I’m done calling the James Beard Awards the Oscars of the food world. Let’s call them the Ultimate Disco Dance-Off or the Hot Hot Masters of the Universe Pageant of the food world. Anyhoo, the final nominations are out and we’ve got a lovely bunch in the running.
>> Amy Thielen of Heartland Table is up for both her book and her TV show
>> Lynne Rossetto Kasper is up again for her Splendid Table radio show
>> The Perennial Plate kids got the nom for their web series
Our regional category of Best Chef Midwest culled the likes of:
>> Michelle Gayer from Salty Tart
>> Lenny Russo from Heartland
>> First-timer Paul Berglund from The Bachelor Farmer.
The word award winners will be announced May 2, the food award winners on May 5.
>> Roundtable Coffee opened its storefront this week. It’s a minimalist space with a few coffee drinks and some pastries (from Treat) in South St. Anthony. The main function of the place is to be a community kitchen to coffee roaster-wannabes, offering access to commercial equipment and seasoned advice for an affordable hourly rate. Game on, bean freaks.
>> The Mac area of Grand Avenue is happy to see that French Meadow has finally opened in the former Coffee News Café space. They got this one really right: it’s bright and open with natural materials, a deli case stocked with bars and baked goods, and an actual bar at the back with tap beers and wine. The patio is being finished as we speak.
>> Check your Easter ham order, Northerners, you might have to switch it up this year. Thielen Meats, up Pierz way, has closed temporarily due to a fire that damaged smokehouses and buildings last week. They think they’ll be closed for about two months while they rebuild. Thielen Meats was started in 1922 and is known for some ass-kicking legendary bacon. You can see them on cousin Amy Thielen’s James Beard-nominated Food Network show on what has become known as "The Fried Ring Bologna" episode.
>> Sad to report that Kabuki in Eden Prairie is shutting its doors for good on March 29. They've been serving Japanese and Korean food, not to mention a super bibimbap, out in the 'burbs for 28 years, which is saying something.
>> More crazy growth news for Wayzata, People's Organic (best tomato soup in the metro) is moving into the old Jan's space by Wuollet's.
>> McCormick's, the little Irish pub on the corner, is expanding into the neighboring shuttered Blanc de Blanc space.
>> And the name of the Dean Vlahos project taking over Sunsets will be Cru, with a little preppy nautical theme. Latest word is that he's still on the hunt for a chef.
>> I'm a little excited about the ourCraft dinner at Zen Box Izakaya on March 30. The ramen masters have invited Easy & Oskey to come do cocktails and beverages, and Sweet Science to talk dessert, which should all come together in a seven-course food and drink spectacular for $70.
>> Get ready for the latest installment of Hot Chicks Monday at The Rabbit Hole. On March 31 they’re doing it Midwestern-style with chicken fried chicken meatloaf with peppered gravy, smoked crispy chicken sammies on buttermilk biscuits with broccoli coleslaw, plus green bean casserole, scalloped potato hotdish, and other delicious sounding peculiarities. In fact, you can enter your favorite MN Salad recipe on their Facebook for a chance to win dinner! It’s $25 for all-you-can-eat in the dining room, 4-10 p.m., or get a plate in the bar for $17.
>> ALSO, two spots left at Chef's Night Off with Thomas Kim himself on March 24. I'll be there chopping!!
>> Speaking of hotdish, you may want to start primping your recipes for the Hot Dish and Bars Takedown (even though they spelled hotdish wrong, we’ll be passively aggressively forgiving). Same guys from the Bacon Takedown years ago, but this time it’s happening at O’Gara’s on April 13. All home cooks are welcome to bring a dish and some bars, there are tons of prizes and good times, and if you just want to go and sample, tickets are $15.
>> Here’s a little rhubarb reading to kick some spring into your step.