Babies, and Art, and Food, Oh My!

Art of Food LogoWhew! After nine months (the final few weeks of which were filled with anxiety revolving around questions like, “What the hell am I going to do with a baby?), I now have a daughter, Quinn Reese Burge.  Definitely meaning to brag, Ellie did it 100% natural for both her health physically and mentally and the babies.  It was amazing, but more than that, they are amazing.

Bragging about my wife and daughter out of the way, in the few moments of spare time I’ve had this week, I’ve been tracking down chefs to belatedly nail down this year’s Slow Food St. Louis Art of Food menu.  It’s not quite assembled 100% (come on guys!), but I just wanted to let you know one thing:

If you’re in town this Saturday, and you haven’t got anything planned, and you care a lick about local food, you need to get your butt down there. It’s Slow Food St. Louis’s biggest fundraiser of the year and it’s the reason we’ve been able to give over $12,000 to ten small farms over the last two years to increase the biodiversity of what’s available to us locally.

And if that’s not reason enough for you to go, know this: whatever excuse you have can’t possibly top the fact that I’ll be there and I’ll have a 7 day old daughter, and Josh Galliano will be there and he will have a 13 day old daughter.  (we are of course hoping this means stellar birthday parties!)

Here’s the menu thus far if you’re wavering, and I hope to see you there…

Annie Gunn’s – Lou Rook III

Roasted Viking Village Sea Scallop with Annie Gunn’s Bacon and Ratatouille.

Companion – Josh Allen

1. Panzanella “Bread Salad”  – Companion Roasted Garlic Fougasse w/ local heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers (working to identify farmer this week)

2. Grilled Bread Station with assorted pestos & tapenades

Five – Anthony Devoti

Benne’s Farm Pork confit, sesame cracker, tomato jam and pickled Claverach Farm baby carrots.

Harvest – Stephen Gontram

Harvest Bread Pudding

Kakao Chocolate – Brian Pelletier

1:Bacon Caramels Made with bacon from Hinkebein Hills Farms and local honey.

2: Chocolate Dipped Double-Layer Pates de Fruits

Local Harvest Café – Clara Moore

Horseradish Pickled Heirloom Tomato Relish on a Prairie Breeze Cheese Biscuit

Monarch – Josh Galliano

Prairie Grass Farms Goat Terrine, eggplant tapenade, Greek yogurt, fennel mostarda

Niche – Gerard Craft

white gazpacho, smoked grape sorbet

Sidney Street Café

Rabbit bratwurst with Companion brioche and house made sauerkraut

Winslow’s Home

Winslow’s Farm Cucumbers and Heirloom Tomatoes with pulled Prairie Grass Farm Lamb

and dishes still to come from…

Bailey’s Chocolate Bar, Farmhaus, Franco

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St. Louis Earth Day Festival This Sunday

While Thursday marked  the 40th year  that people have gathered together to celebrate Earth Day nationally, it’s not till Sunday that you’ll get your big shot to do it St. Louis style in Forest Park. It’s there, on the Muni grounds, that St. Louis has been throwing their Earth Day Festival since 1989.  And if you’re thinking hippy fest of epic proportions, you’d be wrong.  While you might step around a starry eyed dreamer or two, now just about everybody is on the Earth Day wagon because it’s not a political issue, it’s just the right thing to do if you care about the future generations of people that will be inhabiting our planet.

But screw all that, I’ll give you three reasons to attend the 2010 St. Louis Earth Day Festival

  • The dope ass logo to the right will surely make a dope ass t-shirt when you pick one up in pink or brown for just $15.
  • Slow Food St. Louis will once again be manning a booth in the Farmers’ Market where you can either a) say hello and see that I’m actually a swell guy or b) see me in person, tell me how much you hate me, and punch me in the face
  • Prairie Grass Farm Lamb Gyros.  Need I really say more?  You know Dave and Barb Hillebrand from your time at the farmers’ markets.  You know their lamb isn’t just good for St. Louis.  It’s good anywhere. Period. And it’s especially good the few times a year they cut loose and bust out the gyro making mayhem that you do not want to miss.

A Slow Taste of Tuscany @ Onesto November, 18

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A Slow Taste of Tuscany

St. Louis, MO / November 10, 2009 / www.slowfoodstl.org/sfstl_tuscan_dinner.pdf – Wednesday, November 18, 2009, join Slow Food St. Louis and Welcome Books as they team up with Onesto Pizza & Trattoria to present a celebration and special dinner commemorating the release of Welcome Books’ new book: SLOW: LIFE IN A TUSCAN TOWN.

In the spirit of The Oxford Project and American Farmer, SLOW: LIFE IN A TUSCAN TOWN, by Douglas Gayeton, is a magical and utterly unique portrayal of rural Italian life, and a tribute to the region’s kaleidoscope of charming local characters whose livelihoods and shared culture center on the growing, preparing, eating, and everyday pleasures of food. Gayeton’s imaginative and interactive portraits are layered with handwritten notes, anecdotes, recipes, quotes, historical facts and sayings that cleverly bring context and color to the subject of each sepia toned image. The book also features a preface written by Slow Food International founder, Carlo Petrini, and an introduction by notable Slow Food USA member, Alice Waters.

With support from Zagat, in celebration of the book’s release, Welcome Books has contacted leaders of Slow Food and other sustainable food organizations nationwide to host dinners across North America.

As Slow Food St. Louis co-leader, Bill Burge said, “When Welcome Books contacted me about finding a local Italian restaurant doing things ‘Slow’, Vito was the first person I thought of. Every Wednesday we see him hounding the best farmers at the Maplewood Farmers’’ Market to source the finest products he can for his customers. He obviously feels it’s the right thing to do, and we couldn’t be more pleased to have the opportunity to have teamed up with Vito and Michele.”

The dinner will feature

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Event: Mollie Katzen at Washington University 10/6

molly.pdfOn Tuesday, October 6th, please join Washington University, along with The Burning Kumquat and their special guest, author Mollie Katzen, for a special day of events at the Washington University Danforth Campus.

With over 6 million books in print, Katzen is and award-winning illustrator and best-selling author of such classic cookbooks as The Moosewood Cookbook and The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. Her newest project is Get Cooking, a multimedia series of books and videos for beginning cooks.

For more information view the event flyer or visit The Burning Kumquat’s site.

Slow Food St. Louis 4th Annual Art of Food + Menu!

Art of Food

While there’s more to the event than food, I am damn proud of the lineup of chefs I’ve assembled for the 4th Annual Art of Food. While I am completely biased, you would be hard-pressed to find an event in St. Louis with a more star-powered line up of chefs. Whether you like me and the things I have to say or not, please consider coming out this Saturday to not only support this stellar line up of chefs that are sure to dazzle, but to support Slow Food St. Louis. With the money raised from events like this, Slow Food is supporting biodiversity in our region by offering small grants to farmers growing heritage animals and heirloom vegetables. And to ensure that future generations of eaters crave these delicious foods, the funds raised will also support our current school garden projects as well as fund additional gardens in the future.

Menu and more information about the event after the jump…

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The Crossing Wine Dinner Tues, July 7 to Benefit Slow Food St. Louis

crossingIf you’ve got nothing going on tomorrow evening, please consider showing your support of businesses that support Slow Food St. Louis as several tickets are still available for tomorrow’s wine dinner which is sure to be a great night of eating.

Details……..

With much gratitude to Jim Fiala, Slow Food St. Louis is excited to announce a wine dinner to support Slow Food St. Louis’s Biodiversity Grant hosted by The Crossing and Local Wine Company.

The menu will feature not only the great cooking The Crossing has come to be known for, but also the fabulous wines of Murphy’s Law, Ransom, and SNAFU. Best of all, some of the terrific local ingredients Fiala and team will be utilizing in the dinner will have come from some of our very own Biodiversity Grant recipients.

The price is set at $75 each and you can make reservations by contacting The Crossing at 314.721.7375

The Crossing and Local Wine Company
Slow Food St. Louis
July 7th, 2009

First Course
Passed Canapes from the local farmer’s markets and Blue Cheese Souffle
w/ 2007 Murphy’s Law White

Second Course
Gaspacho with warm walleye and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
w/ 2008 Ransom Pinot Gris ‘Selection’

Third Course
Missouri Chanterelle mushrooms with a Yellowtree Farm fines herbs
w/ 2006 Ransom Pinot Noir ‘Selection’

Fourth Course
Rain Crow Ranch grassfed Beef tenderloin with melted fennel and
roasted red potatoes with local pole beans
w/ 2006 Murphy’s Law Red

Fifth Course
Trio of Goatsbeard Farm’s cheeses and local berries/fruits
w/ 2005 SNAFU Red

Sixth Course:
Trio of Illinois Peaches

Roger Ebert on Food, Inc.

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Last Friday, Food, Inc. was released to an additional 90 theaters across America including Landmark’s local Plaza Frontenac location.  As my saying the movie is a must-see is as biased an opinion as they come, how about a snip of what Roger Ebert had to say about his viewing of the film?

This review doesn’t read one thing like a movie review. But most of the stuff I discuss in it, I learned from the new documentary “Food, Inc.,” directed by Robert Kenner and based on the recent book An Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I figured it wasn’t important for me to go into detail about the photography and the editing. I just wanted to scare the bejesus out of you, which is what “Food, Inc.” did to me.

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.

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Event: Midwest Regional Barista Competition

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In other Kaldi’s Coffee news, don’t forget they are once again hosting the SCAA’s Midwest Regional Barista Competition. Last year’s event, held at Third Degree Glass factory, was a huge success and this year’s is shaping up to be even better. Changing venues to the Soulard Preservation Hall, I’ve heard rumors that several baristas from local shops not represented last year will be competing. For coffeegeeks, this is exciting news, and I’m hoping it will add a new dimension to the local barista pool. However, with the depth of talent at the Crescent Kaldi’s, and two top five performances for them last year, Kaldi’s is still the local shop to beat.

Kaldi’s, however, has a formidable opponent in the PT’s Coffee crew who will once again be rolling in from Topeka, KS. Taking first and third last year, their barista, Pete Licata, took the the top spot before going on to receive second place nationally in the United States Barista Competition. (It seems Pete works for Kaldi’s now) Additionally–though not barista news–another strong showing for them would be like icing on the cake as they were recently named the 2008 Roast Magazine [Macro] Roaster of the Year.

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As for the remaining spot in last year’s top five, it went to a barista from one of Kansas City’s top shops, The Roasterie. Like last year, their competitors should be good and relaxed for the event as, even when they aren’t bagging trophies, they prove they know how to ride in style.

Full details on the competition can be found at kaldiscoffee.com, but the general break down of the weekends events is as follows:

  • Friday, January 30, 2009: Round 1: Day 1
  • Saturday, January 31, 2009: Round 1: Day 2
  • Sunday, February 1, 2009: Final Round

After the jump, check out Pete Licata’s winning performance from last year.

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Fast Food V. Slow Food

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There is a bar called Maryland House @ Brennan’s in the Central West End. I have never been there and honestly had no idea what it was until the owner of Pi, Chris Sommers, told me about a little something they do the first Wednesday of every month (that’s tonight). On that day (tonight I say) is Brennan’s Arguments and Grievances which is, in their own words, “a monthly event wherein the good citizens of St. Louis can stand up for the causes that matter least and, with their masterful oratory, command the minds and mirth of the crowd to decide the fate of such long standing and ridiculous feuds.”

Specifically Sommers told me about it because he was to be one of the opponents in Harley V. Vespa which you can catch online.

Specifically I tell you about it because (a) I’ve yet to make it and it sounds like a hell of a good time (especially if you could see a showdown like Jaws V. Jurassic Park) and (b) because the undercard tonight is a topic that doesn’t matter least to me, it’s Fast Food V. Slow Food with Sauce’s own April Seager taking the Slow roll of Carla Petrini.