This Fresh Forkin’ Friday I have something to confess … I don’t own a grill. I used to own one, a giant commercial-grade double-wide gas grill that was hard-wired into an outdoor gas line, but we sold it because, honestly, it was too much heat. I’m not kidding, you could tell it was grilling season by the complete lack of hair on my lower arms, I could blacken a sausage just by waving it in the general vicinity of the beast. So now I’m in the market and I can’t decide which way to go. Gas is super convenient, you can cook off some chicken breasts in a flash, but there’s no added flavor, there’s no real BBQ effect. Of course I could return to the charcoal days of my youth, but lighter fluid and briquets seem so vintage. Then there’s the cult of the Green Egg, and I’m not sure I have enough room in my life for that kind of membership. So I’m seriously considering building my own. Maybe it’s all the farm dinners I’ve seen with a giant grill pit suddenly, magically appearing on the barn floor that has inspired me, I already order white oak by the cord and the idea of a good woodsy fire licked piece of pork sounds fantastisch! Plus, it looks rather not-hard, and I already know how to build a smoker from a flower pot. I just have to figure out where it hooks up to the gas.
Mademoiselle Miel opens her honey kitchen and showroom to the public today! The little honey bon bons, sometimes made with smoky Scotch, will now have their own home in St. Paul at 342 Kellogg. The showroom will be open tonight from 6-10pm during the Lowertown Art Crawl.
Zeke’s Unchained Animal opened this week with, apparently, ugly carpeting. It’s a freshman effort from some young kids, and the place has that DIY vibe. Pizza, burgers, and a few sandwiches round out the small menu and brunch starts this weekend.
Cossetta is launching the final piece in their fabulous remodel today, the Pasticerria on the lower level will offer fresh Italian pastries and gelato (which happens to be the perfect follow-up to a slice of cheese pizza).
The Minneapolis farmers market kicks it OFF this weekend! There was a small and chilly Nicollet Mall market on Thursday, god love em’, but the Lyndale sheds should be hopping as the weather gets nice. Of note, the St. Paul market was supposed to start this weekend as well, but they’ve postponed a week to let the growers and vendors collect themselves.
On Monday, North 45 will open in the newly renovated Millennium Hotel, on the south end of Nicollet Mall. The space has the requisite barn wood walls and the menu aims to pay homage to the old Mississippi, with dishes inspired by the regions surrounding the river from the headwaters in Minnesota to the mouth in Louisiana: Mini Juicy Lucy burgers, New Orleans crab cakes, local beer battered walleye, shrimp po’ boy, etc.
And of course, new food trucks will be popping out every day! I had a fried tomato BLT slider from the new Moral Omnivore truck, it was good (though I can barely stomach that truck name). And Mr. Mustachios, which was mostly at the Nomad last year, made its city-lunch debut serving snappy dogs and running out of the chattered-up fries. Today they’re debuting a carrot dog!
Nicollet Island Inn has started doing fixed price Sunday Dinner. If you find yourself on Sunday night, having spent the day frolicking in your yard, with no plans and nothing to cook, you can head over to the inn and enjoy a weekly changing three-course menu ranging from $28-$34 (with no charge for additional helpings). This Sunday’s entree is butter-poached monkfish, which is probably better than that hot dog you were thinking of grilling.
Here’s a sudsy HI-LO …
Next weekend is the ten-day Craft Beer Week in Madison (I like their math). There’s all sorts of ballyhoo, live music, cask tastings, sampler flights at local bars, heck there’s an app to help you best plan your drinking. Hotels and events are pretty affordable.
For the well-heeled beer enthusiast, I bring you the Kohler Festival of Beer at the end of May. The weekend long party at the nationally acclaimed spa includes cool events such as beer dinners, eggs & kegs breakafsts, a beer challenge golf tournament, kitchen demos, beer pairing seminars, and more. High-buck for lodging and some events, but some tastings are affordable.
Head down to local wine pioneer Alexis Bailly Vineyards this weekend for a tasting of wines paired with Spanish tapas and Catalonian chocolate. No RSVP needed, just pop on down.
OK, just to let you know that we will have MICHAEL POLLAN on the Weekly Dish tomorrow, talking up his TC visit (for which there are still tickets) and his new book Cooked, so let me know if you have any questions you are dying to ask him…. and tune in from 1-2pm!