Closures and a new location
Hello, lovers of local cuisine. We’re hyper-local this month until the restaurant review, which is…well, it’s still Minnesota anyway. We’ll start with closing the place, because it’s sad and we want to get rid of it. Hot Indian, inventor of the “indirito” (removed from its menu in early 2020), which fused the burrito format with Indian flavors and ingredients, is closing its location at Midtown Global Market. Other locations are still open at Mall of America and Target Field. Local Roots of Richfield, a more local and healthier restaurant, is closing its dining room for good. They will still do catering and delivery to third parties. Midori’s Floating World, a small but excellent Japanese restaurant, was burned down at its Lake Street site between Minnehaha and 27th Avenue during the George Floyd uprising. After two years of appearing at the Seward Cafe, they now have their own space at 3425 E. Lake St. They are open Thursday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. It’s takeout only for now, but they hope to open their new restaurant room soon.
Chef Sioux brings back his food truck, the Tatanka Truck. It will be parked outside Owamni all summer. Lutunji’s Palate, a restaurant business I’ve talked about before, has finally opened a traditional cafe on the ground floor of a building on Park Avenue in Elliot Park. Sadly, it was broken into by thieves less than 24 hours after its grand opening, but not hurt enough to close the business. Lutunji is known for its peach cobbler and other southern-style baked goods. Burritos El Patron just opened (their grand opening was June 1) in the former Flag Foods space on 42nd Street at 29th Avenue South. Learn more on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BurritosElPatron/.
Four Sisters Farmers Market is back for 2022
The Native American Community Development Institute, NACDI, has announced that its sponsored Farmer’s Market, Four Sisters, will be held June through October 2022 at the same site, the parking lot east of the Pow Wow Grounds Cafe, 1414 E. Franklin Ave. It runs on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Walmart is dragged for exploiting Juneteenth; during this time,
Starbucks United celebrates 100th and 101st unionizations
Well, honestly, what did they expect? The whiter-than-white billionaire owners of Walmart probably didn’t come up with this concept, but those who did should have foreseen how scary it would be. Walmart launched a line of products to celebrate Juneteenth – a beer koozie, disposable plates and Juneteenth ice cream. If you can bear it, you can read about this PR disaster at https://www.eater.com/23139650/walmart-apologizes-for-juneteenth-ice-cream-beer-koozies.
Starbucks workers have been unionizing at a rapid pace. The two original sites in Minnesota to announce their intent have now won their unions — one on Snelling Avenue in St. Paul and one on Cedar Avenue in South Minneapolis. On May 27, SB Workers United, the national union organization for Starbucks, announced the victory at number 100 – Eastlake Avenue in Seattle. The 101st labor victory came later the same day.
The next three Twin Cities Starbucks holding NLRB elections will be in Eden Prairie, the Mall of America and on Lyndale Avenue South in Minneapolis. Last Saturday, the Twin Cities DSA labor arm, in conjunction with the national solidarity group DSA for a Starbucks Union, hosted an event called Comrades in Cars Getting Coffee. Members and friends piled into rideshare cars and drove to each of the Starbucks in turn in caravan mode. In each store, we ordered coffee and expressed our solidarity and our best wishes for their election.
What do I do with all this rhubarb?
Although it arrived a little late this year, it is finally rhubarb season and the floodgates have opened. If you’re looking for inspiration on what to do with all those pink, tangy, girly veggies, the online magazine Eater will come to the rescue with a bunch of quirky recipes to add to your rhubarb classics, like ice cream, bar picnic or use it as an ingredient in a sausage casserole. www.eater.com/23139986/rhubarb-how-to-cook-recipes. Also, here’s a tip from me: rhubarb is easy to freeze for later use. Or maybe your neighborhood cafe/bakery will take some of your excess to keep it out of the waste stream.
Speaking of overeating, I suddenly found myself with nearly a kilo of excellent (Italian) flat-leaf parsley. This led me to investigate something I was wondering – what are the defining qualities of all these different uncooked herb sauces with exotic names? I made a little list, and I made and consumed almost all of these condiments.
• Pistou (French) is like pesto without nuts, so it’s runny. You mostly put it on things, all kinds of things: meat, vegetables, fish, soup and bread. The ingredients are simply finely chopped or processed basil and garlic, a pinch of salt and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).
• Pesto (Italian) can be made with a variety of green herbs, but classic Genovese pesto is just Genovese basil. This is combined with pine nuts, garlic, salt and EVOO, optional parmesan, and ground into a rough paste. It is usually put on hot pasta or toast with goat cheese and tomatoes to make a Katerina. Fun substitutes are walnuts, pecans or almonds for pine nuts (expensive little fiends) and half Italian parsley for basil. You can also make cilantro, chervil or oregano pesto.
• Gremolata (Italian) looks like a parsley pistou but embellished with an acid such as lemon. Recipes vary but generally include flat-leaf parsley, lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt and pepper, and EVOO.
• Chimichurri is a Spanish version of gremolata. It’s a similar recipe but with cilantro and the addition of chili peppers.
• Chermoula (Moroccan) is the finest of these sauces. Chermoula contains parsley and cilantro, and its lemon juice should ideally come from a candied lemon (available at many grocery stores). In addition to EVOO and salt, it is additionally seasoned with paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin and saffron.
• The mint sauce is a bit of an outlier, but one of my favorites. It’s easy to make, and flowing like a pesto. Simply mix together fresh mint leaves, sugar and distilled white vinegar. You can blend it in a blender or puree it in a mortar. Eat it over white fish with peas and “crisps”.
You can find plenty of recipes for all of these things, including fish and chips and making your own preserved lemons, on the internet.
A near-perfect meal at Crave in Rochester
I was recently in Rochester for the DFL State Convention. I stayed at Hotel Indigo in the heart of downtown Rochester. The hotel is home to a branch of Crave Restaurant, which also offers room service and breakfasts. I had a pretty awful breakfast there, so the less said about it the better.
But you should never judge a restaurant serving primarily dinner by its breakfast. Rare indeed is the high-end restaurant that can excel in both of these modalities. Therefore, after a long and exhausting day of (involuntary) fasting, I escaped in the late afternoon to return to my lonely hotel room and hesitated on what to do for a meal. . I ended up giving Rochester Crave a second chance and had one of the best fish meals I have ever had so far from any ocean.
It wasn’t sea fish, for one thing. It was walleye, our state fish. I had a Walleye Shore dinner that came with a craft beer, Finnegans Irish Amber Ale. It was a memorable fish plate. Do you know how huge restaurant plates are? Well, this Shore Dinner filled the plate and, in fact, the beautiful fillet of perfectly fresh walleye was hanging off both edges of the plate.
The walleye was lightly breaded in panko and drizzled with a creamy lemon butter sauce sprinkled with chopped parsley. There were only two sides. In the middle of the plate was a large mound of silky mashed potatoes with buttermilk and butter. The final third of the plate contained several massive spears of grilled asparagus, glistening in hot olive oil. I cleared that whole huge plate of food, something that almost never happens with restaurant portions, no matter how hungry I am.
I even treated myself to a single scoop of vanilla ice cream from Sebastian Joe’s. And a post-prandial tot of cognac to brighten it up. I think I chose… wisely.