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BEST SOUL FOOD Minneapolis 2010 - Brasa

Soul is the intangible underlayer of everything—the stuff you can't see but that matters the most. You'll find plenty of it at Brasa, in the form of Creole cooking of the Americas and Caribbean. The meats—rotisserie chicken, pulled chicken, pork shoulder, and, most recently, braised beef—are cooked as low and slow as a swamp blues and come out as tender as a newborn's rump. And if you order plate-style, it's barely possible to limit yourself to two sides, between the cheese grits, yucca, plantains, beans and rice, yams and andouille sausage, and the collard greens with smoked turkey. Whew! The food's deliciousness is a given—we'd expect nothing less from Alma's James Beard-nominated chef-owner, Alex Roberts. But here's the underlayer, or soul, of Brasa's offerings: The ingredients are sourced with a sustainability-minded ethic. Nearly all of the meat, dairy, eggs, flour, sweet corn, and cornmeal comes from small, family-owned Minnesota farms or cooperatives. The farmers' animals are naturally raised, free of hormones and cramped confinement pens. So you can eat to your heart's content, without worrying your pretty little head.

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