25 February 2022
The coming Mardi Gras week is less about beads and hurricanes up here in the North, and more about pancakes and fish. Shrove Tuesday is the version of Fat Tuesday that had people using up all their eggs, sugar, and butter before Lent, and pancakes are such a good tool in that work. And that immediately launches us into Friday Fish Fry season, and boy howdy do we get behind that. Spend all your good times by jumping into some carnival parties, planning to sip whiskey, maybe slog some oysters like a pro.
The mask mandates in Minneapolis and St. Paul have been officially lifted. St. Louis Park’s ended on Tuesday, Minnetonka pulled theirs earlier, and Washington and Dakota counties lifted theirs as well. Of course, business may choose to extend mask requirements on their own.
The semifinalist list of James Beard Award winners has been announced. Many locals pros are on the list, including Yia Vang of Union Hmong Kitchen, Sean Sherman of Owamni, Jorge Guzman of Petite Leon, Eric Skaar of Vann, and Kim Bartmann for her restaurant collection. The actual finalists will be named in April, with the ceremony happening in June this year.
Not sure if you saw this v. delightful bit about the 101 years of Ingebretsen’s from our talented Madison Bloomquist, but you will want Swedish meatballs.
If you ever lived off of Kindo’s chicken fried rice when you were a flat-broke bartender living in Uptown (ahem), you should do as I did and donate to their Go Fund Me to help keep them open. Pay it back, pay it forward.
+ White Rabbit Kitchen food truck has formally opened their actual restaurant space in Andover. Named for that silly smoke charming trick we all try around the campfire, this place loves a pulled pork slider, a smoked brisket dip with aged cheddar (dibs!), a smokey Cubano melt, plus hot chicken salad, toasted sesame pork rice bowl, all the things Andover needs (Ham Lake gotta be jealous).
+ Hey, J. Selby’s is opening back up for indoor dining, and they’re also going back to counter-service. Give them some traffic, Tu-Sat, from 11a-8p.
– Sad to report that Sen Yai Sen Lek and Dipped & Debris will be closing up shop. Joe and Holly Hatch-Surisook spent nearly 14 years on Central in Northeast, feeding us with Thai goodness first, and solid sandwiches second (plus that low-key cult status burger). The pair is playing out a long Minnesota goodbye, so pop in and say one last hello before April 23.
// Oh hi it’s still Restaurant Week! Through Sunday, you can still opt in for monster deals on great dishes that are certified for pre-Lenten fun.
// Did you know that every fourth Saturday of the month they have live mariachi at Boca Chica? Now you do.
// Lots of people are sick of winter, but if you are working your last weekend in February as a ritual send off to the subzero, maybe head out to Winterfest at Thor’s Hard Cider this weekend. Skate your Tuk’s off, they’ll have $5 pints of hard cider, Trivia Mafia, and live music all weekend.
// Sweet Beet Bakery in Hudson WI is down for the Fat Tuesday fun starting now. For their Mardi Gras 2022 party, they are ready to tune you up with King cakes, hot fresh beignets, bourbon spiked everything, muffuletta sandiwches, Crawfish Etouffee, gumbo, paczki, pecan pralines, NOLA inspired cronuts and more! Maybe you should bring THEM beads.
// Midtown Global Market is hosting Carnaval Brasileiro on Saturday, celebrating the Brazilian tradition of letting loose and dancing free. The carnival magic includes samba, festive masks, and a special menu from chef Soleil Ramirez of Arepa Bar: grouper and mango ceviche, beer skewers with yucca, shrimp with garlic, cocada coconut drinks and more.
// Before we get into eating all the battered fish we can next week, why not stop in for a beer or two at Back Channel Brewing on Sunday when the lakeside spot will be raising funds for the non-profit Westonka Walleye Program. Drink a beer, get more walleye in the water.
// Someone who loves a mardi party is barwoman Trish Gavin, and she’s slipping away from her post at Khaluna and Lat14 to be the Guest Bartender at Malcolm Yards on Tuesday. That one night she’ll be crafting a special drink, with proceeds benefitting the Jack Riebel Memorial Culinary Scholarship Fund at St. Paul College. You can only see her that night, but the drink will be featured all month long.
// Your Tuesday really could be fire if you also check in on what Kieran Folliard is up to with his newly launched whiskey. Along with Master Distiller (and Whiskey Hall of Famer) Noel Sweeny, he’s hosting a Red Locks Irish Whiskey tasting at The Hewing. Pop over for the good chatter, many sips, and light bites from Tullibee. If you want some good source material beforehand, listen to the brogue as Folliard does a guest turn on TCBmag’s podcast By All Means.
// Shrove Tuesday Pancake Races will test your delayed gratification response for sure, forget about stupid marshmallows. Join the race at St. John’s Episcopal or just cheer on runners who can carry some hotcakes, that’s for sure. Otherwise … can I shout out the following places for cakes:
- Churchill Street has killah blueberry hotcakes that are cooked in bacon fat.
- Get snooty if you want, but the sourdough cakes at OPH are my fave, whipped butter + salt, no syrup.
- Yes, lemon-ricotta cakes at Hell’s Kitchen ARE worth the well-deserved hype.
- I am very cool with the jiggly cakes at Thirty-Six Cafe.
- We all love Al’s Breakfast. Full stop.
// HERE’S WHAT: Jess Fleming of the PiPress always has a stellar Friday Fish Fry list, so check hers out first … but just know that we are cooking up some extra special fun things for next week!!! Stay Tuned!
// Luxe Wisconsin resort Sand Valley is hosting their second annual Brews & Brats festival on Mar. 4-6th. Located in beautiful Nekoosa, smack dab in the middle of the state, the resort is offering special room rates if you want to come for the whole weekend (the brewer’s dinner on Friday features New Glarus). Saturday’s festivities include sampling from 8 breweries, live music, plenty of snacks, and then Sunday lands with a bloody mary and beer brunch before you have to roll home.