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First Bite: District Fresh Kitchen + Bar
By: Stephanie March | Posted: 02/10/2014
This Fresh Forkin' Friday I have a bit of a rant, and if you haven't seen the finale of this season of Top Chef, you may want to scroll past. Many people on the Twitter were frustrated and mad at the outcome, with unseasoned, red-nosed, shouty frat boy Nick winning over the consistent, much-loved, humble island girl Nina. I'm actually one who thinks we can't possibly know who should have won for dish's sake; we didn't taste the food. We can surmise by the judges reactions and engage as spectators, but we'll really never know who had the best tasting dish. That's not really my issue. My issue was with the Padma bikini shot in the beginning of the episode. Not only did she burst out of the ocean surf with a tiny bikini, but then proceeded to greet the chefs and set up the challenge in said string bikini top. Don't get me wrong, girl looks goooood (especially after having a kid, rock it!), and I wouldn't begrudge the shot if this were Top Maxim, but it's not. Can you imagine the chefs when she popped into the room? Where do you look? How uncomfortable for them to have to concentrate on avoiding the deadly rack-stare at a woman who is there not to jiggle, but to judge their food and decide their fate! Would it have been appropriate for Tom Colicchio to greet them wearing nothing but a thong? Can you imagine?! All I'm saying is that in this year, when we've seen women undervalued in the food world by big media, that it showed me just what they think women are best for, and it wasn't her educated opinion. So, did it shock me that the fratty was crowned? Sadly, after they set the tone, not a bit. This is one female in the industry who will have her future Wednesday nights open.
Travail and The Rookery is open in Robbinsdale! The space is awesome and really cut into three parts. Travail in the front of the new building is tasting menu only and looks a lot like the old space. The back of the space is The Rookery which IS NOT A SANDWICH SHOP but an a la carte eating space, with cool curved tables and a different menu of just-as-Travailian plates. In middle, joining them together is the bar area where you can cop a squat and get a killah cocktail and watch the action on all sides. There haven't been lines this week, but you know how a weekend jams it, so get there while the getting is good!
Bars Bakery has opened their skyway spot in St. Paul's Alliance Bank center. Stop in for one of the donut muffins . . . you deserve it.
Big Wood Brewery opens their taproom today in White Bear Lake. Consider sneaking over to Pizzeria Pezzo for deep dish or Red Lantern Sushi for drunken ramen if you need it.
Coming soon to the former Heidi's space in Lyn-Lake . . . is Lago Tacos. The shop that has been jam-packed in Excelsior is opening a second location in the city, construction should begin soon with a proposed opening in the spring.
Lots of sushi rumors have been floating around lately, but I can finally confirm that Fuji-Ya has been sold and is NOT closing. The original family has owned the pioneering sushi shop for 55 years, but due to health reasons have decided to sell. The new owners have bought the name and recipes, and plan to keep it open and running. They are all hoping for a smooth transition, and plan to celebrate the shop's longevity this summer with a 55th anniversary party.
And both Hard Rock Cafe and the 400 Bar are opening in the Mall of America. So there's that.
Images from Travail Kitchen, Lago Tacos Facebook, Katherine Harris
Stephanie March is Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s food and dining editor. See bio
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