OK, not really. But last week I went and hung out for a bit where the hip people are these days: Parka.
I hardly ever get to the hip new places right after they open and everyone's still talking about them. That's partly deliberate. Restaurants aren't always at their very best when they first open; they have bugs to work out (hopefully not literal bugs) with the cooking, or service, or both. But the opportunity presented itself, and so there I was. Your Suburban Matron loves you, readers, and gladly risks humiliation to report back to you.
Fortunately there was no humiliation. If any of the staff felt that fuddy-duddies like me shouldn't be allowed through the door, they kept that well-hidden and were gracious and friendly.
And then there was this:
I know it doesn't look like much. But just the day before visiting, I read about Gray Duck Chai on Heavy Table, and lo and behold, Parka serves it. Best chai I've ever had. I don't often order it, because it can be sweeter than I like my coffee/tea drinks to be. Not this one. It had a definite flavorful spiciness to it that makes me really hope they meet their goal of having this available for home consumption by the end of the year.
There was also this.
Ham and pickle tots. The brown sauce is a truffle sauce; the green dots are pickle gel. The white stuff? "Cream cheese whiz"--or, as near as I can tell, cream cheese whipped to the fluffy light consistency of whipped cream. Oh my. This is a very nice plate.
I had the meatloaf sandwich, and it was delightful, with a tomato-bacon relish, cheddar, and those fries--oh, those fries! Perfect. Crispy on the outside, melting inside, and that white powder? Duck fat.
If this is how the hip people eat, I need to join their ranks more often.
The friend who joined me ordered the spare ribs with root beer gastrique and a vermicelli pudding. She noted that while the flavor of the ribs was really good, they were perhaps not as tender as she would have liked. Still, the leftovers went home with her.
My take-home was dessert: cherry-almond frangipane from the bakery case. (Parka is a collaboration among Victory 44, Dogwood Coffee, and Rustica Bakery, the latter of which sells a limited selection of retail baked goods on the premises.) I loved this. It wasn't overly sweet, which I like in a baked good, but really focused on the cherry and almond flavors. If I'd had some whipping cream at home, it might have been nice to whip it and garnish the frangipane. But it was tasty without.
So: good food, uncondescending and friendly service. I'm in. At least I think I am: ominously, Heavy Table tweeted this week that after only being open a couple of weeks, Parka let the chef go. I don't know any details why. So cross your fingers that Parka will keep going, and keep serving those tasty meatloaf sandwiches.
Remember when I wrote about the Science Museum's adults-only night, Social Science? Well, they're doing it again next week, and it sounds like it's going to be a hoot. Book tickets ahead--this is a popular event, and the lines to buy tickets at the door were very long last time.
Next Social Science: In the Dark
Thursday, February 7, 2013
6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Explore a darkened museum and all that glows, flickers and shines
this Social Science. It's the museum like you've never seen it before.
With laser mazes, LED jewelry, the latest technologies in reflective
gear, light painting and light art, we're playing in every dark corner.
Fill up your glass, then fill up your brain!
Flashlights provided for the first 1,000 attendees.
Social Science: In
the Dark activities will
light painting with Ax-Man Surplus;
Bling, a make-your-own LED ring activity;
Sebastian Joust, a no-graphics, digitally-enabled
game in which the goal is to be the last player standing;
Lights and laser games, including a laser mirror maze;
appearance by SeaLife Minnesota, where visitors will learn amazing facts about the world underwater and discover how creatures
in the deep glow;
vision games showing the science behind visibility. Visitors will find out how
retro-reflectivity works and how it’s created from 3M™ Scotchlite™ material
exploration of molecular gastronomy and nanotechnology via glowing Gummis with
the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network;
provided by DJ SimoneDuJour and DJ Ianism;
theater performances by the Science Museum’s Science Live Theatre group;
contests (with prizes!) from Trivia Mafia;
bars and food sampling from local vendors, including Theo Chocolate, Mississippi Market Natural Foods, French Meadow, Sweet
Science Ice Cream, YoYo Donuts & Coffee Bar, and TeaSource.
Tickets will be sold at the doors on February 7 or can be purchased in advance by calling (651) 221-9444 or (800) 221-9444.