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By: | Posted: 11/08/2011
I know I have been way too serious as of late, and I don’t want to develop a rep for being such a joy-less buzzkill, so in an effort to show you where my heart is I wanted to make sure you all saw this hysterical bit from The Daily Show. I still laugh my ass off thinking of it, whoops, wait, I am watching it again . . . yeah, it’s still hysterical. We clearly all need to lighten up because as TDS points out, 100 percent of all people who eat food will die. In other hysterical food fun here is Ted Allen of FN’s Chopped with a morning show spoof that has to be seen to be believed. I still can’t believe how real this send up is, while at the same time being so fantastical. It’s brilliant and makes good point about taking ourselves too seriously.
I think Pollan is too humble to say so, but even though some call him out for being too much of a food freak, I think he belongs on the list as well. He is a hero to many of us. Eric Schlosser belongs on the list as well, for both Fast Food Nation and for his thoughtful op-ed and essay work. I would point out that my personal food crush Marion Nestle is No. 2. I couldn’t agree more.
The 2011 CHARLIE AWARDS neighborhood finalists and dishes are: Caribe Caribbean Bistro (Creole Lobster Stuffed
Mofongo), Crave - Mall of America (Mexican Roll - Sushi), Doolittles Woodfire Grille (two locations,
both for the Woodfired Rotisserie Chicken) Gold Nugget Tavern and Grill (Stadium Burger) Modern Café
(Pot Roast), Porter Creek Hardwood Grill (Salmon with Roasted Corn Sauce), Smack Shack (Lobster Roll),
Solera (Meat and Fish Paella), and Zen Box Izakaya (Spicy Kimchi Ramen).
Most of these dishes aren’t even realistically in the top 100, let alone the best in their neighborhood. The pot roast at Modern is one of the 10 most famous dishes in the cities. I don’t know if it’s the best, but it would certainly be a deserving winner. And I wouldn’t argue if that dish got an award someday for best dish in Minnesota. It's iconic and justifiably worth the drive from anywhere, and its stood the test of time.
But now that the list of finalists is out there, I am pretty convinced that letting restaurants nominate themselves and their own dishes and then have fans vote on that list is definitely not the way to go. It cheapens the results. These are not awards for excellence, and that puzzles me. Noticeably absent from the lists are any restaurants that normally are part of the conversation when it turns to best chefs, best dishes, and best restaurants in town. More than 100 independent restaurants registered to participate in THE CHARLIE AWARDS and each submitted
a menu item they thought best represented their establishment, so when the finalists were
chosen by public online vote, they only had those dishes to consider.
Tickets for THE CHARLIE AWARDS Main Show at The Pantages Theatre and the After Party in the IDS Crystal Court are $35. A VIP Brunch will be held at noon on Nov. 20 at the Walker Room in LaSalle Plaza. Tickets for the VIP Brunch are $65. A portion of the proceeds from THE CHARLIE AWARDS brunch will benefit Second Harvest Heartland. If you want to purchase tickets go to charliesexceptionale.com.
I would add Tilia, Travail, Fuji Ya, Masa, Parma 8200, Spoonriver, and Piccolo to this chat, also Bachelor Farmer, Corner Table, and a few others. The Zagat list is a bizarrely crowd-sourced popularity contest. But at least most of the restos in the conversation deserve to be there. The only restaurant out of the top 30 in our towns that is on The Charlie’s list is Modern. How does that even begin to happen?
Well, in defense of The Charlie’s producers I can cite restaurant and public apathy. But some of us saw that one coming from miles away.
The Charlie’s are a BRILLIANT IDEA, and I support it 1,000 percent, but the voting mechanism needs changing and the proof is in the pudding.
Can’t wait to see what the “food enthusiasts” have to say about the winners.
Andrew Zimmern is a columnist for Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and the host of Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.See bio
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