What's on the sched this Fresh Forkin' Friday, eh folks? There seem to be so many little fests going on that I can't manage to get them all in. I've actually developed a habit of choosing my weekend festival destination by 5K. If the fest offers some sort of road race (5K is top choice, a 4-miler is good, more than that is questionable), I get it on the planner. That way, during the meditative run, I can plan my food attack. I mete out the miles by trying to figure the best possible savory to sweet order of snacking (you can't go mini-donuts before corn dog, and cheese curds must come before any ice cream forms). The idea of a cold beer with a gyro has propelled me up many-a-hill, and festival snacking after beating up the road is a lovely and guilt-free way to summer.
Heartland opened in its new Market House digs across from the St. Paul farmers' market this week. The space is lovely and soaring with exposed brick and big, rough beams visible all the way to the glassed roof. Three kitchen tables hang over the atrium, where the glassed in butchery can be witnessed. It's cool.
New to me, have you heard about Albert's Grill in Columbia Heights? A friend of mine went and ate an alligator burger, a honest-to-goodness gator burger, and said it was uh-maze-ing.
Word is that the sadly vacant Zen Asian in Uptown will soon become yet another Tea House. Juicy buns ahoy! I hope they go even edgier for Uptown and reeeeeeally bring the heat.
Grab your group of besties and get to 20.21 for the new Chinese Banquet menu. It's a family-style feast that includes Asher Miller's hot & sour egg drop soup, Peking duck fried rice with pork belly, and Shanghai noodles with braised short ribs for a fixed price of $45 per person. Snag a table on the snazzy patio and it's a deal of a night out.
Save the date for the Mill City Farmers' Market first ever harvest dinner prepared by the market chefs. Sunday, September 12 will surely find the train shed packed with tables and good eats.
This is a great way to satiate both your artistic side and your suck-up-every-possible-second-of-good-MN-summer-weather side. The Guthrie and aloft have conspired to bring you three outdoor cookouts that you can enjoy before Streetcar or The Scottsboro Boys. On Wednesdays in August (the 4th, 11th, and 18th) the cookout will run from 5:30 to 7:15 p.m., giving you enough time to mosey over to the show, which starts at 7:30. The $35 ticket covers both the cookout AND the show!! You have to call the box office (612-377-2224) and ask for the "BBQ Special."
Speaking of BBQ, if your name is DAVE, I guess you win.
Looking for a food-fueled road trip this weekend? The Kickapoo Country Fair is the Midwest's largest organic food and sustainability festival held on the Organic Valley compound in La Farge, Wisconsin. Do you think they'll have organic corn dogs?
Closer to home, there's the Middle Eatern Festival (falafel! roast lamb! kabob!) the Caribbean Festival (jerk chicken! roti! island drinks!) or Lumberjack Days (pancake breakfast! mini-donuts! The Suburbs!). Go forth and fest.
There are still tickets to the Toast & Taste at the Arboretum next Thursday. It's jammed with a hit list of chef all-stars, just sayin' . . .