Lebanese cooking class with ME at The Kitchen Conservatory!

Join me on March 26th for my first cooking class at Kitchen Conservatory! We will be cooking all things Lebanese. We will be making laban, shish barak over rice , fatoush, hummus  b’thini and baklava! For more information click HERE!

The Wine Merchant closes Creve Coeur Location

From John Nash:

“The world is coming to grips with the most serious economic downturn since the second World War and many economists are expecting a slow recovery. Our lease is up for renewal at our Creve Coeur store and we’ve made the tough decision to close this location. Our Clayton shop remains vibrant and continues to grow as we enter our 17th year of business. Highway 64/40 is now open for business and getting to Clayton has never been faster. We appreciate the many years of patronage and support in West County. We’d like to invite you to visit our Clayton store where we will continue with our commitment to value, selection and great customer service. Our Clayton store is open every day (Sunday too) and we have free, excellent parking on the North and South side of our building. We’re closing out our remaining inventory in Creve Coeur this week at Clearance Sale prices. You’ll save big on our entire store stock. Shop early for the best selection. See below for details. Cheers!”

-John Nash, The Wine Merchant, Ltd.

Simply Bread…Simply Divine

I was spoiled living in St. Louis…just a hop, skip and jump away from what has to be on of the best bakeries in the US. 222 Artisan Bakery When we were planning our move to the Southwest…we lamented on not having access to our favorite place for cinnamon rolls..bear claws…pecan rolls….COFFEE!  But, in talking with our friends, we were given a glimmer of hope.  The person that taught our friends to bake the most delectable edibles set up shop in our soon to be new home.  Simply Bread. Talk about luck of the Irish.  Of course, the actually bakery is about 30 miles from our new house…but as if we weren’t lucky enough..the gourmet food store that Simon works at is a Simply Bread retailer.  We wouldn’t get the FULL experience of Simply Bread but we would at least be able to get our hands on a decent baguette.

So, as time passed, we became accustomed to our lovely local selection of Simply Breads in our little town’s store.  Not feeling the need to travel to downtown Phoenix to score our next loaf….we were happy with what we had.

But, as luck would have it again…I got lost.  Yep, on the way home from dropping a friend off at the airport, my trusty TOM TOM ran out of juice.  Now, I like to think I’m pretty go at directions (Simon will tell you different)  I figured if I could just get to a street I recognized, I would be able to find my way home.  As I turned down N. 24th St…looking at cross streets or a sign to the I-10…there it was in all it’s glory.  Simply Bread!  I couldn’t let this chance meeting go by without a stop in…and lucky for me it was a Monday afternoon and they were open.  I parked the car in back…wondering if I should drop the names of my friends…but more curious than that…to see what else was going on inside.  I walked into a small home, converted into a retail space…flanked by what looked like industrial type barns for baking.  I was greeted by a lovely woman who was quick with a slice of a chocolate baguette (I could have finished the rest of the entire thing if she’d let me at it).  I asked for Jeff…my friend of a friend…but he was busy working his magic in the bakery next door.  No matter…I was still in awe of all of the yummy goods that were sweetly sitting in my view.   Without a thought, the nice woman behind the counter phoned the bakery and I was able to make the connection I wished I’d made sooner upon arriving here in AZ.  Jeff was very pleased to hear his friends had sent him a new customer and was very warm and polite during our short phone conversation…despite the fact that I most probably took him away from his work.

The conversation made me long for home…to see my friends that we both had in common…to have a warm cup of coffee and bear claw on a clear and bright Saturday morning in Edwardsville….but, Simply Bread would do for now.  I left with 3 loaves of bread and little package of coconut macaroons as a special treat.

As happy as I was with my bread…words cannot describe the beauty of my little macaroons.  There is another post coming soon on the coconut macaroon, itself…so I will spare you my superfluous diatribe now…but believe me when I tell you that I would drive 60 miles to get my chubby little fingers on these macaroons again….and no, I didn’t share one of them….I couldn’t resist.

Food and Wine: June Issue

**Photo by Jonathan Swegle

Be on the lookout for St. Louis’ favorite new pastry chef in the upcoming issue of F&W. That’s right, Mathew Rice will be the featured pastry chef for The Last Bite. Wonder what they will feature….some would say red velvet cake….some would say the kulfi….what dessert do you think they will feature?

Whatever it is, it will be delicious. Be sure to pick up June’s issue of Food and Wine and support our local chefs!!

Simon Says Cheese @ the Kitchen Conservatory

Shameless plug…I know.  But I don’t care.  Simon will be doing an intro class on cheese at the Kitchen Conservatory on April 17th.  Please visit www.kitchenconservatory.com to sign up.

you know you want to.  just do it.


this little piggy went to market

It’s March. It’s St. Louis. It’s cold…but according to Mother Nature, Spring Equinox is slated for March 20, 2008. uh..right.


All I know is that the River Hills Farmer’s Market opening day is tomorrow. If you have never been to the River Hills Farmer’s Market, located just about 70 miles NW of St. Louis in the quaint little town of Silex, MO…you should come with me tomorrow. It seems that on Saturdays into the 1930s the city fathers would gate off Main Street into stock pens so butcher stock could be loaded onto the Short Line. Eggs and cream were bartered for essentials, and horses and mules were traded on one end of town. Inspired by this in its search of a community-service project, the Silex 4-H Flyers club decided to recreate the traditions of a Saturday Market Day and thus, River Hills Farmers Market was born.

Amish baked goods, green beans and tomatoes, table eggs and hatching eggs, baby chicks, peafowl, goats and sheep are just a few of the weekly offerings. I can’t wait to gas up the truck and head up north for a day of fun in Silex.

From Localharvest.org:

River Hills Farmers Market is entering our 18th year. We are open on the 2nd and 4th Saturday, starting March the 8th. We offer a variety of market items, from Heritage poultry to Heirloom vegetables. On any given Saturday you can find Welsummer chickens, fresh country eggs, honey, fresh baked goods, Royal Palm Turkeys, local fruits and vegetables.

The Cheesemonger will be at the shop that day and unable to travel to the market. That means I will be left to my own devices. muuwhaaaahaaa!

**we will be leaving St. Louis at approx 8:45 am from Clayton.

Diamonds….nah…I’ll take a BLT

Found on the Food Section NYC:

Sandwich Style

BltringForget diamonds. Nothing says true love like a BLT sandwich… that your lady can wear on her fingers. The BLT Ring is composed of five individual rings — a bacon ring, a tomato ring, a lettuce ring, and two bread rings — that stack together to form a sterling silver BLT sandwich. $150 at The Grateful Palate.

The Grateful Plate is one of my favorite sites.  It’s where I go when I have money burning a whole in my pocket.  They have loads of hilarious yet practical gifts for the food enthusiast in your life.