This Fresh Forkin' Friday brings a birthday to my house. How do we celebrate? Not with cupcakes or worse, cupcake cakes, but with ice cream. Brownie batter ice cream to be exact. It is ridiculously simple and disgustingly good: concoct your vanilla ice cream mix, pour into your ice cream maker. While it's churning, make boxed brownie batter (be organic and whole wheat, if you like). When the ice cream is almost ready, pour the batter in the mixer, and let it churn for about ten more minutes. Pour the whole mess into a carton or freezer-friendly tupperware, and let it go for a couple of hours. The resulting mess is fabulous ice cream on top with a fudgy batter layer on the bottom. Each bite is the perfect beater-licker's dream.
The old girl who has been working the corner since 1984 is about to retire. Figlio will close sometime at the end of the summer. The space will remain in Parasole hands as they re-concept. When it re-opens, the restaurant will have a new name, a freshly designed interior (and shockingly air-conditioned air), as well as a focused Italian menu. Once the new joint is up and running, they'll turn their attention to the space next door, where they plan to open a slick eatery called Cafeteria. Because snark is their currency.
The St. Paul Cheese Shop opens today at 1573 Grand Ave. France44 cheesemaster Benjamin Roberts is very excited about bringing cut-to-order cheese and tasty sammies to the neighborhood. Go say hi, but be nice, it's a soft opening.
Kingfield Farmers' Market will finally open this weekend!
One of the best culinary benefits is right around the corner: Share our Strength's Taste of the Nation HOTlist event will be held locally on June 12th at Hotel Minneapolis. The event promises a mixologist throwdown between Johnny Michaels of LBV and Andrew Engebretsen of Bradstreet, food from top-notch restaurants, and an open Belgian beer bar (with VIP ticket). But most importantly, 100 percent of the ticket sales go to support childhood hunger, and VIP tickets are only $48. Bonus: It's a kick-ass, fun event.
Get out of town this weekend, and head to Hastings for the Alexis Bailly Vineyard's annual open house. For 31 years, ABV has been living the impossible dream of a Minnesota vineyard. Check out the release of its 2008 vintages, stroll through the vines, listen to some music, and sample some cheese for an ideal afternoon.
Happy Hour of the Day: Stub & Herb's and Flying Dog beer will be serving free hot dogs, $5 beer samplers, and $3.50 pints tonight from 5 to 7 p.m..
Tonight is also the kickoff for the 20th Annual Nordeast Bar Hop. Nice weather for it, you betcha.
This weekend will be the 17th year for City Pages Beer Festival, and they're taking it downtown to a new space by the Orpheum. The open air fest allows you to sample from hundreds of brews, global and local, while you listen to music and snack on beer-friendly snacks: yes, pizza; yes, wings.