The basement level of OM was packed last night with all the usual suspects that attend a restaurant opening. Not shockingly, I was camped out by the food and accosted any passed tray that happened by. Chicken tandoori, coconut shrimp, curried chickpea puffs, pork goan, yes. It was a happy crowd, the drinks were strong, and the staff was informative and excited about the food they were serving. Raghavan strolled the room and had an easy calm about him, fitting for a place named for peace. On this Fresh Forkin' Friday, I'm still carrying the good vibes and planning my return to eat more than a bite of that lamb.
OM officially opens today for dinner. Randy Norman is the man in the front of the house and Raghavan Iyer is behind all the food which is an upscale look at Indian, with a nod to some local ingredients and flavors.
Loring Kitchen & Bar opened this week in the new Eitel building off Loring Park. The design is Shea-eriffic, a very sleek and clean contemporary look, but comfortable, not unlike the food. Owner/chef Burt Joseph of Birch's in Long Lake has included his famous pan-fried chicken in the rough, but there are also some more refined small bites (such as a lovely seared scallop). The valet boys get a Top Notch award for friendliness and efficiency.
Homemade Pizza Co. opened another branch in the Calhoun Commons. The take-and-bake concept focuses on fresh ingredients and personally, I think their whole wheat crust is one of the best.
Decoy's in White Bear Lake has closed, but the Decoy's in Hopkins is still open. They were kinda divorced anyway.
This year marks number 25 for Excelsior's Apple Day. This Saturday thousands will descend on the lakeside town for the street fair, an apple pie contest, a hunt for a hidden golden apple, and all sorts of fried goodies (only some of them apples).
If you're craving the feeling of grapes between your toes, this is your weekend, wine stomper. The Carlos Creek Winery is kicking off the harvest with a grape stomp this weekend. Live music, wine tastings, and a classic re-enactment of the I Love Lucy scene are including in the festivities. A touch closer to home, the St. Croix Vineyards near Stillwater are also hosting a grape stomp this weekend, with fun and prizes going to the best stompers.
Holy flaming cheese, it's the Taste of Greece in Uptown. Opening today at noon, there's a running of the Greeks 5K tonight, wine tastings all weekend, and chef demos that will help demystify the world of phyllo.
If you can make it out to Boom Island on Sunday, the Simple Good and Tasty bunch are having a pot luck and pig roast! It's a grand community picnic, just pay your $10 in advance so they don't have to front the whole show, and plan a stellar locavore dish to share among your like-minded foodists.
The Muddy Pig Belgian Beer Festival kicks off next Wednesday Sept. 17th, and runs through the 20th. During that blessed time, the taps of the Muddy Pig will be overrun with Belgian brews while the bar itself will be overrun with Belgian brew enthusiasts as they chatter, sip, and learn about their beloved beers with seminars starting at noon daily.