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Cronuts à la Chouquette — Succumbing to Hysteria

July 13, 2013

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The cronut is currently a “thing.”   Dominique Amsel is credited as the creator of the donut/croissant hybrid, and his bakery website has a rather excessive page explaining the hedonistic pastry and how one can go about acquiring one or two (but no more).  Allegedly, things are downright bonkers in New York when it comes to cronuts.  “I think you have to get in line at 5am to get a cronut.”  “I heard rich people are waiting in limos and paying hundreds of dollars for line waiters to procure cronuts for them.”  “Supposedly someone  bartered their first born’s spot at Horace Mann for two cronuts.”    Let’s all just calm down now.  There are plenty of tasty ways to get fat.

Lo’ for a brief moment this morning, STL had a taste of cronut hysteria.  Simone Faure of La Patisserie Chouquette decided–on a one time basis–to offer cronuts.  Not a simple undertaking as Chouquette is not equipped with fryers, so the little monsters had to be finished off across the street at Elaia.  Upon seeing the notice about the Chouquette cronuts, I thought to myself, well that’s mighty silly.  However, an irresistible urge to consume something decadent and fleeting took hold of me.

I was in line at 8:30am this morning in Tower Grove.  Ms. Faure came out around 8:45 with a platter of canneles, stating proudly “Dominique Amsel isn’t giving out samples.”  Damn straight madame (PS great canneles).   A few minutes later, tickets were distributed–maximum of four per person–for the cronuts.  The popular choice  was to max out the limit in order to get one of each flavor, plus a spare.  The cronut varieties offered: pistachio, salted caramel, and strawberries and cream.

I opted for the strawberries and cream and got a pistachio to give away to a friend.  Verdict.  Delightful, with a slight aftertaste of self-loathing.   Would have been nice to have a glass of milk and about a dozen napkins.  Won’t drone on describing because, well, it’s over–they’re gone.  [Throw down to Strange Donuts to pick up the cronut mantle?]

Cronuts and fads aside, Chouquette is fabulous, from its jewel box of macarons to almond croissants.

 

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La Patisserie Chouquette on Urbanspoon

Thusly began the annual peach feast…

June 22, 2013

We may be several weeks off before Eckerts starts producing peaches, but Georgia’s got’em!  Dickey Farms, you  can count on my 3 box purchase of your little gems in perpetuity (it is a Father’s Day necessity–two boxes for him, one for me).

Their arrival caught me somewhat off-guard–I lack certain essential accompaniments like vanilla ice cream and rice krispies.  However, until I make it to the grocery store, I’m quite happy to tear into a peach over the sink, juice running to my elbows.  I, and I alone, will consume these peaches morning and night until they are gone.  I would bring a peach to work, but the rapacious vigor with which I consume these things is a little disturbing.  I’ll confine the peach frenzy to my home.

If you are a peach fan and don’t mind a splurge, Dickey Farms will not disappoint.

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Food Fascination — Veritable Smorgasbord

May 18, 2013

While rummaging through some childhood books and VHS tapes (sup’, Gen Y & X bros), it was noteworthy that the images most deeply emblazoned on the developing mush of my mind, after countless  re-watchings or patient parental re-reads, really only involved food. …  Perhaps not so noteworthy.

On a related noted, I recently saw a reference to Templeton the Rat’s blissed-out song about leftover fair food, looked it up on youtube, and nodded with recognition that this had been my favorite part of the Charlotte’s Web movie (even though it concerns trash food).  Oh, and the always delightful and campy Paul Lynde (aka Uncle Arthur) is singing.  So yeah, enjoy. 

Mystery Meet’s First STL Foray — The Block CWE

May 3, 2013

Well, this is embarrassing.  This post is quite overdue. Over three weeks ago, on April 9th, I had the pleasure of attending Mystery Meet‘s first St. Louis dinner.  What can I say…life thangs.  Believe me, the delay is in no way an indication of a lack of enthusiasm for the event.

As intrepid guests found out 24 hours before the dinner, the restaurant of choice was The Block’s new location in the Central West End.  I’m a big Block -WG fan, so the opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with the newest addition to their restaurant family was a tremendous treat.  My fellow guests were delightful company and Marc del Pietro out-did himself with the courses he and his crew presented.  Although, note, the below menu isn’t really a reflection of the Block CWE’s current dinner menu–it was more a treat that we as Mystery Meet diners got to have. I do believe that #2 and #3 below (the latter-or some variation thereof-being available off the menu currently) were my very favorites.  But all of it was scrumptious.  And if you’re an urbanite, city-dweller who can’t bear to make the trek to Webster Groves, get thee to The Block in the Central West End.

Mystery Meet Course List

1. Grilled asparagus, local red romaine, grapefruit, aged asiago, spring garlic vinaigrette

2. Pan roasted butterfish, english peas, yellow wax beans, parsnip, fish fumet, pea shoots

3. Butcher’s plate, head cheese, chicken liver terrine, smoked duck ham, spicy mustard

4. Sous vide flank steak, braised shot rib & local radish salad, roasted leek & potato puree, bacon & sherry vinaigrette

5. Chocolate & bacon ice cream with pig candy (bacon almond brittle)

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All said and done, it was a lovely evening.  Good food.  Good conversation.  New friends.  We damn near closed the place down (note below, taken sometime near 11pm on a Tuesday).  If you have the chance to attend a Mystery Meet dinner, I highly recommend.  Keep your eyes peeled.

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Happiness is…

April 6, 2013

…a bowl full of Big Sky mac n’ cheese.  Creamy but not cloying. Sage-y with plenty of bacon.  Curly, twirly cavatappi noodles. Eat as a side.  Eat at the bar as a meal (with a beer and a side salad, naturally).  Pick it up to go.  I have done all these things.  Most recently, the second of the three options–greatly appreciated the good company and service of bartender Nick.  Wooo, Webster and Big Sky.  [Now if they could just bring back their corn-bread muffins.]

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Big Sky Cafe on Urbanspoon

Mystery Meet Coming Soon to a Restaurant Near You

April 1, 2013

The first St. Louis Mystery Meet dinner draws near!! April 9th at 7:30pm at a location that will only be revealed 24 hours in advance, to be precise.  [Check out the previous discussion/explanation of Mystery Meet.]  Take note, tickets for the dinner go on sale at noon tomorrow and there aren’t a ton of spots given that this is Mystery Meet’s first foray into the St. Louis dining scene.

I’m quite excited (1) to be the host on the ground (since Mystery Meet founder, Seth Resler, will not be joining the party), (2) to meet an assortment of brave St. Louis foodies, and (3) to check out the Mystery Meet locale for myself – it will be a mix of a familiar favorite and yet brand new at the same time.  Go here to request an invite if you haven’t already done so (you’ll get hit with the Eventbrite invite to purchase tickets when the time comes tomorrow) and to check out the clues for the mystery restaurant.

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The Pie Imperative – Pie Oh My

March 29, 2013

 Tiny pies y’all!!!  Tiny.  Freaking. Pies.

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I mean, you could not go to Pie Oh My in Maplewood.  You could just ignore your privilege to live in (or be visiting) a city that is endowed with a store selling a wide variety of mini (and regular) pies.  But then I’m going to assume that you are damn fool.  Thanks for being up-front about it.

Fact.  Miniature things are awesome. Fact.  Pie is awesome.  Naturally, the pies that owner Jane Callahan is serving up are exceedingly awesome (plus, she’s a really nice lady).  From fruit pies to nut to custard that come in 2 bite tarts up to 9.5 inch big guys, Pie Oh My has your growing  backside.  Although, obviously, many varieties are seasonal and some, like chocolate, are only available on certain days.

Oh, and in a delightful bit of Maplewood synergy, Pie Oh My has a few pie offerings imbued with the power of Schlafly beer.   Yes, contain yourselves, pie + beer.   The Stout-Pecan Tart  is made with Schlafly Imperial Stout (pictured above) and is quite delightful.

So yeah, go to Pie Oh My.  Open Tues-Sat, 11am-6pm.  Even if pie isn’t “your thing,” I’m sure you know some normal people.  And I can tell you from experience that handing someone near-and-dear a surprise box of tiny pies is a win-win situation.  Give the gift of pie.

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Pie Oh My on Urbanspoon

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