Nathan and I met my friend Chris at Brix Bistro & Wine Bar for an early dinner last night. Brix is the Italian-ish sister of McCoy’s (aka the home-base of the Baseball Moms), both of which are located at Excelsior on Grand in St. Louis Park (Brix inhabits the space fomerly known as Mojito). We sampled several tasties, including various bruschetta slices topped with olive tapenade, roasted vegetables, and the classic chopped tomato; a roasted beet and arugula salad with goat cheese; and two nice pasta dishes, one a squash-filled ravioli and the other fettucine alfredo, Nathan’s fav. (I skipped the spinach salad with smoked duck, although will sample it next time – it looks quite good, despite the “dried grapes” on the ingredient list – it’s OK to say raisins, people, even in a restaurant that is perhaps trying a wee bit too hard, it really is.) The interior is quite chic and features large, elegant banquettes designed for maximum people-watching. We ate in the bar which was pouring happy hour treats like half-off wine by the glass/carafe as well as beer and drink specials. We unfortunately took advantage of exactly none of those, but I will at some point in the near future when I drag John in for a snack and a glass of wine. A chic bistro/wine bar is damn hard to find in St. Louis Park (I believe Brix is the only one, right?), I hope they can make a better go of it than Mojito did.
And so. Although lovely, funky, chef-owned Auriga is waaaay out of Mojito’s league, it too is closing its doors. Waaaah! I bid you a sad farewell, sniff, as you are near and dear to my heart forever as the place where I met my Johnny… We had our first date at Auriga – a blind date! And it worked (obviously)! It was really fun, actually, in no small part thanks to the lovely meal (and wine!) we shared. Auriga used to do a killer grilled salmon fillet that was first lightly smoked. Crusty, smoky, buttery deliciousness, mmm. They’ve always had a kickass wine list to go with chef Doug Flicker’s creative and lovely dishes. Top-notch, uber-fresh ingredients. Gorgeous cheeses. Decadent breads and pastries. And such creativity! Sniff. It’s been a rough winter for fine Minneapolis restaurants. So long to yet another gem…
Sigh. How depressing. It’s tough at the end of January ’round here, it is. Still dark, quite cold, the buzz of the holidays has worn way off and all that’s left is…February. Ewww! I can’t stand February in Minnesota! March bites too, frankly. We’re all a little cranky and tired. Getting outside, even in the cold, is the only solution. Has to be done. I have to get my butt out there and go for a walk, or cross-country ski, or go sledding with the kids. Come in and make some popcorn and cocoa, or a cup of tea, or take a hot shower or bath, and enjoy the process of warming up. Every day in just this way I trick myself into liking (sort of) winter, damn it!
Tonight, crispy chicken drummies, rice, and a big salad for Stacey, Cooper (who is sweetly, adorably napping as I write this), John, and both kids. Partay, school-night version! Enjoy yours!