Sure, I could be referring to the Shakespearian idiom that connotes the youthful and enthusiastic feeling of the last days of summer—or I could be referring to the state of pre-game that some of us are in leading up to the Great MN Get Together, which launches in under a week. Choose your own dressing, and then find your best bathrobe for an homage to The Dude tonight, pop into an ice cream shop making a late-summer debut, or go watch the Olympic closing ceremony at a new gay sports bar, because the peanut gallery commentary will be best there.
>> Remember when cute little Macalester-area coffee cafe Grand Central closed in January for a "few weeks" of remodeling and updating? Well, 8 months later, Grand Central Cafe is now open with a warm and inviting refresh that includes a bar with beer and wine, plus a fuller menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinner plates.
>> Still screaming for ice cream! La La Homemade Ice Cream is open in Uptown, in the former Shoe Zoo space. It is a charmer of a shop, I tell you. It feels so delightfully old school, even as you're licking some olive oil ice cream with a sweet balsamic swirl. But maybe it's the egg creams, or the floats, or the slices of pie. They're open until 11pm F-Sa.
>> Down the ave, Game Sports Bar, is throwing open tonight with their grand opening block par-tay. Uptown's first gay sports bar has taken over the Salsa a la Salsa spot and while I feel like the food is going to be super paleo/crossfit bar food, I don't actually know. What I DO know is that one of my favorite bartenders, Ms. Ralena Young has designed the drink menus, and that is a win.
>> Wabasha Brewing has softly launched their new taproom on St. Paul's West Side by the Wabasha Caves. The old building, complete with tin ceilings, exposed brick, and warm wood floors, has really been given a shine.
>> Is Bayport getting cheffy again? It seems that the former small Mexican eatery La Cocinita will be transformed into The Wilder Scratch Kitchen at any moment now, by the hands of former Domacin chef Jeffrey Lundmark. He plans a seasonal scratch menu of foods from within 50 miles, when he can, for a modern comfort foods dinner restaurants. His initial menu has things from smoke couscous with grilled shrimp to fried green tomatoes, rainbow trout to mac n cheese with braised bacon. A nice addition to the L'Etoile neighborhood.
>> Union Depot in St. Paul announced that it's catering and restaurant space, formerly Christos, would become Union Bar & Grill run by Kaskaid. This is the second Union location, outside of the seemingly always changing spot in downtown Mpls.
>> HUGE news for the old Schmidt Brewery this week. It was formally announced that Hola Arepa, Five Watt Coffee, and the Revival/Corner Table gang would be opening in the new Keg & Case food hall/market that is planned for 2017. Kingfield meets W7.
>> Find a bathrobe, roll up your rug and head to DuNord Distillery tonight to ingest some Caucasians and abide. The 2nd Annual DUDE Nord will be held, rain or shine, and White Russians will be poured, The Big Lebowski will be screened, and wood-fired BBQ from Chicks on Wheels will be consumed. So STFU Donny and go.
>> For sure you're going to come to Iron Bartender week 2 on Sunday, right? Not only because I'll be emceeing the event, natürlich, but because you'll want to come see 8 teams light up their liquid courage and mix it up with secret ingredients. For those keeping score at home, last week Battle Avocado was won by Lawless, Battle Ketchup & Mustard went to Eat Street Social, Battle Jack Fruit/Durian (!) went to Hi-Lo Diner, and Battle Tamarind was taken by Zen Box. Who even knows what will happen with the big hitters this week.
>> But before that, head over to Tilia's 6th Annual Augtoberfest which is one of the most family friendly good time street parties of summer. German beers, Tilia snacks, Red Wagon Pizza, La La Ice Cream, live music, wine, all the good things.
>> One of the most loved breweries with a totally chill taproom, Steel Toe Brewing is celebrating 5 years on Saturday with bands all day, $1 off pints, food trucks, ballyhoo.
>> If you only grocery shop on Saturdays because it's sample day, steer your cart over to Kowalski's this Saturday for their Joy of Local Food event, where you will be able to snack your way from produce to deli with local products and farm sampling goodies for FREE.
>> I feel like I should tell you to get tickets to ASI's Cocktails in the Castle on Sept. 16 right now, because the cool VIP vintage bus ride part is already sold out. General Admission is still available and just as fun.