I am starving myself. It's official: I overate at Thanksgiving this year.
I count the fact that La Fougasse at the Sofitel transitioned from a restaurant once open to the public with regular hours to a private dining facility open for group reservations only (except for Sunday brunch) as a restaurant closing. I can't think of another restaurant that has spent so much dough throughout the last decade with remakes and remodels as that restaurant has. I guess other hotels are going to be doing the same thing with their restaurants, especially the ones that are empty all the time. Will Landmarc at the Normandy be far behind? Economic decisions like this one are being made all over the cities as restaurants cope with the current state of the industry. For downtown restaurants, I am guessing the Holidazzle is a blessing and a half. It will be interesting to see if the numbers from this year are down from last. The weather is milder all this week than last year at the same time, so that helps bring folks downtown, but will they spend as much? Who knows.
So, a few issues ago in the print version of our magazine, I wrote a piece about goat. My editors were not happy. I loved it, they hated it. I thought that we were ahead of the curve and were doing our job with a piece like that one. They thought the column lacked local relevance and that YOU, the reader, wouldn't eat goat. Well check out this site because when you put this together with the NYT piece on goat from last summer, well, you can see where I am going with this. Vindication!!!! Goat is hot--and getting hotter. As farmers develop ways to breed some good fats and get a little more of the natural haute barnyard flavor back into domestic stocks, and once they figure out a way to market bone-in legs or racks of goat meat in markets, this meat will take off, and MSP will have been there from the get-go. Take that you editors!
I got an e-mail from a guy named Johnny (How weird is it that he never left me a last name?) who tells me that he is the chef that took over the Confluence space in Prescott and is moving in a restaurant called The Boxcar, which has previously existed elsewhere. "I thought you might get a kick out of the fact that I stole an old-timer in the restaurant biz and moved him out here." Apparently this guy has a restaurant guru who is none other than the famous Billy Morse, one of the original partners of café un deux trois in NYC, a guy who (in his day) was one of the sharpest and most creative restaurant minds in The Big Apple. I always wondered where Billy would end up, and now I know. Johnny tells me he is a "young chef from the south, and I figured I could pound the cutting board at the cities restaurants working my way up for years or go out of town and open my own little place. The challenges are way different. You have to be less egotistical in a small town in Wisconsin." In his off time, Johnny and his team have been cooking menudo . . . my kind of guys.