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