The Fair is coming to a close, and on its heels, the school week is nipping. Some kids have already gone back to school, and the rest should see the yellow bus come Tuesday morning. You have this great need to make sure they're ready, prepared for the year ahead of them so that they may become the best student possible. When they graduate from high school with a 4.0 and honors up the wahzoo, a cadre of smart and ethical friends who never get in trouble, with a sense of purpose and all-around drive, you pack them off for college and think: they are prepared, I have done my job, I can rest easy. And then you get a call at 6:28 a.m. from Mr. 4.0 who reports that at 3 a.m., he fell out of his loft and landed on his arm. And broke his wrist. On the third day of classes. In a whole other time zone. So this Fresh Forkin' Friday I'm saying: You're never done. Unless you pack bubble wrap.
You know how I posted that Tim McKee was at Il Gatto? Seems he's brought friends. Jim Christiansen (you may remember him from our little chef story) is leading the kitchen team in cranking out some new food, including poached duck egg with fonduta, wood roasted pancetta with mission figs, and preserved swordfish with heirloom tomatoes, radishes, and tonatto. And that's just the antipasti. Gatto has also learned a thing or two from little sister next door, and installed open-street windows to court the neighborhood.
Yesterday, on the day of Macalster move-in (smart? suicide?), The Grand Sandwich opened its doors in the neighborhood. It's a sweet freshman endeavor from a young entrepreneur, so give them a little time to get it right.
ThanhDo may have moved across the street, but the family stayed behind to open Wok in the Park. Thom Pham's siblings decided to keep the space and relaunch it as a modern Asian bistro with a fresh coat of paint and a sassed-up menu.
If you like your wine with a side of history, save the date for Wine & Words at the Nicollet Island Inn on Sept. 23. A three-course meal from Chef Adam Droski will be paired with wines while authors of Images of America: Nicollet Island will detail the history of the only inhabited island on the Mississippi. The price is $60, which includes the meal and a signed copy of the book, plus a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the non-profit Mississippi River Trail organization.
If tequila is more your speed, the same night (Sept. 23) might find you at Chino Latino for the Gringos Gone Wild Tequila Festival dinner. Five courses for $45 include dishes like black bean sopes and tequila chipotle shrimp, which come paired with tequila cocktails like the spicy sangrita. Cab fare is extra.
Taking part in Sept. 11, 2010 crush at Morgan Creek Winery should be a tasty time. They're making a whole vineyard-farm-to-table event out of it with FireLake's Paul Lynch cooking a multi-course dinner featuring a grapevine pit roasted whole hog, local Zestar apples, lake trout, and other local ingredients.
And if you missed the pig roast last month, you won't want to miss Simple Good and Tasty's local food event this month on Tues., Sept. 21. Celebrating local food and beer, the dinner will be held at Barbette and feature Fulton beer pairings with the courses prepared by Chef Kevin Kathman. A deal at $50.