up here and talk to people as well. One of our team members right here at the X asked if I wanted to know how to make a pork torta. She taught me. I don’t just say, I’m the chef, I’m the one who does it. I talk to locals as much as I can to get an idea of what people like to make in their own homes.”

What is local?

“Local products, local Minnesotan food, heritage, and traditions. Local is what’s around you.” Chef Steidle said. “You draw off inspirations from everything you do in your day-to-day life.”

What is Chef’s favorite item on the menu?

“I like the walleye. I’m not even a seafood person but I like the crunch of the panko breadcrumbs we use. I like the sweet and sour of the tomato jam – it hits all those things your sweet, sour, savory. I like the pork torta as well. Those are the flavors I really enjoy – cilantro, lime, black beans. The sausages are really nice too. My favorite would be the chicken and green chili sausage for the same reason as the torta, all the flavors I really like.”

For a complete schedule and ticket information, click here.

Sarina Long is an entertainment columnist for KSTP.com.