Spanish Wine A Go-Go:

You know how you keep hearing that Spanish wine is the last great bargain wine region in the world, but every time you show up in the wine aisle, all you can think is: Ribera del Whosis? Well lucky you, your saviors are a-coming. In fact a whole entire division of the Trade Commission of Spain is on its way to town to let you sample some 200 wines, from many of Spain's "63 winemaking regions." With those 200 wines from 63 regions, you'll also get some of the most renowned chefs in town who work in the Spanish idiom serving tapas. Attached names include Vincent Francoual from Vincent, Tim McKee from Solera and La Belle Vie, and many more. Tickets are $55 in advance or $65 at the door, and the whole shindig is being held at the Depot downtown, at 225 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis. Buy tickets either online, at greatmatch.org, where they also have further information on the event, or by phone at 1.866.849.8703.

What, are you still just sitting there reading? People! If you want to impress your friends with your knowledge of today's wine lists, you need to go get tipsy in the ice-skating rink Thursday. Sixty-three winemaking regions? C'mon--it'll cost you a million dollars to figure this stuff out on your own.

 

NEWS YOU CAN USE:

Feeling scattered, hectic, and overscheduled? Well you ain't seen nothing yet, because I've taken the liberty of scheduling quite a lot of activities for you. First, those of you living in the Audubon neighborhood of northeast Minneapolis are obligated to go to your neighborhood meeting on June 2 to weigh in on whether you want a development proposal to go forward that will result in Kim Bartmann, of Bryant-Lake Bowl and Café Barbette fame, being allowed to develop the old Hollywood Theater up on Johnson into a place that serves food, and possibly wine, and presents theater and movies.

"It should be like the Suburban World," said Bartmann, when I talked to her on the phone for this story. "It's the same architects, it's a very cool art deco theater. But hopefully it'll be better than the Suburban World, because we'll be able to build it out right the first time, building a stage for live theater, as well as a kitchen that functions for the space." If you live in Northeast and are sick and tired of driving to south Minneapolis every time you want to go to the Bryant-Lake Bowl, now's your chance.

If you live in south Minneapolis and forgot about the Bryant-Lake Bowl, it's gotten cheaper while you weren't looking, and so I've taken the liberty of booking your Mondays all summer: Because did you know about Cheap Date Night? That's when $25 gets you two special entrées, like Creole crawfish étouffée, or cavatappi pasta in a tomato and tuna sauce, a whole bottle of wine (you get to choose between the featured red and the featured white), and a round of bowling for two. And then, for the whole darn summer, all bowling is just $2 a game.

If you're not the bowling-shoe type--and did you know that the BLB sells socks, if you don't have them?--life is truly a chain of miracles. Please report to sister restaurant Café Barbette, where renowned chef Lisa Carlson, back from her lengthy vacations, is making Monday the home of $28 prix fixe dinners. The menu from May 19th included arctic char tartare with pickled ramp tartar sauce, a black trumpet mushroom tart with white and green asparagus and Parmesan cheese, an entrée of pan-seared scallops with purple potatoes, grilled ramps, and fresh pea sauce, and a dessert of strawberry Napoleon with basil-mint cream and syrup. Mon Dieu!

There's been a lot of talk lately about how Twin Cities restaurants stack up to other American restaurants, and I'll say here what I've always said: We have some of the most talented chefs in the country working in our own backyard, like chef Carlson, veteran of London's L'Escargot and New York's Lespinasse. And anyone who thinks there's a better $28 meal being eaten in this country is only proving that they haven't been out to eat much.

 

Bryant-Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St., Mpls.; 612.825.3737;
Café Barbette, 1600 W. Lake St.,Mpls.; 612.827.5710.

 
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