This Fresh Forkin' Friday I am excited to tell you that this coming Too Tweaky Tuesday The Food Wars Ju(i)cy Lucy Battle will finally be airing on the Travel Channel (9 p.m.)! And here you go, I was one of the judges. Yeah, I know. It took all of the powerful culinary skills I've built up over the last 20 years, honed into a laser point of concentration, while I (blindfolded, mind you!) bit and mulled the burgers from 5-8 and Matt's. It was intense. I can tell you that I liked them both. I can tell you that I think I knew which was which, but I wouldn't have bet my youngest on it (maybe my oldest). I can tell you that when they announced which one I had chosen, I wasn't surprised. But that's all I can tell you, besides the fact that (rightfully) Ragnar stole the show. You'll probably glimpse me for a mere 3.7 seconds, but really, who can compete against a 7ft. Viking with cheese in his beard? I know my place, and it's in the corner dipping fries into the cheese gash in my burger.
I have a Voldemort (he-who-shall-not-be-named) who says that the old brick CB Burnet building next to Salut in Edina has been signed over to the Barrio boys and that the concept will be Cocina Barrio. Maybe a bit more taco and a bit less mezcal for the Edina set, hmmmm?
CLOSES TO OPEN
Casa Lupita, which some people thought was the only decent Mexican food in the Northern 'burbs, has closed and been taken over by Justin Grecco of Grecco's on the St. Croix. He plans to open Roman Anthony's, an Italian joint complete with candle Chianti bottles and windows draped in red velvet. The target opening is May 1.
After regaining ownership of LoTo, David Fhima is closing it down to retool the concept and the space. There will be a new name, a comfort food focused menu, and new attitude, but the gorgeous windows will remain. Look for it in June.
Bibo in Eagan has closed. You can bet it will become something else run by someone else. Sometime. Nalapak has closed due to lease disputes, but hopes to re-open in another location soon.
Pete Maccaroni has left the wine bar. King's is now being helmed by sous chef Ben Skinner.
Barbette has a new bon homme. Chef Kevin Kathman, formerly of restaurant Max, has taken over the line. Sample his skills at one of the Monday prix fixe dinners, 4-5 courses for $32. Joan Ida has landed at the Highland Grill.
PEOPLE, THE MAPLE SYRUP IS RUNNING! Quick, go get some on your fresh all-you-can-eat stack of pancakes at the Arboretum this weekend. My kid learned how to tap a tree and boil his own last year. It is big tasty fun for everyone!
If you want to try the new Nordeast Beer from Grain Belt, you should get over to Keegan's Pub, the first bar in town tapping it. On Wednesday, April 7th they'll open the doors and taps at 11 a.m. for those beer geeks needing to be the first to sample the new American amber lager. Then walk across the street to Surdyk's and pick up a pack to take home, if that's your game.
Polish up your wellies and get ready to eat on the farm! Outstanding in the Field's tickets go on sale this Saturday, and they go fast. This year our local event is at Star Thrower Farm with Scott Pampuch and Mike Phillips manning the fires.
Still no dates up on the Tour de Farm site, and that little cartoon made me itchy.
There's no need to wait, or force yourself to walk through a cow patch if you don't want to. Red Stag is hosting monthly farm dinners right in the restaurant. Brilliant. Chef Brian Hauke will prepare a four-course meal and the farmers will be on-hand to give a presentation and answer questions. Dragsmith, Footjoy, and Larry Schultz are some of the featured farms, Singer House rabbits will be first up on Monday, April 5.