Yeah, I'll admit it. Lard freaks me out. I didn't have a Southern Nana who threw lard all over the place, and I'm a child of the '80s, during which lard had roughly the same reputation as Pete Rose (good, but not appropriate). But time and tide turns all things, and lard is . . . so HOT right now! While over at Heartland's Farm Direct market, I picked up a tub of mangalitsa pork fat (lard) and it now sits in my fridge, beckoning. The truth about the mangaIitsa pig is that the resulting fat is better for you, higher in unsaturated fats and oleic acid. I don't think I'm getting right into the world of whipped lardo just yet, but I can start with pie. This Fresh Forkin' Friday I am contemplating the idea of some weekend pies made with lard, which makes me feel like I'd better don a retro apron and smack my kids with a wooden spoon. Sometimes you gotta go backwards to go forward.
Sun Street Breads opened last Monday to shouts of joy from bread hounds. Check out its sassy breakfast sandwich menu and just TRY to get out of there without a loaf of mad bread scientist goodness.
The Wild Boar has taken over the Decoy's space in Hopkins, serving bar food with a Cajun twist.
Sopranos Italian Kitchen will be open by Monday. I got a sneak peek at the space during a mock lunch, and I can say that JP was furiously working the line. Looks like the ghost of Ringo has left the building.
Whole Foods will be opening up a location in the former Circuit City space by Ridgedale in Minnetonka, followed by a new location in Edina sometime later this year.
When Galaxy Drive In reopens this spring, it will be under the watchful and creative eye of State Fair favorites, the Blue Moon Diner kids! Worth another visit to be sure.
Wise Acre Eatery will be the name of the farmy restaurant launched in the old Liberty Custard space by the Tangletown Gardens guys. These guys are farmers who will now be serving tables. They've pulled in some Lucia's alums to handle the menu, so you can bet it will be a midwestern spectacular spectacular! Look for opening in May.
There's a new brew in town, and beer-o-philes are psyched! Stone Brewing Co. is launching its brand locally with a week's worth of events starting the 29th. Don't miss the total tap takeover at the Muddy Pig with more than 20 Stone beers on tap.
If you're headed to France44 today or tomorrow, just mention the Children's Cancer Research Fund at the checkout and they'll donate 10 percent of your purchase to the cause. Plus, $20 from each sale of a rewards card will go directly to the fund. Nice move.
You gotta love camp, conch, and beer. The Ale Jail and Caribe have teamed up to offer a beer dinner at the Caribbean restaurant on April 18th. Four courses of tropical food will be paired with beers from the Ale Jail.
There's another Kitchen Table Series at Il Gatto scheduled for April 5. Tim McKee and Jim Christiansen hang out with a limited number of diners and chew the fat while serving up three courses that include a sneak preview of coming menu attractions. Seated at tables of eight, it's like your own little chef dinner party for $45 and no clean up!