This Fresh Forkin' Friday has me feeling optimistic. Tulip leaves are poking up from the ground, patio chairs are out and full of eaters, and possibilities seem to be opening up on the food scene right now. Steph Hansen and I went to P&F yesterday and happened upon Joan Ida's new lunch menu. We tried a silky parsnip soup with duck confit, a nicely spiced steak salad, and a lovely hunk of sea bass with merguez sausage and kumquats. Best yet, the place was busy and there was a convivial buzz about the room.
France 44 Cheese Shop will most likely have to come up with a new name for the cheese and sandwich shop they'll be opening on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. Taking over the old photo lab next to Breadsmith off Snelling, cheese master Benjamin Roberts says that the space will be tiny but packed to the rafters with great cut-to-order cheese and artisinal sandwiches. Look for late spring/early summer opening.
FRESH & NEW:
- Yes, Tosca is finally open at the Turtle Bread bakery in Linden Hills. Full-service dinner features some great looking Italian plates (tagliatelle with lamb, pork shank with polenta).
- L'Ecosse is a newish spot kicking out casual cafe fare with an international flare in south Minneapolis. Wine and beer license is pending.
- El Tejaban has taken over the Morelos spot in Richfield. They're promising the same great food with an additional twenty items on the menu.
- The ill-fated Musashi has been re-branded as Zake. Already it seems to have at least a smidge more edge than the yawn-inducing former identity. I'm not sure if the food has changed or if it can win in that odd corner.
- Those who love a good old family-run, Italian-American feed will be happy that Latuff's has left its soon-to-be-demolished space for new digs across the road. Taking over the Hunan off Highway 55 in Plymouth, it has still got that homey, saucy, cheesy feel.
When The Times Bar/Jitters closed last month in NE Minneapolis, they said it was only temporary, for remodeling. It seems that plans have fallen through, and the closing is permanent as the space is now on the market.
Midtown Global Market has jumped on the brunch wagon. Each Sunday, a chef from one of the eateries will do brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the central plaza. This weekend kicks it off with Shelagh Mullen of SheCooks making whole wheat pancakes with real maple syrup, bacon, oj, and fresh fruit for a friendly $6.95. Next week, Andy's Garage will be hosting omelets.
Ikea is serving FREE BREAKFAST this weekend. It's a perfect time to lure the eaters because it has some great deals: Saturday it has a twenty-piece flateware set on sale for $9.99, and Sunday it's featuring a sixty-piece tableware set for $39.99. Recent graduates? Newlyweds? Ina wannabes?
Tune in this Saturday to the Weekly Dish from 1 to 2 p.m. on FM 107.1. Stephanie Hansen and I are chatting with Raghavan Iyer about his new book and upcoming restaurant OM, plus we're giving you tips for the Seward CSA fair coming up and talking about what's next for local reality TV vet Nipa Bhatt. Plus, we'll hit on some of the Dining Deals featured in our May issue.