This weekend is all about prep. If you’re having people over for the feast, your prep is menu planning, shopping, and cleaning your house. If you’re going to join a big gaggle of family somewhere else, your prep is hostess gifts, travel plans, and proper waist-band selection. For many it also includes the emotional girding that is required with large family gatherings, so let me (on this Fresh Forkin’ Friday) provide you with some zen koans, mantras if you will, to repeat silently in your mind while you are chopping…
If a tree falls in the woods, will my mother-in-law still complain about the dry turkey? What is the sound of one hand clapping? What is the sound of one sister’s silent superiority? How does the wind defeat the leaves, and will it take crazy uncle with it? Please? If my gin-soaked granny tumbles down the stairs, and no one is there to hear it, does she make a sound?
Don’t forget to breathe.
Just found out that The Beacon Public House, the gastropub in the New Commons Hotel by the UofM, will open this Saturday starting at 2pm for the Gopher hockey game. Do some smoked ham hock nachos with cheddar and pepperoncinis sound interesting? Are BBQ shortribs with house made broccoli kimchi or lamb ragout pasta worth digging into? Go. Find out.
Union will open on Monday in downtown Minneapolis. I got a peek at the space and it is v. cool. The retractable rooftop room is bright and airy, it feels like a garden party. The main level space is, in contrast, dark and clubby with half-booths and copper touches throughout. The basement will be the Marquee lounge with blue tones and a separate alley-side entrance. Chef Jim Christiansen’s food looks fun and interesting (mostly same menu for up and down), I had some savory bacon-shallot donuts that were dusted with vinegar powder and served with a cheese dipping sauce. Those little things need to get ready for fame. *** Just heard that Marquee would be quietly open tonight, drinking buddies.
Republic will open the Uptown location on Monday. Matty O’Reilly and co. have revamped the former Independent space on the second floor of Calhoun Square. They’re going for the local beer hall thing and are ready to do battle with the encroaching national chains: street-level Primebar and glitzy frat-boy haunt Bar Louie.
Rounding out our upper-level eating, Cossetta’s rooftop restaurant Louis will open on Tuesday, finally, in downtown St. Paul. The spot will be full-service and offer lots of hearty Italian-American dishes, this could be your new Chianti central.
St. Paul is also getting sweeter by the second … Chez Arnaud has chosen Grand Ave. for its second outpost, allez allez you macaron eaters. A little box of treats from this place would make a superior hostess gift, just saying. Also, White Lace Cakes has opened a shop in the northern suburb of Oakdale: French press coffee, custom blend tea, snacks, pastries and all sorts of fancy-pants eclairs and the like besides some super cute and well-done cakes.
Kikugawa has closed the downtown Riverplace location, but is moving the restaurant northward to Shoreview, off of Highway 96 (a sushi/ramen desert?). The skyway location remains open to serve your ramen lunching needs.
If you are wondering about all the facial hair your pals are suddenly sporting, it’s Movember you fool! Get out and celebrate the ‘stache and raise some funds for the fight against men’s cancer at the Fulton tap room next Tuesday. The bash costs $40 for unlimited Fulton beer, a couple of Natedogs dogs, a Team Soakers tee, and all sorts of hairy fun. Girls welcome, no need to sport a ‘stache to support a ‘stache.
This Saturday, should you find yourself out and about looking for ways to make your table local, head down to Alexis Bailly vineyard for a little local wine-paring tasting. Each wine will be paired with a little locally made nosh that befits it, be it salami, cheese, or chocolate. And Brenda Langton of Spoonriver will be on-hand to sign her recent cookbook and I’d bet she’d answer a few feast questions, she’s nice like that.
Plan your post-feast revelry. Gastro Non Grata is throwing down with a Belt Punch Extravaganza on Nov. 25 at Triple Rock with Tilia and Red Wagon Pizza in attendance. This kind of fun is exactly what you need after you’ve taken gin-soaked granny back to the home.