It's really the first Fresh Forkin' Friday of December and I am DONE with my shopping! Not. But I have been waxing nostalgic over memories of Sears Catalogs past. See, there was a particular kitchen set I dreamt of, in glorious harvest gold (to match my mom's fridge), that I imagined spending hours with ... arranging the shelves with plastic goods, fake boiling things in tin pots, making splendid meals for Barbie and her date, Luke Skywalker. I must have asked for that set at least seven times, but I never got it. I wonder now, what if I had? Would I have played out all my kitchen fantasies too early and tired of food-play, moved on to musical theater or advertising? Or would I have shifted from thinking about food-play to actually executing food play and perhaps have pursued a life behind the stoves in the real, big non-yellow kitchens? Who knows. But I feel somehow I should say Thanks Mom, because now that I have built out my own pretty kitchen and world of food-play, delayed gratification is pretty sweet.
Cupcake has quietly opened another shop, this one down in Eagan. But while it will be your typical Cupcake emporium by day, by night it will transform into The Mason Jar, a full-service restaurant serving beer/wine and such things as stove oven pizzas, Minnesota hot dish, fried chicken, a few burgers, and a round of pot pies that includes one called Porky Pig: spiced bechamel with pulled pork, ham, and bacon bits (sounds like perfect sub-zero eating to me).
Sociable Cider Werks opened their taproom last week, at first with beer-only. But now they've gone the full monty and put the Freewheeler Dry apple graff on tap. Get over and see what a cidery is all about.
Yesterday I learned that Town Hall Brewery is planning to close the Seven Corners shop at the end of the year so that they might renovate and expand, investing about $600,000 to make it as kick-ass as the beer.
This is a wicked good weekend to get out and show your Minnesota mettle ... sub-zero ain't got nuthin' on the holiday spirit in this tribe!
Tonight starts the No-Coast Craft-O-Rama at the MGM ... which means the infinity scarfed hipsters will be packing The Rabbit Hole, but that shouldn't stop you. This is the best local-goods shopping/eating event of the season: Sonora Grill, then some Adam Turman art, followed by a little Salty Tart, then perhaps a deer pendant from Atomic Hotdish.
Don't forget Mrs. Kelly's Holiday Tea Tasting is going on this weekend at the historic Grain Belt brewery. Try over 100 teas.
Grand Meander is kicking all day Saturday (think Grand Ol' Day with shopping and joy instead of binge drinking and regret). Start with free pancake breakfast with Santa, do a little caroling, sip some soups, and end with a sleigh ride.
Tonight begins holiday hours at the Mademoiselle Miel showroom. The honey bon-bon maven is throwing down for the holidays with fun events each Friday. Tonight features seasonal greens from Martha's Gardens, and you can make your own beeswax rolled candle before you sample the holiday bon-bons: orange with peel, nutmeg & vanilla bean, and fresh peppermint (I inhaled them all).
Mike Phillips, local charcuterie expert and Man of Meat, took a nasty spill on his bike and could use a little holiday love. Join friends and fans at Modern Cafe on Sunday for a little beer and sausage fundraiser.
THREE international festivities this weekend: The Broder Clan is hosting their annual food show Fresh Off the Boot on Saturday, during which you can snack on all the cool things they find in Italy. The Alliance Francias is hosting a petite Marché de Noël on Saturday morning with breakfast and vendors selling tres chic stocking stuffers. And it's Julmarknad weekend at ASI, which means FIKA snacks, glögg, Nordic handicrafts, and a little game I like to call Tip Over Tomte (not an official game, just one I'd love to watch).
Looking ahead, you may want to gird your loins for Smalley's X-Mas in Hell: The Ironman Wing Challenge will be held on Dec. 23. Ten self-punishers will compete to finish 12 wing baskets in TWO kinds of killer sauces, with only two beers and one water, plus spiked blue cheese to help them through. Last freak standing wins eternal glory, $200 cash, a place on the Lagunitas beer tab for the rest of the night, and a potentially awkward family Christmas Eve.
Now get out ... your couch will be there next week.