Seth Bixby Daugherty is helping to organize the world’s largest bake sale—aptly named the World’s Largest Bake Sale—at Mall of America on Sunday, March 30 from 1 to 5 p.m. The event is to raise funds and promote Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale. What’s on the menu? Food Network talent recipes will be produced by The International Culinary School at the Art Institutes International, and there will be baked goods donated by Twin City bakeries and restaurants, too.
According to the latest info, both Sandra Lee, host of Food Network’s Semi-Homemade Cooking, and Duff Goldman, star of Ace of Cakes, have agreed to make personal appearances, and Lee will do a book signing. I love Goldman and his show; it gets DVRed at the Zimmern household every week. But Lee, who might be a fantastic person in real life, represents everything that is wrong with our modern food culture. And guess what? Hers is the most popular page on the Food Network website. Help me now, Lord. Apparently Goldman might create the world’s largest cupcake for a taping of the Ace of Cakes. According to Guinness, there is currently no world’s record for the world’s largest bake sale or cupcake. So mark it down, and get involved with Share Our Strength by checking out its site.
Seth will be featured on an upcoming segment of Rachael Ray—they will be in town on Tuesday taping some stuff with him detailing the work he is doing in the local public schools system to improve the quality of the food programs for kids of all ages. The taping is for air at a later date, but I will keep you posted.
Scott Irestone is indeed gone from 20.21, but my naming of sous chef Asher Miller as the new chef is only half true: He is the acting chef. The company is considering Miller and several other members of its national organization for the permanent post. I say, “Keep the local guy!”
As part of my ongoing effort to regain the respect and admiration of legendary food writer Jeremy Iggers, I ate at Nick and Eddie the other day for lunch. This is the new restaurant that Doug Anderson opened along with several other local notables, including Scott Ida, Steve Vranian, and the superbly talented Jessica Anderson (Doug’s wife). I really think Doug has an innate sense of style and substance as a restaurateur, and I hope that his new venture stays on course over its first few years so that it can grow and mature.
The base they have set down is impressive. I love casual restaurants that take their food seriously, and if Nick and Eddie can take an accurate self-appraisal and fix some of its issues, this will be a great restaurant for years to come. If it doesn’t, it could go the way of Bakery on Grand and A Rebours: hot start, cool finish. The space is light and contemporary, the location is superb (right on Loring Park), and the menu is very appealing. But some of the items we sampled need tweaking that should be obvious by anyone’s standards. Vranian has his work cut out for him.
On the day I was there, he was not in the kitchen but in the restaurant, which means the cooks are sending out food they shouldn’t have (a training/awareness issue) or, worse, the cooks were simply executing to the chef’s standards. I am hoping that is not the case, but stranger things happen.
The breads we tried were fantastic, especially the Parker House dinner roll loaf that we had. Good Lord was it awesome. The borscht was a decent beef soup with cabbage, but it could have used some seasoning—anything really. It was too thin, had no backbone, and was really disappointing. The whitefish salad that came with potato pancakes was stellar—about as good as it gets—, so clearly someone in the kitchen gets it, but the potato pancakes were gray on the inside and tasted muddy. The pickled onions on the dish were old. What was billed as chopped chicken liver was just a smear of chicken liver mousse, and it tasted of old onions and was bitter on the rebound going down, but the cress salad with it was delightful. The egg salad sandwich was fair, but the grilled sausages over polenta with caramelized onions and peppers were exquisitely turned out, a simple cold weather bowl of happiness. The butterscotch pudding that was so good at Bakery On Grand has risen again, like the phoenix, and I am eternally grateful.
The New York Daily News reports that “The New York City Board of Health is poised to reenact a bitterly contested rule requiring restaurants to post the calorie contents of each dish on their menu. The proposed regulation - part of Mayor Bloomberg's campaign to reduce obesity and diabetes - would make eateries with 15 or more outposts around the country prominently display calorie counts before patrons order."
This is a bad deal. Posting calories is only half the battle—not even—, and it is misplaced energy. We need to see proper labeling of all food in retail and wholesale operations and in supermarkets on all items, especially when it comes to a food’s origin. The big restaurant chains will argue successfully that they are being prejudiced against and that the rule should apply to everyone, but how does a mom-and-pop operation afford to test and post all the nutritional information on a menu? And if we properly labeled our food in its ‘natural’ state, wouldn’t the general population become better educated and be able to make better decisions about how and what they eat? And when it comes to fast food, half of the restaurants should be shut down by government agencies anyway for poisoning the public at large. If Big Tobacco can go down, why can’t McDonald’s?
City Pages announced who its new food critics will be, and it unveiled plans for expanded restaurant coverage both in the paper and online. Taking over Dara’s chair covering the new and noteworthy openings is Rachel Hutton, formerly of Mn Mo, and James Norton, whose work I have referenced before on this blog, will cover the ‘deals on meals’ angle. All of this begins on February 20, and both of the new hires will be blogging and podcasting as well. I like the work of both these writers, and CP’s commitment to its food section and its plans to grow it is good for the local food scene.