Le Méridien Chambers: From D'Amico Kitchen to Marin
Never judge a book by its cover, I mean, I would have thought D'Amico Kitchen was a smart restaurant choice for a hotel, but it didn’t pan out . . . now Craig Bentdahl, the first-time restaurateur who owns Mill Valley Kitchen in St. Louis Park is opening a new restaurant this summer in the old DK space at Le Méridien Chambers in downtown Minneapolis. According to the press release, “I’ve been working with Craig on this for some time,” said Ralph Burnet, Le Méridien Chambers general partner. “Peggy (his wife) and I love Chef Rakun’s food at Mill Valley. It’s gorgeous cuisine that just happens to be good for you.”
I’ve eaten at MVK, it was fine, nothing special . . . my wife and her friends love it, so maybe that’s a good thing because I liked D'Amico Kitchen when it opened, and they didn’t feel as strongly about it as me. I am most disappointed that this was the ‘big news’ that had been touted for several weeks in wake of the DK exit story. This is not a “Holy crap!” moment, it’s a head shrug and I wish the new team of Marin (yes, that’s the name) bonne chance. The Marin team will be doing multiple meal services and in-room dining. Not as easy as it sounds. Can't wait to see if they can pull it off, make the space look like its theirs and not either of the former occupants' leftovers, and most importantly cook some dynamite food.
Truth in Advertising: Footlong Case Study
Every year at the State Fair I take my yardstick and measure all the footlongs I eat, none are 12 inches. Vendors think it's cute to point out that their signs say “About a foot long” and I think it's pretty funny too . . . apparently some customers want every inch at Subway. This is hilarious: Watch as Subway responds to sandwich scandal: '"Footlong Not Intended to Be a Measurement of Length".
Now while this is funny, it also is another indicator of the proliferation of lying, the absence of accurate labeling, and a complete disregard for the truth that some companies seem to use as a centerpiece of their culture. Lying on labels, making misleading health claims, etc., all adds up to a complete and total disregard for the consumer and tells you that these companies don’t give a crap about anything other than your money. It's shameful.
Worst Food Trends
I think Josh Ozersky is the one of the handful of best writers in America. Check out this superb blurbish listicle on the worst food trends. Every time I read his column I think to myself, “That’s what I think!!! I was just talking to someone about that!” He is masterful in capsulizing exactly what many of us are thinking and feeling. That innate sense is his greatest strength. Love that guy. His Pro-Am Salumist POV is so chillingly well put, it makes me cringe with delight.
Bourdain: The Taste, Guts and Glory
Tony Bourdain’s new show starts now on ABC. Well, not exactly, but you can see a clip here. This is a little behind-the-scenes glimpse at The Taste. I had dinner late last fall with Tony after an appearance we made to together in Washington, DC, in support of DC Central Kitchen. Sitting around Jose Andres’ Jaleo, he gave me his two cents on judged programming in the culinary reality competition space. His take was that with four judges, you have to have one that the other three can pick on relentlessly. I got money that says it isn’t Nigella or Ludo. I can't wait to see this show, but more eagerly, I can't wait to see him telling real stories from the road on CNN. Look for my interview with Tony in an upcoming issue of Delta Sky Magazine and come see us on stage together for Guts and Glory at the State Theater in May. You can get tickets here.
Shameless Plug of the Week: The NEW season of Bizarre Foods premieres Feb. 11. Set the DVRs!