A press release from the “This just in…” file. Like, literally. Five minutes ago.—Ed.
Summit Brewing Company is pleased to announce the “release tour” of an exclusive small-batch beer brewed specifically for the Blue Plate Restaurant Company. Blue Plate’s Highland Grill celebrates its 20th anniversary this month and Summit beers have been proudly on tap there from the beginning. To celebrate this partnership, head brewer Damian McConn brewed a springtime IPA inspired by Blue Plate co-owner David Burley. Using David’s native home of Australia as inspiration, Damian devised the “Hops like a Kangaroo IPA” using new Australian hops, a traditional Australian yeast strain and American malt.
It’s an opportunity that almost wasn’t.
“I almost deleted the e-mail; I thought it was a hoax,” said Lenny Russo, the chef and co-owner of Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market in St. Paul, remarking that the subject line of the e-mail in question resembled something along the lines of that desperate, high-ranking political refugee wanting to dump a million dollars into your personal bank account. “But I did a Google search and turned out it was valid.”
No, Russo is not successfully laundering money for a percentage profit. But he can claim to be an ambassador of sorts for the U.S. State Department. He, along with Cassie Parsons, the chef and owner of Harvest Moon Grille in Charlotte, N.C., will travel to Slovenia as part of a “food diplomacy” tour that will highlight sustainable food production, responsible environmental practices, and, of course, cooking the results of such practices.
Fresh/local/seasonal is fine, nose-to-tail cooking is delightful, and no one can argue with the Bacon Everywhere movement. But sometimes, it’s good to leave the trends to the trendsetters. Not every diner is looking for a meal of locally-grown heritage micro greens with half an ounce of free-range pork kidneys. Sometimes, you just want a beer and a burger. And for that, there’s 7 West Taphouse. Rick Lampton, who co-owns Grizzly’s locations in Duluth, Hermantown, and Superior, Wis., opened 7 West with a partner towards the end of 2012. He says the idea was to keep it simple. “It’s a simple concept,” Lampton says. “We’re specializing. It’s not a full menu, which really increases your times and your operational efficiency.”
“What are you, 85?”
That’s the query I often get from my wife as I creak through the morning. I stumble downstairs, sometimes bouncing from wall to wall, doing a physical inventory and regretting many choices in life as I go, often thinking of the line from the first Indiana Jones movie: “It ain’t the years, it’s the mileage.” Fumble with the coffee machine. Prepare a small breakfast with stiff hands. Sit down and read something, waiting for the caffeine to kick in and the joints to loosen up before being jarred with anything.
Today I was reading the January/February 2013 Saveur (one of the very few food magazines I actually enjoy reading), the annual Saveur 100. I flip through the pages haphazardly and get jolted by a black and white image that looked familiar. Squinting as I thrust my head forward—a standard movement, but performed too early in the morning—I felt a twinge in my neck. Damn. It.
Nods go to a chain and a James Beard Award-winning independent as 14 local restaurants announce plans to leave reservation service.
OpenTable, the online reservation and guest management software company, released its 2012 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Best Restaurants in the United States. Minnesota claimed two spots on the list. Interestingly, it was a national chain, the Capital Grille in Minneapolis, and a nationally-acclaimed independent, Restaurant Alma, headed by the James Beard Award-winning chef, Alex Roberts. (For the full list, see below.)
One could say the two represent Minnesota quite well: we like a good, unflashy steak; and we like progressive dining, too.
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