Minneapolis: Centro and Popol Vuh
The Twin Cities will welcome a duo of exciting new restaurants in Centro, which opened late last week, and Popol Vuh, opening later this month. Centro, which is the more casual of the two eateries, is inspired by chef Jose Alarcon’s Mexican heritage. Inside, the airy dining room is graced with an oversized embroidered wall hanging that colorfully evokes traditional Mexican floral prints.
Alarcon’s menu is centered on a carefully curated list of tacos–with options including pork shoulder with grilled pineapple, nopales (cured cactus) with mushrooms, kale, and caramelized onions, and guajillo marinated chicken with pickled onions and radishes. A raw bar with oysters and ceviche, colorful cocktails, and a “five agave flight” (tequila, bacanora, stool, avila, and mezcal) rounds out the dining options.
Centro’s sister restaurant, Popol Vuh (located in the same building), will feature refined Mayan cuisine, also helmed by Alarcon. Both restaurants are owned and managed by Jami Olson (Lyn 65).
UK: Wimbledon Tea at Lygon Arms
Tennis lovers have a lot to celebrate this month as the competition at Wimbledon heats up. At The Lygon Arms, Cotswold’s 800-year-old luxury hotel and coaching inn, Wimbledon is being celebrated in a decidedly British way: with afternoon tea.
Each afternoon throughout the Wimbledon fortnight (July 2-15), guests at Lygon can enjoy a Wimbledon-themed afternoon tea. The trays of treats include Pimms Jelly with Panna Cotta, lemon curd profiteroles, and strawberry cream tarts. Raspberry tennis balls and a battenburg cake shaped like a tennis court round out the thematic tea. Guests can work up their appetite for tea on Lygon’s own tennis courts, or with a dip in the pool or a round of croquet in the gardens.
Suavie Island, Oregon: Outstanding in the Field
On July 6, diners can savor the unique experience of eating dinner in the field of a gorgeous, sustainable farm. The meal is part of Outstanding in the Field–an organization that hosts pop-up “table to farm” dinners. This week they are headed to Vibrant Valley Farm on Oregon’s Sauvie Island. The evening’s menu, which will be crafted by Portland-based chef Timothy Wastell, will feature fruits and vegetables harvested at Vibrant Valley Farm that same day.
The dinner is part of a season-long tour for OITF. Beginning in May and heading through November, dinners will be held at farms throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada, the Rockies, the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and the South and Southwest. Two destination dinners in France and Bermuda round out the season’s calendar.
Paris: Avi Szapiro at La Condesa
Since opening his French-Italian bistro, Roìa, in 2013 (think steak frites with tarragon-shallot butter and chicken liver mousse meets spinach and morel ravioli), chef Avi Szapiro has become a star of New Haven’s burgeoning culinary scene. On July 6 and 7, he will join chef Indra Carrillo at Paris’ beloved seasonal restaurant, La Condesa, for a two-night dinner series called “Dîner à Quatre Mains (four-hands dinner).
Szapiro and Carrillo’s friendship began 13 years ago when they were both working at a meditation center in upstate New York. Over the years, they have cooked and eaten together across New York City, India, France, and Italy, and July’s collaborative 6-course tasting menu will draw from the cultures and cuisines discovered during their shared travels.
The full menu is being kept under wraps until the dinners, but the meal promises dishes like watermelon gelee with Australian vermouth, saffron risotto with steamed clams and pickled celery, and creamy Brocciu cheese dusted with lemony sumac. Do-gooder gourmands will be pleased to note that 10 percent of dinner proceeds will benefit the PRASAD Project–a non profit organization that works to improve the quality of life of disadvantaged people around the world.
New York City: Uni Fest at Mifune
Named after a Japanese actor who famously portrayed samurai warriors (Toshiro Mifune), Mifune has made a name for itself with its bold but elegantly refined Japanese cuisine. And now, through the end of July, the restaurant is offering a decadent uni-focused tasting menu that celebrates all things urchin.
Head chef Yuu Shimano’s focuses on Washoku cuisine–a traditional Japanese cooking technique that puts seasonal ingredients from the land and sea at the forefront. His menu follows suit with an uni flight featuring California Purple, Hokkaido Elegant, and Chile Purple sea urchin varieties. Meanwhile, each dish offered either incorporates uni or is paired with uni sashimi. On the menu: brioche toast with seaweed butter, Bluefin tuna tempura, and Angus beef tartare with sake steamed clam gelée and uni. Even the summery, sweet corn ice cream monaka (sandwich) comes topped with fresh uni.
Alongside the special July uni menu, Mifune’s cocktail menu, designed by Shingo Gokan, will be available. Pair the celebratory uni meal with Rasho-Mon (vodka, ginger cordial, bitters, gari, soda) or Lady Ogin (gin, strawberry cordial, clarified milk, Prosecco).