Manhattan Transfer

The great population exchange raises interesting questions about why you stay where you stay. When I reached Chaudhury in New York, where he was recruiting more waitstaff, he confessed, "I never knew I loved New York so much until I moved to Minneapolis." So I guess it's safe to say he won't be a permanent transplant. Still, he suggests a best-of-both-worlds compromise that doesn't require vast numbers of frequent-flyer miles:

"Every day, two or three couples from New York come to the restaurant and everyone says the same thing: They lived in New York (a lot of them went to NYU), they used to dine in my restaurants while they were there, and they are so happy to find what they used to have right here."

Okay, so who's up for subways next? Let's meet in front of the Gap next Friday, noonish. If everybody brings a shovel, I bet we could get a good start on digging our first station before frost hits.

Melissa Jansson

Location Info


Passage to India

1401 W. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55408-2641

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Uptown/ Eat Street



SNOOTS TO YOU: I don't know of any more persuasive argument to be made for vegetarianism than the World Pork Expo taking place June 10-12 in Des Moines. What's with the "Fun that sticks to your ribs" slogan--"Fun that sticks to your ass" was taken?

In the PR kit I got, I've been told that you all are invited to "saddle up to the table for more than 100,000 samples of lip-smackin' pork." Don't they mean sidle? Who saddles around? Except people with a lot of fun stuck to their asses? You'll also saddle up to the "Pig-casso" art show, cheer on "racing porcines as they hoof it around the track several times each day" (at least something's getting a workout) and, incredibly, view "hundreds of cuts of fresh and processed pork from all over the world." For more information eyeball, and if you saddle down to Iowa for the event, do me a huge favor and smack whoever coined the Pork Expo's barbecue contest name, BarbeQlossal. Please. Human beings did not descend from the trees to use words like BarbeQlossal. BarbeQlossal is fun that sticks in your craw.

CHRISTMAS IN MARCH: What was Tim McKee, famed chef at Stillwater's La Belle Vie, doing the first week in March? Celebrating Christmas, of course. See, he was posing with his family for a Food and Wine magazine spread for next December's issue. "Yeah," laughs McKee, "It was our Christmas traditions in somebody else's house, it was great. It's supposed to be an eight-page article, maybe even a cover." Let me be the first to say: Jumping copa-crusted rabbit loins! Take that, Christie Brinkley! Meanwhile, in the seasonally correct world, McKee has just debuted his spring menus, and my oh my, they do look enticing: oyster and curried cucumber yogurt soup, a starter of stewed baccalà (salt cod) with Sungold tomatoes and arugula; entrées such as grilled quail with cannellini beans and romesco (a Catalonian sauce of tomatoes, red bell peppers, onions, garlic, almonds, and olive oil).

More good news: Tasting menus--special, four-(or more) course selections drawn up whenever McKee gets his hands on some cool, unusual ingredients--are now a regular feature at La Belle Vie. And wowee, they make me weak at the knees. One set of lucky diners worked their way through stone crab and curry croquettes with osetra caviar; beef carpaccio with Stranges Bay oysters and sea urchin aioli; sautéed red mullet with cannellini beans and rouille; muscat-glazed lamb sweetbreads on toasted brioche; and roasted rack of lamb with tomato-eggplant jam and bagna cauda. Typically, tasting menus cost $55 per person, but they'll be more if there are particularly expensive ingredients involved. Even on days when McKee isn't offering a tasting menu, he'll draw one up for you if you call a few days ahead --all you have to tell them is what you don't like to eat, and he'll keep it out of the lineup. (La Belle Vie is at 312 S. Main St., Stillwater; (651) 430-3545.) Bill Summerville, La Belle Vie's charming wine guru, can help you assemble coordinating wines.

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