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great food/dining on Labor Day

We wanted to go to Aria, and the messaging system seemed promising as they said they were open on Mondays. But, it wasn't meant to be. We scrambled for a little bit and wound up at Ecco very close to the end of their serving time.

We really wouldn't have known that we cut it close to the end of their service from how we were treated. It was a busy dining room for being Labor Day and that may have to do with the Midtown Restaurant Week.

We passed on the three course deal, but it did seem like a good deal for the type of food that I eat. Instead, we shared a few courses and had a really good time. We went for a five selection of cheese and charcuterie. All the selections (Cana de Oveja, L'Ulivo, truffle salami, speck, and a really good funky cheese) were awesome...except I forgot to ask if they make the charcuterie themselves. I had the stuffed piquillo peppers and my wife had the squid a la plancha. Of those, I really enjoyed the squid the most. I felt like the piquillo peppers were tasty and good, but I felt like it needed a little something more (it had acidity, beefy goodness, and richness, just another level of flavor from an herb/roasted garlic/bolder cheese). The squid rocked! For the main, we had the pappardelle with chili braised pork. Great dish that was well executed.

We shared a bottle of wine and when we looked at the bill, we just laughed cuz it was the cheapest anniversary dinner we've had in a long time. Or maybe we were buzzed from the good experience.

40 7th Street Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30306

Sep 10, 2010
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great food/dining on Labor Day

I'm in Atlanta from out of town for a wedding, and tomorrow night is the only night that we can grab a nice bite to eat. We have a car, so traveling isn't a problem. No restrictions either.

I'm looking for great food along whatever lines you consider great food; either farm-to-table, fine dining, modern American, etc etc. From what I can find right now, I might be limited to Ecco, Spice Market, Aria, 4th & Swift. In a nutshell, I'd love to find something or a chef doing food along the lines of McCrady's.

What else is available that would be intriguing and interesting for dinner tomorrow night?

40 7th Street Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30306

4th & Swift
621 North Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30308

Sep 05, 2010
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St. Louis Adventures

Gotta agree with DetectDave, Blytheville is about the only thing worth stopping at on the drive down I55. In Blytheville, there are about four different bbq places worth hitting. They are all off of the same exit. Just don't try to make the drive on a Sunday, as they are all closed.

In Louisville, I hope you start the trip with a stop at Proof on Main. Awesome food.

May 28, 2010
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Thanksgiving Restaurants Recs in Atlanta

We're visiting the sister in law in Atlanta for Thanksgiving, and we wanted to go out on the day of for a nice lunch. Originally, the plan was for Watershed, but they are closed.

It'll be a small group with a 1 year old who tends to be well behaved at restaurants, but not an extended meal unless he can run around.

Any other recommendations or suggestions of other websites that could point us in the right direction?

Nov 11, 2009
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Best Butcher in St Louis?

I can't find the info for the rancher, but you can find a number of grass-fed farms in the area. If you're in St. Louis, there are two guys that sell at Maplewood Farmers' Market that raise grass-fed cattle. You can also check into American Grass Fed Beef out of Fruitland, MO.

I'm a little hesitant to say the name of the rancher who I bought from, mainly because he might not appreciate a cold call. Who knows, so you could look in the Sparta, IL area and you could probably find him.

The other thing to do is to call the local butcher shops. They buy cattle from local farmers and they process their cattle. They know who does what, what breeds they raise, and how to get in touch with them. It might be tricky at first, but the people who run Wenneman's and Behrmann's are nice enough to humor almost any request.

7415 State Rt 15
St. Libory, IL 62282

the link is weird, but I don't know why their website doesn't come up anymore.

Just found out that they provide more goodies than before for the at home sausage maker.

Jun 27, 2009
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ChefCharles, I hadn't checked in a while, but I think Smokin' Al's is no longer with us. Bear moved out of town, and for a while, the building and equipment were for sale/lease. Has the place been taken over by a new outfit, and are they continuing with the Smokin' Al's bbq?

I agree with nosh about Pappy's, but I have to say that St. Louis does great bbq but some places do great St. Louis bbq specialities. CK barbeque has fantastic snoots, but that's a hike from where you'll be at. So maybe try OK barbeque on North Broadway, about half a mile from downtown. It's small and quaint, and their snoots are good. Also, rib tips are a great item not often found outside St. Louis. I don't have a great place to recommend for those, but maybe someone else will give you a suggestion. For a hike, try Smoke Pit BBQ in Collinsville because they have great snoots and Lil Devils.

May 27, 2009
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Midwest Restaurants Featuring Local Foods?

There are plenty of restaurants in the St. Louis area that focus on using local ingredients and farmers.

The two "locavore" grand dames of the St. Louis local dining scene are Riddles and Harvest. Andy Ayers of Riddles has even started a distribution company for local farm produce. Here's a brief rundown of St. Louis restaurants that focus on the farm to table:

Erato on Main
Edwardsville, IL

Maplewood, IL

Sidney Street Cafe


Schlafy Taproom

Schlafy Bottleworks




Cardwell's at the Plaza


Chaumette Winery
St. Genevieve, MO

Annie Gunn's

Apr 27, 2009
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Morel Mushrooms in St. Louis

Aaron Teitelbaum, one of the owners of Herbie's Vintage 72, just brought in 60 lbs of morels to the restaurant. They should be on the menu tonight!

Apr 10, 2009
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[STL] A loaded question.

I'm confused. So there are more interesting/funky/innovative/progressive/fusion restaurants in the midwest? Is that right? I'd hate to think of fusion restaurants as the pinnacle of a dining culture or worse yet, the standard on which to measure a dining scene.

Interesting. Well, that's a subjective term. Innovative, in what sense? Technique, style, flavors, dining options? Progressive. That's an intersubjective term dependent on what everyone else is doing. I guess that is pushing the envelope on what people will try and enjoy. Fusion. Fusion of what? And didn't that trend reach its apex with Jean Georges in the 90s?

I'm not dogging on the Midwest or the MidAtlantic or anywhere. I love the Midwest dining scene because it's a challenge to define yourself/restaurant (as opposed to working in New Orleans where you are somewhat confined to certain styles). The Midwest is a different dining scene than other cities. As individuals, we all come to the dining room table with different expectations and desires for dining experiences. We disagree, so what? There are definitely moments where you can point to a restaurant in another city and long for that cuisine to be in your Midwestern town. And there are moments where you can say that the Vietnamese (insert your preferred cuisine or restaurant type) food in New Orleans is more diverse or interesting or better than the Vietnamese in St. Louis. Do you see what I'm saying, the Midwest isn't bad. It's just different and doesn't have the same offerings as larger cities.

As for the availability of ingredients, we live in a global society. Just because the ocean is three days' drive from the Midwest does not mean that the availability of seafood is low. Also, the thought that fish in the Midwest is inherently old (I know you didn't say this Wildchild, but it helps the argument!) is wrong. Fish are caught, brought in to the Honolulu fish market, and they arrive on my doorstep the following day. The same goes for fish caught and brought to the markets in New York, New Orleans, Seattle, etc. In a counter example, the majority of food sold at our local bar is seafood. But here's the kicker, it is previously frozen. So, there's a balance that happens due to a frozen product: wide availability at an accessible price point, thus providing for affordable consistency. Midwesterners will buy seafood, but maybe it's on their terms.

The quality of food in Midwest restaurants is amazing due to this global network of purveyors (not always a good trend due to the large amount of gas it takes to get a piece of fish to the Midwest, but it helps when you're landlocked) and the incredible offerings from local farmers, ranchers, and foragers. That combination makes the food in the Midwest interesting. That's my opinion, like it or not.

Jan 28, 2009
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[STL] A loaded question.

Ulterior, it's not a loaded question. But you did mean dinner, not diner, right?

Maybe a little guidance in what you are looking for, but I'm sure you've already got a few places scoped out. Some places that might not hit the radar of your previous searches are Sidney Street and Erato in Edwardsville. I think you'll find the flavors and execution of their food to be on par with the food that you are used to eating during your travels.

Good luck! And if you need more help, you can check out some area sources:

Jan 21, 2009
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Raclette in a St. Louis restaurant

Check out for her version of raclette. You may have to go back one month in her archives. If you can convince those restaurants to get raclette, check on a domestic version made in Michigan called Leelanau. Fantastic cheese, and the aged version is amazing.

Sep 14, 2008
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St. Louis Metro East Recommendation

Erato. Erato. Erato.

You will not find anything else better in the metro East. I live over there, and I don't have anywhere to eat that fits your bill.

If you must try somewhere else other than Erato, please do not take your client to Lottawatta Creek.

Aug 28, 2008
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Need to find apple cider with no preservatives around St. Louis

There's a funny law that states apple cider must be pasteurized if it is going to cross from Illinois to Missouri. If pasteurization is not a problem, you can pick up Ringhausen cider from Tower Grove Market on Saturdays.

There are other options to check out, all of which will be without preservatives. First is Blue Heron Orchard. Organic and really great tasting cider. Since it's not pasteurized, it will start fermentation quickly. I know they have a website, but I don't have the info handy on me.

Next is Centennial. You can talk to them at the Maplewood Market on Wednesday or at Tower Grove on Saturday. Also not pasteurized and really tasty. They freeze their cider when they have excess, so it can be pretty handy to get to know Jean to find out what is in storage.

I've never had Breautigam's cider, but I've had their other fruit which is really good. They are located on Hwy 15 in Illinois, so if nothing else, it's a great day trip with the benefit of getting some good cider.

If you make the hard cider, would you mind posting a tutorial on one of the local forums ( or egullet? I would dig it, and I'm sure others would too.

Aug 19, 2008
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Somewhat casual, but soulful experience in St. Louis?

Katie, I'm sorry I personally can't oblige your dinner request, but my restaurant is closed on Sunday even though it's close to where you are staying.

So, here's my recommendation for soulful food to get you in the mood for your killer concert. Sweetie Pie's in the Grove. It's a meat and three place where you have cafeteria service. I'm from the south, and I love eating there and especially on Sunday because they have greens. I don't care for the candied yams, but that's because I don't like that much clove...everything else rocks from the black-eyed peas to the turkey wings. Here's a link to a review:

Sweetie Pie's is fairly close to the Fox, so it would be my first recommendation. The rest of the Sunday offerings is difficult to maneuver. Niche is open on Sundays, and maybe you could regale yourself in an early dinner and then you'd get the best of both food and music. Nowhere near the same category is Lemp Mansion that serves a family style skillet fried chicken dinner with all the sides for $16 (I believe, but don't hold me to it). Speaking of fried chicken, Andy White at Off the Vine has a Sunday special of fried chicken plus all of his regular menu hits.

Good luck!

Jul 06, 2008
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Who has the most inventive desserts in St. Louis?

Mathew Rice at Niche has great desserts, plus he has the bakeshop called Veruca. Down the street Christy Augustin has really good desserts at Sidney Street. The savory foods at both of these restaurants are worth looking at, and not just skipping them.

Jun 27, 2008
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places to buy pork belly in st louis?

I'm having some problems with this post; so if there is a repeat, I'm sorry.

DetectDave, I think we could go back and forth over the merits of all these butcher shops. Each of them are similar in their products and processing, as well as the great customer service. I can't get enough of the country smokies from Schubert's...phenomenal and addictive. So are the one's from Tom's.

I digress...rllevy, if you shop at any of these rural meat markets, you might want to take a moment to specify what you are ordering with whomever helps you. I always have to remember that these shops tend to call different cuts of meat a different term than what I'm used to. And, the first time that I ordered pork belly, I didn't specify fresh or whether or not I wanted the skin-on or off. The people behind the counters are really nice and helpful, so I'm sure you'll get what you need.

What are you hoping to do with the bellies?

May 27, 2008
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places to buy pork belly in st louis?

DetectDave, I think we could go back and forth over the merits of all these butcher shops. Each of them are similar in their products and processing, as well as the great customer service. I can't get enough of the country smokies from Schubert's...phenomenal and addictive. So are the one's from Tom's.

I digress...rllevy, if you shop at any of these rural meat markets, you might want to take a moment to specify what you are ordering with whomever helps you. I always have to remember that these shops tend to call different cuts of meat a different term than what I'm used to. And, the first time that I ordered pork belly, I didn't specify fresh or whether or not I wanted the skin-on or off. The people behind the counters are really nice and helpful, so I'm sure you'll get what you need.

What are you hoping to do with the bellies?

May 27, 2008
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places to buy pork belly in st louis?

The people who sell at Soulard do not buy from industrial packers, and not all of the Asian markets buy from those packers, either. Scott Harr (the chicken guy) buys his smoked meats from Behrmann's while the Dietz's at Soulard and Jay's International buy their smoked and raw pork products from Wenneman's, both of which are in Illinois and are small and family operated. Those two shops buy their animals from local farmers and they process animals for the locals.

For the farmers' markets, check with Karlios Hinkebein at Tower Grove or Maplewood, Bryan from Farrar Out Farm at Kirkwood, or look at to see who else provides pork bellies.

May 26, 2008
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St. Louis... what can't I miss? traditional food topic

I'm surprised no one has mentioned St. Louis BBQ. Yeah, you can get bbq anywhere, but it's pretty special around here. Let's here the favorite place for a pork steak, st. louis style ribs, snoots. SNOOTS for goodness' sake! Anyway, maybe bobzemuda will post about some of his favorites in that area. Over by DetectDave, there's 17th Street Bar and Grill in Fairview Heights (which would be a drive while you're in town). New to town is Pappy's, but get there early.

One other thing I've been digging lately is the boiled peanuts at the Soulard Farmers' Market finished off with a Blenheim Ginger Ale (careful, they sell a hot version as'll blow head off if you try to guzzle it like I did); maybe not particularly local, but it feels great to eat fresh boiled peanuts when you're homesick for the south.

May 07, 2008
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Springfield/Lincoln Museum Must Have

Is it the Cozy Dog that makes the horseshoe with the beer in the cheese sauce? Friends claim that only the horseshoe with the beer/cheese sauce to be authentic and good. There are other places to look into if you don't feel like the instant cardiac arrest

The only thing off the top of my head is Sebastian's, but they may only be open for dinner. I can't recall the name of the place...A young chef openned a place doing American comfort food with upscale twists. Good luck, as I know that was vague. Oh, on Business 55 on the way out of Springfield, there's some good bbq by the overpass inbetween the southbound/northbound traffic.

May 06, 2008
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New Orleans BBQ

Thanks for the advice with the bbq. I haven't been there, but with a name like Whole Hog Cafe, I would have had high hopes. Then again, with a name like that, it sounds like a chain. But I haven't looked into it.

May 01, 2008
jpg in New Orleans

New Orleans BBQ

I'm wondering what are the good bbq places in the New Orleans area nowadays. I'm coming home for a few days, and I was curious about the changes. I used to enjoy Hillbilly BBQ out on Jefferson. What are some others, and I don't mind the drive as I'll be stationed with family in LaPlace. Thanks.

Apr 29, 2008
jpg in New Orleans

STL: organic beef in bulk?

There are a few easy options. All of which you should be able to find online.

American Grass Fed Beef, near Fruitland, MO. It's a straightshot down I-55, and they make frequent deliveries into St. Louis for restaurants. Maybe they would help you out with that since it would be two hours from St. Louis.

Benne's Best Meat, St. Charles, MO. They are very close and very reasonably priced. They also raise chickens and pigs.

Hinkebein Hills Farm, in Cape Girardeau. Karlios sells pork and beef at the Maplewood and Tower Grove markets, should be easy to spot...he's a big guy.

Prairie Grass Farm sells lamb and free range eggs. Dave Hillebrand also sells at the above markets, and you'll spot him right next to Karlios.

There are plenty of other families that raise their animals sustainably/organically. Check at the local markets since there are a lot of them. The Kirkwood market has Farrar Out Farms which has excellent meats, but I can't remember if they do any red meats.

Good luck.

Mar 01, 2008
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American Lamb in St. Louis

Dave Hillebrand at Prairie Grass Farms raises lamb in New Florence, MO. He sells his meat at the Maplewood and Tower Grove Markets when they occur. I know he also sells his lamb meat to Local Harvest grocery store.

Good luck.

Feb 19, 2008
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Auto trip-St. Louis to Carbondale,Illinois

If you are taking the back roads, there's plenty of good diner-esque shops to stop at. On 15 in St. Libory, you can stop at Chickens. They do a buffet plus a la carte, but they make all their own pies. Plus, they are across the street from Wenneman's Butcher shop, which means you can stock up on something for the road or the way back.

In Addieville, there's the Eagle's Nest. Small restaurant/bar with a great fryer. We usually get the walleye, blue gill, or the whole fried catfish (personal favorite).

On 127 there's not much. The diner in Pinckneyville is about the only thing worth stopping for. There's two antique/salvage shops to stop at when you first enter Perry County. When you drive south, there's a guy on the right that sells sorghum molasses out of his house...not home cooking, but homemade.

I don't know if they are open this time of year, but there's a bbq stand outside the grange on 15 by Eckert's that sells tasty smoked pork.

Feb 13, 2008
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Need Quick Rec for St. Louis

I hope you found a place to go, as all of these guys recommended places that are closed on Mondays (Maybe I'm wrong about The Crossing). What did you wind up chosing and how was the meal?

Speaking of the other side of the river, I'm going out to Edwardsville this morning because I'm in dire need of some good bread and I haven't tried 222 yet.

Feb 06, 2008
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Recommendations for Lake of the Ozarks -- QUICKLY

I'm only in the Lake of the Ozarks for a few days for our honeymoon, and we were wondering what are some good places to go for food. We appreciate local, ethnic, and just damn good food. Non-tourist or tourist destinations are ok. Thanks.

Sep 11, 2007
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I know it's not a local maker, but I think the beef jerky from Asian food stores is addictive. I really love the hot fruit variety; I tend to buy multiple bags at a time because the first one doesn't make it out of the parking lot. It is made in California and it has different accent colors on the bags depending on the flavor, and it usually has a caricatured bull's head on the front with the same accent color and the type of flavor.

Jul 05, 2007
jpg in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Turtle Soup in St. Louis Area

The place to get turtle soup is in the metro east, over in the Fairview Heights/O'Fallon, Illinois area. On Saturday mornings in the fall, fire stations cook turtle soup in a somewhat German fashion and sell it until the soup runs out. So, you bring your own tupperware and get it filled up while helping support your local area firefighters.

As for other times during the year, I haven't run across any sign of turtle soup on a menu in St. Louis. I served it once last year for a week when I was longing for the kind of turtle soup served at Commander's Palace, and I was surprised with how well it went over.

Jun 24, 2007
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Looking for U-Pick Strawberries (or other produce) near St. Louis

Check last week's article in the Post-Dispatch for places offering pick your own berries. If you don't mind the drive, there are more places to the east past Eckert's and Breautigams. If you look on, you should be able to find a few in Illinois near Centralia and Mt. Vernon. There's also Living Springs Berries that is closer to Springfield, and there is Simonton Orchards is in Okawville.

May 21, 2007
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