I've been doing the Thursday morning Weekend Recommender spot on WCCO, and yesterday when I came out of the studio at 6:25 a.m., I discovered I had a flat. I've been meaning to get new tires, so I caught a lucky appointment and last night found me sitting in the tire store waiting room. Only one other person was in there with me: a nice little old lady. . . who honestly smelled like gin. Not just a faint whiff of booziness; she was like a juniper bush planted in the blue vinyl chair next to me. She wasn't wobbly or at all displaying classic drunken-granny moves, so I questioned whether or not she was really drinking—maybe it was just a really bad perfume. And then she opened her purse and took a swig off an airplane bottle—swear to golly. But the best part is, she then got up and walked out of the store. She wasn't even there for tires. This Fresh Forkin' Friday I salute Mistress Gin.
Last week I made mention of Thom Pham's intention to turn the ghost ridden former Musashi space into Wanderers Wondrous Azian Kitchen, and yesterday he lowered the big boom that sent the Twittersphere into spasms! He will be closing Azia, the queen of Eat Street. Apparently the building needs some major renovations. Mostly I'm sad that the sassy little A25 had such a short life. The transition will happen simultaneously, with Azia closing two days before Wanderers opens with the same staff (but different menu). That's a toughie people. Pham wants it all to go down in the beginning of August, but there's so much Olive Garden to remove from the new space. We'll see...
Next weekish (July 19th target) Surdyk's will be opening Flights Wine Market & Bar. . . at the AIRPORT! It's brilliant! You'll be able to haul yourself through security and stop n' grab a ficelle sandwich or a cheese plate or A BOTTLE OF WINE before you get on the plane. No more awkward stops at unfamiliar liquor stores in foreign lands just to bring a bottle to your hosts. And if you have a while before your flight, go ahead and enjoy a freshly made bagel, a small-plate snack, or a flight of wine from the full-service wine bar.
Burger Moe's is now open on West 7th, in the old Rizzo's/Vesco Vino. Moe Shariff, who owns the Downtowner across the street, has quietly rebaptized this place as a burger and dog joint, with lots of beers and malts. Website coming soon.
Patisserie 46 has finally opened its doors. John Kraus has promised a more refined bakery of Euro-sensibilities that don't pander to the cupcake-mainlining hordes. Bravo, I say, bravo. Bring us the caneles, the strong coffee, the exacting brioche, and we will bring loyalty.
Porter Creek Hardwood Grill has opened in Burnsville. The latest opening to make good on a former Baker's Square (yay, Tea House) is actually a new concept from the gang behind Doolittle's. The menu plays American with Mediterranean influences and a nod to the Napa Valley. This means pastas, tomatoes, "handcrafted" flatbreads, and lots of wood-fiery things. And fireplaces.
ON THE MOVE
Raghavan Iyer, who was the consulting chef for OM, has severed all ties with the resto.
It's Dragon Festival weekend down at Lake Phalen! You know what that means—me sitting on a grassy knoll watching toothy dragon boats fly by while I slurp noodles and decide if spring rolls or bubble tea is a better next get.
I love anybody who actively uses the word gleaning, so I really love the Fruits in the City gang and their fruit-gleaning project which has a kick-off party this weekend by Lake Harriet. Here's the gist: if you have an apple tree or fruit tree that delivers way more fruit that you can personally can/pie/gobble, program volunteers will harvest the bounty and get the fresh produce to needy food shelves. It's way better than just letting the deer, bees, and bunnies have their buffet. Gleaning.
Two ways to eat well and do good. Julia's Journey presents an Evening to Remember at Philip's Create Studios on Thursday, July 15. Help kids with cancer while eating a five-course tasting menu paired with two beers and two wines for $60. And People Serving People's Chef's for Change dinners still have space on Monday's meal with Jeff Ansorge of Capital Grille. He's a really good guy (we hosted with him last time) and you get to eat steak as a way to help homeless kids. It's a win-win.
Don't forget to tune in to No Reservations on Monday! The Travel Channel show will be playing a Heartland Episode which features local hero Doug Flicker's Piccolo, which is where Anthony Bourdain ate when he was in town this spring.
Take a moment for To The Lighthouse, But First To The Food Carts on McSweeney's.