The other weekend, I had the Germans over for a little pizza feast. My mom and her sister had gone walking through the woods (so Schwarzwald wanderlusty of them) and had come out with a giant puffball mushroom. They looked at me and said, "Cook this." Well, I didn't know that you could eat puffballs! I thought they were just for smashing gleefully with a golf club, as my 7 year old does. But persistent Germans will have their food! We cut it into chunks, sautéed it up with some butter and garlic, and proceeded to make shroomy pizzas. Then my cousin Richard (non-German but a scientist, so as worthy) goes into my yard and comes back with these little Shaggy Mane shrooms that had been growing next to my patio. Throw them in the pan, get them on a pizza! My yard was the fungus mother lode and I didn't even know it. As I later told this story to a chef-pal, he said he likes to slice the puffballs super-thin, almost like pasta, and make a lasagna with the sheets. That's the difference between me and the real pros, I never thought of that. But this Fresh Forkin' Friday, for dinner, I'm heading back in the woods.
Darbar India Grill is now open in the former Indio spot in Uptown. I just yapped with co-owner Singh yesterday on Twin Cities Live (he owns India Palace in Woodbury). Courting the Uptown crowd, the new spot has placed its tandoori oven in full view and tricked out the space with clean and modern decor, sans sleepy sitar music.
Quixotic Coffee has replaced White Rock Roasters in the space next to Highland Grill. I stopped in last weekend, and if you want to geek it out about coffee, Gordy's your man. He crafted me a roasty toasty latte with a sassy swirl that had me feeling days back in SFO. It's offering MadCap beans, which are a lovely addition to the local scene. Cake Eater's supplying the nosh, so you know, the early bird . . . and all that.
It seems that Harry's has closed and taken off with all the fixtures, appliances, and last cans of Who Hash. Voldemort says that the space will be taken over by another BLVD, in which the landlord has stake.
What's with all the cagey chefs? I was up at Victory 44 shooting some charcuterie for the November issue, and Erik Harcey was all giggly and hush hush about something that would soon be announced. Then last night, I ran into Stephen Trojahn and HE said something's bubbling . . . not that that it's too hard to infer given his Twitter handle . . . Gastrotruck?
20.21 has a new bar menu! Check out some of Asher Miller's tasty bites such as chili-garlic chicken lollipops, crystal dumplings with king crab and garlic chives, steamed bao buns with pork belly and kochujang aioli, and stir fired udon yaki with wild field mushrooms and ox tail. Plus there are a couple of new cocktails such as the Cool and Spicy Margarita with cucumber and jalapeno infused Jimador tequila, and a bourbon sidecar, which was made especially for me. Not really, but that's the way they make you feel. BONUS: Any three items from the bar menu will only run you $20.21.
It's Knife Fest at Kitchen Window this weekend, and if you know anything, you know that a good knife is the MOST essential tool in the kitchen. Not only is there a storewide 10-50 percent off on knives, but there's free seminars on basic knife skills, free knife sharpening, and an area to let your kids play with food and knives. SIGN ME UP! Plus, master knife maker Harald Wusthof is in town and you can join him for a special dinner tonight or have him sign your knife on Saturday.
It's Rocktoberfest at France 44/St. Paul Cheese shop this month. That means that Benjamin Roberts, the coolest cheese monger in the history of mongering cheese, will surely be tweeting specials with big hair band trivia and cheese prizes for those who truly know how to rock. You might also want to check out the expanded seating at the F44 space.
Muffuletta has an Italian wine dinner next week, Wednesday October 6. For $65, you'll get some great Italian wines paired with Jason Schellin's dishes, such as a Parmigiano-Reggiano fondue, crispy duck flatbread, and local lamb shoulder with cannelloni beans.