All right, three things.
First: You need to click here to sign up for a premiere party that Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, FM107, and I are hosting for the Warner Brothers film No Reservations, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart. All you need to do is ask for the tix and they are yours. Seriously. It’s free, and it’s a food movie! We are going to have a donation bucket passed for the Retreat in Wayzata, with proceeds from our collection benefiting the scholarship fund that my wife and I set up to benefit those looking to access affordable recovery services—but the whole shebang is gratis.
Second: July 9 is the premiere of season 1B of Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel. Lock and load, baby.
Third: Next week, Harry's Food and Cocktails opens in the Washington Avenue space that Nochee vacated several months ago. Nochee was a colossal disappointment. Harry’s has a shot. It seems like the right type of concept for the space and for the neighborhood. Harry's has got poutine on the menu, a Quebecois taste treat that I blogged about on Monday, and according to the restaurant’s reps, the menu is “traditional American in style," drawing “inspiration from old supper club standards like meatloaf and prime rib.” Harry’s features a heavily hyped burger, tons of local food resources on the menu, an open kitchen, moderate prices, and a casual environment. The press release boasts of an award-winning wine list—odd, considering that Harry’s isn’t open yet, but I admire the moxie. But I digress. The menu also promises some fun goodies like hearty duck meatballs and a soft shell crab po' boy, as well as tender pot roast . . . . Sound more interesting? So why am I so excited about a restaurant that seems in many respects like the type of joint that needs to open first before cynical food freaks like me develop a blood lust for the place? Because Steven Brown is behind the stove. Thank you God, my fave food guy is cooking for the paying public again, and frankly, I don’t care where or what or how.
Now, the million-dollar question is this . . . Tim McKee and Alex Roberts (for example) own their own restaurants, and with ownership comes freedom to cook what you want, how you want, and with complete creative control. Ultimately, it lets the diner see the artist in his atelier, at his peak. Conversely, though, it also allows the chef/owner and his or her partners to work within the constraints of the business world, making them artist-CEOs, for want of a better phrase. So given all that, when are chefs like Brown and Doug Flicker going to open their own places? When the investor pool comes together, count me in. And what is the over/under on Brown and Flicker staying in their current positions? A year? Less? More? Interesting thought, don’t you think . . . ?
And finally, hats off to American food-fanatic and current world champ Joey Chestnut, who beat an ailing six-time defending champ Kobayashi at the Nathan’s Famous contest on Coney Island by eating sixty-six hot dogs (with buns) in twelve minutes. The best thing about the contest was watching Kobayashi suffer the ignominy of a reversal at the end of the contest, throwing up as the final seconds ticked off . . . and into his hands no less. Congrats Joey . . .