While rummaging through some childhood books and VHS tapes (sup’, Gen Y 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.
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)
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.
…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.]
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.
Tiny pies y’all!!! Tiny. Freaking. Pies.
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 upfront 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.
Schlafly is owed all of the swooning I bestowed upon it in a recent podcast with Mystery Meet’s Seth Resler (see last post). Even so, Urban Chestnut is also supremely deserving of praise. However, since the market for 2 hour-long foodie podcasts is somewhat limited, I understand why cuts and edits must be made to my blathering. This post is my remuneration for not being more emphatic about Urban Chestnut’s many strong points.
First off, beyond the beer, I’m a sucker for smart execution and attention to detail. For example, I know their ‘old world meets new world,’ “Beer Divergency” concept makes some people (some friends in fact) barf for being a touch heavy-handed, but I happen to love the concept of having a revolution series and reverence series. 1. It’s neatly organized (appropriately Germanic). 2. They specifically prioritize reviving/paying homage to older styles. Aside from the whole beer divergency thing, the guys clearly take time and care in cultivating the right aesthetic, from the wide assortment of specialized glassware (<3 the earthenware mugs) to their logo and the art-work on their bottles to their relatively new beer garden. Savvy stuff.
As for the beer, while Winged Nut (revolution) and Zwickel (reverence) can always be found–at Urban Chestnut proper and area stores–the rest of the list has some regular turnover , all of it solid. While I mourn at times not being able to get my hands on certain past favorites, I am very rarely disappointed with new offerings. Upon my last visit, I was able to enjoy a longtime favorite, Schnickelfritz (fun to say, fun to drink), as well as the new-to-me Triticum. This latter beer is quite au courant, being a “hoppy american wheat,” which to me is kind of like the currently popular condiment ‘spicy pickled cucumbers.’ (You say spicy pickled cucumbers, I say pickle. You say hoppy American wheat, I say well-balanced beer.) Fancy nomenclature aside, the Triticum is swell. I have also recently sampled the Nelson Sauvin on tap, named for the spectacular hops that give this beer its punch. I had never had a beer with this hop varietal before, and the tropical fruit flavors and aromas that nelson sauvin imparts are really amazing.
Food-wise, mad props to G&W Sausage–and Urban Chestnut for wisely selecting their meat purveyor. G&W generally supplies my own at-home, beer drinking accompaniments, since my father is a rather serious hunter and G&W is his meat processor of choice. Bring on the summer sausage and landjaeger. Oh, and cheese and pretzels. Those are good too. Take a gander at the most recent menu/beer list below.
Ra Ra Urban Chestnut!