What are dog days? I always thought it meant the time of year when the lakes turn pea soup green and the humidity makes you sweat just from turning your head. Apparently it has something to do with the rising of the star Sirius, which coincides with that lazy, sultry summer feeling. Too bad we don't have time to be lazy, as we are in countdown mode. Now get out there and fest your garlic, quaff a collaborative beer, or indulge in a bit of snacky Spain brought home to Kingfield. Do so at your own pace, of course.
>> Red River Kitchen at City House is open on the river in St. Paul! They've thrown the doors wide, brought in some bags boards, and revved up the kitchen. JD Fratzke and his team are putting up sweet pea falafel, tacos, Cubano sandwiches, that brisket bowl we were teased with, and plenty of other stuff. I predict this will be a prime fall hang.
>> When the Gophers come back to school, they might be irked. Village Wok near the U of M will close on Aug. 21 after some 41 years in business. Not the best Chinese in town, but for many students, it was their first exposure to Chinese cooking. Also, Bun Mi Sandwiches has announced that after 8 years, it will close as of Aug. 26. There's more condos and housing slated for the area. UPDATE: Also, The Big 10 bites it as well, closing over Labor Day.
>> While Hector Ruiz keeps opening restaurants, his latest Costa Blanca is lovely, he just closed Bistro La Ceiba in the Powderhorn neighborhood. But all is not lost, he's turning it into private dining and event space for catering.
>> News broke all over that Doug Flicker of Piccolo will be manning the new restaurant at The Walker: Esker Grove. The 94 seater will be open for quick lunches and more focused dinners with a full bar and terrace seating for those who wish to gaze upon the new sculpture garden. Hopeful open before the holidays.
>> Doesn't the logic follow that if we all stink together, no one stinks at all? This is why you should swing out to Hutchinson for The Minnesota Garlic Fest on Saturday. Surly's Jorge Guzman will be out there doing a pig roast, and the chef's demo stage will be packed with cooks from Tilia, Bachelor Farmer, Birchwood, Haute Dish, and more.
>> Sunday marks the 10th annual Red Stag block party and In Cahoots brewing collaboration. A dozen local breweries have paired up to form six teams and each one has collaborated on a unique brew which will be sampled and judged on the day. Does it surprise you that Schell's & Bauhaus have come up with Hot Tropic New Zealand-style lager? Or that Fair State & Sociable have crafted and Apple Berliner Weiss? Me neither.
>> Birk and Christina went to Spain, and all they brought you was a freaking Spanish feasting event. The owners of Hola Arepa were so taken by the Spanish eating and drinking traditions that they are doing it up Basque-style at the Hola Txakoli Fest on Sunday Aug. 21. Txakoli is a bright, effervescent wine that goes great with snacky pintxos. They'll be setting up like a tapas bar and pouring wine and sidra alongside small plates. Your $20 gets you in, 5 varieties of wine and a cider, plus three different snacks.
>> Don't forget to get the Northeast Mpls. Farmers Market Corn + Brat Feed on your cal for Saturday, Aug. 20. It's so simple, it's genius. Kramarczuk's will sling the $6 brats, there will be $3 roasted sweet corn, sweet tea and lemonade from Chowgirls, and it all goes down from 9am-1pm.
>> Also this weekend, if you want to earn food and drink discounts at Town Hall Brewery, you'll have to roll balls. The Town Hall Bocce Tournament starts on Saturday!
>> Linden Hills Farmers Market is celebrating Julia Child's birthday on Sunday with a food-lady party: Lynn Rosetto Kasper, Beth Dooley, Molly Hermann, and Stephanie Meyer will all be hanging out signing books, talking trash, and playing Stump The Cook. Sassy, just like Julia.
>> If you're looking for one more sneak-away-out-of-town-adventure before end of summer, you could hardly do better than The Lobster Mushroom Jamboree on Aug. 19-21. Pack it up and head to Superior National Forest with The Gentleman Forager for a few days of guided foraging, pig roasts, and bonfires. The all-inclusive fee is $175. The songs around the fire are gratis.