Michelle Gayer’s baked goods are the best in the Twin Cities—there is no doubt about it. She recently made this cake for my son’s, Noah, fourth birthday party. The cake featured Italian butter cream, vanilla bean genoise, and it was all encased in a serious rocket ship. Holy crap . . . amazing! And for the adults, Gayer made sandwiches with prosciutto, roasted tomatoes, and mozz; brioche-olive-tomato pies, brie and orange turnovers, blue cheese and caramelized garlic croissants; and, last but not least, Rice Krispy sushi. Peg, Rita, and the rest of the staff did an awesome job, but Michelle is the queen of the rolling pin in my book.
Gayer’s homemade caramels alone are worth the trip to her shop, Salty Tart in the Midtown Global Market. I love this woman—her skill set is without peer.
But here is the question I can’t help but toss around in my head: She, like many of the vendors at the Midtown Global Market, went in there because of the draw of the co-op nature of the space and low entry point for a new business vis a vis starting your own brick-and-mortar space. BUT, places like the Salty Tart could use some exposure, and MGM has yet to gain any traction with the city at large. I have gone in there four times in the last three months and have never seen it crowded. Vendors complain to me every time I ask how they’re doing, but no one wants to go on record because they are afraid to make things worse than they already are.
What do you think a place like Salty Tart, or West Indies Soul, Salsa a la Salsa (some of my fave reasons for stopping there), etc., could generate in sales with some window frontage in a different neighborhood with more potential customers? I know that WIS and SS do better, much better, in their other locations. And why have stalls serving pre-baked pizza slices and below par pan-Asian food when a dozen better meals can be had a few blocks away in the same categories? I really want this place to succeed, but every time I am in there, it smells like the place is running on fumes. Please tell me I am wrong. On a personal note, if the venue doesn’t rally in 2009, I will let Michelle sell her product out of my house if I have to . . . her goodies are that awesome. Go see for yourself.
On to my suicide: What are the twelve words you never, ever want to say out loud . . . EVER? How about, “Sorry, Hef, I can’t make it to the party at the mansion.” Bridget Marquardt’s premiere party for her new Travel Channel show, Bridget’s Sexiest Beaches , is in mid-March at Hef’s Holmby Hills party palace, and I am working that night and can’t go. What’s worse? The network I work for is co-hosting essentially, so I would get an all- access pass, so to speak . . . I want to die. Introducing my wife and son would have been a dream come true, “Hef, this is Rishia . . . .” Wow.
Bridget’s series airs Thursdays, beginning March 12. (Check out travelchannel.com for details.) I met Bridget last week in Malibu while shooting some spots with her for the network, and she is NOTHING at all like she came across on The Girls Next Door . She is prepared, intelligent, adventurous, and knows what she is doing in front of the camera . . . and she looks great in a bathing suit, which is why she is doing that show and not Adam, Tony, or myself. Although Dhani could do a sexy beach show . . . for sure. He works out.
Smashburger, the popular ten-location mini-chain, will open its first Minnesota location at 3900 Silver Lake Road in Minneapolis this spring. They smooooosh their burgers when they flip them, offer Haagen-Dazs shakes, frosted mugs for root beer floats, and so on. I ate one in October in Texas, pretty tasty.