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BREAKING: Shane Oporto IN as Chef de Cuisine for La Belle Vie
By: | Posted: 02/23/2006
What could be better than a hot party on a cold night? Last night’s Best of the Best Party, hosted by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, continues to grow into one of the best events of the year and is quickly becoming the food event of the year. Of course I’m biased, but 1,500 other folks who were there last night will tell you the same thing. The event ostensibly is a kickoff for our March restaurant issue, celebrating the readers poll for best restaurants, our editors’ pick for Restaurateur of the Year (Isaac and Nancy from 112 Eatery) and is a fundraising event for Second Harvest Heartland—but the growth of the tasting side of the party, and the addition of some killer musical talent and high-end HGTV pinup eye candy was a nice touch. . . .
The great VIP pre-party was wall-to-wall. It seems trite, but I never get to see my colleagues in a relaxed atmosphere except at these events, so I enjoyed myself more than most. Schmoozing the time away catching up with Da’ Blaze, Funkmaster Jayne, MC MW, and everyone else is a blast. Last year Miss Richfield hit on me, and this year it was our very own Steve Marsh who couldn’t keep from incessantly staring at me from across the crowded floor. Can you blame him? (Hey Marsh, I’m married!)
Hometown homegirl Genevieve Gorder can be on the cover of our magazine every month as far as I’m concerned, especially if she promises to wear the outfit she wore last night. I liked the “Best Of” T-shirt we had her in for the December issue cover, but c’mon folks, that V-neck dress she had on last night was ridiculous. Who was the guy she was with, and is it serious? They seemed a little too much like friends. . . or am I wrong?
Brian Turner and Alix Kendall helped out by MC-ing the short program along with our fearless leader, Brian Anderson. John Schumacher has traded in his innkeeper’s key for an auctioneer’s microphone—he did a great job and told several of us that he’s turning his New Prague landmark into forty condos this year. The rich just keep getting richer.
The food I tried was killer—great scallops from Cosmos, risotto from D’Amico Cucina, tuna roulade from Fugaise, apple salad from Lurcat, sliced beef from Murray’s, and cheese-potato croquettes from Solera, and those are just the booths I made it to. But the best thing I have eaten in weeks was the rabbit loin, sliced and served with a little truffle emulsion, courtesy of La Belle Vie. Wow! Not only were the best chefs in town manning their booths, but dozens of other local culinary wizards showed up to take in the event as a civilian. Scott Pampuch from Corner Table, Clark Knutson from Pop!, and many others were there. (Thanks, Clark, for making the winning bid on the dinner with yours truly during the live auction.)
The program ended on time at 7:15, and then The Hopefuls took the stage. They were great. Cranking it up a notch by getting some topflight local musical guests was a monumental coup. Now we need a bigger venue, cuz it seems we’ve outgrown the Metropolitan in two short years. If you miss this party next year, you only have yourself to blame—consider yourself reminded!
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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