It's Fresh Forkin' Friday and this weekend seems to be jammed with holiday parties. Saturday I'll be festively hopping between a few soirées, but tonight I am hosting a little dinner gathering in my own kitchen. I'm thinking fondue. I don't know why we don't do it more often, but the communal act of dipping things into molten cheese seems right in my genre. I mean, the Swiss actually have a slang word, figugegl, which is a totes adorbs abbreviation of "fondue is good and creates a good mood". But I still need to kick it up a scoush, I won't be allowed to throw down a simple pile of ham and bread and call it a day. For the cheese, which traditionally is Gruyere and Emmental, I checked in with cheeseguru Benjamin Roberts of France 44 and he recs Spicherhalde from the German Alps mixed with Abbaye de Belloc, a sheep's milk cheese from the Pyrenees, for a sweeter mix with less funk that would kick ass. For the dippables, I think we have to go big with a huge pile of things, think quick-seared Brussles, blasted cauliflower, dark-dark nutty bread, avocado, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, snap peas, whatever might be skewered and dipped. But be warned, Swiss tradition says that if a man loses his bread in the pot, he has to buy drinks all around, and if it's a woman, she has to kiss her neighbors. See? Sounds like one of my parties already.
Chef Shack Ranch opened for biz yesterday ... soft open, but still, yahooo!
I'm sure you've heard, and seen many a post on it, but The Freehouse is opening on Monday in the North Loop. The Blue Plate Group is jumping into the beer business with this brewpub that will serve from breakfast onward.
Vellee Deli is opening a pop-up at Crema Cafe!
Bogart Loves, the cute little bakery stand at Kingfield Farmers Market, tweeted yesterday about signing a lease and opening a storefront soon! Looks like a donut shop is in the works for the former Amelia's Flower Shop on 36th & Bryant.
Get over to Verdant Tea tonight for a free tasting of some new boozy inspired ice cream. The Easy & Oskey boys have teamed up with 45th Parallel and Sweet Science to make a new flavor called #tOFa, a.k.a. The Old Fashioned. You can also get nips of the flavor of the month: Eggnog. PS ... both of these would make excellent hostess gifts.
If you want to support the beerists who have supported your beer culture, head over the Dangerous Man Brewing on Saturday for a little fun and fundraising for the MN Beer Activists. From noon to 6pm you can sample some special brews, play a little tipsy silent auction roulette, and hob nob with the people pushing for a better beery tomorrow. ALSO ... FYI .... Winterfest tickets go on sale on Monday at noon, so make sure your clicking fingers are poised.
Looking to get a little holiday spirit? Head West to the Arboretum this weekend for tree inspiration, story telling with Santa, decorating with ice, and a formal tea. Head East to the IBEW Holiday Lights spectacular for a cocoa-in-the-car night of wonder. Pick up the accompanying CD at Kowalski's and get a free ticket for the drive.
If you haven't been invited to many parties, just gather your own mob at Brit's Holiday Trivia & Christmas Jumper Experience with John Cosgrove (who is immensely funny). Wear your best unfortunate sweater and enjoy a BOGO on Newcastle, voila, instant friends.