Photo by Caitlin Abrams
>> It's true, The King and I has returned. Now open in Mendota Heights, the royal Thai restaurant with a 30-year pedigree (and a two-year hiatus) is churning out tom yum soup, signature egg rolls, and spicy holy basil stir fry to south-of-the-river folk. Just like the good old days, but no basement, and more parking.
>> It's opening weekend for the cocktail room at Wander North Distillery. Head over and try the jalapeño infused vodka with cucumber. It's in a rather industrial park part of Northeast, but North Gate Brewery is next door so you can volley between taproom and cocktail room. Just remember: Liquor before beer . . .
>> Open again, after a quick closure and freshening up: The St. Clair Broiler. Having been around since 1956, it deserves a little zhoosh, no? Fresh carpets, chairs, fixtures, and a new counter go along with a spiffed up menu of 38 new items, which includes 13 hand-pattied burgers (I'm in for the Greek burger with feta, kalamata, and tzatziki). Also, here's a little coupon to show on your phone for $10 off.
>> Did you see where The New York Times got all psyched about North Loop last week? Well, this week it's USA Today's turn to laud us with love, heralding Flavors Only Found in the Twin Cities. All this after earlier this month when CNN and AP "discovered" pizza farms. We're going to try to not get a big head over all this.
>> Time to talk smoke rings and sauce, this weekend is Ribfest in the Mystic Lake parking lot and that means BBQ masters from all over the country will be competing for big money and local love. Admission is free (you'll pay for your snacking) but there's live music (from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band tonight to Flock of Seagulls on Sunday) and a Midwest Art Fest to accompany your finger licking.
>> If you're looking for a way to beat the heat on Saturday, head over to the Midtown Global Market for a little Global Smoothie Smackdown from 12 to 2 p.m.
>> Let's mash it up! Saturday at Bent Brewstillery (which is a brewery AND a distillery) there's a little car-b-que situation (which it turns out is a classic car show AND a bar-b-que, who knew?) from 2 to 11 p.m. Tasty vittles from Riff's Smokehouse and cool cars with cold beers: DONE.
>> Then on Sunday, prepare to jam it with your favorite tribe: Northeast Brewers. The free block party happens in the Sociable Cider Werks parking lot with oodles of beer for purchase, live music, food trucks galore, and a little pre-party fun run to help stretch the gullet to get in the goods.
>> Set your iCal for Brit's August movie series on the lawn. Bring your blanket to the rooftop lawn for screenings on the last four Mondays in August: August 10 is Grand Budapest Hotel, which is a don't-miss.
>> Get your pizza farm chanterelle bat chat tickets NOW.