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First Bite: District Fresh Kitchen + Bar
By: Stephanie March | Posted: 03/28/2014
I’m a first generation American. My mom and her family came over from Germany when she was 12. She had to do sixth grade twice because the first time she had no idea what they were saying. My kids have learned German so that we can speak “in code” around other people, because we think that’s funny. I have spent hours with my Oma and Opa hearing stories of the war and poring over pictures, and offline and in person if you ever want to hear how Oma and four small girls evaded Russian soldiers looting houses at 3 a.m., I’ll tell you—it’s a good story.
I am very proud of my Teutonic heritage, and I know it comes with a dark mark: the Nazi flag is something that, wherever it goes, will always bring shame. All I can think is that the celebrants at that dinner never really knew Germans from the war who can tell in detail about dressing your girls in burlap sacks because that was the only thing available while you scrabbled to get them on a train to avoid the bombs on their way. So very many people were hurt by that war, it seems odd to celebrate it (even in re-enactments, in my opinion).
From my German perspective, The Gasthof zur Gemütlichkeit made a big mistake in allowing that flag to hang in their space, in part for the fact that it boils the rich and beautiful heritage celebrated by that restaurant down to a base and evil character. Mario did have the right to host that party, something that American freedom allows, but “Gemütlichkeit” means a cheerful mood and peace of mind, which is everything that flag flies against. I would hope that Mario learns that a true and heartfelt apology comes from a place of hospitality, the act of putting someone else’s needs before your own. I don’t think he is evil, I don’t think the place should be burned to the ground, but I hope, like all Germans, that understanding and compassion for all be the ultimate victors . . . that is the true defeat of that flag.
>> Hen House Eatery opened in the Peter's Grill space. Notable 2 p.m. Happy Hour start time, chums.
>> Digby's is now open up Roseville way. It's a burger, pizza, craft beer story they're telling, but there's also a nice little round of cocktails that might be had (say before or after a movie at the neighboring megaplex), such as the Dig Bees made with Far North Solveig gin, chamomille-honey syrup, Bittercube bolivar bitters, and lemon.
>> If you're down with the brown, listen up: Ace Spirits in Hopkins is open with a BOATLOAD of whiskey, y'all! The locally owned independent shop is stacked floor to ceiling with beautiful amber bottles of whiskies from all over the world. There is some Pappy on the premesis, but you'll have to win it. There's lots of craft beer and some silly bottles filled with clear liquor that you can breeze by while contemplating your purchase of Rock Hill Farms. (Do it.)
>> Chef Leonard Anderson, the W.A. Frost alum who ventured out to Wilernie to open The Hangar Room (remember that?) has set his sights on the East Side. Payne Avenue will soon be home to Tongue in Cheek, a new American joint committed and devoted to using only humanely treated animals. June is the target for this one.
>> Maybe, Woodbury, if you get off the stick and give a little funding to Four Firkins, you can have your very own. The craft beer shop has launched a capital campaign to help with its expansion to the East, which would be the second of five planned locations. I say GO!
>> It seems that The Belmore/The New Skyway Lounge is now closed. Doug Anderson is reportedly looking to relocate it somewhere else. But really, The Belmore was only a restaurant in the sense that it was a performance art piece about a restaurant. Good pizza, though.
>> I really wish I could go to this class on Saturday, from the awesome Fruits of the City kids, where you learn how to prune your fruit trees. My apple tree is an unruly brat.
>> If you're wondering how those crafty Pinterest people get hearts and rainbows to magically appear INSIDE cakes, come to Kitchen in the Market tonight to score a signed copy of local author Amanda Rettke's wildly popular Surprise Inside Cakes. Libations, cake, snacks, and a book included.
This weekend's sudsy festivities include:
>> The Northern Lights Rare Beer Fest at the History Center, featuring a bunch of beers you've never tasted . . .
>> The Brewer's Ball is happening in support of Cystic Fibrosis. I'd love to see all those beards in ball gowns . . .
>> Or you could head over to Dangerous Man for some all-you-can-eat porktastic Pig-A-Palooza action.
>> On April 6, MSPIFF is hosting a little Cinema Smorgasbord around the viewing of Le Chef, a French comedy with Jean Reno in which an old chef must learn new tricks to keep his Michelin Star. Our fun starts with a little cocktail party and wine tasting, then a screening of the film followed by an after party under the tent, all for $40. Tickets are limited, so jump on this.
Stephanie March is Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s food and dining editor. See bio
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