News




Under the Moon: Tenacious Eats Moves to Eclipse

Monday, August 18, 2014   
Tenacious-Eats 500

Playbackstl - Theatre Reviews

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 9:00 am   

Tenacious-Eats 75We would be served a new course about every 15 minutes complete with a signature cocktail.

Tenacious-Eats 500

I have to admit something—I am not a foodie.

I am what you might call a basic eater. Burgers, steaks, and pizza make up my main food groups. So, when I had the opportunity to review the Tenacious Eats event I had my trepidations.

Tenacious Eats is the brainchild of Chef Elizabeth Schuster. She combines the two art forms she loves the most, food and film. The combination of the two is a natural combination. Most people attach deep emotions to both art forms.

I can't tell you the number of times I cry at the end of A League of Their Own when Dottie and Kit hug at the Baseball Hall of Fame. I know it's coming, but I watch it every time. Or in Pretty Woman when Edward rescues Vivian from the fire escape. I bawl like a baby.

Likewise, I remember the emotions I felt the first time I had a dinner date with my now husband, Nate. We met at City Diner and talked for hours. He had the fried egg sandwich—which I recommended. That meal took place ten years ago, and I still remember the range of emotions I felt that night.

Fortunately for me, Nate likes a wide variety of foods, so I had to enlist him to be my partner in crime for the night.

The tag-line of Tenacious Eats is "full contact dining." What Chef Liz does is create a five course meal based on the movie of her choice. Since June is gay pride month, she wisely chose to show, Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

When we arrived at Meyer's Grove, we were immediately greeted by the host(ess) of the night, Jeremy Whaley, who was decked out in his best Hedwig outfit. I got to spend a few moments chatting with him as we waited in the main bar. Energetic and charismatic are the best words to describe Whaley. I learned that each Tenacious Eats event is unique. Sometimes people come dressed in costume. Sometimes they have special backdrops for people to use as they snap a selfie. On this night, there was a sense of fun and frivolity as the patrons mingled in the bar.

We made our way into the cabaret where we were sat at a table with another couple, Bruce and Wes. Nate and I usually just keep to ourselves, but this was a special night and the four of us became quite friendly. Whaley took the stage and laid out how the evening was going to run. We would be served a new course about every 15 minutes complete with a signature cocktail created by Meyer's Grove owner/mixologist Dan Stoner.

I want to point out while this menu is heavy on the meat, Chef Liz can create a signature meal for those with food allergies or are vegetarians. You just have to contact her ahead of time so she can custom design a meal for you.

We were served our first course called:

"Hello New York. Hello Missouri"

Casing free, house-made German brat, red apple kraut, whole grain mustard, and local horseradish sauce, Busch Beer poached apple served on mini wheat bagel.

Nate's take: It was sweet and sour with the kick of horseradish. It was a nice way to start the meal.

Cocktail pairing: Caramel Apple Summer Shandy: PBR, lemonade, and a caramel apple vodka.

My take: While I am not a beer connoisseur, the sweetness of the drink left me looking for a refill.

__________________________________________________________________

While we were being served (and for each subsequent course), Chef Liz went into great detail about the dish. She talked about the ingredients she chose and why they were pertinent to the movie. Her passion for food is undeniable. Chef Liz and her staff, Chef Jake Alcorn, and Pastry Chef Steve Schmidt worked in perfect unison as they prepared each of the courses.

Second course:

"The Origin of Love"

Purple haze goat cheese tart, grilled romain heart, heirloom tomato, raspberry brandy coulis, fresh greens, herbs de provance, and house made brioche.

Nate's take: All the ingredients worked harmoniously, but the highlight of the dish was the dressing.  

Cocktail pairing: Lavender Sidecar: brandy, margarita mix, and lavender bitters with a sugar rim.

My take: I love margaritas. The bitters and sugar rim made this drink outstanding.

______________________________________________________________________

Third course:

"I've Got an Angry Inch!"

Mini braised pork belly mignon (wrapped in bacon) beer battered and fried. Bok choy flowers. Served with sweet onion, tarragon, mango, wasabi pickle relish and toasted barley salad, and plum hoison sauce.

Nate's take: The duck bacon was a delightful surprise. The pork belly mignon was tender and delectable.
Cocktail pairing: Tangria. Red wine, Fireball cinnamon whiskey, Tang, orange juice, and a Tang rim.

My take: This sounded crazy when Dan was explaining it, but it worked. The cinnamon whiskey came though strong and the Tang rim made it sweet.

______________________________________________________________________

We then had an intermission which featured a drag queen sock puppet show. The puppets were called "Socks in Frocks." After the performance, Thomas Cash spoke to the crowd about how they were auctioning off the sock puppets to raise money for PAWS.

PAWS stands for Pets Are Wonderful Support. They are an extension of St. Louis Effort for AIDS which provides education and services to people living with HIV/AIDS, so they can keep pet companions as long as possible. This organization is very near and dear to my heart, and I was happy to see people bidding on the sock puppets.

You can bid on the sock puppets on the Tenacious Eats Facebook page until June 28.

Fourth course:

"Hedwig, Would You Give Me the Apple?"

Wienerschnitzel, a la holstien, (veal, lemon, capers and farm fresh egg) with dill roasted mixed local beets and served with potato pancake, herbed sour cream, and roasted apple sauce.

Nate's take: This was the star dish. The egg was cooked to perfection, the beets added a tangy flavor, and the wienerschnitzel gave the dish a hearty taste.

Cocktail pairing: Gin and Tonic. Gin, apple bitters, honey simple syrup, lemon juice, and tonic with a lime garnish.

My take: This drink was crisp and refreshing. After the tangy flavor of the previous drink this served as a nice way to clean the palette.

_____________________________________________________________________

Fifth course:

"More than a Woman or a Man"

Duel layer cakes: "Hedwig" dark chocolate cake, layered with raspberry and Kirsch and cognac soaker. "Tommy" chocolate velvet cake, layered with cream cheese and lemon curd. Both cakes covered in white chocolate ganache.

Nate's take: Multiple layers of flavors combine flawlessly to create a depth that made each bite unique.

Cocktail pairing: Spice Cake Spritzer. Champagne with cake batter rum and a couple of drops of Jägermeister.

My take: This was the star drink of the night. Dan had me from when he said it had Jäger. The combination of champagne, rum, and jäger worked brilliantly with the rich dessert. 

While I may not have been the target audience for the courses served, I'm glad I tasted every dish. Chef Liz is an amazing chef. Anyone that can get me to try a goat cheese tart and wienerschnitzel deserves a culinary medal. Perhaps it was the fabulous cocktails that accompanied each course that loosened my palette. Either way, the entire night was visually and tastefully entertaining.

It is easy to see why Tenacious Eats has such a loyal following. Chef Liz's passion for food is impressive as is her taste in movies. I have been to several events where the food has been themed for the event, but this type of event is something special. The communal experience of watching a classic movie while experiencing new food combinations makes for a euphoric experience.

Ticket prices are $65 per person. For more information on upcoming events visit their website at tenaciouseats.com

One last note: Chef Liz and her talented staff are available for any mobile event. She can create menus for corporate events or private events as well. | Jim Ryan

You can follow me on Twitter @ReviewerJim

read more

How Chef Liz Schuster Interprets Mean Girls as a Five-Course Menu for Tenacious Eats

Friday, April 11, 2014 8:00 am   
teatstots
"Gretchen Weiners Had Cracked": housemade tater tots with Hebrew National all-beef wiener (get it?), buttered and grilled challah, fresh arugula and baby kale, tomato, cracked pink peppercorn and housemade Caesar dressing. | Nancy Stiles


Tenacious Eats is the most ephemeral of all pop-up restaurants. There's a completely original menu for just one night -- sometimes two -- and then it's gone forever. Chef Liz Schuster and her team create gourmet five-course dinners that will keep you coming back, even if you can't taste that local rabbit with with morel mushrooms, prunes, juniper berry, garlic, white wine and fresh thyme ever again.

See also: Tenacious Eats Blends Film and Cuisine

The craziest part may be, though, that all of this starts with gas-station fried chicken.

"We have Red Bull and gas-station fried chicken," Schuster says as she sits down at the spread in the back of Meyer's Grove. "It's kind of our process." There is also plenty of alcohol, candy and chips. People think chefs eat great, she laughs, but they don't.

On a snowy February evening, Schuster and her Tenacious Eats team -- Meyer's Grove owner Dan Stoner, emcee Jeremy Whaley and pastry chef Steve Schmidt -- are watching Mean Girls for the umpteenth time to work out the menu for an upcoming dinner. The team has already watched The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou to finalize the menu, which is almost entirely done. It rounded out Tenacious Eats' Wes Anderson series a few weeks later.

March 25, the first night of Mean Girls, was Stoner's birthday, and he requested the Tina Fey classic -- it just happened to coincide with the movie's tenth anniversary (feel old yet?).

During planning, though, when they switch from The Life Aquatic to Mean Girls, it's clear everyone has seen this movie about a million times. They're all reciting the lines along with Lindsay Lohan and company.

Schuster has a stopwatch to time how long they go between courses. Mean Girls is only 96 minutes, so the first course will probably have to go out before the movie even starts. There are a lot of cafeteria scenes in the high school flick, so several courses are Schuster's riffs on lunchroom fare.

"I want this to really be badass, so I'm thinking about making my pickled onions on a tempeh burger with spicy harissa," she says. "I think it would be fun to serve it with a really spicy harissa aioli, because they're like welcome from Africa! And harissa is a spicy African sauce. That'd be really fucking yummy to do my black-bean hummus with the tempeh."

Schmidt throws around the idea of some sort of Red Bull-based cocktail, since that's all high schoolers seem to drink. Well, that and Diet Coke. Schuster suggests having Stoner, who creates all the cocktails, pour the drink into Red Bull cans, but the tops would have to be cut off. "You just want to cut things and smash things and set shit on fire," she teases Schdmit. "We could use straws."

She goes back to the menu. It's the part of the movie where Regina George says she's only eating foods that have less than 30 percent calories from fat -- only to give up and get cheese fries.

"Kill me over this, but I love yucca fries. She's going to get cheese fries, so we could do nice little yucca root pomme frites," Schuster says. "I think that would be really, really, fucking awesome. I have to figure out what cheese I'm gonna use. I think that's kinda funny."

The "main" course (at Tenacious Eats, there really isn't a main course) is coming right after intermission, and inspiration hits to serve it in a cafeteria-style lunch line as guests file back into the room.

"And you could all be in lunch lady hair nets!" Whaley exclaims.

"I don't want to be a lunch lady!" Schuster faux-pouts.

"I think it'd be perfect," Schmidt says. "It'd be stupid, but it'd be funny."

There is some worry over diners thinking this means they can pick and choose their course. Schuster says nobody will say to a chef's face they don't want something; they just send nasty e-mails afterward.

"For The Jerk, some ladies Facebook messaged us and said, 'I can't eat escargot.' So we made them eat grilled cheese," Whaley giggles.

When it comes time for dessert (Spring Fling, of course), a haute Kalteen bar is obviously the way to go. Schmidt proposes a peanut butter and oatmeal-type bar.

"Maybe we'll make almost like a Rice Krispie kind of base with some oats and chocolate on the bar, and we'll cross it with a peanut butter sauce and chocolate ganache," he says.

After the menu is (mostly) hashed out, there's some logistics talk. After several hours, Schuster feels pretty satisfied and closes up her MacBook. She says it's probably the sixth or seventh time she's watched Mean Girls just for this event. But it's worth it a few weeks later when over 100 diners crowd into the back room at Meyer's Grove and gobble up Schuster's masterpiece.

tempehburgerteats
The tempeh slider, with house-made tempeh, spicy African harissa sauce, pickled red onion and oumou spread on a house-made herb-buttered wheat roll. | Nancy Stiles


yuccafrites
Loaded cheese fries, a.k.a yucca pomme frites with black bean hummus, flash-fried okra and goat cheese mornay sauce. | Nancy Stiles


teatscafeteria
House-made chapati flatbread pizza with roasted sweet potato puree, braised goat, sheep's milk cheese, shallot maitre d'butter, leek, kale and tomato plus spicy peanut collard greens with red palm oil. | Nancy Stiles


kalteenbar
The Kalteen bar, made of vanilla pound cake, caramel, steel-cut Irish oats, apricot, fig, dried cherries topped with a dark chocolate ganache. | Nancy Stiles


teamteats
Team TEats. | Nancy Stiles


You can get Schuster's one-of-a-kind meals at several upcoming film screenings: A League of Their Own on April 24, which benefits Dining Out For Life; Mamma Mia! on May 1; Steel Magnolias on May 11; Bridesmaids on May 14 and 15; and Forrest Gump on May 29.

After Much Tenacity, Tenacious Eats Gets a Permanent Home

Thursday, April 10, 2014 8:20 pm   
After Much Tenacity, Tenacious Eats Gets a Permanent Home

What may well prove to be one of the most unusual restaurants in St. Louis is just over a month from opening, said Chef Liz Schuster.

The doyenne of Tenacious Eats has signed a lease and is busily re-jiggering the interior of the former Giancarlo's Ristorante into her new HQ, to be called simply, Tenacious Eats.

(The eatery was originally going to be called Mutti, slang for "mother" in German, but Schuster relented, she said, and decided to keep the name familiar to fans of the Tenacious Eats "Movies for Foodies" experience.)      

The restaurant, which Schuster hepped us to here, will boast an open kitchen with no "fourth wall," as it were. "It will be a very large kitchen that is essentially one big open room," explained Schuster (below) last fall. "Everyone will be eating at the chef's table; all the tables will be chef's tables."       

"Diners will be able to smell everything as it cooks and take it all in," she said. "It is a huge kitchen with an unbelievably long hot line. We have 22 burners, a beautiful grill, and windows in the kitchen. You'll be able to look straight down the line and see me and all the cooks. I've been in some open kitchens where you can kind of see the chef's head, or only his arms moving, like it's a puppet show. We'll show you much more, all the action, food on the flame and the grill. There will even be some nights where we'll go out and cook on portable units on the floor around the guests, just because."         

Chef-Elizabeth-Schuster1The restaurant will debut with breakfast and lunch, and take its time before eventually opening for dinner, she added.

The menu will be a blend of the Eastern European influences that formed Schuster's early cooking experiences, integrated with locally available ingredients, she said. It will be "short, uncomplicated, seasonal, and changing."

For breakfast, look for the "Two-in-Bed" breakfast salad, comprised of two sunny side-up eggs, Marcoot Jersey Creamery Alpine cheese, Concord grapes, greens, and a dressing of hazelnut oil, champagne vinegar, and shallots. A shirred egg will be cooked in butter and served with pomodoro sauce. A blue cornmeal and Scottish oat pancake, will be "hearty and nutty," the chef said, "with a beautiful blue color," and served with local honey and maple syrup, and a house-made sausage link containing pork, chicken, and apple. Greek yogurt parfaits made to your liking may include house-made granola, berry compotes, jams, and almond and peanut butters.

Lunch will include croque-monsieur and -madame sandwiches, made with ham, cheese, and a dijon bechamel sauce on brioche, with optional fried eggs. Schuster is currently developing her own socca crepes, made with garbanzo and fava bean flour, and stuffed with goat cheese, fresh greens, and an optional protein of brisket or local Amish chicken breast. She may also bring back a fave from her Scottish Arms days, she said. "The Stinger" has bleu cheese and a slice of honeycomb melted together on grilled brioche, a side salad sprinkled with granulated honey, and a garnish of pickled grapes.

On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, the space will turn into a screening room for Schuster's magical "Movies for Foodies" experience. The themed menus-that-match-the-movie nights will not commence at the new Hampton Avenue HQ until July, said the chef. Her opening month of screenings will be a tribute to the late director Harold Ramis. "Ramis-O-Rama" will include dishes based on scenes from "Animal House," "Stripes," "Caddyshack," and "Ghostbusters."

leagueIn the meantime, you can continue getting your fix of these themed evenings in the back room at Meyer's Grove, where Tenacious Eats hosts events every Thursday (next up, A League of Their Own). Some of the most well-attended recent dinner-and-a-movie nights have included "Mean Girls," "Chocolat," "Amelie," and "The Princess Bride." It's hard to express the joy conferred when Schuster and aide de camp Wil Pelly of Sanctuaria whipped up 'Pizza in a Cup,' as Steve Martin's character ate the same in "The Jerk," screened earlier this year. Fun stuff.

Schuster did confirm that she will offer slices of the massive timpano drum-shaped pasta casserole immortalized in the film "Big Night," at both breakfast and lunch.           

"It takes six hours to make," said Schuster, "so we're probably going to have to start firing it at 2 a.m., and by 8:30 a.m. we'll be ready to sell slices of it. It's gigantic; you can cut it into 30 slices, and each slice is like a piece of deep-dish pizza. Each slice has layers of pasta, egg, salami, meatballs, cheese and all kinds of yumminess. It's dense and overwhelming."           

Offering the quirky dish was a goal of Tenacious Chef de Cuisine Justin Yarrington, who passed away suddenly last autumn.

The restaurant will also play host to a special Mother's Day brunch on May 11, featuring Dr. Dan the Pancake Man plating up his uncanny griddled portraits of diners, along with a screening of "Steel Magnolias."

bruleeSchuster also said that every Saturday morning, Tenacious will show Saturday morning cartoons and offer a discount for those who show up in their pajamas.

A chef without a proper home, Schuster has had to get used to finishing her elaborate meals with tabletop appliances at the kitchen-less Meyer's Grove. Having a sprawling kitchen with 22 burners and all the modern touches will surely be a relief from having to jury-rig the equipment in the back room of a pub.

"Yes," she conceded, "but by this point I've got the Meyer's Grove deal down to a science. It's not like I'm gonna rush out and start sous-viding everything, unless it's appropriate. But yes, more burners will be great. I'll have to get used to it."

Tenacious Eats
4915 Hampton Ave.
Scheduled to open May 13
Open for breakfast and lunch Tues. through Sat.
Open for late brunch noon to 4 p.m. Sun.
Open for "Movies for Foodies" events Thurs., Fri., and Sat. evenings starting in July
Closed Mon.
www.tenaciouseats.com

Tenacious Eats hits the diamond

"A League of Their Own," starring (from left) Lori Petty, Tom Hanks and Geena Davis
"A League of Their Own," starring (from left) Lori Petty, Tom Hanks and Geena Davis


Baseball, movies and dinner. It might actually not get any better than that.

Tenacious Eats, those so-hip events that show movies that are periodically interrupted for theme-related food, are next tackling baseball. Of course.

The next two Movies for Foodies events will be April 3, when the film will be "Bull Durham," and April 24 with "A League of Their Own."

The full menu is not yet set for "Bull Durham," but we do know the first two courses (out of five or six). "The Carolina Church of Baseball" will feature nachos made with peanut- and cornflake-encrusted chicken, sweet potato chips, a Carolina barbecue sauce, poppyseed slaw and a buttermilk-cheddar mornay sauce.

Course No. 2 is "I Don't Believe in Quantum Physics When it Comes to Matters of the Heart," which is beef brisket on a (gulp) Krispy Kreme doughnut bun.

The cost is $65 for each night, which includes the movie, five courses of food and five appropriately paired cocktails. Elizabeth Schuster is the chef; Jeremy Whaley serves as master of ceremonies.

Tenacious Eats events are held at Meyer's Grove, 4510 Manchester Avenue. Admission is $65 in advance, $85 on the day of the show. Seating is limited.

For tickets and more information, visit http://tenaciouseats.com/index.php.

Film series in league of their own, mixes sports movies, food-- a bunch of "bull" (Durham)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 / 5:39:00 AM   

What's your favorite baseball movie? Field of Dreams. Sandlot, Bull Durham, The Natural – the list goes on. Perhaps that's the reason why Liz Schuster (shown right) can't decide.

Liz Schuster, a certified chef with a degree from film school, has been trying to decide what baseball movies to include in her unique culinary film series, Tenacious Eats. Tenacious Eats is what Chef Liz calls movies for foodies, which pairs a movie with a multi-course menu inspired by the film.

"I have so many favorites because there's so many great baseball movies," said Chef Liz who decided to honor the Cardinals and baseball's opening day by spotlighting baseball flicks during April. " I finally decided on Bull Durham and A League of Their Own as our featured films for April. And I can't wait to do the menu because for me - every movie has a menu in it."  


Chef Liz plays off the selected film's action and dialog to create the evening's menu.

"Love Susan Sarandon's character in Bull Durham," said Chef Liz. " Her church of baseball speech has me thinking of taking traditional baseball food and adding a French twist. Maybe something like a peanut-crusted pork tenderloin with an AB beer brine."

When it comes to A League of Their Own Chef Liz says dairy and peaches will definitely be involved. She's also working on a course linked to Tom Hanks iconic line, "There's no crying in baseball." For dessert Pastry Chef Steve Schmidt works in concert with Chef Liz to develop the menu's climax. At the moment Chef Steve is thinking of something chocolate as a nod to Harvey Bars.

Tenacious Eats is staged at Meyer's Grove, located in the heart of the Grove Neighborhood. 

On show nights the doors open at 5:30 pm for guests to gather round the bar for a pre-show cocktail, vino or brew. Look around and grab a mini bag of popcorn from the old-fashioned popcorn machine stationed near the bar back. However, during April there may be an added attraction. Nachos. Why? More nachos are sold at Busch Stadium than any other major league stadium so I wouldn't be surprised if Meyer's Grove owner and master mixologist Dan Stoner doesn't include them with the popcorn. 

I'm sure Stoner would recommend a cocktail to complement nachos instead of beer. However, if there was nacho cocktail you can bet it would be handcrafted. Stoner custom crafts all the cocktails served with each course.

" I create a special cocktail that pairs with each course," said Stoner whose concoctions in past screenings have included infusions as bacon whiskey, absinthe laced champagne and herb scented wine cocktails. " Sometimes I get questioned about the drink combinations. But seriously - when the cocktails come out just try it because it's going to go well with the food."

Tenacious Eats Emcee Jeremy Whaley kicks off the show by welcoming guests through the black curtain in the rear of the bar that opens to a small theatre set with cabaret tables. Whaley guides and sometimes sings through the night's program as Chef Liz and her team (shown in picture above, left) cook and plate throughout the night in the small loft overlooking the theatre.

So how does one cook in the dark theatre? Flashlights – each chef has what I call a miner's flashlight attached to their heads/hats. Believe me it's something to watch, which at times can rival the what's on the screen.

"Dining in the dark lends itself for a very intimate evening," said Chef Liz, explaining how her menus are focused on simplicity and food done well. " The menu has to make sense and it has to taste good. When you're dining in the dark the flavor profiles have to be spot on."

Tenacious Eats' baseball series include; Bull Durham on April 3 and A League of Their Own on April 24, which is also Dining Out for Life. Cost is $65 and includes five courses paired with cocktails, the film and entertainment. Tickets are expected to sell out fast so it pays to grab your tickets now at www.brownpapertickets.com

Be watching for our Twitter contest to win two tickets to a sports movie and dinner with Tenacious Eats. @RobRains on Twitter.

--------------

StLSportsPage.com is more than just sports-- check out all our tabs, we have articles of interest to sports fans including: Travel, Food, Health, and Business

Follow @stlsportspage on Twitter

Follow @RobRains on Twitter

Edible Weekend by Sauce Magazine

Thursday, January 16, 2014 / 5:30:00 PM   
This Is 'Dinner & a Movie' ON 'ROIDS!! HaHa!

MAKE: We've been on a salad kick here at Sauce, trying to atone after all those sweet and savory holiday treats. But a foodie cannot live on kale and vinaigrette alone. So to indulge without going overboard, we turn to a recipe for Fried Poached Eggs Over Greens. The process takes practice: poach eggs in plastic wrap packets, then delicately dredge in breadcrumbs, pan-fry and serve immediately. But once you master this method, you won't want to top your salad with anything but these bronzed beauties. Get the recipe here.

GO: After the success of his last Pizza Takeover, chef Gerard Craft is at it again, this time inviting the chef duo behind Hog & Hominy in Memphis, Tenn., to take over Pastaria. Tonight, Michael Hudman and Andy Ticer are preparing a three-course menu of antipasti, pizza and dessert that reflects their southern roots with an Italian flair. Diners can choose one of three options from each course, with antipasti including Sunchoke Sformato (grilled radicchio, hazelnut honey and saba), pizzas like The Procellino (Brussels sprouts, mozzarella, olive oil, guanciale and pistachio sofrito), and gelato flavors including Parmesan or popcorn. Reservations are not accepted, so get in early, grab a drink at the bar, and start planning your dinner as the servers walk by with trays of food. $28. Wed., Jan. 15 – 5 to 10 p.m., Pastaria, 7734 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton, 314.862.6603, pastariastl.com

EAT: While dessert for dinner is decadent, six courses of pies is downright obscene. And we're OK with that, especially when the desserts are coming from Jane Callahan of Pie Oh My! who is partnering with Liz Schuster of Tenacious Eats to prepare the menu at the latest Movies for Foodies event. Diners can nosh on their resolution-busting meal while watching "Waitress," a film about a small-town server who makes mouthwatering pies. We'd pit hers against any of the creations Callahan and Schuster have up their sleeves, from sweet (Fallin' in Love Chocolate Mousse Pie: dark chocolate mousse, peanut butter creme, raspberry jam and caramelized bananas) to savory (Exotic Spanish Dancer Pie: potato crust empanada with chorizo, manchego, quince and tomato). And did we mention each pie comes paired with a cocktail? Hello delicious; goodbye willpower. Tickets for Thursday's screening are available online; the show starts at 7:30 p.m. $65. Thu., Jan 16 – 5:30 p.m., Meyer's Grove, 4510 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, tenaciouseats.com


LEARN: Shake up traditional wine pairings at the Saint Louis Beekeepers Honey and Wine Tasting at the St. Louis Culinary Institute. Attendees can sample single-source honeys from local, regional and international purveyors and pair them with wines from Augusta Winery and creations from the culinary students. Local beekeepers will explain how the environment and time of year in which a honey is produced create a wide variety of flavors and color. A silent auction with honey, wine and beekeeping goodies will also be available. A $10 donation is suggested, and guests can RSVP on the organization's Facebook page. Fri., Jan. 17 – 6:30 to 9 p.m., Culinary Institute of St. Louis, 2700 N. Lindbergh Blvd., 314.894.8737, saintlouisbeekeepers.com

GO : Just when we scraped the last of the polar vortex off the streets, The Loop is bringing it back in force. This Friday night, The Loop Ice Carnival kicks off with the swanky Snow Ball at Moonrise Hotel. For $30, revelers can cash in two drink tickets and dine on a lavish spread of a dozen hors d'oeuvres including bacon-wrapped scallops with porcini-thyme vinaigrette, duck pot stickers and, of course, snow balls. Be sure to stop by the New Moon Room for the beer event Hot and Heavy, which features six rare 4 Hands Brewing Co. beers like 2013 Bona Fide Imperial Stout, Barrel-Aged Raspberry Milk Stout and Peanut Butter Chocolate Milk Stout. On Saturday, the party takes to the streets; Delmar Boulevard will be awash with frozen-themed delights, from ice slides to ice carving. There's even a putt-putt pub crawl hitting 13 Loop dining establishments. Snow Ball tickets can be purchased at Moonrise Hotel; Hot and Heavy is open to the public. Fri., Jan. 17 and Sat. Jan. 18, The Delmar Loop, visittheloop.com

Total Information PM: Mixing Movies & Food With Chef Liz Schuster

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 / 5:01:00 PM   

Tenacious Eats & Pie Oh My! partner for "Waitress"

Monday, January 13, 2014 / 11:27:00 AM   

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - What is "full contact dining"? It's not dinner theatre, it's so much more.

Liz Schuster, from Tenacious Eats, has partnered with Jane Callahan, from Pie Oh My!, to present the movie "Waitress" at this theatre in The Grove neighborhood.

Tenacious Eats is an amazing, one-of-a-kind St. Louis venue.

Find out more: tenaciouseats.com

"Waitress"
January 16
5:30pm
Tenacious Eats
Meyer's Grove

Tenacious Eats Blends Film and Cuisine

Monday, January 13, 2014 / 11:45:00 AM   

mrduck.jpg
       Two words: duck butter. | Nancy Stiles

After a summer (and fall) hiatus, dining extravaganza Tenacious Eats is back in action. We stopped by Meyer's Grove last week to see what chef Liz Schuster has been up to and were pleasantly surprised by her presentation of Moulin Rouge!. Baz Luhrmann's 2001 musical has a cult following, which makes it perfect for an interactive viewing.

See also: ArtD Dining Tour Explores Culinary and Visual Arts

There were evil maharajas, confetti cannons and a live performance of the movie's only original song, "Come What May." Oh, and did we mention the Parisian menu?

mrcrowd.jpg
       Many diners were well-versed in the Tenacious Eats experience. | Nancy Stiles

Schuster, who started Tenacious Eats last year, creates a five-course menu (with a cocktail for each) around specific moments from the featured film. Sometimes this is more obvious -- Chocolat for example -- while other movies present more of a challenge (like A Christmas Story).

The series began with one or two movies a month, but starting with Moulin Rouge!, it's grown to two per week. The back room at Meyer's Grove, where the dinners are held, can only accommodate about 100 guests, and it's pretty cramped at that. The first night of the upcoming Amelie dinner is already sold out.

mrcrepe.jpg
       The hills really ARE alive with the sound of music. | Nancy Stiles

Emcee Jeremy Whaley explained how everything worked before the show began, and brought up Jane Callahan from Pie Oh My to plug for next week's menu. Callahan is collaborating with Schuster on an all-pie menu for the movie Waitress.

The first course, called "Bohemian Goat Herder," went with the scene where Christian famously comes up with the Rogers & Hammerstein classic "The Sound of Music" whilst dressed as a goatherder for a play. Schuster made a socca crepe filled with flash fried local goat cheese, local micro greens, shallot and apple and absinthe vinaigrette -- the scene also features Christian's first brush with the hallucinogenic drink.

mroyster.jpg
       The second course was oysters topped with a quail egg. | Nancy Stiles

"There's just a little absinthe in the vinaigrette -- I'm spoon feeding it to you," Schuster told the audience. "I'll get you to do shots later." Next was "He's Got a Huge Talent," to go with the scene where Satine mistakenly seduces Christian instead of a rich duke.

A French seduction requires champagne and oysters, of course. Schuster served cherrywood smoked oysters with roasted shallot, strawberry, champagne poached quail egg and baked Gruyere with a champagne-based cocktail.

mrsinging.jpg
       Whaley singing "Come What May." | Nancy Stiles

"All You Need is Love" may have been our favorite course: toasted brioche slathered with duck butter and topped with seared duck breast and Sauternes jam. Seriously, can we use that duck butter on our everyday toast?

After this was an intermission, where everyone retired to the bar, but not before a live performance. Whaley -- who had an unexpectedly amazing singing voice -- did a duet with his actor boyfriend of "Come What May," the only original song from Moulin Rouge! The song comes from the show-within-a-show, so the course was steak Parisian, Bearnaise and herb pomme frites.


mrsteak.jpg
The steak was paired with a cabernet-based cocktail. | Nancy Stiles

The final course coincided with the tragic ending (we won't spoil it, but come on, it's been out for years): a dark chocolate biscuit with strawberry and peach compote, champagne and strawberry sorbet and creme fraiche creme anglaise. Tenacious Eats is always open for suggestions, and we're really hoping Schuster takes the request to do a Mean Girls dinner to celebrate its tenth anniversary!


mrdessert.jpg
The chocolate biscuit. | Nancy Stiles


Next week Tenacious Eats will be showing Waitress on January 16, followed by Amelie on January 22 and 23. Tickets are $65 for five courses and five cocktails, available here.

Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at nancy.stiles@riverfronttimes.com or follow her on Twitter.

Tenacious Eats celebrates Moulin Rouge

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 / 01:39:00 AM   

SHOW ME ST LOUIS-


The Moulin Rouge event with Tenacious Eats is January 8th and 9th at Meyer's Grove in The Grove.

The address is 4510 Manchester Road. It starts at 5:30 and the show begins at 7:30pm.

Tickets are $65 a piece and includes a five course gourmet dinner paired with cocktails.

Visit www.tenaciouseats.com to get tickets or find them on facebook under Tenacious Eats.

Here are a couple of recipes that will be featured at the event:

Cherrywood smoked Oyster with quail egg

Ingredients:

6 count oysters

4 count strawberries

1/2 cup of champagne

1 shallot minced

1/4 tsp dijon mustard

6 count quail eggs shelled

2 Tbsp freshly grated gruyere cheese

1 oz thinly cut proscuitto

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Method:

Clean Oyster by removing muscle from shell. Leave muscle in shell and cold smoke oyster not to extend over 100 degrees F. Remove from smoke and allow to sit and room temperature for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl combine, melted butter, champagne and mustard. Whisk until fully emulsified. Add shallots and strawberries. Set aside.

In small nonstick pan add butter, and then cracked quail egg. Keep on low, cover with another pan till white is set. Place oysters on pan with salt. Place in oven at 400 F for 15 seconds. Remove from oven and cover oyster with strawberry and shallot emulsion, proscuitto, sunny side up quail egg and top with grated gruyere.

And serve!

Chocolate Shortcake Biscuits
Ingredients:
1-1/2 C flour
3/4 C coco powder
2 T sugar plus some for dusting

1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C butter, cold & cubed
1C milk

1 tsp Raw sugar and or finishing sugar

Method:

In medium bowl, combine flour, coco powder, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut butter into mixture until it looked like small crumbs. Gradually add milk until a soft dough is formed. Drop by heaping spoonfuls or desired size on a lightly buttered sheet pan. Sprinkle finishing sugar to tops. Bake at 425 for 12-15 minutes.

This Is "Dinner & a Movie" ON 'ROIDS!! HaHa!

Friday, December 20, 2013 / 10:28:00 AM   
This Is 'Dinner & a Movie' ON 'ROIDS!! HaHa!

This Is 'Dinner & a Movie' ON 'ROIDS!! HaHa!I'm gonna let you in on a little secret. This is gaining in popularity so how long it's a 'secret' remains to be seen, but on December 17th I went to Meyer's Grove in The Grove for one of the most unique dinner and a movie experiences I have ever had. "Tenacious Eats" Chef Liz prepares a five course meal, themed to a movie, in this case it was "Gremlins". I posted the menu (which also had 5 'themed' cocktails-nice touch!). You can also see from the pictures that the audience is treated to even more than the delicious food and a movie, in this case a Gremlins puppet show with them singing The Chipmunks Christmas Song (fun). The other photo is 'who is photo-bombing who'?!! I highly recommend this unique experience. The next time they'll do it is January 9th with foodies being treated to gourmet eats while watching 'Moulin Rouge'. Now that this 'secret' is out, I'd advise getting tickets soon (a nice Christmas gift) here's all the info you need http://bit.ly/1hrhDAp (and be sure to click on the photo gallery). yummy fun awaits! 

The Ultimate Guide to Thanksgivukkah - Part 1

Thursday, November 21, 2013 / 12:11 PM   

112013_thanksgivukkah2
{The traditional Thanksgivukkah menurkey. Yes, really.}

 

A giant inflatable dreidel balloon will make its first appearance on the streets of Manhattan during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. The Hanukkah toy is featured in honor of something you may have heard about: this year's rare overlap of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving, dubbed Thanksgivukkah by the Internet population.

People are making a giant fuss over the fact that the first of Hanukkah's eight-day stretch lands on Thanksgiving Day. The two holidays haven't coincided since 1918 and won't again until 2070, say those who know such things. What's more, the next time the first day of Hanukkah is scheduled to land on Thanksgiving is 78,000 years hence, should humanity survive to that point.

Thanksgiving is already an overload of too much food, but for families who celebrate Hanukkah with traditional fried treats like potato latkes and jelly doughnuts, it will be that much more decadent. A number of chefs, bloggers and crafters have taken to the Internet to unleash their shotgun amalgams of traditional Jewish and Thanksgiving tropes (Have you bought your "menurkey" yet?) to make the holiday a fried, sweet potato-filled, doughnut-y freak show. And many of the over-the-top dishes actually sound fantastic.

Earlier this month, Boston pop-up restaurant Kitchen Kibitz, which spotlights modern Jewish cuisine, offered mash-ups of "traditional Jewish foods with elements inspired by New England's autumn season: think pumpkin-seed challah, sunchoke latkes with sugar beet and pumpkin sauce, and pecan pie rugelach with chocolate gelt."

L.A.'s Dog Haus hot dog eateries are offering the Thanksgivukkah Dog, "a smoked turkey sausage mixed with bits of whiskey-soaked cranberries and brown-sugared sweet potatoes, then topped with tater tots – signifying latkes – and drizzled in apple-raspberry compote." Website Serious Eats dropped the obscene "latke-crusted turkey stuffing fritters with liquid cranberry cores and turkey schmaltz gravy."

Requisite doughnuts to be found include the savory, such as pumpkin-flavored doughnuts stuffed with turkey and your choice of cranberry sauce or gravy sold by a Manhattan bakery, and the sweet, like sweet potato doughnuts with toasted marshmallow filling. Need chocolate? Gobble up chocolate coins wishing you "Gobble Tov." And taking the foodie fetish to its natural conclusion, another site has provided a helpful Thanksgivukkah beer pairing recommendation list.

Here at home, local chefs have crafted their own Thanksgivukkah creations, even if some haven't made it to the plate just yet. The Libertine executive chef Josh Galliano said if pressed into service, he'd contemplate a kugel with seasonal persimmons or an ambitious turducken made with layers of matzo-meal stuffing.

River City Casino & Hotel executive chef John Johnson dreams of turkey Benedict made with a sweet potato latke in place of the English muffin, an apple pie with top crust of a transformed kugel, and mincemeat folded into the dough of a swirled challah. He said he intends to make sage-flavored jelly doughnuts filled with cranberry sauce and served with turkey and gravy this week.

The ever-creative executive chef Liz Schuster of Tenacious Eats said she whips up a challah stuffing for her family turkey that also incorporates Missouri black trumpet chanterelles, roasted shallots, garlic, toasted fennel seed, fresh sage and rosemary. She also wraps turkey legs in fresh sage leaves, turkey bacon and collared greens, then braises them in beef stock before dousing with a demiglace of Bing cherries, apricots, golden raisins and cranberries. The Jewish aspect of the latter dish, she said, is that the turkey bacon and the kosher beef bullion cubes she uses make the entire dish kosher. Schuster also has made a savory root-vegetable bread pudding with a challah base using oven-roasted shallots, mirepoix, caramelized mushrooms, custard and fresh thyme.

She has designs on matzo ball soup made with roasted root vegetables, a challah pumpkin French toast topped with toasted pecans and maple syrup, a baked apple pie with a rugelach streusel atop it, and a wild caprese dish using latkes stacked with cheese, tomato and sage.

Dreaming of your own sweet potato latkes and challah dressings? Inspired to tackle Thanksgivukkah in your own home? Check out part 2 of our Ultimate Guide for recipes, drinks and even decorating ideas. It's gets deliciously weird.

-photo courtesy of Menurkey.com

When a Chef Leaves Early: Justin Yarrington, RIP

Monday, September 9, 2013 / 10:50 AM   
When a Chef Leaves Early: Justin Yarrington, RIP

The relationship between an executive chef and a chef de cuisine is, in a benevolently ruled kitchen, something like that between a mafia don and his favorite capo. There is trust. There is responsibility. And there is a bond of loyalty that runs nearly as deep as blood, if not deeper.

The bond between Tenacious Eats Executive Chef / Owner Liz Schuster and Chef de Cuisine Justin Yarrington (left) is best understood by their headgear. The two would wear miners'-style headlamps to see what they were doing in the darkened back room of Meyer's Grove. It was dark because that's where Tenacious screens "Movies for Foodies," their inventive series of films "scored" with food. Schuster, who has a film degree, takes a half-dozen scenes from each film and uses them as inspiration for wildly inventive gourmet dishes served during those scenes.

During the "fizzy lifting drinks" scene from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, for instance, diners received house-made kombucha with mango puree and house-made ginger beer. Schuster turned a breakfast scene depicting oatmeal, scrambled eggs, bacon and toast from A Christmas Story into a toasted oatmeal brioche topped with a scrambled egg, Gruyère, chives, porkbelly and bruléed cipollini onions. She's screened dozens of films, and plated hundreds of delightfully unique courses. (And each course comes with a custom cocktail, courtesy of Meyer's Grove's Dan Stoner.)

The intense, gourmet fun is that much more impressive when you see how they do it. Sous Chef Jake Alcorn, Schuster, Yarrington (right) and cohorts have not had the benefit of major appliances on-site. There is no stove or oven at the pub. Tenacious prepares everything feasible ahead of time, and then uses various plug-in heating elements at Meyer's Grove.

And then there's the headlamps. And the whispering, so as not to compete with the film. And... the... timing. The course that accompanies a particular scene needs to be hot and ready on cue.

Under these bizarre conditions, Schuster and Yarrington learned to work in tandem, and to plate amazing creations for one-night film-and-food events to remember.

It was with great sadness we learned that on Friday, Aug. 23, Yarrington died suddenly and unexpectedly in his sleep. He left behind a wife and sons Quincy, 10, and Oliver, 6.

A service for Yarrington was held a week later at L'Ecole Culinaire in Ladue.

The school of cooking was the proper setting, explained Schuster, because "this [cooking] is our religion."

A group of Yarrington's fellow chefs, food writers, food educators, family, friends and loved ones convened to honor him.            

There, Schuster eulogized her friend as a "chef's chef," meaning "he walked into the kitchen without an ego and got the job done," she said.            

Others spoke eloquently of a chef's toil, and a chef's art.            

Yarrington's brother described Justin's approach to cooking as "a multisensory shared experience," and a series of artistic acts "perishable and fleeting."            

A visibly moved Chef Jack MacMurray, looking out from the podium at his fellow chefs, said that sometimes chefs have a way of going unappreciated, working behind the scenes and away from the limelight, but that this day was clearly different.           

A wake held several days later at Meyer's Grove would prove as raucous as the service was solemn. Chefs who knew Yarrington gathered on the back patio, drinking, smoking, and sharing unprintable stories about cheffing in the area.           

Yarrington's journey was not so different from that of anyone who falls in love with cooking and chooses it as a way of life.            

In a bio he wrote about himself, he said that it all started when as a child he  spent the holidays sitting in his Grandmother Mimi's kitchen while she prepared Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. He ground figs, salt pork and bread in her old cast iron meat grinder as she cooked and baked.           

Yarrington worked in restaurants most of his life but he would tell you that he first got serious in Seattle under Chef Jan Birnbaum at Sazerac. It was a tough kitchen to get into. After months of grinding it out in the back prep kitchen and earning his stripes they let him on the line. He learned to truly love, understand and respect food in that kitchen. He enjoyed curing ham, turning pork butt into tasso, cooking with woodfire and making "stocks of every color," as he wrote.  He spent many late nights with his executive sous chef learning new techniques, and sometimes they would still be there when the baker showed up in the morning.               

From Sazerac he followed Chef Birnbaum to Napa Valley to work at the now-defunct Catahoula in Calistoga, California.  At one point he helped coordinate the Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintners Gala, and getting out into the community to help people via cooking became a new passion.           

Yarrington and family would soon find themselves traipsing across New England as Justin cooked at restaurant and banquet kitchens in Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire, eventually winding up in St. Louis as a Regional Chef with Holiday Retirement. He found other kitchen work around these parts at Coastal Bistro, DMR Events, and Vom Fass, where he led cooking demos.            

It was about a year ago when Yarrington agreed to help out at an early Tenacious Eats film and dinner night, for a documentary about eccentric New York diner owner and cook Kenny Shopsin called I Like Killing Flies. Yarrington was excited by the concept of stopping the movie at various strategic scenes to serve related dishes. In a cooking career that may have become somewhat moribund for him, he'd found new inspiration.            

Schuster said that after the lights went up Yarrington picked her up and embraced her in a bear hug. "I don't even know you that well," she recalled him telling her, "but I have to do this."

Then she told him how lousy the pay was. He decided to stick around anyway.           

The two chefs became fast friends. They tried to outdo each other with wild ideas for movie menus.           

"Justin's favorite movie was The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover," said Schuster. "He wanted to do it for Tenacious Eats."            

"I told him, 'No way. That movie has too many disgusting parts. It has cannibalism!'"           

"Justin said, 'Well, we're doing Silence of the Lambs.'"          

"I told him, 'Yeah, but Hannibal Lecter was a foodie. And a locavore.'"            

The chefs were just having too much fun.

In the wake of Yarrington's passing, Schuster has vowed to soldier on.

"Justin would be angry with me if I stopped anything we had worked so hard on together," she said.           

In that spirit, Tenacious Eats will screen a movie beloved by foodies, the modern classic Japanese "Ramen Western" Tampopo this Tuesday, Sept. 10.            

The estimable Schuster is also prepping for the prestigious Taste of St. Louis Battle Royale chefs' competition scheduled for the end of the month.           

Then, on Oct. 10 Tenacious hosts an exciting version of Movies for Foodies with a different restaurant preparing each dish. The screening of The Princess and the Frog, a benefit for a children's charity Discovering Options, offers nine courses, each by a different restaurant. Chaumette Vineyards, Empire Deli & Pizza, Entre Underground, Harvest, Kakao Chocolate, Sidney Street Café, Three Kings Public House, Tenacious Eats and the staff at event venue the Thaxton Speakeasy form the nine competing teams. Nine bartenders will compete against one another as well.            

And, oh yeah, there's the big baby that Schuster is planning to have sometime this fall: Mutti, her new brick-and-mortar restaurant, will bow at a yet-to-be-named spot on the Hill, she said.            

Mutti will boast not merely an open kitchen, but a floor plan by which every single diner will eat within the kitchen.

"It will be a very large kitchen that is essentially one big open room," explained Schuster. "Everyone will be eating at the chef's table; all the tables will be chef's tables."               

"Mutti is German slang for mommy," she added, "and for the diners, being in the room where we're cooking, smelling everything, and watching the food get plated is like recreating what we've all had with our moms and grandmothers."            

Schuster said that the eatery will begin in gradual fashion by offering breakfast and lunch only, eventually opening for dinner.            

The menu is still being developed, but she did say she has plans to offer the famous timpano drum-shaped pasta casserole immortalized in the film Big Night  on a daily basis. It was a dream of Yarrington's, said Schuster.          

Yarrington's bio ends in a heartbreaking paragraph.            

"Thinking back to my professional experiences and my upbringing I find it difficult to describe my style of cooking," he wrote. "Southern-inspired New England cooking with some European influence? Whatever it is I now look to find it with my new chef, mentor and friend Chef Liz Schuster as we embark on this new adventure."

Five Unexpected Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day in St. Louis

Thursday, April 25, 2013 / 9:56 AM   
Five Unexpected Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day in St. Louis

One of the busiest days of the year in the restaurant industry, Mother's Day (May 12) will be celebrated at a number of local establishments across the area. After compiling a fairly tall and narrow list of Easter brunch options, we decided to go short and wide for Mother's Day events. Here are 5 to get you started, ranging from a traditional brunch to DIY locavorism.

 

Elaia and Olio

While Ben Poremba and his staff aren't doing anything "special" for Mother's Day, we're betting that the regular brunch you'll find at his wildly popular restaurant—it's Olio's space with Elaia's food—is more special than some places' special menus. The generic "soup and salad" label belies what's offered: chilled asparagus soup with yogurt and lemon, for example, and endive salad with cucumber, sunflower shoots, snap peas, and leeks. Burrata—a mozzarella ball with cream nestled in the center—is a must and could be paired with an Elderflower Bellini or a Bloody Mary, which provide vitamin A and electrolytes, respectively, according to the playful menu. Among the hot plates, you'll find an egg scramble with crispy sweetbreads and a revolving list of specials that live up to their names, even if they're not "special" to the holiday. Reservations are accepted and recommended. Still not convinced? You don't have to leave Olio to make the short journey across the street to Simone Faure's recently opened patisserie; you can start with a basket of La Patisserie Chouquette's baked goods, but mind your manners: They're for sharing . . . just as Mom taught you.

 

Laumeier Sculpture Park Art Fair

Over Mother's Day weekend, the 26th Annual Art Fair at Laumeier Sculpture Park will take place, offering you and Mom an opportunity to browse more than 150 artists' wares in the park, accompanied by live music, while sampling food and drink along the way. If your mother likes wine, treat her to The Art of the Vine on Friday night. Or if she's more of a beer drinker and wants to meet Schlafly's brewers and co-founders, there's The Art of the Ale on Saturday. For more traditional mothers, desiring a more traditional celebration, Whole Foods will present a Mother's Day brunch at the fair on Sunday; two seatings are available, at 10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. The brunch buffet costs $35 per adult ($25 for park members), $10 per child (ages 6 to 11), and is free for children under 5. Brunch tickets include Art Fair admission and must be purchased in advance.

 

Claverach Farm

Whoever decided that Mother's Day had to be celebrated in the morning or early afternoon didn't know about Claverach Farm's Sunday Suppers. At least once a month, the farm's Sam Hilmer and Joanna Duley host guests in a refurbished barn on their working farm. Suppers begin at 5 p.m., with an aperitif from the farm's vineyard, followed by a family-style, multi-course dinner prepared from whatever happens to be sprouting, growing, or "laying" around the farm. Current seasonal items, for example, might include sunflower, radish, and pea shoots, as well as pasture-raised eggs. For your sake, we hope one of their flatbreads is on the menu, since the pizza oven, located front and center in the barn, turns out addictively amazing breads. Don't spoil your dinner, Mom would probably tell you, but she's going to have a hard time herself moderating the carb consumption. The Mother's Day dinner is the only Sunday Supper in May—reason enough to fête your mom at one of St. Louis' most charming dining destinations. Dinners run $60 per person, and reservations can be made via email at claverachevents@gmail.com.

 

Tenacious Eats

On the Tuesday before Mother's Day (May 7), the talented trio that is Tenacious Eats—Liz Schuster, Justin Yarrington, and Jake Alcorn—will cook (and probably sing and dance) alongside the mother of all camp movies, Serial Mom. Schuster chose John Waters' flick over Mommie Dearest because, she said, the director, like Hitchcock, makes you use your imagination. "It's what you don't see that makes it more terrible," Schuster enthused. Offerings will most likely include wasabi deviled eggs and fried nori chips with a Sriracha glaze—a culinary representation of the main character's dichotomy ("proper Wasp meets evil"). Schuster is also considering serving something from a Jell-O mold that "looks normal and 'Wonder Bread' but tastes evil . . . and delicious," and cereal-encrusted quail or pork belly. The chef's "quirky and awesome and weird" mom will be in attendance along with her son who regularly works as a server, so the event will be truly cross-generational. Also "crossed" will be some of the dressing that night, with either Yarrington or Alcorn costumed as Kathleen Turner's signature crazed character. For those whose moms' tastes run more classic than camp, the May 14 Tenacious Eats event will air Breakfast at Tiffany's. Dinners are $55 per guest and can be purchased through Brown Paper Tickets

 

Tower Grove Farmers' Market

While Mother's Day provides a good reason to take Mom somewhere special, why not cook for her? After all, she might be the reason why you can cook well in the first place—either by spending countless hours in the kitchen sharing her secrets or, like food writer Ruth Reichl's mom, nearly poisoning you as a child so that you grew up determined to get that whole culinary thing right. Make a weekend out of the holiday by starting out on Saturday at the Tower Grove Farmers' Market, which opens for the season on May 4, and meander past the stalls, deciding what local, seasonal fare looks best. For ideas of what to do with all that food, stop by Kitchen Kulture's booth, where you can not only buy prepared foods, but also learn from Mike Miller and Chris Meyer about how to use what's available at the market. Since they source directly from the market's farmers and the season thus far has been so wet, Meyer said that she and Miller don't know yet exactly what they'll have; like last year, however, they'll  do "something special for Mom." Cured trout, brined chicken breasts, ramp pasta, and ramp-goat-cheese tart will most likely be on the menu. The theme, Meyer explains, is "cooking for Mom to take the work out of her day." (Check Kitchen Kulture's Facebook page and website closer to Mother's Day for what will be available.)

If cheese is on your Mother's Day menu, make sure to visit Baetje Farms' and Marcoot Jersey Creamery's stalls at the market. For produce and mushrooms, you can choose among EarthDance Farms, Hot Skillets Farm, and Ozark Forest Mushrooms, while carnivores should seek out Missouri Grass Fed Beef, Live Springs Farm, and Salume Beddu.  For dessert—either in the moment or after the meal—stop by Pie Oh My!, Whisk, and Kakao Chocolate.

What could be more appropriate on Mom's national holiday than expressing your love, thanks, and appreciation for her through the simple act of cooking? That you can also support some fantastic local producers, chefs, and artisans in the process is icing on the (locally sourced), homemade cake.

25 Years of A Tasteful Affair

Friday, April 12, 2013 / 1:25 PM   

Imagine spending an afternoon with Food Outreach, St. Louis Magazine and great friends, in a breathtaking space, and eating spectacular food.  This was all bundled up into A Tasteful Affair 25—celebrating 25 years—at the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel Ballroom on April 7!

With access to the outdoor patio giving an amazing view of the cityscape, more than 1,000 guests were able to mingle amongst themselves and other supporters, and enjoy tastings from over 40 local area restaurants. Not only was the food great, but the drinks had pizazz too.  And while guests were perusing the cocktails and cuisine, a silent auction was being held that offered tickets to sporting events, beauty enhancements, one-of-a-kind experiences, and even vacation packages!

St. Louis Magazine Dining Editor George Mahe and Dining Contributor Ann Pollack in partnership with Sauce Magazine Managing Editor Stacy Schultz were assigned the "tough" job of selecting a winner in the categories of savory, sweet and decor among the food vendors at the event. Who won? Gregory's Creative Cuisine won in the category of savory, Tenacious Eats won for sweet, and Pairings A Catering Company won for their booth decor. 

Food Outreach has spent the past 25 years providing nutritional support and enhancing the quality of life for men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS or cancer in the St. Louis area.  Those who purchased VIP tickets to A Tasteful Affair 25 spent their afternoon in a private lounge, with complimentary drinks, upscale food tastings, and even fun entertainment— the perfect way to help a good cause!

Head over to St. Louis Magazine's party pics to view all the fun for yourself.  You'll be sure to mark A Tasteful Affair on your calendar for years to come!