Restaurant opening of the century, redux:

Drop whatever it is you're doing and get a divorce and marry a Cargill, or at the very least a Trump, ASAP. Because really, if I see any of you marrying for love, or even merely staying faithful for love this year, I am going to be exceptionally cross. Because people! Le Méridien has arrived!

You don't know about Le Méridien? Well, obviously you are again letting press kits pile up in your in-box in a way that makes all the other food editors laugh and point, aren't you? Oh, I know you are. Don't even try to deny it. I know all about your wily ways.

You thought you knew the deal on that vast tower that sprung up on Block E above the Hard Rock Café and that gorgeous, brand-spanking-new Applebee's. You looked at it and shrugged, and figured those 21 stories must be, probably, ah, probably, ah, that must be where they keep the, ah, fries. For the burger chains. No! You ninny! That is distinctly not where they keep the fries.

That tower is, in fact, the most prestigious and important multi-million-dollar new hotel in the whole entire history of the whole entire North Star State. It is called Le Méridien Minneapolis. And, as of the first week of May, it opened, and joined the vast Le Méridien "current portfolio of more than 140 hotels with a total of 38,000 rooms in 55 countries and territories." Territories! I know George W. has been in power for nearly three years and all, but when did the world go back to having territories? Are we going to have Manifest Destiny and Conestoga wagons too? Golly. And what is Minnesota, these days, anyway? I hope we're a territory. And hey, what is Vilnius? Is it contagious?

No, you goof, it's the capital of Lithuania, for one thing, and it's got its own Le Méridien, just like Chad, and Warsaw, and Barcelona, and Mumbai--which is the current name of Bombay, which you might know if your own parents had had a little forethought and had married a Cargill, instead of swanning around and marrying for love the way they did, or for hate, or whatever their motive was, a need to get that Chevy off the lawn or whatnot. And you ending up in the public schools and not knowing your Vilnius from your elbow.

Well watch out Vilnius, because not only does Minneapolis suddenly, inexplicably, have a topflight international luxury hotel, we have the universe's first "Art + Tech Hotel," designed by the design firm Yabu Pushelberg (not a joke), who have designed the W hotel in Times Square in New York. And what in the name of soybeans is an "Art + Tech" hotel? Well, it's "a distinctive Le Méridien communications experience," for one thing. Or so says the press kit: "Guestrooms include a wall-mounted, 42-inch plasma-screen TV. To ensure that guests don't miss a moment of a good movie or television show, every bathroom includes a 10-inch, LED flat screen TV. A wireless digital keyboard gives guests access to the Internet as well as to a vast library of movie and music selections that can be downloaded digitally."

And we all know what that means--no, not porn, get your mind out of the gutter. It obviously means you can much more cleanly research high-minded references for the "decadent sleep experience" and "power showers" you'll be enjoying in your room--because, back to the press release: "Le Méridien Minneapolis features shower rooms equipped with either rain showers, freestanding shower towers incorporating six body jets or whirlpool tubs with integrated freestanding showers." Pop out of there, and you'll land on a "top-of-line pillow-top mattress that provides a decadent sleep experience. Modern French-inspired wooden bed frames have been designed to add more support to the mattresses and produce a unique, floating effect." Unique? I'll say. Whenever my bed has a floating effect, I consider it a darn sight past unique, and I swear off the hard stuff for months.

A darn sight past unique is also what the new restaurant and lounge in Le Méridien look to be, too. The restaurant, Cosmos, is up on the fourth floor of the hotel--what you'll do is you'll valet your car in that semi-circular driveway directly across from the Target Center and take an elevator on up. You'll see some "sleek acrylic walls." Sleek acrylic walls! If we're not a territory, can we be an aquarium? Pretty please?

Anyhoo, between the sleek acrylic walls is where you'll sit yourself down and have a power breakfast, a power lunch, or a power wedding (the place has capacious banquet facilities). Or you can even have a dinner that should be able to make your head spin around magically in a display of mind-bending enchantment, and that enchantment will--get this!--soon be exported to all points Vilnius, because according to head chef Seth Bixby Daugherty, this Cosmos in Minneapolis is going to be the new flagship for the chain, and provide the inspiration for the remodeling and re-imagining of many Le Méridien restaurants worldwide, putting a little Minneapolis in Vilnius, as it were.

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