This is the week you might see the biggest flurry of OOO replies to your email, because people are getting out. Maybe they are heading up to the crystal waters and piney air of the North Shore, or turning south for fishing in the driftless area, or just daytripping to find some good beer and barbecue. Follow their lead because you don’t have to leave town to get out: leave your house in the name of new brunch, hit a distillery dinner, or take part in other libational antics from local pros.
+ Central NE has relaunched officially in the former Bad Waitress Northeast spot off Central. The vibe is pretty similar, the cool mural still lives on that front wall, but the menu has been given a refresh and they’ve moved to a 20% service charge model. Brunch brings some Benedicts and waffles, a $10 lunch menu offers an omelet of the day or soup/salad combo, and dinner puts up burgers, plus bigger plates like fettuccine and pork chops.
+ I think this might be the summer of cold noodles (for me at least). If you want in on this chill journey that means keeping the kitchen cool, get your digital ducks in a row for the Sunday ordering of Jaba Noodles. Follow them on Insta to see the goods, and then get ready to order some authentic Taiwanese cool noodles with chopped vegetables, fried shallots, cilantro, garlic water, and signature sesame sauce. The pack is naturally vegan, but you can add chicken if you want. Order on Sunday, delivery/pick up in South Mpls on the following Wednesday.
+ Not new, but new to me, apparently there is a distillery/hotel near the borderwaters in Rainer, MN just east of International Falls. Cantilever was built in homage to the local bridge, which helped certain bootleggers get back and forth to the country across the river. They’ve got a cocktail room that serves food, just off the shores of Rainy Lake and some vodka, gin, and whiskey they’ve made with those cold clear waters. If you feel like a drive, it’s a scant 5 hours straight up from the metro. If you feel like you need a test sip first, head over top First Draft in the North Loop, where they’ve just started carrying some of the tapped cocktails from the distillery.
+ Officially, Owamni by The Sioux Chef is now open. If you can’t score a reservation in the dining room, remember that the lower terrace is a first come first serve situation with patio tables, a lighter menu, and a tap truck all its own.
+ We haven’t really talked about this here, but I did put it in the mag. Remember how much we all loved that little yellow smoky Rib Cage trailer that showed up on County 81 just north of Maple Grove each summer? Those fat ribs had all the right dry spice, but I wasn’t mad at the house sauce either. Well, Vic’s gone brick. Vic’s Rib Cage is now a full time counter in The Nordic Brewing Co. in Monticello. So, that’s a road trip or a pre-cabin stop.
<< Jax Cafe is closed for a spell. Bill Kozlak’s legendary Northeast restaurant has discovered some structural issues that need attention. Look for them to be closed for 3-4 months to shore up the old haunt.
<< Wrap, the kicky sandwich wrap counter that has been rocking the North Loop Galley food hall for the past few months, is ending their pop-up. If you’re slapping yourself for never getting off your duff to eat a delicious wrap, I just hope you learn something. Like a painful but valuable lesson.
// The Aquatennial is back! The city’s summer fest started earlier this week with the Torchlight Parade and will end on Saturday with the fireworks show. In the middle, there’s a Johnny Pops ice cream social, a City of Lakes outdoor market, and Carifest (which typically has some amazing grillables in play).
// I can’t tell you how much I love it when transportation issues lead to something less frustrating. Ok, less frustrating for me. Like when France 44 gets a massive shipment of French cheese and we all HAVE to eat it to save the world. And we get a deeply discounted 25% off all soft French cheeses from them as a little nudge. How does such cheese even actually get here? I’m glad you asked.
// If you are looking for a good dark bar during this scorcher of a weekend, head over to Dampfwerk Distillery where the crafty cocktailians have come up with a way for you to have beer at a distillery bar. Here’s a hint: it’s like when you detox to retox and then have the best night.
// While I kinda don’t want to hear anymore about how much you miss Burch Steak, I’m going to give you something. Isaac Becker has got his sea legs back and will be bringing on some classic hits Burch dishes to the menu at Snack Bar. Starting tonight, you can slip into some crab and seabean salad, some ricotta gnudi, a little Schupfnudel with gorgonzola cream sauce, and a prime hangar steak. You’re welcome.
// Chef Dan Manosack’s Broken English Lao-American pop-up is back this weekend, but this time it’s a full-service dinner series. Both this and next month you can score tickets to an all-inclusive dinner featuring a selection of Lao-American dishes, small plates, and bites, all paired with Steady Pour beverages. Bonus, you get to check out the very cool new space that Steady Pour will be using for more dinners, pop-ups, and private events. It’s a looker.
// Brother Justus Distillery is back open tonight, following their small construction project. Head over to sip some Minnesota peated whiskey innovation, or get tickets for their up coming distillery dinner on July 31. Summer Feast will feature food from three chefs: Yia Vang, Amalia Obermeier-Smith, and Jamal Hashi. Your $60 ticket will get you all-you-can-eat hog and goat roast, plus yucca fry bar, Surbiyaan Somali rice, and Khao Sen among other veggies and sides. Choose your 4 hour time block and get ready for full.
// Valley Fair kicks off Grand Carnivale this Saturday with colorful grand parades, live performances, and dance parties through the park. They are trying to bring all the good parties in the world to Shakopee, and that includes highlighting some great bites from 5 different countries: pork dumplings with ponzu from China, Wiener schnitzel and sauerkraut from Germany, along with other samplers from Italy, Spain, and India. Get a $30 tasting card online before you go and you’ll get six tastings of your choice.
// Falling Knife Brewery is finally throwing their first fest! In the 20 months they’ve been open, they have yet to party hard, so this Saturday look for people to be celebrating their Alive Inside: Outdoor Brewery Festival. The Northeast craft brewery will have lots of bands and music all day, along with food trucks, a makers market and of course beer.
// Sunday will be a good day. Especially if you commit to a stop at the Sunday Thai Market being held in the parking lot of St. Louis Park’s Wat Promwachirayan temple. Wander the stalls and shop for beautiful goods, and then get your order in for Thai BBQ pork, papaya salad, boat noodles, sticky rice, and so much more! Profits go toward operational costs of the temple, and if you miss this weekend, you have two more in August and one in September to attend.
// You’re not done with pink wine yet. You still have to check out the Solo Vino Sunday Series: Rosé Edition this Sunday. This focused tasting of 12-15 wines will run you $25, but you also get a bonus special 20% off those wines in store.
// Even the Brewery Running Series wants you to get out of town. On Saturday you can register for a run with Hop & Barrel out of Hudson, WI. Not far enough out? Then get up to Duluth for Sunday’s double header with Bent Paddle Brewing and Wild State Cider.
// Yes, it’s already time to get back in the orchards. Keepsake Cidery is open this weekend with Red Hen Gastrolab cooking Puerto Rican food tonight, then there will be toasties and acoustic music on Saturday, and BOGO glasses of cider for anyone who makes it to the cidery by bike on Sunday.