Eating Locally in St. Louis

St. Louis is a great food city. Last night we dined at Terrene, one of our long-time favorites and one of the first "vocal" supporters of eating locally and sustainably (listing providers of their ingredients on the menu), reusing/recycling (bar floor was once the gym floor at a local boys' Catholic high school, table tops are made from recycled newspaper), composting food scrapes, etc.

Since we were headed to see Amahl and the Night Visitors at Union Avenue Opera, we selected a few appetizers to share rather than full dinners. I also had a salad with a poached egg atop mixed greens and caramelized onions and lardons. There is just something about breaking a warm, rich egg yoke and having it run all over the greens with a bite of the sweet-salty bacon that really gets me going - a masterpiece. Craig had a cup of the ham and bean soup that Elizabeth, our server, described as what your Grandma would make, thick, with a balanced smoke flavor, small pieces of tomato, and not too many beans, Craig's preference. We shared the veggie (slightly spiced, soy) sausage flatbread with sun-dried tomatoes and provolone. This rustic, chewy-dough small plate is truly a carnivore's delight and has fooled by meat-loving / soy-hating husband, son, father, and father-in-law. Quite an accomplishment for a simple flatbread. We also had the hand-cut frites, unquestionably THE best in St. Louis. They are nicely browned and perfectly crispy, slightly salty, creamy inside, and we ate every last one on the huge plate that is delivered with housemade mayo and spicy horseradish ketchup. Certainly both tasty, but never get touched.

While the most visually appealing appetizer was the citrus scallop ceviche, I must admit we did not finish it. Frankly, we just weren't thinking. This is something that would likely appeal to me in the summer. Light, sweet/tart, and the scallops were perfectly "cooked", it just didn't cut it - for us - on a winter night.

Terrene's wine list is well-organized by flavors - for instance, white+minerally+crisp or red+big+ intense, our choice of course, a reasonably priced Australian Elderton Shiraz.

And - on Saturday the foodfest continued. After running in the Frost Bite Series in Forest Park, we headed over to the now-indoor Tower Grove Farmers' Market and proceeded to Local Harvest Cafe, named Best New Restaurant for 2009 in River Front Times, for a late breakfast.

Talk about eating local. A chalkboard lists that 50% of the ingredients come from within 150 miles of St. Louis, and fun things like the (HOT!) pickled jalapenos I had on my egg/garbanzo bean/red potato casserole are made in house. Craig particularly enjoyed a rich, cream cheese stuffed whole-grain (Companion Bread) French toast. Three kinds of "help yourself" local Goshen Coffee is the java served. We love it - "Know Your Food."

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