Heartland Restaurant will celebrate St. Paddy's Day with a cocktail pairing dinner

St. Patrick's Day doesn't intuitively go hand-in-hand with great food. Plenty of holidays are associated with cooking or dining out, but St. Paddy's Day is more likely to conjure images of green beer and greasy fish 'n' chips than linen napkins and exquisitely concocted cocktails. But all that is about to change.

Heartland Restaurant and Farm Direct Market (whose executive chef, Lenny Russo, was a 2010 nominee for Best Midwestern Chef by the James Beard Foundation) is teaming up with North Shore Distillery, an award-winning small-batch spirits operation from the Chicago area, to offer a five-course meal paired with matching cocktails this St. Patrick's Day, March 17. Here's a sampling of the menu and cocktail pairings.

This enticing meal is inspired by hearty, Midwestern fare with a dash of Irish influence and spirits crafted by hand right here in the upper Midwest. It starts off with a reception of smoked whitefish mousse, dill sour cream, black pepper croustade, Heritage breed ham, fermented cabbage, heirloom apple chutney, and oatmeal croustade, matched with a cocktail of horseradish vodka, pickled mushrooms, and smoked blue cheese.

The meal progresses through a fish course (paired with a cocktail of Negroni, Campari, sweet vermouth, and mighty gin), a poultry course (paired with celery soda and North Shore #11), a game and meat course (paired with ginger beer, Aquavit, and balsam fir eau de vie), and finishes off with a sheep's milk cheesecake and a cocktail of Irish whiskey, bitters, and Aquavit.

Who says St. Paddy's Day isn't for foodies? The dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 17 and costs $80 per person, plus tax and tip. Reservations are required.

St. Patrick's Day Cocktail Pairing Dinner Thursday, March 17, 6.30 pm Heartland Restaurant 289 East Fifth Street, St. Paul 651.699.3536

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