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Cheese has always been something MOST Americans have taken for granted. Cheese played an insignificant role in most American families….limiting their exposure to what they found in their neighborhood megamart. Not anymore….American are not only eating more cheese than ever these days…they are choosing artisan cheeses made my American dairies and creameries.
A new quarterly periodical, Culture Magazine is taking amazing strides to educate us on all things cheese! Focusing on American cheesemakers, mongers and lovers….a subscription to Culture is the PERFECT gift for the food enthusiast you put up with!
Seriously! How lucky are the residents of the Central West End (CWE)!?! Gerard Craft opened Brasserie by Niche in the former Chez Leon space. With Perry Hendrix at the helm of the stove, the CWE folks have just gotten themselves one heck of a neighborhood hotspot! Focusing on classic French bistro fare, you’ll never eat onion soup anywhere else. Cassoulet, moules frites, French cheeses, country pate….and an amazing croque monsieur…coq au vin…you’ll feel like you are sitting in a Parisian bistro! With a nice beer and wine selection…Brasserie By Niche is one of my new favorite places to go. Lucky for me it’s a stone’s throw from the hospital…and after a long day caring for the masses…Brasserie is a welcome respite!
Next up: Pi!! Pi is close to opening its doors in their new CWE locale! That makes the third space opened by Chris Sommers! With the crazy success of his spot in the Delmar Loop..and the cult-like obsession cultivated at the Kirkwood spot he is about to dish out some of that crazy good cornmeal crust deep dish on the corner of Euclid and McPherson! And to make it even better Mathew Rice is going to be doing his ingenious desserts at the new CWE locale! His milkshake bar at the Kirkwood locale is a favorite already. I suggest a Purple Cow or a chocolate malted milkshake if you make it out Kirkwood! The CWE spot is geared toward adults with a gorgeous reclaimed eco-friendly bar manned by Chad George!
So…no more complaining about the CWE not having anything new….get over to Brasserie (open NOW!) and Pi (slated to open to the public on Tuesday 12/ 15/09!)
Well, I have one more final next week and then I will be on holiday from University until mid January!!! I am looking forward to doing some serious blogging over my break! Lots of new cheeses have arrived in St. Louis…new farms are on the horizon (possibly including OURS!!) and great new cheesemakers are popping up all over the States!
Over this Holiday season…make an effort to seek out a local cheese maker/cheesemonger in your area. Select a locally produced cheese or dairy product! You are not only supporting a local, sustainable business…but you are ensuring a long heritage of artisanal foods in our country!
I have been wanting to mention this amazing place for awhile now. As you all know…graduate studies have put a damper on my posting…but this needs to be shared! The School of Artisan Food in North Nottinghamshire….in the Sherwood Forest….THE REAL SHERWOOD FOREST….in the UK. I hold dreams of taking classes there in 2010…..let’s hope that dream comes true. But I hope my UK friends get a chance to get there and enjoy!
Baking, brewing…cooking, dairy….butchering….pickling and preserving….I AM IN HEAVEN!!!! Why does all the good stuff open across the pond??? We need a US School of Artisan Food…..maybe they will open one here….but to be honest…I don’t mind the travel required….
Check them out!!
I just wanted to take the time to let my readers know that I will be taking a brief hiatus from posting on The Cheesemongers Wife. As I enter my final two semesters of graduate school, I am finding that I am having a hard time keeping up the blog. But…I will post as often as I can. I hope to take up a more regular posting schedule after I graduate and pass my boards.
Keep exploring the wonderful world of food and cheese….I’ll be back soon!!
Simon and I were invited to attend an installation of Full Moon Foodies Dinner. Full Moon Foodies is a monthly late-night dinner event hosted by Wes Johnson, Chef de Cuisine and Brendan Noonan, Executive Sous Chef at Eclipse in the Moonrise Hotel. Each month, a melange of St. Louis food enthusiasts and culinary professionals are invited to partake in a themed meal on the night of the full moon. This month’s full moon landed on a Friday night and a vegetarian feast was on the books.
Dinner guests included a who’s who of the St. Louis’ professional food-writing community, chefs and local food enthusiasts, including Mathew Rice, Sara White, April Seager and my new friend Gilberto Pinela. Our evening began with cocktails at the bar. Packed in on the ground level of the restaurant were loads of patrons vying for a spot on the rooftop. The wait was over an hour when we arrived. With spectacular views, perfect weather and tasty drinks, that was enough to lure the crowds high above the street. But, we were looking forward to a small intimate dinner in the cozy corner of the restaurant, so the rooftop would have to wait.
As guests arrived, we took our seats and began to anticipate the bounty for which we were gathered. The meal was based on a video game played by Brendan. Harvest Moon, a Japanese farming-simulation game was developed by Yasuhiro Wada. The object of the game is to maintain a farm over a period of time, tending the crops and livestock through the seasons, while befriending the nearby townsfolk and getting married in some games. With this in mind, Wes and Brendan focused on local (when appropriate), fresh vegetables for the meal.
To start out the meal, we nibbled on spiced roasted nuts. Crunchy, spicy and sweet…they accompanied our cocktails perfectly. Secondly a serving of warm herbed olives…with a great underbelly of heat. Simon offered up a new concoction he devised earlier that afternoon at The Wine Merchant. Local goat cheese, whipped with mango honey and scotch bonnet peppers was coined The Goat Fire Ball. It was another delicious nibble that brought the spice and heat.
And thus the feast began! Bowls of pickled wax beans cooled your palate. Along with watermelon dressed with pickled carrots, there was vast platters of fresh vegetables. Plates of heirloom tomatoes with Koren melon dressed in a balsamic reduction, tempura of Ozark Forest mushrooms, okra, poblano and red bell peppers. Knowing that some dinner guests were of the vegan persuasion, the tempura was executed san eggs. Even with the egg omittance, the tempura was crispy and perfect. Heaping bowls of Ozark Forest mushrooms were served. Maitake, Lobster and Hen of the Woods were sauteed with butter and thyme. One bowl was sauteed with olive oil for our vegan guests. A rich carrot and potato curry was the main course. The curry was hearty, with warm spices that satisfied. A dollop of the Goat Fire Ball gave a second layer of flavor and heat that was genuinely scrumptious. Fresh figs with cracked black pepper were piled high in a bowl.
Cocktails, such as Lemon Lime Gin & Tonic infused with sorrel were consumed…along with Champagne/Elderberry flower liqueur concoctions. On a sweet note: Brendan found some “sweet crunchy sticks” at the local Asian Market. And that was the literal translation, folks. There were rice sticks covered in a fine sugar from what I could tell. The package was brought out and in a hilarious twist of fate…fitted right in with the video game themed meal! I never got a chance to read the actual ingredients…all I heard was that they were vegan so they were OK for all at the table. Finally, a meringue topped with local peaches were the final course. The meringue was light, sweet and fluffy. The peaches, although local and fresh, were a tad under-ripe.
All in all, the Full Moon Foodies dinner was an amazing experience. Food enthusiasts and professionals gathering together to enjoy good food, make new discoveries, exchange ideas and just have fun is a wonderful concept. A giant thanks to Wes and Brendan for being such gracious hosts and putting together a delicious vegetarian meal!
I can only hope I am lucky enough to be invited back for another Full Moon Foodies Dinner!
FYI: If you were planning on a trip down to Niche or the new TasteBar….there is a kink. Gerard and staff are on summer holiday for the week! You can catch up with them next week!!
What a whirlwind August has been! We are moved into the new house, however we have loads of unpacking and organizing to do. Work is in full swing and class begins tonight for me! The kitchen was our first room to unpack…of course! Still trying to figure out the proper ‘flow’ of the new space…it’s been rearranged twice…I’m sure we’ll rearrange again.
I’ve been lucky enough to have some great meals around town. Last night was Bobo…it was my second visit since being home and it didn’t disappoint. Ginger pork and egg noodles….delicious. I usually get the chicken….and although I liked the pork…the chicken is still my fav….headed over to Eclipse for a night cap on the roof. If you have yet to get down to Eclipse at the Moonrise Hotel in University City…I’d make a trip. The food is wonderful…the drinks are great and the rooftop views rival any bar in the city. They have a decent beer list…and the wine list it thoughtful, as well. But the calamari is delectable. Best I’ve had in StL in a very long time.
Speaking of Eclipse…I’ve been lucky enough to have been invited to an installation of a Full Moon Foodies Dinner. Hosted by Wes Johnson and Brendan Noonan…it’s a late-night meal focusing on creative cooking…each dinner has a theme and guests are invited to a late night dining experience at Eclipse. Wes has graciously given me the green light to publish my thoughts on their late night adventures. Stay tuned….September 4th will be an exciting night. It will be a vegetarian meal….looking forward to see what the guys can do with this season’s bounty!
Tuckers for pizza and wings
Niche Taste Bar
King & I
A coca-cola from Ted Drews..it’s my favorite…it’s Kosher, ya know.
Winslow’s Home for breakfast
….I’ve still got a pretty long list until I’m caught up….i should just slow down, though…
….i’ve gained 4 lbs.
Updated 8/15/09: White Castles, Basil Spice, Ted Drewes, Bobo Noodle, The Good Pie and Eclipse…..
you should go there. the drinks are amazing…the food spectacular. Ted Kilgore is a mad scientist and booze genius…pair with Gerard Crafts inventive and satisfying food….it’s a win-win. they also stay open late…where else can you get a great cheese plate at midnight, hmm? need i say more?
it is really, really good…and fun…and just all around a nice place to sit for an hour or so……plus the music didn’t suck.
there…that is my review…done and done.
My first official post as a bona fide STL girl again…..TA DA!!
Not much to say except that a month long road trip across the US was an amazing adventure and I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity to do it. I will begin posting about the trip once I get a bit more settled and get my Midwestern bearings back….and stop sneezing. Wow….never had allergies before….I’m hoping it’s just a re-adjustment period.
Good to be home!
It really is tiring driving through beautiful places, camping in the deep woods or along the shore of the Pacific ocean…throw in a nasty sprained ankle, lack of interweb access and a finicky camera….and it’s all just becoming a blur. We are currently in Portland. I’m nursing this nasty sprain….and we are catching up on some laundry…heading back to the coast in a day or so for some more camping then…well…we haven’t thought that far ahead yet.
I promise…a full length post once all is said and done….and if I can save the corrupted photo card…pics too.
But, all in all….we are having a glorious time…..too many breathtaking moments to recall in one short sitting….