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Doug Flicker's Piccolo is featured in the new book "Come in, We're Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World's Best Restaurants."

Tom Wallace, Star Tribune file

Counter intelligence: Brats, beer and bourbon

  • Article by: By RICK NELSON
  • Star Tribune
  • October 3, 2012 - 3:24 PM

Last Sunday, it was Oysterfest at Meritage. This Sunday, the food-and-drink-loving crowd will no doubt be living it up at Boarfest at Butcher & the Boar (1121 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., www.butcherandtheboar.com).

From noon until 10 p.m. in the restaurant's newly tented beer garden, the party will feature oysters and house-made boar brats and other delicacies (with chef/co-owner Jack Riebel manning the grill), Oktoberfest craft beers, bourbon and live music.

Speaking of Oysterfest, Meritage chef/co-owner Russell Klein estimates that nearly 1,500 people descended upon his restaurant (410 St. Peter St., St. Paul, www.meritage-stpaul.com) and devoured 25,000 oysters.

"We did our best to keep up with a tidal wave of people," said Klein, adding a shout-out to the 60-plus Meritage staffers -- supplemented by culinary students from Le Cordon Bleu and St. Paul College -- who spent the day in a blur of work. "It's awesome that so many people are so in love with oysters and seafood."

The surprise guest? Skip Bennett, founder of Island Creek Oysters in Duxbury, Mass., who dropped in unannounced. "In the oyster world, he's a rock star," Klein said. Riebel took top honors in the chef oyster shucking contest, beating out Klein and last year's winner, Vincent Francoual of Vincent.

Bagelmania

Ever since New York City's fabled H&H Bagels called it quits a few years back, Brothers Deli (50 S. 6th St., Mpls., www.thebrothersdeli.com) owner Jeff Burstein has been trying to find a suitable replacement, with no luck. So Burstein is now having them made to his specifications, in plain, sesame, cinnamon-raisin and whole wheat varieties, and they rate as some of the better made-in-the-Twin Cities bagels. Order them with cream cheese, or the Brothers' own peanut butter or jams.

New release

Yep, that's Piccolo (4300 Bryant Av. S., Mpls., www.piccolompls.com) featured in the just-released "Come In, We're Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World's Best Restaurants" (Running Press, $35). The beautifully produced book takes readers into the kitchens of 25 restaurants, telling stories and sharing recipes. Chef/owner Doug Flicker includes his formulas for pulled pork and barbecue sauce, red beans with ham hocks and cornbread with maple-bacon butter. He also reveals the names of two of his kitchen alter egos: Mr. Pickles and Johnny Two Socks.

RICK NELSON

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