Last night, Kate and I went to the local screening of Merlove , a smart and funny documentary about the rise and fall of merlot and the impact of the movie Sideways on the industry.
One of the Washington winemakers that filmmaker Rudy McClain interviewed made a comment about the American vs. European philosophies on wine, in that we seem to be in this odd place where we have an "interest" in wine that leads us to read books and seek opinions and trust experts. Europeans would never do this, they just experience wine. It's like rock 'n' roll: would you ever read a book or listen to an expert to understand rock 'n' roll? No, you just listen to whatever makes you feel good. It should be the same with wine, just drink and drink a lot. So I'm brimming with merlove this Fresh Forkin' Friday as I trip it to the wine store to select a bunch of bottles that I've never tried before.
There has been a dearth of bad news this week. Let's get the badness rolling.
- Sauced in North Minneapolis has closed after an inspiring run at delivering fine food to an area in need of high-quality eats.
- Tin Cup's has closed. St. Paul is down one goodly dive.
- Stone's in Stillwater is no longer. I think that swinging patio won't stay closed for long.
- La Bodega has closed. That corner is enviable, but what's happening to the neighborhood?
- Sam's Wine Shop is gone from Washington Avenue as that neighborhood continues to figure it out.
- Grand Asia has gone dark on Grand, but word is that India House will be moving in (yay, bright spot).
- The Times Bar has closed while they do some "retooling." As for Jitters? Where will I be able to get my Erin Schwab fix?
- Mackenthuns in Victoria has closed, but the old St. Boni sausage and meat deli is still open. Westward travelers who love a finely made sausage will feel the collective "phew" of this.
Patrick's Bistro in Wayzata has been sold and renamed Volnay Bistro. It seems that Bernet got an offer he couldn't refuse and sold the spot a few months ago. The new owners are still buying pastries and goodies from Patrick's but have unveiled a new menu, which doesn't stray too far from the former one. You can still find escargot, beef bourguignon, and daily quiche along side some burgers and sandwiches.
The Hotel Minneapolis has just announced a new happy hour menu in the freshly branded LB (read: lobby bar). We were at the adjoining restaurant Max the other night for HH, and it was packed. The LB might be a good solution for overflow, especially since the snacks sound tasty: calamari in chili-lime sauce ($7), mushroom crostini with Boursin ($9), three-cheese and bacon grilled cheese sammy ($9).
Breakfast/brunch seems like a good place to lure people in with new tastes. Pastrami Jack's has expanded its breakfast menu to include cheese blintzes, salami and eggs, corned beef hash, and a special Jack's Benedict. The Sample Room has added Saturday to its newly refined brunch: I'm hungry for its mini-malted Belgian waffles, sausage with peppers and eggs, or a humble and satisfying fried egg sandwich.
This Sunday is Oscar night, which I normally spend in my most spectacular evening gown (read: robe) on the couch with a bevvy of snacks within arm's length. How better to judge the super-skinny and perfectly coiffed? But I do miss a bit of the glam, which is why I was psyched to learn that you could get Puckian Governor's Ball fare at 20.21 for a full week after the event! For $20.21, you get an A-list tasting menu of mini cheeseburgers, slow braised Asian short ribs, and spicy sriracha sorbet, among other things, through the 28th.
Are you a wild child who needs to burn down the candle before Lent? Then you're probably not from Minnesota, but good for you! Get your Fat Tuesday on at Barbette with a $32 prix fixe Mardi Gras meal including cornmeal-crusted softshell crab, chicken-crawfish étoufee, and bananas Foster, among other choices. P.S. It's added lamb sliders with chevre to the late-night menu. Amen.
The Food & Wine show is next weekend, but Saturday is already SOLD OUT. So if you're up for the snackfest, get your Sunday tickets, which is the better day in my mind because you'll get to see the finalé of the chef throw-down.
Restaurant Week is closing in! Get your reservations soon! The menus are online, so pick and choose and plan your week accordingly so that you can make the most of the Best Tasting Week of the Year.
Listen to SHansen and SMarch as we yammer on about tasty things this Saturday on the Weekly Dish from 1 to 2 p.m. We're talking food classes, fish fries, killing lobsters, and what it means to Scott Pampuch to be a James Beard-almost finalist.