The folks at Parasole know what they are doing, but when I saw the press release for Il Gatto, the restaurant going into the old Figlio’s space, I flinched at the reference to “of course there’ll be a burger on the menu ”. Is it just me or is that idea yesterday's news? I don’t want one-stop shopping in every restaurant I go to quite the opposite. I just returned from Tokyo and believe what I call the Japanese model (go to a tempura restaurants for tempura, a sukiyaki shop for sukiyaki, a nabe den for great nabe etc.) makes more sense than ever for this market. I want expertise and execution when I go out to eat. These days I don’t want "something-for-everyone" eateries a la Cheesecake Factory where the menu is five miles long. I sit at home and I feel like pizza so I go to Punch, I want steamed walleye with ginger and scallion I go to Shuang Cheng, and so on. When I go to a chef-driven tablecloth restaurant it is for entertainment, relaxation, socializing with my companions, and of course for eating that particular chef's offerings. More focus is what restaurants could use more of these days, and as a diner I think focusing my attention on what I want to eat and where to go get it helps me be happy at mealtime.
Speaking of happy. I just had an interview with a reporter at Wilde Roast, and on the way home stopped at Kramarczuks for a wedge of Krakowska and some black pumpernickel and I made a quick sandwich in the car. Insane how good that was and how superb so many of the offerings are over there. Just a reminder for those that haven’t been there in a while. Grilling their fresh Ukrainian sausage with some kraut is as good a meal as you can make in four minutes.
I spoke to my pals at Magical Elves the other day and they told me that “Top Chef,” the number 1 rated food show on cable, will be scouting culinary talent for season seven at Occidental Grill in D.C. on Wednesday, November 4th. Six other locations are being used to audition potential Top Chefs. More information on casting for “Top Chef” can be found here.
Project Explorer is one of the coolest ideas out there, many of us have recorded or are recording videos supporting their work and their global citizenship initiative, Anthony Bourdain’s video was featured a few days ago on the food blog, Serious Eats. I am recording mine next week, so stay tuned for that.
Hopefully I will see you all at the Mall Of America this Sunday at 2pm for my book-signing in the Best Buy Rotunda, right by the Barnes and Noble. Next Tuesday I am at the Minneapolis Public Library for their Talk of the Stacks series if you can make it out to MOA.