I feel like August has no holidays so that we can all gather how we may. We find no need to enforce a rigid, color-themed dress code at any of the block parties, there's no pressure to eat certain large birds at a dinner when you'd rather just have veggies, and instead of being forced to bring gifts or cards to an assembly of peers you can just say, "Here, suck this mudbug, because I like you." Oh, the freedom.
>> The Salt Cellar, that retro steak house near Cathedral Hill in St. Paul, has closed, for now. The owners are looking to reconcept and make it a more casual spot.
>> Kaskaid's Zio Italian has closed at the Mall of America, after 8 months open.
>> Wayzata keeps getting hotter! Maybe that's why Sushi Fix owner Billy Tserenbat is opening Baja Haus, a Cal-Mex eatery in the old boxing club space on the other end of the same Village Shops in which his booming sushi spot sits. He's hoping for a cool surfer vibe, which should play well in the lake town, and plenty of seafood (he's known for getting some of the best in town) in fresh, ingredient driven dishes from tacos to salads and more.
>> As a little late summer treat, Joia Soda is launching Joia Spirit Craft Cocktails in cans in the next few weeks!
>> Today is the 27th Annual Braham Pie Day, so take a drive, grab a slice, see some quilts, listen to the Pie-Alluia Chorus, sit for the pork chop supper at the church, come home. MN badge earned.
>> Looking for shawarma? Try looking in Lowry Hill Meats today.
>> PLEASE tell me you've practiced your hair-toss-check-my-nails move in honor of Ms. Lizzo who will be rocking the Pizza Luce Block Party this Saturday at Luce downtown.
>> This isn't really a public event of any kind, but many of you foodists who follow Lefty on Twitter might know that he and his merry gang will be undertaking Lefty's North Loop Old Fashioned Crawl on Saturday that starts around 2p at Smack Shack. Follow along on social, or show up for the chuckles, the more the merrier. Also, as if we need MORE going on in the North Loop this weekend, it's actually the North Loop Fest in the Cuzzy's lot on Saturday too. Park early, park hard.
>> Kings Wine Bar is dedicating an entire day, Saturday, to BBQ Street Food. Al fresco they'll be serving sticky wings, drunken chicken noodles, Korean tacos, Asian style corn on the cob, Thai BBQ bananas and more along with beer samples from Barley Johns.
>> If it's northern mudbugs you love, there are still a few tix left for Kräftskiva at TBF/Marvel this Saturday and the good times are real! If you're already booked, you'll have another chance to suck southern bugs at Smack Shack's Crayfest on Aug. 20. Either way, there will be plenty of Insty pics of people putting the little heads on their fingers this month.
>> Borough Block Party is happening on Sunday in the North Loop from noon to 8pm. Your $6 gets you in for live music (including Chase and Ovation a stellar Prince cover band) with food from Monello, Constantine, Coup d'Etat, and Marche available for purchase. There will be a dunk tank for charity, and if you feel like you need to take me to task for using "resto" or "vibrant" too many times, feel free to come test your arm from 4:30-5pm in the name of Share Our Strength.
>> You're going to want to snap up some tickets for chefs Erik Anderson and Jamie Malone's Ganzo-San pop-ups on Aug. 14 and 21. While they wait for Brut to get going, the two very patient chefs are throwing down at Nighthawks/Birdie with a traditional Japanese whole bird yakitori: eight different Wild Acres chicken skewer dishes (breast pounded and rolled with shiso, grilled tenders finished with chili fermented pollack roe, thigh and baby leek) will be served in procession while the Bittercube team mixes drinks some low-proof cocktail pairings on the side.
>> This may come as a shock to you, but The Strip Club is doing a whole vegetarian dinner on Aug. 16. I know, it's like JD Fratzke is trading up carving beasties for carving beeties. It's kind of the thing now, but I'd be very excited to what come out of this dinner which is done in concert with The Gentleman Forager. Get ready for 6 courses of veggie love paired with Lakes & Legends brews.
>> If you care even a smidge about the very strong bar game in town, you should consider attending some of the Iron Bartender competition which kicks off Sunday, Aug 14. For four consecutive Sunday nights, a round of 16 bars will put their best mixers on stage in a head to head cocktail competition that is spiked with secret ingredients and the whims of the spinning wheel. It's a whole bag of fun that leads to one supreme team. The Pourhouse will be packed, and plenty of your favorite bartenders will be on the same side of the bar as you for once. Buy them a drink.