Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Eating in St. Louis

This weekend my husband and I went to visit friends in St. Louis. Not to bore you with details of my mini-break, I'll simply tell you about a few of the delectable things we ate.

After arriving late (thanks to my blunder not leaving enough time to check our bags and being bumped on standby, twice), our friends D & A took Big N and I to a charming Scottish pub called the Scottish Arms. I had lamb shank with Bubble & Squeek (potatoes), A had the Steak & Stilton Pasty, and Big N, had the Sheppherd's Pie. But by far the winner of the evening was the Cock-a-Leekie pie that D ordered, a take on chicken pot pie with creamy soup, leeks, and puff pastry sealing in all the steamy goodness. It was delicious, and warmed the belly in the 25 degree St. Louis weather.

Night 2 we ate at a hip restaurant called Niche. The chef there is Gerard Craft (voted by Food & Wine this year as a best new chef). We each ordered the tasting menu. Winners on that menu were the scallops with popcorn jous, the "Reuben", which consisted of Rye flavored gnocchi, pickled cabbage, and beef tongue, and the lamb sous-vide with cauliflower puree. For dessert we had a the coconut kulfi, a first for me. I'm told that "kulfi" is a type of ice cream made from sweetened condensed milk. This one had a toasty coconut vanilla flavor. Needless to say it was rich but fantastic. Sweetened condensed milk tastes better than chocolate to me. We all enjoyed every one of the five courses, which were just the right portion size, however it was the sorbet served before the final course that especially caught my attention. The flavor was granny smith apple with rosemary. It was a beautiful shade of frosty green, was nice and thick, and had almost a minty apple quality to it. Wonderful. Both A and I decided to try to duplicate the recipe in our respective kitchens and report back. More on that to come.

Despite the cold, we had a wonderful time in St. Louis. We especially enjoyed D's home made Chai lattes. D made them by adding carefully measured quantities of cinnamon stick, cardamon pods, clove, and black peppercorns and mixed them up in his mortar and pestle. He added the spices to water flavored with fresh ginger, let those boil for a while, and finished it all off with black tea and milk. The chai made my belly warm and soothed my aching lungs. I will be sure to make D's chai concoction in our home this winter.