Chef meal kits hit the spot for holiday

Chef Gavin Kaysen will help take the guesswork out of what to grill for the summer holidays with grill kits, available through his GK at Home line for Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day.

First up, for Memorial Day, is a collaboration between Kaysen and Animales BBQ chef/owner Jon Wipfli that features a 3-pound dry rub smoked rib-eye. Also on the menu: roasted carrot and arugula salad, roasted mushrooms, German potato salad, Parker House rolls, strawberry-rhubarb pie and an extra bottle of the dry rub — a blend created by the chefs and their teams — for future grilling endeavors.

The kit serves six to eight and costs $375; the Memorial Day kits are on sale now (the others will go on sale at a later date) at Pick up on May 26 at Spoon and Stable, 211 N. 1st St., Mpls.

Also included are detailed preparation instructions, plus grilling tips. No grill? No problem. The meal can also be prepared without a grill.

A twilight river cruise and dinner

The Nicollet Island Inn in Minneapolis is once again teaming up with Minneapolis Water Taxi for summertime cruises on the Mississippi River.

Grab up to six friends and start at the city's Boom Island Park, where you'll board a solar-powered electric cruise boat for an hourlong tour of the Upper Mississippi River. Warm up with a picnic of wine or Champagne (your choice) and appetizers before heading back to the inn for the main course.

Tickets are available for select weeknights and weekends from May through September. Prices vary with group size, but start at $295 for two people. That includes boat service, on-board picnic and a $50 dinner credit per guest. For more information or reservations, go to

Nigella Lawson coming to town this fall

Plan ahead: British cookbook author and television personality Nigella Lawson is coming to town this fall, but tickets go on sale this week.

"An Evening With Nigella Lawson" will feature the writer talking about her new book, "Cook, Eat, Repeat," a combination of more than 50 new recipes intertwined with narrative essays. The event is Nov. 21 at Pantages Theatre (710 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.).

Get tickets starting May 6 at 10 a.m. at the State Theatre Box Office (805 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.), online at or by calling 800-982-2787. Tickets range from $39.50-$75.

Lawson published her first cookbook — "How to Eat, the Pleasures and Principles of Good Food" — in 1998 and has written more than a dozen others. She's also had a string of television shows, including her debut, "Nigella Bites," and has gone on to host several shows in the United States, Australian and the United Kingdom.