Thursday night, I am on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno—no joke. Being of the Tonight Show generation, I am a little freaked, to say the least, and while there is only so much personal grandstanding one can dole out—even on a blog, where blowing your horn is de rigeur, par for the course, and standard operating procedure—this is a big deal, and I thought you would want to know. On to more important matters.
Stewart and Heidi Woodman confirmed the worst kept secret in town over the weekend—they have taken the Pane Vino Dolce space and will be opening a neighborhood eatery serving elevated food at everyday prices. I think this is the perfect spot for the Woodmans: a small space in the right neighborhood, and as chef-owners, they can execute their vision without constraint. I can’t help but think that after debuting at Levain and opening Five, they have figured out how to make this work. Let me put this idea out there . . . if the food is cooked, plated, and priced in a way that makes it a credible option for regular weekly dining by the people who live in the immediate neighborhood, this will be a huge hit. The cross-town fans will always show up, but you make careers and bottom lines on your regulars. Based on what I read in the Strib and what Stewart told me, this place should work . . . . Look for a June opening.
Beth Hawkins's cover story in last week's City Pages is a real head-scratcher. Great idea for a piece, but the article had nothing new to say, making it a puzzler as to how it got on the cover—a space reserved for higher impact revelations, to say the least. Posters on mnspeak.com have been savaging it all week. Read it and decide for yourself. This may be a little “inside-baseball,” but I don’t knock Beth for it—I blame her editors. Sometimes I think I am the luckiest guy in the world because I have the best editor in town making me sound way smarter than I really am. Adam would have spat that piece back at me with a page of notes if I sent it in to him.
Speaking of head scratchers, why is the to-go counter at Good Day Cafe not open yet??? In this day and age, and with ownership as experienced in the restaurant world as David Webb is, why wouldn’t you get the whole hog out in front of the customers from day one?
According to a note I got from Steven Read at Shepherd’s Way Farms, “. . . the first two Friesago cheese makes of the year were this week. Food & Wine magazine cited the Shepherd's Way's Friesago as a must-try. The Cowgirl Creamery store in the Ferry Building in San Francisco was raving about Shepherd's Way cheeses during a recent visit. SWF’s Big Woods Blue will be featured in the cheese course of the Signature Room in Chicago in the month of March. And SWF’s efforts to make Big Woods Blue took a step forward when eighty beautiful handmade wooden racks that are used during aging were delivered to the farm. SWF is expecting to make their first ever Blue Cheese on the farm the week of March 11th.” Why is this all such great news? Because Steven Read has pulled that business out of the ashes, literally and figuratively, after the fire that wiped them out several years ago—an amazing and inspirational story.