So the Block E will be down yet another tenant. Is it too late to start over with this building? Are Applebee's and Coldstone Creamery the only two original tenants left? Can you sense my delightful spirit of schadenfreude?
This has to say something about the state of affairs in this town that hasn’t been said yet—or maybe two things: one good, one not so good. First, I think it's awesome news that a place for beer, wings, and boob-a-licious servers can’t make it in our Downtown across from the Target Center. To me, that says quite a lot about our cultural zeitgeist. But, sadly, it also reflects failure in an area of town that can’t afford more turnover and half measures. The sushi bar that is now Zake has been home to three hundred restaurants in the last four years alone.
I think that Kieran’s going into the building is the first piece of good Block E news in five years. More successful local businesses with proven track records and a large fan base should be actively sought as tenants. Here's what I have a hard time grasping: How can a restaurant, like the alleged Hooter's, be half a million dollars behind on rent? Even if the rent is $50,000 a month (which is probably about 3 or 5 times what it actually is), they would have to have not paid a dime in 10 months! This is absurd! There’s a bigger story here than anyone is letting on. The numbers just don’t make sense to me. At $15,000 a month in rent, you let someone go a month or two or three (at most) and then you call the sheriff, right?
Anyone been to 20.21 and checked out the new lunch menu? I ate there last week, and, I must say, the grilled short rib salad, the lobster-scallop dumplings, and the Banh Mi were insanely good. Their Banh Mi is the best in the Twin Cities, hands down. Superb, high quality ingredients (especially the pate) make this version of my fave Vietnamese street food snack so very tasty, indeed.
I went to Grand Szechuan, at 106th and France Ave. S. in Bloomington, which is not news, I know; I have been going there ever since the chef at GS left his first gig at Little Szechuan in St Paul. What is news, however, is that I was there on a Saturday for the first time—one of only two days when they make some of the famous noodle dishes for which Szechuan is known. The chef's ‘made to order’ version of Chengdu’s Sweet and Spicy Noodles is one of the best noodle dishes I have eaten at a Chinese restaurant in years. These are the real deal: thick, chewy, freshly boiled, and chilled, sauced with an addictive soy-ginger-garlic-sesame past bath that is so good you'll want to drink it. The last time I ate this dish anywhere that got it right was at a restaurant in Guangzhou with a chef from Chengdu. This chef only made one Szechuan dish... and it showed. It's especially ironic considering that Guangzhou is the birthplace of Cantonese style cookery.
This Thursday evening at 7 p.m. come to the University of Minnesota Hubert Humphrey Center on 19th Ave. S., and you will catch the globally famous Rudy Maxa (of Savvy Traveler on public radio and the hit PBS show Rudy Maxa’s World) and I giving a talk, answering questions, and sharing a laugh or two with any and all comers... See you there.