Photo by Steve Henke
Iconic New York chef April Bloomfield was in town this week, and gave a chat to a room that was stacked with many of the great food people in town, from bartenders to food artisans, wine reps to chefs. It was a heady experience, a great talk, and served to remind us all what a strong community we have. I am grateful to be here in the now, and plan to celebrate our foodscape through a massive beer release tradition, growing a farmer, joining a local wine club, and plunking down money for a pop-up by the next generation of foodists. Let's keep this rolling.
>> Rustica Bakery has taken over that beautiful and historic Smith-Douglas-More house in Eden Prairie that used to be a Dunn Bros. Many an afternoon I've spent there between soccer tournament games down the road, so I am glad to hear that there will now be righteous Dogwood coffee AND bread situations like daily fresh loaves of bread daily, sliced on-site, as well as the traditional pastry items from the bakery’s repertoire plus brand new made-to-order and pre-made breakfast and lunch goods.
(some dates to watch, chums!)
>> Mercury Dining Room and Rail will open on Tuesday Oct. 25 starting with breakfast.
>> The Hewing Hotel and Tullibee officially swing the doors wide on Thursday Nov. 17.
>> Crisp & Green will be heading into the North Loop and the former Sapor space for their second location. Look for it to open spring of 2017.
>> Sassy yearling wine shop Henry & Son has just launched a monthly wine club and they're calling it Bottle Service. Three different levels lets you choose a price point and style for your monthly three bottles: Frugal is $45/month and features hidden gems from indie producers; Funky is $75/month and includes bottles to drink, bottles to cellar, and bottles to ponder; Fancy is $150/month for three cellar-worthy wines that exist beyond the hype, without big names, "like buying from an obscure artist who someday may hit it big". Put your trust in their hands, you will be rewarded. Plus, members get 10% off in store, recipes, access to new wines and smart wine people who help you plan dinner party libations.
>> Maybe you're like me and a tad bit sick of funding campaigns for coolers that don't work and turkey-jerky restaurants that seem doomed at the outset. Well here's one I can get behind: Grow a Farmer on Barnraiser. Slow Money MN is behind this fund which provides low-interest loans to small scale farmers so they can grow their businesses and farm better! With your donation, you might help someone build a winter greenhouse to extend their growing season or construct a bigger aging cave to keep up with the demand for farmstead goat cheese. AND THEN YOU GET MORE GOAT CHEESE!! See how awesome this is? See how we can chuck in and then get more cider makers and black garlic growers and help them be successful on their own? You have 11 days left to give. Do it for the cheese.
>> Oh hey, as per said popping: Alma Cafe at the Fulton Taproom is happening. Tonight from 4:30-9:30p, the cafe's chef de cuisine Matti Sprague will be cooking small plates from the new menu while Fulton pairs the beers. Tomorrow, from 5-9:30p you get the added charm of Alex Roberts in the mix, serving plates and enjoying beers with y'all. Then they'll do it again next weekend. No tickets needed, just come by and have a chat, snack on some braised beef and "rajas" sandwiches with smoked pepper sauce and jack cheese, maybe sip on a Standard Lager. If you're feeling something sweeter, Carrie and the Alma pastry team will be popped at the NE Farmers Market on Saturday with tarts, galettes, cookies, and pies.
>> Pop 'til you drop. Tickets are still available for Le Porc Fumé which is a whole hog pop-up dinner made with Southern flame and French frame. Hosted at Travail on Sunday and Monday, chefs Brandon Hughes and Bobby Woodburn are putting up 6 courses for $45, and there are only 30 seats per two-hour seating. Or head up to the Breaking Bread Cafe for The Klassics Pop-Up Experience with chef Gerald Klass, who promises classic dishes with an urban twist plus hip-hop and R&B beats as a sidedish. Your $35 is all-inclusive of service & gratuity, entree, dessert, and beverage.
>> The beer situation is out of control this weekend.
- Kick it off tonight with Modist Brewing's Deviation Release Party at the brewery in North Loop. These guys get seriously brainy with beer and Deviation 001 is their first dark beer made with pilsner, rye, wheat, and coffee malts. Deviation 002 is made with 100% wheat malt and a freaky amount of hops, over 4lbs/barrel of Citra, Bravo, and Ella both late in the boil and dry hop.
- Surly's Darkness Day will rise once again on Saturday the 15th at the Brooklyn Center brewery. Live music, tons of food trucks, great beers (get the Furious Black), and limited cask tappings all damned day. Don't forget, there are rules to this party: follow accordingly and no one will need to be smacked down.
- And anyone not there will likely be donning their last lederhosen and strutting with steins down at Schell's Oktoberfest party.
- And then get some sleep and eggs, because Sunday the 16th is the NE Brewer's Block Party at Sociable Cider Werks. Bring a non-perishable food item and your drinking wristband is free and you'll have all the kids from the Northeast brew district to choose from: Bauhaus, Indeed, Dangerous Man, Able, Northgate and more!! Plus live music, food trucks, and general merriment.
>> If you aren't afraid of no goat, and you have the will and the strength to be a real fan of the Cubbies, you really should be watching Saturday's game where they will #flythew at Prairie Dogs. You'll find specials on Italian beef, Maxwell Street Polish, and Old Style tall boys, and kindred spirits in a room where you can clutch and freak, no judgement.
>> Meritage Oysterfest tickets are still available for the Sunday soiree! Come and play along as the local fooderati act like a bunch of mothershuckers and compete for the title of Shuck Royalty. Word is that Lenny Russo might be helping me emcee and that all the Travail boys will be wearing babies. What a strange 2016 indeed.
>> OH and hey-yo: RESTAURANT WEEK STARTS SUNDAY.
>> This one's a drive for most, so let's seed your calendar. The MN Cider Fair is happening on Sunday Oct. 23 at the Minnesota Harvest Orchard in Jordan. All the big names in local hard cider will be there: Sweetland, No. 12 Cider House, Keepsake, Yellow Belly, and more! Get out there and enjoy some tunes, a bit of bonfire action, wagon rides, apples picking, flannel wearing, Instagram taking, all the things worth Octobering for. This is a family-friendly event.