photo by Katherine Harris
If you're convinced that Valentine's Day is amateur night, at least concede that as far as people watching goes, it's better than the Oscars. Awkward teenage couple over here, super-in-love eye-gazers over there. Love is love, proven by every gussied up elderly couple that sits in beautiful, comfortable silence, never once glancing at a cell phone. So whether you're whooping up Palentine’s with the group or Galentine’s with the ladies: GO BIG LOVE and stock up on goods at an indoor market, commit to a 100 mile beer-bike ride, or revel in the fact that Fish Fry season opens today.
>> I'm not a giver-upper for Lent, but I am grateful for all of you who do, because it brings us Friday Fish Fry season! Today through March 18, you can find an affordable and meatless meal in many a church basement or rec room. What it may lack in gourmet quality, it highly makes up for in community quality. Bingo, raffles, a bit of karaoke here and there, preachers doing the cha-cha, we've seen it all from behind our grease stained paper plates. If you're new to this, check out St. Alberts the Great which does it better than anyone else. Also, the Lebanese dinners at Holy Family Maronite Church have a wicked good garlic sauce.
>> Feeling like a road trip, man? Head down to Robins, IA (just north of Cedar Rapids) to a place where the dude abides. Lebowski's Bar and Grill is themed after the Coen Brothers' The Big Lebowski, so if you're hankering for a White Russian, just put on your bathrobe and go. It's closer than the one in Iceland.
>> The Lunds & Byerly's on St. Paul's Eastside is closing on March 6 as, according to the company, the store is no longer viable.
>> By now you've probably heard, Local D'Lish in the North Loop is now closed, but Cooks of Crocus HIll will be taking their place.
>> South Minny kids, if you've been hauling your keesters to Uptown for deep dish, get ready. Giordano's has signed a lease for Southdale Square, making it their second location.
>> Also in South Minny, just a hop-skip away, Wild Mind Artisan Ales will be opening with wild brewed ales and a taproom with a courtyard.
>> Linda Haug is OUT at Surly Brewing. Longtime restaurateur and wife of head brewer Todd Haug, Linda was a driving force behind the creation of the new Surly complex. She even closed her Cafe Twenty-Eight in Linden Hills to devote her time solely to Surly. She was the guiding hospitality piece in that game and though not as often mentioned as Omar or Todd, Linda has been a key player. No news yet as to what her future plans are.
>> Should you go to jail for selling New Glarus Spotted Cow in Minnesota? I like that beer, though I think it's vastly overrated and definitely not jail-worthy. You know what is? Oh, $70K worth of stolen cheese ending up in a Wisconsin landfill.
>> It's that magical time of the year when the beer tastes like bourbon! It's Town Hall Brewery's Barrel Aged Week! The party starts this Sunday, Feb. 14 with growler releases, then continues all week with the daily release of 12 new beers that have spent time canoodling with bourbon barrels. That's a marriage.
>> Mill City Farmers Market is indoors this Saturday at the museum, and if you're planning to cook your sweetie dinner, this is where you should go to stock up. Buy all the fresh and local things, and chat up the vendors for tips and tricks on how to cook them. Go to the pros for the gameplan.
>> There's nothing wrong with a classic date night: Dinner and a movie. Get over to Southdale for a flick, then bring your tickets (before or after the show) into the newish Z Italiano, right down the hallway, for a free appetizer or dessert with the purchase of 2 entrees.
>> Maybe this is the weekend you set your resolve. What you give up for Lent is self-doubt and decide to give yourself the gift of a promise: early registration is open for the Fulton Gran Fondo bike ride in May, which could take you a full 100 miles (or a medio 40 miles) toward a new you. And a beer party afterward, of course. Register now for a measly $35.
>> I love me some Ms. Ralena, she's my favorite barkeep at Coup d'Etat. Go say HI on Makeshift Mondays where the bartenders will be manning the kitchen too, popping out $5 bacon cheeseburger sliders, sticky wings, hot dogs, and tots! Plus $3 house wine, rail drinks, and local beers along with $5 beer n' bump.
>> Nerds! You should know about the Settlers of Catan Night at Tin Whiskers Brewery on Feb. 18. Bring your own game, and the winner from each play gets a free beer. And if you're nice I'll tell you about my super secret road building tactic.
>> Everyone should head into their 40's with as much class as W.A. Frost has. They're starting the celebration with a few open houses, on Feb 23-24. Grab a ticket and wander through those old halls, hears stories about what a hell-hole Cathedral Hill was in 1975, and be glad the John Rupp persevered! Do I really have to tell you again how cool I think the basement lounge is?