Photo by Caitlin Abrams
Ticonderoga. What a really great word that inspires memories of my Justice League metal lunchbox; a creaky green-handled thing that was sometimes packed with the one thing that started out as a dare, and evolved into a complete and utter mainstay of fourth grade: peanut butter and yellow mustard sandwich. Winning, even then.
>> Cast & Cru has launched at the freshly revamped Old Log Theater. (Remember school field trips to see Frog & Toad performed there?) Loads of cash ($2.5 mil.) have gone into the buildout and the restaurant portion includes a shiny new kitchen, an orchard, and ingredient-growing gardens on the 11 acres by Lake Minnetonka. The modern American menu includes dishes such as braised wild boar shank, poached barramundi, and, hello, a Turducken Commercial: turkey, duck, and chicken on focaccia with truffle gravy and crackling. Now showing in the theater: Life Is But A Dream.
>> Officially open today is Foreign Legion, the bohemian cheese bar and lounge across from Brasserie Zentral. Besides some elegantly grilled cheese sandwiches promised, there’s a killer wines-by-the-glass selection, tap beers, and plenty of cocktails. (And BTW, BZ is starting Sunday Supper wherein a whole chicken meal for two including a bottle of wine is $55! And the famous Sous Chef Prix Fixe has migrated from Meritage and costs just $30 per person for something new and interesting every week.)
>> Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar & Grill is open on the Mall, Nicollet I mean. The national chain features traditional Asian dishes with a modern twist and some American dishes with an Asian twist (hope I didn’t make y’all dizzy there!). Looks like there are bar snacks (Asian nachos, potsitckers), flatbreads, a bit of sushi, wok works, noodles, sizzling platters, and meatloaf with an Asian gravy.
>> Hard Rock Café is open in the mall, Hugedale I mean. There are 408 seats on two floors, a bit of Prince and Replacements flotsam and jetsam, and an enviable location right in Nickelodeon Universe so you can scoot in the kiddos fresh off the SpongeBob rollercoaster to feed them chicken fingers in front of the Kurt Cobain curtain.
>> Red Wagon Pizza plans to bust crust in the former In Season space.
>> Salt Cellar will be arriving in St. Paul soon with the help of the mycophagically gifted Alan Bergo.
>> Simpls is plotting its opening in the Minneapolis skyway for next Monday. Think local products (Seven Sundays, Buddy's Nut Butters) and crunchy deli eats from Common Roots.
>> Bar Abilene has closed permanently. Much was learned about tequila tolerance at that place over the last 16 years.
>> Grand Szechuan has closed its Plymouth location, and it has already become a version of a national chain Indian restaurant called Bawarchi Biryani Point. Let’s make Peter go there and check it out, hmmm?
>> I feel like if your dream is to be hop harvester, this is your weekend.
…. For the sixth year, Liftbridge Brewery will be hosting its Pickin’ and Grinnin’ party out in Stills on Saturday. Help pick hops, drink a little beer, jam to a little bluegrass just like I did last year.
…. The kids up at Mighty Axe Hop Farm are hosting their first Mighty Pick Hops Picking Party on Sunday with some beer and snacks. They’ll also be at Tiny Diner on Saturday to give a class on hops, those tough but elegant little cones.
…. And finally, take note and don’t drive to Lucan, Brau Bros.' Hopfest is happening this weekend down at the newish brewery in Marshall. This one is a legendary good time with lots of live music, hootenannying, and probably not as much actual hop picking. But fun!
…. If that only whets your whistle, check out the hop harvest happening on Pizza Luce’s patio in Uptown next Tuesday. They’ve got hops you can take home, plus Lagunitas beer and swag, which ain’t bad.
>> And also? Kielbasa Fest this weekend. Sausage tonight, sausage tomorrow, commemorative beer stein to hold your sausage all weekend long.
>> I know you’re psyched about the coming Nighthawks/Birdie situation being launched soon by chef Landon Schoenefeld, but what would it be like to actually work side by side with him in the kitchen? Find out at Chef’s Night Off on Sept. 15. Who knows what you’ll learn: how to make house cheeze whiz? Perhaps, perhaps.