Heading into the first full weekend of October, it's so far been an autumn for the ages -- the kind of deep blue-skied sunny days showcasing the crisp air and hearty sun that makes me, at least, appreciate why I live in this state. Runs like this make you want to get out and enjoy the last of it, stretching out those golden hours and slow sunsets while bundled up outdoors. Now's the time to hit the farmer's markets, for the season's final weeks and enjoy the lakes in their still-liquid form. Beyond those seasonal staples, the next week is crammed with parking lot parties boasting seasonal beer, grape stompings and an array of intriguing indoor events that include a food-opera mashup and a one-of-a-kind charity event featuring some of the cities' best chefs. Read on, fall friends, for our favorite to-dos of the next seven days.
Thursday, Oct. 6:
Latte Art Throwdown – Whether you’ve got foamed milk skills to boast or you just can’t get enough pretty latte Instagrams, head to The Bachelor Farmer for their barista battle. Entry is free for watchers $5 for milk steamers; doors open at 7 and the coffee swirling begins at 8. And if you’d rather wind down than ramp up, there’s also beer in the parking lot. No points will be awarded for artistic beer moustaches. More info here.
Naomi Pomeroy Cookbook Dinner at Spoon and Stable – OK, tickets are sold out for the main event featuring this James Beard award-winning chef from Portland, Ore. But regular patrons can still enjoy a special menu of bar snacks throughout the restaurant. More info here.
Thursday – Saturday, Oct. 6-8:
St. Paul Food Opera – Visiting some of the restaurants headed by All-Star chefs around these parts can feel like absorbing some serious culture, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that a handful of them are collaborating with Zeitgeist and composer Ben Houge for a super sophisticated weekend. The folks behind St. Paul’s Tongue in Cheek, Saint Dinette, The Handsome Hog, Golden’s Lowertown, Izzy’s Ice Cream and Brake Bread are collaborating for a dining experience that will be “paired” with Houge’s musical compilations. More info here.
Friday, Oct. 7:
Able Seedhouse + Brewery Beer Dinner at Jax Cafe – The kegs are tapped at 5:30 for this five-course meal – executed by Jax chef Bob Foster that pairs a different brew with each. You’ll nosh on dishes like rainbow trout on char-grilled toast accompanied by an aioli mastered from the brewery’s Supergiant Golden Ale and a barbecue ale onion jam. And of course because it’s Jax, there will be plenty of meat, including char-crusted beef tenderloin and pork chops – served alongside House American Red Ale. Tickets are $50. More info here.
Friday – Saturday, Oct. 7-8:
Twin Cities Oktoberfest – Anything at the State Fairgrounds tends to be especially epic and this year’s Oktoberfest doesn’t appear to be any exception. Live performances, games and plenty of vendors will be on site to entertain while you stuff your face and drink yourself silly. Would you expect anything less from the home of the Great Minnesota Get-Together? More info here.
Saturday – Sunday, Oct. 8-9:
Indeed Brewing Hullabaloo – The beer hub is hosting a fairly serious music lineup over the weekend – curated by First Avenue by the way – and there will be loads of goodies to keep you filled and in a good frame of mind. Yamma Jamma Harvest Ale is returning for the bonanza and will be available by the cup-full, along with Blue Door Pub grub (hello, blucys!), Aki’s BreadHaus pretzels (with Day Tripper beer mustard) and beer-inspired popsicles (What? Yes) from Frio Frio. Entry is free and you can join the party at noon both days. More info here.
Sunday, Oct. 9:
Minneapolis Taste of the Nation – It’s not a cheap night, but with the proceeds going to a good cause – the local chapter of No Kid Hungry – and promised exclusive access to an all-star lineup of chefs, the occasion is worthy. Nineteen participating restaurants (and restaurant groups) include the likes of Borough, Corner Table, Restaurant Alma and Surly Brewer’s Table. Tickets are $250 for individuals (there is also a full-table option), and guests will also get the opportunity to bid for experiences like the Oregon Wine Country Getaway, a private tasting party at Fulton Brewery, a private cocktail class and a private concert. More details here.
Vendemmia – Celebrate the grape harvest at a shindig hosted by Broder’s Pasta Bar and Terzo Vino Bar featuring Bauhaus Brew Labs beer, wine via New France Wine Company, live music, and most importantly, the opportunity to squash those purple juice monsters between your toes. The festivities take off at 11 a.m. More info here.
(Above photo is by staff photographer Aaron Lavinsky at Indeed Brewing Company)