Spring kicked off this Fresh Forkin' Friday at precisely 6:44 a.m. Yes, today is the vernal equinox my friends. What does that mean? Well, the center of the sun has passed over the equator. It has risen due east and will set due west, and the hours of light will be roughly the same as the hours of dark. Northerners (especially our Swedanifinegian relatives) are truly welcoming of this day as it marks the end of the darkness and a return to light, so why not lift a glass of aquavit to the setting sun in their honor. And you're also supposed to eat eggs and seeds and stuff.
Everybody sing: Chef Shuffle!
By now you may have heard that Stephen Trojahn has left the Graves/Cosmos compound. I have no further information but am digging for it. I just met him the other day during all the RW brouhaha, he was super nice. Hope he sticks in town.
Landon Schoenfeld has exited the vague and ambiguous Tosca/Turtle Bread venture. Good news is that Adam Vickerman from Levain will be taking over and launching it as an actual restaurant on April 1 (unless he's fooling me). He's pretty pumped and stayed up till 4 a.m. the other night working on the Tosca dinner menu, which will be available full-service. I'm betting on pastas, given his recent trip to Italy. They're still working on who will replace Adam at Levain.
- American Burger has opened in the old Matty B's in St. Paul. It seems to be offering upscale burger fare, a bit of a departure from its American Burger Emporium in Woodbury. And also, get a website already.
- After all the rumors and blurbs about what Thom Pham was going to open next (Another Azia! Another Anemoni on E. Lake!), it appears that he's returning to his roots. This week Pham opened another Thanh Do, a replication of the St. Louis Park restaurant that he runs with his family, in Anoka.
- Crescent Moon Pizza has joined that funky-cool Como/U of M neighborhood that already lures me with Obento-Ya. Everybody's talking about the Afghani Football Pizza, must check out . . . .
- Mother Sauces cooking school has gone dark. Just as someone e-mailed me a question about it, I got another e-mail with details on the availability of the commercial space. So, bummer if you are holding any gift certificates, but rejoice if you are looking for a 2,500-square-foot, commercial-grade kitchen and retail space.
- Manny's Tortas has closed its 27th and Lake St. location but remains open at the MGM and Mercado Central.
- The cute little Checkered Apron Cafe in the Lumber Exchange is gone.
The France 44 Cheese Shop is officially turning ONE this Saturday, and it will be "sampling like we've never sampled before!" Madness.
Tickets go on sale today for Indulge: a craft beer and food tasting event that will happen in June. Pay up $55, a portion of which will go to Slow Food MN, and you'll get a glass that can be filled by more than twenty-five craft breweries, including many of the local brew stars, such as Lift Bridge, Surly, and Flat Earth. Local chefs will be preparing appropriate food pairings, likely to go beyond Cheez-Its and mozzie sticks.
If you can't get out of the state for vacation, at least get out-state and work on your inner chef. In the last week, I've come across three cooking schools to which I would run away, had I not many children and bathrooms to clean.
- The Coulee Cooking School will be in session in Viroqua, Wisconsin. Chef Joseph Meyer will be exploring the local organic farming, visiting the local winery, and working the area streams for trout in a fly-fishing/cooking extravaganza. Stay at the Mayfly Lodge, visit Meyer's fly shop for more info.
- Local chef Stephen Larson has opened up Gardenroad Cooking School in Harmony, just two hours from the metro. I love the idea of spending an entire May weekend diving into French bistro cooking.
- Ross Sveback, who often teaches classes at Williams-Sonoma, also teaches out at his forty-acre farm in Afton. I would have liked to sit in on tonight's Chicken Around the World class.