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Minnesota's First Vermouth
First Bite: Giordano’s
By: Stephanie March | Posted: 01/03/2014
Buh-ring it. This Fresh Forkin' Friday (which still feels like a Tuesday) marks the first of the year and I say to you: go forth! The holidays might be done, but the spirit lingers and I think you can afford to ignore the weight-loss ads and cleanse promotions for at least a few more days. Especially since the weather is trying to kill you, feel free to thwart it by adding another layer of corporeal insulation in the form of a juicy burger, a fat glass of mash, or that last Rolo that's wedged in the bottom of your stocking. Here's what's been happening since you've begun knocking yourself out nightly with nog.
Cosmos has rebranded and relaunched a section of their drinking area as Relevé Champagne Lounge. It's all about the bubbles and there's a healthy list of bottles of all sizes (yes, you can have a Jeroboam of Veuve) but more importantly there are some 20 bubblies that can be had by the glass or split (those cute little one-lady bottles). John Occhiato's accompanying menu is divided in two sides: the Madison Ave. side is full of traditional things you think you should eat with bubbles (oysters, pate, hamachi), while the Hennepin Ave. side offers you things you might crave with bubbles (sliders, deviled eggs, lobster grilled cheese). There's also an actual separate bar area to which you can bring your glass and doctor it up with bitters, liqueurs, aromatics and the like to make a custom cocktail. Not a bad way to get through January.
Hammer & Sickle quietly opened in Uptown. The Russian-themed vodka bar that took over Kinsen Noodle Bar is serving a big list of house infused vodkas alongside snacky plates like pierogi, escargot, sliders, and the like.
White Bear Lake has seen two interesting openings. Pizzeria Pezzo opened in the former Decoy's space, offering the first coal-fired pizza outside of the cities. And Red Lantern Sushi opened with a menu full of fresh sushi, drunken pork ramen, seafood hot pot, miso butter clams, and a goodly list of beer and sake.
Here's some interesting news, maybe to industry insiders first, but Randy Stanley has left Parasole. Randy has been the schmoozy-talented guy behind Manny's forever, and I believe he started out as a wait assistant at the opening of the original Figlio. He's leaving the company, and his cush VP title, to open his own restaurant in the dark Minnetonka Boatworks space that was lastly North Coast. If anybody can make that place sing, it's Randy.
The Wedge is opening a new spot on Eat Street! The huge space near 24th will be a market and cafe, but also serve as their commissary kitchen and bakery. Look for something this summer.
Bullwinkles in Seven Corners has closed again. Oh, damn.
Cafe Maude at Loring is closed, but claims they will re-concept and re-open in a few months (let's hope they're not pulling a Heidi's).
Jack Riebel is out at Butcher & the Boar.
So there it is for now ... there's some more fun news bubbling up soon ... stay tuned!! But in the meantime, just for fun at the office today:
Janie in HR is really into lambic beers—she ferments her lambics by exposing them to the wild yeasts and bacterias of the company cafeteria. Put whatever fruit you have in your lunch sack in her inbox in the morning, and she’ll infuse a beer with it and have a growler ready for you by quitting time.
Stephanie March is Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s food and dining editor. See bio
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