Friday, December 2, 2011


Tonight we had a very relaxed and delicious dinner at Home Wine Kitchen in Maplewood. I really like the ambiance in this place; it's friendly, calm, and welcoming. Which does not mean that it is not lively. It's that too.

There's just something about the blackboard behind the bar with the wines by the glass listed on it-reds on the right, whites on the left signified by their logo, which is a house inside a circle, lighter for the whites, darker for the reds, that somehow pleased me visually. All the wines by the glass are the same price, $7.

Their menu changes weekly. You can sign up on their website to get it my email, which I recommend. The chef is Cassandra Vires and she is very talented. She is co-owner with Joshua Renbarger, who is the "wine guy", and he really knows his stuff. The combination of these two and their philosophy of asking you to come into their "Home", "Kitchen", "Wine Bar", really works.

Tonight Chuck had the White Mackerel made with saffron, lemon, gold potatoes that had been slightly smashed with their skins still on, white wine and herbs.  I had the Pork Fillet which consisted of two hearts of the pork chop wrapped in speck( bacon) fig, and white wine served with roasted Brussel Sprouts in balsamic vinegar. It was excellent.  The perfect Fall meal.

For dessert I chose Sea Salt Shortbread Biscuits with Fig Jam and Humboldt Fog Cheese and Black Walnuts. The combination was perfect, but it wasn't "sweet" so my Honey didn't much care for it.  i loved the cheese which is creamy and woodsy.

I recommend this place for all my friends to try.  They serve lunch as well and are closed on Tuesdays.
Take a look at their website for more information.

7322 Manchester Road

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Side Door at Liluma

Want to have some fun? Try Liluma's Side Door. We went there last night before the Symphony and tried a bunch of things on the Side Door menu. We had a blast.

First, the menu starts off with a statement by the owner, Jim Fiala : "'You really ought to do something with that back room' has been the suggestion of many caring customers at Liluma since we opened. Let's make it simple, fun and fresh. I have not described the dishes, so you must just trust me. I promise you'll like them all."

Well, we didn't try all of them, but we tried a variety and I'll tell you about the ones I liked. The menu is divided between "Bites" $4, "Pillows"$7, and "Snacks"$10, plus "Afterthoughts"$5.

From the "Bites" menu, I chose Shitake Custard and Crostini, which reminds you of the yummy Blue Cheese Soufflé at The Crossings. This was every bit as good, I loved it. My Honey had the "Fried Green Tomato" and pronounced it yummy. Friends of ours had "Squash and Bacon" and thought it was terrific.

From the "Pillows"(which turn out, not surprisingly, to be home made ravioli), I had "Squash and Nuts", a combo of butternut squash and pistachios, really good. Chuck had "Vichyssoise" a potato and leek combination with a pesto topping, he liked it a lot.

"Snacks" turn out to be slightly larger proportions and we tried"Surf and Turf", which was a large grilled scallop and spaghetti squash ( veggies come from the "turf", get it?) and that was quite good. We also tried "Fish and Chips" which was grilled Tilapia and homemade potato chips, also good.

There's a lot more to choose from, so go take a shot at it. You'll have fun and it's a great way to share. It's nice to be surprised, and the Side Door does that with a great deal of humor.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


We returned to ACERO last night after going to see Red at the Repertory Theater (which was excellent) and got a warm welcome from the hostess and Sam Foley, the manager. It always seems warm and friendly there and I'm so grateful for restaurants like ACERO. I'm obviously not alone, the place was full and the customers looked happy.

 I can't seem to go there and not have their BRUSCHETTA with CARAMELIZED ONIONS, GORGONZOLA AND A TOUCH OF HONEY. Not only that, but I had RAINBOW TROUT, ROASTED CAULIFLOWER, SPRING ONION, LEMON AND CAPERS again, too! So instead of duplicating my last blog on this terrific Italian restaurant, I will tell you about my companions' dinners.

Two of our friends had the L'INSALATA MISTA, which is made with BLUE CHEESE, DRIED CRANBERRIES, MISSOURI PECANS, PEAR AND RED ONION. How does that sound?
One of them had the CROSTINI FEGATINI, MARSALA CHICKEN LIVER MOUSSE, which was a generous portion served spread on a wonderful ciabatta bread slice. He followed that with the SPAGHETTI CHITARRA AMATRICANNA, which can be ordered with a fried egg on top for a slight charge, but he ordered extra red sauce, because he likes it that way.

Our other friend ordered the GRILLED TUNA WITH CELERY ROOT PUREE AND RED WINE SAUCE. The tuna was done to perfection and celery root is a delightful change from mashed potatoes plus it really complimented the tuna.

My husband ordered the Chef's Menu which was 4 courses.  He started with BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP, then had the CROSTINI FEGATINI, and followed that with the GRILLED TUNA, but instead of the celery root, which he doesn't care for, ADAM GNAU, the chef, fixed it with ROASTED CAULIFLOWER and it worked really well. For dessert he chose, no surprise, the WARM CHOCOLATE TART with VANILLA ICE CREAM.

Our server, Maggie, was terrific. The room was crowded but not noisy, so you could have a conversation with your table mates and not have to raise your voice. I keep going back to ACERO, you should too.

7266 Manchester Road

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Observations and Recommendations in Washington DC

Well, I more or less took the summer off. Our grandchildren from Philadelphia were visiting and I wanted to give them my undivided attention, plus, their idea of eating out is Steak n Shake, and I figured everyone knows about that already.

In August, Chuck and I went East to our family's annual Crab Feast. We then went to Washington DC for a few days and I'd like to recommend the following places to eat, should the DC area be in your future.

The Source 575 Pennsylvania Ave 202-637-6100
              Right around the corner from the NEWSEUM ( a definite go-to museum! ) The Source is very attractive plus the menu is excellent. Recommended dishes are: Spicy Tuna Tartarein a Sesame Miso Cone,with Pickled Ginger and Shaved Bonito.  Crystal Garlic Chive Dumplings, Chinese Mustard Sauce, Chili Garlic Sauce.  Scallop and Shrimp Shu Mai, Shanghai Crry Lobster-Uni Emulsion.

Cityzen 1330 Maryland Avenue SW Mandarin Oriental 202-787-6006
                The chef, Eric Ziebpld, was Thomas Keller's souchef and opened Per Se in New York City. You can immediately recognize his devotion to perfection. The food is precise, imaginative, gorgeous and delicious. There's a choice between a 4 or 6 course menu, and since it changes every day, check in with them. You won't be sorry.

America Eats Tavern   405 Eighth Street 202-393-0812
          Hurry, this is a pop-up restaurant set up by the great chef, Jose' Andres, to compliment the "What's Cooking, Uncle Sam" exhibit at The National Archives Museum, which is scheduled to close on January 3,2012.  The chef and his team have recreated historic American dishes in a 21st century form that is absolutely delighful and delicious.  Recommended dishes: Cold Peanut Soup, Abalone, Short Ribs with Coleslaw.  Kentucky Burgoo with Rabbit, Squab and Lamb. Shrimp and Pork Jambalaya. Bison Tomahawk Steak with Cheddar mashed Potatoes, Catsup and Pickles.

Jaleos   480 Seventh Street 202-628-7949

 Terrific tapas restaurant with a joyful atmosphere, a friendly staff, and really good Spanish wines. Check out their website.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Oak Barrel American Bistro Closes

I was sorry to hear that the Oak Barrel American Bistro and Artisan Bakery closed July 31. What a shame. The chef-owner, Todd Kussman cited family concerns that needed his attention. It will be missed. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Water Street

We have our 12 year old grandson visiting with us this Summer and I find that my computer isn't always available, so I'm a little late in reporting on this charming place in Maplewood.

Here's the kind of small but delightful spot I really like. It's attractive, the food is interesting, the drinks are creative, and the service is friendly.

Gabe Kveton has been in the food industry for 10 years and was ready to try his wings, so he and his sister, Maria, have started Water Street. Maria does the cooking and it's excellent. Gabe is in the front of the house making sure everyone is well taken care of and happy.

They've come up with a simple, light edited menu that can be changed often. Gabe is enchanted with a book named "Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails" and he picks a "new" cocktail from the book every week. Try the Hemingway Daiquiri, with Rum, Maraschino Liqueur, Organic Lime and Grapefruit.

The Kvetons are dedicated to organic fruits and vegetables and it is reflected in their cocktails as well as their food menu. They also have a menu of non-alcoloic drinks that are delicious, like Elderberry Flower Cordial with Seltzer and Lime, or Muddled Organic Raspberries in their House Made Lemonade and Mint, to mention just two. On tap is 1554 New Belgium Dark Ale,  312 Goose Island Wheat Ale, Urban Chestnut' Winged Nut' and Great Divide Titan IPA, as well as bottled beers and an interesting wine list.

The food menu is divided by small and large plates. The night we were there we tried Cucumbers topped with Gorgonzola Mousse and Pancetta and Chicken Liver Pate with Pistachios. Both were delicious.
Chuck had the Mussels and Chorizo in a spicy tomato and white wine sauce, that was much to his liking-he asked for a spoon to get up the last of the liquid, and I had the Sauteed Golden Trout over Spinach with a Chilled Red Beet Salad. It was an interesting combination that worked really well.
For dessert we opted for the Brownie Butter Square with Fresh Fruit and Whipped Cream and the Mixed Berry almond Tart served warm with Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream.
I recommend this very sweet place. Go soon.

Water Street
7268 Manchester Rd
St Louis, MO 63143

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ka Ka O/ Chocolates and Confections

If you haven't stopped in at Brian Pelletier's new chocolate and confection shop at 7272 manchester Road, you need to do so immediately.
The shop is extremely attractive and the chocolates are amazing. We were there Friday evening; I could have "bought the store". We were on our way to dinner and the temperature was hovering around 98 degrees, so we bought some yummy chocolate barks and took them with us to the restaurant to keep them from becoming chocolate puddles.
We love dark chocolate bark which is a thin layer of dark chocolate with goodies embedded in them. Friday night we got Dark Chocolate with Toasted Pecans, Fire Roasted Tomato Bark ( when you buy this bark Operation food Search gets $1 of the purchase price), Cracked Whte Pepper and Sea Salt Bark, and a Baies Rose Bar with Pink Peppercorns.
As you can see, it's an adventure to go to ka ka o (pronounced with a short a in the first ka, a long a in the second ka , and a long o). It's a real treat. Yum.

ka ka o
7272 Manchester Road
Maplewood, MO 63143

2301 South Jefferson Ave
St Louis, MO 63104

Thursday, July 7, 2011

half & half

It's been a while since I've entered anything on this blog. Primarily it was because we were repeating some of our favorites and secondly it was because I was not inspired to recommend some of the new places we tried during this period.

However, I now have a suggestion for a new place in Clayton that deserves your patronage. Today, Chuck and I went to half & half  ( yes, all lower case letters) on Maryland Avenue in downtown Clayton that took The Best of Everything space in the colonial strip east of Forsyth.

It's owned by Michael Randolph, the chef who also owns The Good Pie.  half & half serves breakfast and lunch from 7AM to 2:30PM Tuesday through Friday, and 8AM to 2:30PM Saturday and Sunday.

We started with the Donuts which were absolutely yummy. Hot, crisp on the outside they reminded me of the beignets in New Orleans. What a way to start the day. They are served in a big coffee cup, and there's about 4-5 in every order.

I chose the Brussels Sprout and Cheddar Omelet, mostly because I was curious to see what it would be like. It was perfectly cooked, with some moisture to the eggs and cheese that was oozing from the first forkful. I opted for the fruit instead of the potatoes that come with the omelet.
Chuck ordered the Fried Chicken Livers. If your heart will take it, that's a real winner! Everyone around us wanted o know what it was as it was placed in front of my Honey. The livers come piled up over roasted potatoes then all of that is piled even higher with French Fried Onions, Caper Aioli Sauce is drizzled over the top, plus a perfectly cooked fried egg. It's a meal and then some, but absolutely delicious.

The breakfast menu has Granola, Oven Baked Oatmeal, Pancakes two different ways, French Toast two different ways, and at least 10 egg dishes, all of which looked fabulous.

The Lunch menu has 4 different Salads, and a bunch of great looking Sandwiches, plus a "rotating coffee menu...offering two seasonal coffees in a variety of hand-crafted styles". 

The Brunch Menu on the weekends features fresh, seasonal ingredients and every time I've passed by there on a weekend, the place is jammed, inside and out.

This place is a keeper. Stop by and try your favorites. You won't be sorry.

half & half
8135 Maryland Ave.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Oak Barrel Bistro and Artisan Bakery

We finally got a beautiful day. The weather in St Louis has been cold and rainy this May and I was despairing; May is usually my favorite month.  So when the temperature reached 70 degrees today, it being Friday, when my husband and I have our weekly date for lunch, we decided to drive to O'Fallon to the Oak Barrel Bistro and Artisan Bakery and check it out.

It's really easy to find. Just go West on I-64 to Exit 9, Rte K, take a right and look for Waterbury Falls Drive, which is about 1/2 mile from I-64 on your right. It's about 20 minutes from Clayton when traffic is light.

We were met by Louise, who's a charming woman, an implant from England. The breakfast and lunch menus are on a blackboard above the cases of beautiful desserts that greet you as you walk in the door.

We both chose sandwiches. I had a pulled pork on delicious french bread, with a garlicky mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato and a side of broccoli salad. Chuck had a ham and cheese on artisan white bread and potato salad, which he really liked. The breads are baked there daily and are fabulous. We shared their famous bread pudding with Creme Anglais for dessert.  All in all a delightful lunch.

We had read some pretty impressive reviews of the Oak Barrel Bistro and asked to see the dinner menu. It is obvious that they have some real talent in the kitchen. We can hardly wait to go back and try it. Be sure to make a reservation when you want to see what all the excitement is about.  This is a special establishment with farm fresh foods and some great ideas.

Oak Barrel Bistro and Artisan Bakery
957 Waterbury Falls Drive

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Farmhaus Restaurant

Back again. We can't seem to get enough of a good thing and that is what the Farmhaus Restaurant is.  Kevin Willmann has been voted one of the   NEW BEST CHEFS 2011 by Food and Wine Magazine. This is a very prestigious honor and well deserved.

We were lucky to be able to sit at the bar tonight so I could watch Kevin and his crew at work in the kitchen.

It's Spring and the menu reflects the beginnings of this glorious season. Tonight I started with the Grilled Asparagus Salad.  Hurry over to the Farmhaus before the asparagus season is over! This salad is a winner.
It's described on the menu as" Hearty Terra Bella Farms greens,Baetje Farms Goat Cheese, Crispy Shallots, Grilled Ramps (baby wild leeks), Caesar Dressin'". It is the perfect melange of the fresh tastes of Spring plus the texture of the crispy shallots with the smoky grilled asparagus and the creamy goat cheese is perfect.

For my main course I had Pensacola Cobia, Grilled, with Spoonbread( and no one makes spoonbread like Kevin!) Grilled Ramps (I love them, and they really have a short season)  Savory Creme Anglaise, with a Radish and Herb Salad.  It was superb. Flaky and perfectly grilled, cobia is a fish that has a slightly sweet finish and with the swiss chard and sorrel that made up the herb salad, it gave it just a hint of bitterness that made it even more interesting,  and then this incredible sauce gave you the feeling of pure luxury in your mouth. Wow.

Dessert was Strawberry Rhubarb Tart. This consisted of a small fluted fried empanada tart filled with the strawberries and rhubarb in an orange confit, and strawberry semi-freddo with orange marmalade on top.

My Honey had his perennial favorite, Kevin's famous Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with Sweet and Yukon Smashed Potatoes, Pearl Onions and Tomato-Merlot Reduction.  He started with Conch Fritters. There were three of them served with a Roasted Corn, Jalapeno, Sriracha Mayonnaise. I forgot to ask about the Srirach, so the next time you're there be sure to find out what it is and let me know. All I do know is that we loved them.

Farmhaus Restaurant
3257 Ivanhoe Avenue

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bocci Bar

Last night we decided to try out the "new kid in the block" Bocci Bar at 16 North Central Avenue in downtown Clayton.  It's always exciting when a restaurant opens and this one promises to be a welcome addition.  Frank Schmitz, the owner of the highly popular tapas bar Barcelona, has created an informal northern Italian dining experience that gives a modern spin to Italian comfort food.

I particularly liked the way the floor to ceiling glass doors open to the sidewalk.  It was a beautiful, warm night, and the excitement of finally having some decent weather was reflected in the number of people eating outside as well as those seated inside the open doors inside the restaurant.

We were seated at the banquet that runs most of the length of the north wall. It was extremely comfortable and even though we were seated next to a larger party, the acoustics were fine; my Honey and I did not need to shout at one another in order to have a conversation.

I started my meal with a Caprese Salad. The tomatoes were enormous! Even though they were winter tomatoes the creaminess of the house made mozzarella and the balsamic dressing made it a very good choice. I followed that with Veal Scalloppini with Sweet Peas, Spring Onions and Ramps. Ramps are actually wild leeks and are only available in the very early Spring, so this was a real treat.  The veal was thicker than the usual scaloppini, but it was tender and had the most delicious gravy that I had to use a slice of the ciabatta, that is served in a cone cylinder at every table, to sop it up.

Chuck opted for the Italian Fish Stew. It was a generous serving of halibut, mussels, calamari and shrimp in a tomato saffron broth.  He loved it. The broth was heavenly ( I got a taste ) and it was loaded with seafood.

For dessert we shared Citrus Tiramisu. It's listed as a "modern spring twist on the Italian classic", and it was. It is light and quite refreshing. It was served with two delicious cookies that were made by Frank's sister, Ellen Schmitz, who runs Mosaic Bistro and Market next door to Bocci. They are made with white chocolate and orange and they're really good, plus there was a chocolate dipped biscotti.

The coffee at Bocci is really wonderful. Each cup is made individually on a wonderful European espresso machine that dispenses a shot ( or two for a double ) of either regular or decaffeinated espresso.
The flavor is fantastic. I hadn't had coffee like that since my last trip to Italy.

Chuck and I decided to have full dinners, but you can choose from crostini, antipastos, salads, soups, pizzas, flatbreads, pastas, and full entrees and just mix, match and share from all of these items.

So do come and try out our new neighbor and see what all the excitement is about.

Bocci Bar
16 North Central Avenue

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Salume Beddu

For our regular Friday date, Chuck and I went to Salume Beddu,  which had just announced that they will be serving lunch this week.

I had been buying their products at the Clayton Farmers' Market for a couple of years and was delighted that they had found a permanent location. These two young men, Mark Sanfilippo and Ben Poremba, are immensely talented.

I was so happy to find them. Mark makes these unbelievably wonderful homemade crackers that I hoard during the winter months when I had not been able to get them. Now all I have to do is to drive to their new place of business and voila' there they are.

Ben is dedicated to curing and creating delicious salame, coppa, speck ( a kind of proscuitto), salsiccia, soppressatas, roasted pork belly, whatever. All the meats at Salume Beddu are made in house.  In fact, right on the sign over their establishment  it says, Salume Beddu, Artisan Cured Meats, Established 2007.

What they have created is a place where you can get not only delicious house cured meats and fabulous crackers, but very special, interesting cheeses, antipasto ingredients, imported pastas, Zursun heirloom beans grown in Idaho, Mediterranean inspired side dishes, and amazing bread from Red Guitar, by the baker, Alex Carlson. The crust is incredible.

Mark and Ben have put up a communal table at one end of their establishment, so while you're enjoying your delicious meal, you can visit with the other diners. There were some very serious foodies there when we were there and every one of them was delighted with his or her choices.

Chuck and I tried a bunch of the offerings.  He had Coppa and Fresh Mozzarella with Pears and I had Speck with Ricotta Salata, Preserved Lemons and Toasted Hazelnuts.  If you're not familiar with Ricotta Salata, you should get acquainted. It's nothing like the ricotta you get in a carton at the grocery store. It's a white solid cheese with a slightly salty finish that goes beautifully with fruity flavors. I adore it.

Both our plates were absolutely yummy and wonderful looking. Chuck's pears were thinly sliced lengthwise so you could enjoy the entire silhouette of the pear.  My preserved lemons were also thinly sliced and looked elegant on the plate plus they added a special note to the speck and ricotta salata that was just the right note. The toasted hazelnuts added crunch and flavor that enhanced the entire dish.

Next we had Bruschetta that today was a Lamb Sausage with amazing secret sauce and herbs. It was served hot on Alex Carlson's terrific bread.

For dessert we had a Creamy Sheep Milk Cheese with Honeyed Preserved Figs.  Lovely.

Do yourself a favor check this place out. You won't be disappointed.

Salume Beddu
3467 Hampton Avenue

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Last night our friends Audrey and Larry joined us at Acero, which is a charming Italian restaurant in Maplewood.

I really like this place. There's sort of a golden glow that reminds me of Italy whenever we go there.
The dining room is under the direction of Sam Foley, who is not only extremely nice, but a super manager.
The wine list is devoted to Italian wines and Sam can direct you to the perfect one. I had a Liveli 2008 "Passamante". It was not expensive and it was delicious.

The chef, Adam Gnau, is really gifted. He is also extremely personable. You will enjoy his food and his company.

Three of us ordered the four course tasting menu. Here are my choices:

Bruschetta with Gorgonzola, Caramelized Onions, and Honey
Ravioli with Roasted Cauliflower,Pancettta, and Parmesan
Pan Seared Day Boat Halibut on a Bed of Wilted Mizuna, with Black Trumpet and Oyster Mushrooms and Topped with Black Truffle Butter
Stuffed Figs ( Almond, Hazelnut,Lemon, GorgonzolaDolce, and Local Honey.

Yum. It was a treat from start to finish.

Chuck started with Mixed Field Greens Grana Padana Cheese, Pine Nuts with a White Balsamic and Citrus Dressing that he really liked. He wanted to know if I could duplicate it!
He followed that with Spaghetti Alla Chitarra, Amatriciana which was a tomato based sauce. He had the same entree as I had and then Chocolate Panna Cotta for dessert.

Audrey had the Acero Salad-Romaine,Egg, Tomato, Genoa Salumi, and Herb Vinagrette. For her main course she chose Tagliatelle with Wild Mushrooms, Brown Butter, Shallots and Parmesan. Her dessert choice was Banana and Caramel Bread Pudding.

Larry started with the special soup of the day which was Carrot, then had the special pasta of the day which was an Egg Ravioli that had Three Cheeses, Spinach and a Farm Fresh Egg Wrapped in a Delicate Pasta.  He raved about that. His entree was Rainbow Trout with Roasted Cauliflower, Spring Onion, Lemon and Capers. 

As you can see, the menu is interesting and the kitchen delivers. We were all very pleased with our choices.

Acero is a wonderful, relaxing, informal place. It is another of Jim Fiala's restaurants that offers a warm atmosphere and delicious food. Make plans soon to go there.

Regional Italian
7266 Manchester Road
St Louis, MO 63143

Friday, April 1, 2011


If you're looking for a delightful experience do yourself a favor and go to the bistro FIVE at 5100 Daggett Avenue on the Hill.

Chef Anthony Devoti and his staff ( which includes his mom and dad who are the host and hostess of the restaurant) have created a very special dining experience.

The name comes from our five senses, Taste,Smell, Feel, See and Hear, which is printed at the top of his daily menu.

We were there before a St Louis Symphony performance recently with our good friends, Mary and Tom.  Naturally we notified our server that we had a time limit and it was honored graciously.

My husband chose two appetizers Tagliatelle Bolognese which was described on the menu as Braised Benne's Farm pork sausage, tomato, mirepoix( a combination of finely chopped onion, carrot and celery) and parmigiano-reggiano.  He followed that with Steamed Bar Harbor Mussels with white wine, garlic caper butter, toast and tarragon pickle aioli. 

Tom had the Farrar Farm Rabbit Saddle which came with house made pork sausage and pistachios, Ozark Forest mushrooms, roasted carrots, Rissi Farm potatoes,and braised local black turtle beans.

My friend Mary chose Benne's Farm Pork Braise and Polenta Prarie Breeze white cheddar, rosemary, black pepper and trumpet royale mushrooms. 

I had the Troutdale Farm Trout, with local sweet potatoes, white turnips, yellow foot chantrelle mushrooms, Claverach Farm sunflower shoots, roasted shallot and caper vinaigrette.

We all enjoyed our dinners. We happened to order a la carte, but Five has a four course prix-fixe with or without wine pairings that is a great way to sample the menu.

It's a most pleasant, small and intimate dining place. I think you will enjoy it and keep coming back for more.

It was voted having the Best Hamburger in this year's St Louis Magazine article and if you want to try that, come for lunch.

5100 Daggett Avenue

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Saturday night, that incredible snowy evening when everything was covered in what looked like white cotton, we went to one of our very favorite spots for dinner, The Crossing.

It was a great choice. The valet took care of our car and we were welcomed as we came in the door by the owner and chef, Jimmy Fiala, but whether he is at the door or not, the welcome there is always warm and heartfelt.  We had a cozy table where we could visit with our friends and even though the restaurant was completely full it was not noisy.

Happily the warm Blue Cheese Souffle' was awaiting us as we sat down. I do love that yummy spread with the homemade toasts that are just the perfect size and crunch.

We started with salads. My Honey and one of our friends had the famous Crossing Beet Salad which consists of Diced Beets with Goat Cheese, Mascarpone Cheese, Shallots and Sherry. The other salad was a feature on the tasting menu; Organic Mixed Greens with Apple, Lemon, Truffle Oil, and Honey. It was a winner.

Three of us had a combination of the Special Fish of the Day and the Wooly Pig Duo. If you've kept up with this blog, you know that the last time I reviewed The Crossing, Chef Fiala had given me a taste of the Wooly Pig and I vowed to have it as an entree' the next time I had the opportunity. Tonight was the night!

The special fish of the day was truly special. It was Columbia River Sturgeon from the Pacific Northwest. It was served over a Parmesan Risotto Cake with Wilted Italian Dandelion Greens and Lemon Velute. The Wooly Pig is described on the menu as Mangalista Rib Loin, Porchetta, with Glazed Carrots and Parsnips. Wow, it was a perfect combination.

My husband had the Tagliatelle, Grass Fed Beef Ragu alla Bolognese and cleaned his plate. He rounded it off with the Warm Chocolate Torte.

I love this restaurant. whether you are looking for a simple meal or are having a special occasion both are possible at this fine restaurant. You can order from the a la carte menu or one of the three tasting menus. All you could possibly want is here.

The Crossing
7823 Forsyth

Friday, March 25, 2011


It was a cold and blustery night, particularly after several days of delightfully warm weather that had seen the flowering of forsythia, star magnolias and the bradford pear  trees. It's March, after all, so one can expect some cold weather now and again, and colder March is what we got. Chuck and I had a date with a friend, Emmy who had not been to Sidney Street Cafe in many, many years so we decided it was high time that she found out what a special restaurant it is.
Sidney Street Cafe came through with flying colors. The ambiance is one of warmth and hospitality. As I've remarked before, the wait staff is knowledgable and completely professional; these are not folks waiting for a better job to come along, this is their profession. The restaurant was full of patrons when we got there at 7:30PM on a weekday night and more came in as we left around 9PM. That says a lot about the popularity of this place.

We were started off with an amuse bouche of a homemade Spring Garlic Pappadella, with Confit of Duck, Spinach Pesto, Leeks, Totsoi (a Japanese green), Tasso Oil( rendered from pork), with a Parmesan Emulsion. It was superb! The pasta was silky and a gorgeous shade of Spring green, the combination of the rest of the ingredients was absolutely delicious; there was not a morsel left on any of our plates.

We all three ordered the special fish of the night, Pan Roasted Black Bass with Chard, Spring Garlic and Spinach Puree, accompanied by Roasted Baby Artichoke Hearts, Garbanzo Beans, English Peas, with Crispy Tartar Sauce ( sort of balls of tartar sauce rolled in crumbs and fried) and Confit of Meyer Lemon.

Need I say more? It was beautifully cooked and prepared. The skin of the fish was crisp and golden brown, the combination of flavors and textures complimented every bite. Kevin Nashan, the Chef/Owner knows what he's about.

We ended the meal with Chocolate Ice Cream with Crunchy Toffee and two lovely thin cookies.

Kevin has his own Smoke Room in the basement of the restaurant where he also has micro-greens growing under lights; some of these greens graced our entrees.  He has already started improving the soil in his raised beds that border the parking lot and is looking forward to planting and harvesting his own vegetables and herbs this summer.

If you haven't been in a while to this amazing restaurant I urge you to go. You will not be disappointed.

Sidney Street Cafe
2000 Sidney Street

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Farmhaus Restaurant

Yes, we went back again to this charming, tiny restaurant that continues to create wonderfully fresh flavors and surprises.

We just took a chance tonight and showed up at their doorstep. The restaurant was filled but since there were just two of us and we didn't mind a wait, we were eventually seated at the bar for dinner, which suited us just fine.

We were both in a seafood frame of mind so my Honey had Escolar that was Poached with Butter and Dill and served with Grilled Blue Prawns and Roasted Wax Beans.  I had Mahi Mahi, 
Blackened in Cast Iron, on top of Spoon Bread with a Pickled Radish Salad. Our dinners were excellent; imaginative, delicious and perfect. Then we ordered dessert.

Katie Fitzgerald is the pastry chef at the Farmhaus and she does an amazing job. I had the Pecan Financier Cake with Coffee Ice Cream, Shaved Chocolate, Candied Pecans and Pecan Brittle.  It was amazing. Talk about textures, sweet and salty, cold and hot; it had them all.

Chuck had the Fried Apple Pie with Caramel Ice Cream.  I think he's had it every time we've been there this season. He loves it.

As usual, the manager and all round major-domo, Eric Scholle, was there to explain the items on the menu, come up with the perfect wine, and make sure our experience was a good one.

The menu this Winter is full of delicious choices. Just think, the Equinox is coming next week and soon the fresh flavors of Spring will be reflected in Kevin Willmann's creations soon. I can hardly wait!

3257 Ivanhoe Avenue

Mosaic Bistro Market

We had a very nice dinner at Mosaic Bistro and Market last night. I really like the decor and ambiance there. The wait staff is young and friendly and there's a feeling of "hip-ness" when you walk in the door.

Ellen Schmitz, the owner told us that on Tuesday nights she is now offering a 3 course menu for $25 and a $25 wine list. Now that's news. Also there's live music on Thursday nights. Not only that, but Ellen is doing some remodeling and decorating that will enhance this attractive restaurant even more.

My husband opted for the specials of the night which were Creamy Chicken Soup  and Pan Seared 
Scallops with Saffron Risotto, Carrots, Crispy Arugula and Tarragon Pesto.  The soup was served beautifully in a covered bowl, piping hot and he loved it.  The presentation of his main course was elegant as well. The combination of the ingredients were artistically arranged plus the textures and the flavors  made it a winner.

I started with Escargot and Wild Mushrooms in a Flaky Pastry with a Tarragon and Brandy Cream Sauce. It was absolutely wonderful and a generous serving, also beautifully presented.

My main course was Day Boat Scallops with tiny cubes of Duroc Bacon served with Baby Carrots and Spring Pea and Rosemary Puree. The little cubes of bacon gave just enough saltiness and texture to the softness of the scallops and the creaminess of the pea puree.

We shared dessert which consisted of a lemon tart and a chocolate tart, both delicious.

I don't know if I mentioned this before in my previous blog on this restaurant, but the portions and prices are both reasonable. I really admire chefs and restaurants that take responsibility for serving healthful portions at decent prices.

Ellen told us that her brother and sister-in-law are opening an Italian restaurant next door to her restaurant and it should be open soon.  Things are happening on North Central in Clayton. Keep tuned!

Mosaic Bistro /Market
14 North Central Avenue

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Central Cafe and Bakery

As luck would have it my good friend, Peggy, was available for trying out a restaurant that she had touted as really delicious, and since it serves Lebanese food I was excited. So off we went today to check it out.

It is located on Euclid Avenue between Maryland and McPherson on the east side of the street, next to the Golden Grocer.

This is a warm and welcoming place. Today was one of those gray, chilling March days, and immediately we were greeted with hot, fragrant tea while we perused the menu.

Peggy had brought me some hummus from there last week and it was so lemony and good that I was tempted to order it again, but in the interest of experiencing the menu, I ordered the Babaganoush and was I glad I did.

Babaganoush is a combination of pureed roasted eggplant with tahini, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. At Central Cafe it comes with their homemade pita bread that is a long oval and is served fresh and hot! The Babaganoush was absolutely fabulous. Not only that, but the portion is large enough for four.

Peggy and I shared their Lentil Soup, it was perfect for the rawness of the weather; soothingly warm and flavorful.

We also shared a Beef Shawarma Sandwich. It came on the same warm pita, which was easily 6 or 7 inches long, filled with thinly sliced marinated beef, tahini, tomatoes, onions, parsley and pickled turnip. Talk about delicious; it was absolutely yummy. And all through the meal Nesreen, the younger daughter of the owner, kept filling our cups with hot tea.

This cafe is also a bakery so naturally we were anxious to have dessert. Peggy was well aware of their Baklava ( which is spelled Baklawa on their menu ) and she told me it was the absolute best.  However, Nesreen mentioned that her father had just taken this traditional cake, that takes many hours to prepare, out of the oven and it was almost ready to serve. Naturally we just had to have a piece, and since we had just had a rather filling lunch we opted for two Baklawah "fingers"(miniature cylinders of baklawah) to tide us over until the cake, Namoura, was cool enough to eat.

Mahoud Michael Jaber, the owner, chef and baker brought us the cake. It is a yellow cake with the texture of cornbread, made with coconut and then while it's still hot, a mixture of honey and rosewater plus other secret ingredients, are poured over the cake which seeps all the way through making it moist and delicious.  Mahoud Jaber explained that the preparation of this cake takes at least 12 hours for two days to complete.  It is a labor of love for him and an absolute delight for anyone who likes a fragrant, warm, sweet dessert. The aroma alone is transporting.

Do go and try this little gem of a place. It is family owned and operated and you will receive a warm welcome from this lovely family. There is another daughter, Ahlam, whom we did not meet, but I look forward to doing so soon. Check out their website. They also deliver.

The Central Cafe and Bakery
331 North Euclid 63108
314-875-0657  FAX 314-875-0658

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Tavern Kitchen and Bar

Hello Again,

We've been out of town, plus since we've returned, we haven't been hitting restaurants that I would recommend to you. However, today we went to THE TAVERN KITCHEN AND BAR which has been getting a lot of media attention, so we decided to check it out.

It's located at 2961 Dougherty Ferry Road in Valley Park, and for all you folks in U City, Clayton, Ladue, and points West, it is just one exit south of Manchester Road on I-270, not far at all, and well worth the trip.

The chef is Justin Haifley, a St Louis guy who has worked for Roy Yamaguchi's Hawaiian fusion restaurants for ten years and also has cooked for Tommy Hilfiger, Jay-Z and Beyonce, among others. He has returned to help create a place that is attractive and interesting.

We went for one of our Friday lunches and had a very good meal and we intend to try it again soon for dinner.

There's an open kitchen in the dining room so you can watch your food being prepared. We snagged a couple of seats looking directly into the kitchen and found the experience one we'd like to repeat.

My husband had the OAK BLT which was a more than generous sandwich with double cut bacon, regular bacon, tomato, arugula and peppercorn aioli served with really yummy french fries for $12. Believe me, it could easily serve two people.

I had the ARUGULA MARKET SALAD, also generous, with grilled sirloin, tiny tomatoes, Buffalo mozzarella, and sunflower seeds $14.  It was really delicious.

For dessert we tried the house specialty MAPLE CINNAMON DOUGHNUTS with WHIPPED CREAM CHEESE SAUCE SPRINKLED WITH BACON. Do try it-the bacon adds an element of saltiness to the sweet that is just yummy.

We will definitely go back to try more of Chef Haifley's creations.

The Tavern Kitchen and Bar
2961 Dougherty Ferry Rd
St Louis, MO 63122

Friday, January 7, 2011


It was snowy and cold today so Chuck and I decided to try a place that has been showing up here and there  as a good newcomer in St Louis, as it wasn't too far from our abode.

It's called Nora's and is located in Dogtown at 1136 Tamm Avenue.  If you are a soup, sandwich, salad lover this is the place for you.

It's in a small storefront building and seats about 25 people. There's a huge blackboard on one wall that lists all the goodies on the menu, and there's a lot. There's at least 15 different sandwiches, both hot and cold, and three vegetarian ones, a couple of soups, and four salads. Dessert consisted today of brownies, chocolate and blondies (sort of chocolate chip cookie cakes). They offer white, whole wheat or gluten free bread for their sandwiches.

Chuck had the Tomato Basil Soup and The Dip, which consisted of your choice of Angus roast beef or smoked turkey with melted provolone and au jus. It was served on a whole wheat hoagie roll, and he liked it a lot. It came with a choice of slaw, potato salad, or potato chips.

My choice was a sandwich called For Pete's Sake ( I couldn't resist, what a name! ). It had applewood smoked pork loin, caramelized onions, melted brie, bacon and apple sauce. Yep, you read right-applesauce. It too was served on a whole wheat hoagie roll and it was delicious.

Take a look at their website to see their extensive menu choices. There's bound to be one that you'll be anxious to try.

1136 Tamm Ave.