Event: SLOWednesday with Gerard Craft, Dave Hillebrand and Brett Palmier


Mark your calendars, this year’s SLOWednesday events start just two weeks from tomorrow, and the first is sure to be a hit…

May 13, 2009: Terra Madre Update

Intended to foster discussion and introduce innovative concepts in the field of food, gastronomy, globalization, and economics, Terra Madre is a bi-annual conference hosted by Slow Food international in Torino, Italy.

The last event was held in October of 2008, and Slow Food St. Louis sent three major delegates to represent them: Gerard Craft of Niche Restaurant, Dave Hillebrand of Prairie Grass Farms, and Brett Palmier of Biver farms. Enjoy this opportunity to offer them a belated welcome home and an ear to listen to their stories.

  • SLOWednesday events take place at the Bottleworks in the Crown Room after the Farmers’ Market, at 7:00 p.m. Talks begin at 7:30 p.m., and Schlafly asks that everyone interested in ordering food and drink place their orders and be settled in before that time. Events are free and open to the public.

Still Plugging Away

200904282226.jpgIt can be a nerve-racking thing dining in a place you used to work. Sometimes it can be a rewarding experience and you’re left realizing why you worked there in the first place. Other times, you’re left wondering why you worked there in the first place. Had it been this bad when you were there?

I have had both experiences but, at Harvest, I’ve had a lot more of the good ones in the decade since I worked there, than the bad ones. Most recently I dined at the bar on my way home from the Maplewood Farmers’ Market and, along with a very good pork loin, I had a dish solidly worth stopping in for: House Cured Pastrami and Smoked Tagliatelli, English Peas, Poached Missouri Farm Egg, Roasted Garlic Cream.

Ultimately, it’s a pretty classic flavor combination–though traditionally you’d see bacon, which makes the corniness of the chewy pastrami, and the tagliatelli’s hint of smoke, an interesting change. And it is sheer, fatty, bliss as you crack the egg and watch its bright orange yolk ooze into every crevice of the mounded tagliatelli not already filled with rich garlic cream. Outdone only by the truly stunning first bite as the flavors dance in your mouth–salty pastrami, rich egg, sweet pea. And more than that, it is seasoned right! SOMETHING PRACTICALLY ALL THE FOOD YOU’LL EVER EAT AT HARVEST WILL BE, AND SOMETHING YOU CAN’T SAY ABOUT MOST PLACES.

It was great to see them continuing to fire away after more than a decade. Long before the Crafts, Gallianos and Nashans arrived in St. Louis, Harvest was the place to work and the only place in town with the balls to serve something like foie gras on the regular, everyday, menu. These days, even with its institution-like status to consistently give St. Louis diners what they want, it’s a restaurant I feel people overlook all too easily in search of the latest thing. And that’s a shame because they’re still delivering the same reasonably priced kicked-up comfort food they always have.

As a tidbit–because I don’t think most people know how pastrami is made: it is corned beef that is smoked.

This Week in stlbites.com Tweets

  • Capp from 2nd place NE barista @ Taste Coffehouse in Newton, MA http://twitpic.com/3gn9l #
  • Local grass fed beef hamburger at Garden at the Cellar; Cambridge, MA. http://twitpic.com/3grqp #
  • Don’t forget the Claverach Dinner at Local Harvest Monday. Based upon the emails, it doesn’t seem sold out. #
  • Oysters, clams, mussels at Neptune Oyster Bar #
  • Drinking the 2007 Mulderbosch Vineyards Chenin Blanc Steen op Hout Stellenbosch #
  • Maple soy vin at Craigie on Main. Really interesting salty sweet. #
  • Craigie is blow torching the sablefish skin to make it crispie. That rocks because soggy skin SUCKS! #
  • Damn you 10 courses at Craigie on Main! http://twitpic.com/3i0w6 #
  • Capp #1 Diesel; Sommerville, MA. Seriously? http://twitpic.com/3jlo8 #
  • Capp #2 Crema; Cambridge, MA by Harvard. George Howell house blend. http://twitpic.com/3jlth #
  • Two days from now, and I will have crossed this: http://twitpic.com/3jz50 #
  • Toro rest in Boston-possible most annoying rest ever. Def #1 douche patrons! F’d up busy and really not too great for all all the hype. #
  • Adding the 2007 Pascal Bouchard Chablis Premier Cru Montmains blanc to my Drync cellar! #
  • Drinking the 2006 Châau du Hureau Saumur-Champigny Lisagathe #
  • So I’m wondering: how many food bloggers have run a 3:12:54 Boston Marathon; and is that a “wicked pissah”? http://twitpic.com/3ojpb #
  • Drinking the 2007 Natura Carmenere Valle Colchagua #
  • The carm is at Oleana and, incidentally, the wine markup in Boston is extraordinary. #
  • Having 1 last draught Brooklyn Lager @ Local 21 Providence, RI before heading to the airport and returning to #stl. http://twitpic.com/3pzlr #
  • Stuck in flight delay in Providence, RI. Do I dare eat the lobster roll at Providence Oyster Bar? #
  • Still delayed. Went for the lobster roll. Weird bun like a double thick slice of white bread butterflied. And $22! http://twitpic.com/3qe9y #

This Week in stlbites.com Tweets

  • Galliano’s red wattle coppa and Saint Andre cheese… A sweet after work snack. #
  • Slow Food St. Louis is participating in a free screening of Food, Inc. Tuesday April 14 @ 7PM @ The Tivoli. More info: http://bit.ly/iFrCM #
  • Where others drink water after a run, I shall finish off a bottle of Sinskey. Next: Pi? Good Pie? Local Harvest? What to eat? #
  • I’ve been thinking, how will @pistl be carbon offseting PODUS’s lunch today? As a “green” restaurant that’s some serious food miles, no? #
  • It’s burger time at Newstead Tower Public House. #
  • See, it’s burger time… http://twitpic.com/34wh1 #
  • The #stl Green Sheet lists Einstein Bagels as an “Other Fine Restaurant”. WTF? http://twitpic.com/34xpe #
  • This + double espresso + iced coffee @ 222 = very caffeinated Bill!!! http://twitpic.com/35tdk #
  • The phone calls are rolling in… Morel season is officially upon us. #
  • Vegetarian slinger @ Local Harvest http://twitpic.com/35yil #
  • Chanterelle > Morel #
  • And the Monarch dueling tweets begin… Drink one: apple of my rye #
  • Roasted garlic & morel flan persillade, morel caramel, crispy parsley #
  • Zataar spiced, tuna stewed peppers, black garlic purée, tuna brandade gnocchi, brown butter & -8 vin #
  • Nothing says Easter like hot dogs… http://twitpic.com/3863e #
  • How about nachos? http://twitpic.com/38678 #
  • The morel mushroom has an incredibly low cost:flavor ratio. They’re just not worth it compared to something like the chanterelle. #
  • Two blogs, one day. Who knew I had it in me? Do I dare go for three? http://www.stlbites.com #
  • Taqueria la Pasadita now has gorditas. Soft on the inside-perfectly crispy on the out awesome ones! This one is suadero. #
  • Okay, this one is suadero… http://twitpic.com/3bikt #
  • Thank you Riddle’s for actually toasting your hamburger buns. It shot you onto the stlbites top 5 #stl burgers last night. And the Hopslam! #
  • Boston bound in the AM… Thur@ O YA; Fri@ Craigie on Main; Sat@ wander for dinner; Sunday rest for Marathon; Mon@ Oleana. Can’t wait. #
  • People should go eat the @cookingkid special tonight. Been pounding the red wattle guanciale he cured for me. About the best I’ve had. #
  • My guanciale love affair: RW guanc in Claverach eggs w/ @YellowTreeFarm foraged wild onions and Baetje Goat cheese. So good! #
  • Is airport food better outside the US or, are ours the perfect example of America’s generally poor eating habits? #
  • Hello New England http://twitpic.com/3etdv #
  • Seven courses into O Ya. James Brown playing. Belly full of sake. Fucked up crazy good. #
  • I can pick out the worst course of my 16@O Ya, but even it was better than most anything I’ve ever had. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? HELL YES!! #

The Cost:Flavor Ratio of Food

morelCertain foods are prized more for their scarcity than their soul-satisfying flavor.  Some of these, like fiddlehead ferns, are clamored for because they’re one of the first vegetables to crop up each spring when people are eager to eat anything fresh and green.  While they’re not the tastiest of vegetables, they’re relatively cheap, and I can except people’s affection.

The morel mushroom on the other hand is not cheap and, after a Saturday at YellowTree Farm–where we noted wild onions as the top foraged food of the day–I am calling out the morel because, I am not a fan.

–First, the prices people are paying for them are not warranted by their flavor.  $45/lb? Seriously?

–Second, unless you soak them–which is especially bad for the morel because of their porous texture and delicate flavor–they’re gritty.

–Third, and most importantly, they just don’t taste that good.  They don’t have the depth of flavor other wild mushrooms do and, anytime someone is carrying on about their wonderfulness, they were invariably either (a) breaded and fried-which is personally a huge waste of something that costs so much or (b) cooked in something both salty and fatty which, as discussed before, is the one-two punch of making anything taste good.

Of course, that’s not to say I think they’re disgusting.  I wouldn’t turn them away if someone served them to me.  I just believe the cost:flavor ratio is low compared to other prized foods.

Without even taking it out of the fungi kingdom, I believe the chanterelle to be a vastly superior mushroom. Though they are also not cheap, they’re worth the time it takes to make them delicious and non-gritty, and my personal favorite. …until someone rolls in with a supply of hen of the woods that is.

Holy-hell, is this thing the greatest or what?


Apparently that’s what I thought when I typed but never posted about the Monarch chicken nugget on Halloween of last year. At the time I thought they’d disappear swiftly, but dining there Saturday, some of our companions had them before we arrived. So run–don’t walk–and get yourself a Monarch chicken nugget if you haven’t had one.

They consist of unctuous chicken thigh confit mixed with red bell peppers and I think a little onion that has been breaded, deep fried, and placed into a bowl of a perfectly acidic salsa verde of capers, lemon juice, oil and parsley.

So simple. So delicious.

Free Food, Inc. Screening Tuesday, April 14

Food Inc Poster

How much do we really know about the food we buy at our local supermarkets and serve to our families?

Slow Food St. Louis is pleased to announce our participation in a special screening of the new documentary, Food, Inc.

The makers of the film, Magnolia Pictures, and Participant Media, have graciously donated 130 tickets to the Tuesday, April 14th viewing of the film at the Tivoli Theatre.  Officially due out June 12th, this is your chance to not only see what is sure to be a moving film months before opening, but also for free!

Those interested in attending can RSVP at http://sites.google.com/site/foodincrsvp/

Once there, click on the link for St. Louis and enter in your information. It’s first come, first serve, and people will be contacted by the film company – not Slow Food St. Louis – about their tickets.

For more information, continue reading after the jump or visit director Robert Kenner’s website for a complete trailer and reviews of the film.

Read the rest of this entry »

This Week in stlbites.com Tweets

  • Faced with the prospect of a work-sponsored corporate cafeteria pizza luncheon, do I eat it, or do I starve myself for later? #
  • Josh Galliano joins the twitterverse @cookingkid #
  • @linecook Good luck with MSF. I can’t say I didn’t look for a plane ticket and plead with my wife to let me go when you announced it. #
  • @linecook I actually have a case of pumpkin beer I meant to ship to NOPA last October, but I think a replacement is in order now. in reply to linecook #
  • Truffle cauliflower soup and pancetta, arugula and roasted garlic lasagna at Stellina Pasta Cafe. #
  • Drinking the 2002 Fiddlehead Cellars Pinot Noir Seven Twenty Eight #
  • Cinnamon roll and Capp at 222 Artisan Bakery http://twitpic.com/2th9u #
  • Goshen iced coffee season is here, and I am still completely cracked out two hours later. #
  • Wondering how to prove who is buying local for slowfoodstl.org? Restaurants are saying they are buying a high % when I don’t think they are. #
  • Sustainability is not just a marketing buzz word. #
  • Halibut cheeks at Erato, bitches! #
  • @alexrbrooks Do you have supple wrists? in reply to alexrbrooks #
  • St. Louis dim sum attempt two: Mandarin House. Hoping its better than LuLu. #
  • Salad of Ozark Harvest* bean sprouts, arugula, and red wattle pancetta w/ a fried egg. Oh yeah!*OH is at Maplewood every Wednesday. #
  • @barbaricgulp Fervre Bakery (cheese slipper), Stroud’s, Justus Drugstore, Bluestem, pie@Pryde’s then Coffee@Broadway (Roasterie not cafe) in reply to barbaricgulp #
  • Reread Hinman’s Pope of Pork article about happy meat in MO: http://bit.ly/TkGC Fingers crossed 4 Gerard’s BCMW win, but she deserves 1 2. #
  • Mandarin House is officially better than LuLu. However, note: Cold pigs feet are a little much. #
  • Get it fresh: Intelligentsia Direct Trade Anjilanka, Bolivia @wholefoods Brentwood roasted on 3/31/09. Dates on the bottom. #
  • http://thepickledtongue.com/ Another blog you SHOULD be reading. #
  • Mother Nature, you cruel bitch. #
  • “most U.S. residents…pay for…biodegradable ‘garbage’ to be hauled off to landfills in plastic bags, where it cannot break down properly” #
  • Fooled twice, shame on me! If Kohn’s is our best corned beef, then even St. Louis Good hasn’t been obtained yet. Just terrible again. #
  • I’ve been wondering, “would people join a Slow Food book club?” #
  • Go check out Slow Food St. Louis’s first school garden Thursday http://www.slowfoodstl.org/2009/04/07/167/ #
  • @gutcheckstl It went down a couple times yesterday. in reply to gutcheckstl #
  • Ringer in hand (Vietnamese guy) off to Pho Long we went only to be met by a new sign in the door: “Closed Tuesday’s”. But have no fear… #
  • Indian Food on Olive is everything @gutcheck said: http://bit.ly/m5E8E Samosas so pillowy. Curries delicate w/ finesse. Kheer so creamy. #
  • Pho Long attempt 3=success. Preferential treatment was had! Apparently you want to ask for Nuoc Beo for the best pho. It’s the skimmed fat. #
  • @gutcheckstl arugula was plentiful in reply to gutcheckstl #
  • House cured pastrami w/ smoked tagliatelli, english peas, poached local egg & garlic cream sauce @Harvest. Honestly? Pretty fucking great! #
  • Drinking the 2006 Carmel Road Pinot Noir #
  • Adding the 2006 Carmel Road Pinot Noir to my Drync cellar! #
  • Can you be bribed with foie gras? I think I just was. #
  • I am surprised I have embraced the tweet. I am more surprised fifty of you are reading them. #
  • Chefs tell me they don’t buy local like they’d like because the farms aren’t selling to them anymore. They sell to us and don’t grow more. #
  • Ah. Extra hot sauce was key for raising the bar for the weekly bibimbob visit at U City Grill. #
  • It’s not simple like you’d think. Many chefs will pay top $. Demand is up. Producion is the same. Farms need to grow more. #stl is behind. #
  • Carondelet Kaldis is making drinks w/ comp blend Espresso 700 for a limited time. e.g. My traditional cappuccino. http://twitpic.com/324c2 #
  • @gutcheckstl @barbaricgulp Plus the BBC one was not technically traditional w/ it’s heavy hand of cock sauce. Still a good sand though. in reply to gutcheckstl #
  • @barbaricgulp banh mi dat biet – 3 x pork. 1 is pate. I’m told the banh mi @ Banh mi so 1 isn’t the best, but I love it and its #1 in #stl #
  • @BetaVulgaris The harsh chemicals are not used. Makes me think it might not be effective as the whole concept of DC is harsh chemicals. in reply to BetaVulgaris #
  • Drinking the 2005 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Pinot Noir Los Carneros #
  • … And now I’m at Atlas. Apparently I’ll be gaining weight this week. #
  • @cookingkid I ate noodles at all three and that’s carbo-loading my friend. in reply to cookingkid #
  • Watch @pistl owner Chris Sommers tweet it up at the White House till they take his phone. #

A Pho Long Tweet Explained in List Form

stlbites Pho Long attempt 3=success. Preferential treatment was had! Apparently you want to ask for Nuoc Beo for the best pho. It’s the skimmed fat.

@stlbites I have no idea what any of that meant

  • Pho Long is a Vietnamese restaurant.
  • Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup.
  • Today was the third time I’ve attempted to go with my Vietnamese coworker, and the first time we’ve pulled it off and eaten.
  • We got preferential treatment because he is and speaks Vietnamese.
  • Nuoc Beo is the fat that congeals on the top of the boiling broth. I found this out today. Vietnamese people want it, but in America they skim it off. It makes it tasty, or as my buddy Van says, “testy”. I thought he was talking about testes at first, and I’d never heard of testicle Pho.
  • If you ask for it they will give it to you in a bowl on the side with scallions.

Side note: The Vietnamese language is apparently very up down for lack of a better descriptor.  First word up, second word down.  They actually accent mark the words this way.  So Bánh xèo is sort of slurred up for the Bánh, and down for the xèo.  Americans pretty much pronounce it all wrong, and to actually find all the special characters to write Vietnamese words correctly would be a chore.

Side note 2 (hooray for the Lou):

Read the rest of this entry »

This Week in stlbites.com Tweets

  • @linecook no, but you should realize you’re a B tier internet food celebrity now. in reply to linecook #
  • 2006 Radio-Coteau Von Weidlich Zin at 33. Fucking unreal. Seriously. Wine nirvana. #
  • I realized today: I didn’t like BBQ that much because I don’t like KC style. North Carolina is where it’s at! Burning hot vinegar. #
  • Slow Food Trivia night was a success. I was the only one that could spot a matsutake on site, and we raised a bunch of money for farmers. #
  • Tonight’s drinking: 2007 Bourbon County Stout >> Nogne Imperial Stout #
  • Pappy’s brisket on 222 whole wheat and topped with a Yellowtree farm egg. #
  • Needless to say, I have not fully figured out the need for twitter, so I just tweet every worthhile thing I ingest. #
  • Is it weird I honestly don’t like sitting at tables in restaurants because I’m uncomfortable having people I consider peers serve me? #
  • If there is a finer Belgian White than Hitachino White Ale, I do not know what it is. #
  • Very annoyed this pic of the 1946 Chicago Meat Packers strike will not be mine. http://tinyurl.com/cblvsn #
  • However these pics of a 1920s butcher shop are mine http://tinyurl.com/dm62jw #
  • @ruhlman My wife made soda cake for her job. Thus my thought: Even if they won’t/don’t care, should you not give them better? Enlighten! in reply to ruhlman #
  • Taqueria el Jalapeno for tacos al pastor and sopes de barbacoa. #
  • Slow Food national conference call time. Will we hear anything good? We shall see. #
  • I had never heard of Raj Patel before, but his enthusiasm for food justice is remarkably engaging. #
  • @amateurgourmet Have you tried TK’s. His is great. in reply to amateurgourmet #
  • If you order a dish (say the Cuban @ Growler’s) and it’s not what it classically ought to be, can it still be a great dish? This one is. #
  • This company, Green Foods, makes an organic Gatorade substitute: Magma Plus – The Ultimate Super Food. Some things should not be organic. #
  • If TK makes all his cooks cut tape rather than tearing it, why not just go all the way and use a label maker? #
  • That a 4:1 carb:protein ration is the ultimate recovery drink, and chocolate milk just happens to hit that perfectly, makes me very happy! #
  • @gutcheckstl a job that encourages you to leave and go to the market. Must be nice. in reply to gutcheckstl #
  • Farrar sells all the Berkshire belly. #
  • Slow Food Terra Madre talk with Biver , Prairie grass farms, and Niche is set for the second Wednesday of May. #
  • Market pork news: Salume Beddu is getting Mangalitsa. Farrar Out Farm is getting red wattle breeding stock. #
  • And off to the good pie. #
  • Arugula pesto w/ pancetta pizza @ the good pie #
  • @gutcheckstl sandwich of stlbites: herb crusted roast beef @ Smoke House Market. in reply to gutcheckstl #
  • Today’s lunch: Pho Long with a ringer …an actual Vietnamese guy. Will it hold up? Fingers are crossed. #
  • Overruled by co-workers, it was off to Simply Thai instead for barbecued pork skewers and sticky rice. http://tw2.us/jb #
  • Every day I eat, literally, quantity:5 peanut M&Ms. I never cheat and eat more. My coworkers find this strange. Is it strange or control? #
  • @MichaelNagrant Plus, how many more mediocre $20 burgers do we need floating around the US? Have you ever tasted superchef burger success? in reply to MichaelNagrant #
  • At Pi next to stlhops Mike Sweeney. Downing our own creation: thin w/ roasted garlic, goat cheese, kalamatas and mushrooms. #
  • I seriously cannot believe how many people are in Pi at 9:30 on Thursday night. Net-foodie loss my ass!!! #
  • @gutcheckstl I’d had no idea how much I liked pizza until I lost weight. Now I can’t get enough of the stuff. in reply to gutcheckstl #
  • Jonny Style returns to The Lou: RT @jonathanolson: Moving back this week. Then on to Houston 9-27th #