Sunday, July 31, 2011

city review: chicago

the left and right coasts get all the media love regarding vegetarian cuisine, but chicago can hang with the best of veg-friendly cities. combine great food with less pretense and you've got a recipe for a truly exceptional city. in short: we frickin love chicago!

this place is legendary. the one absolute "must" vegetarian restaurant to visit in chicago. eat the veggie reuben. you won't find a better one anywhere.

Chicago Diner on Urbanspoon

native foods:
one of our top-five places in the country. we could eat here every day for a month and never get the same thing. and it would be delicious every time. completely vegan, completely divine. and don't forget to order the lavender lemonade!

Native Foods Cafe on Urbanspoon

karyn was recently featured in vegnews, so you know this restaurateur is legit.  if you can't find something you like at one of these karyn's locations, you probably need to see a doctor.  if forced to choose, we'd probably opt for karyn's cooked simply because of price point, but we've been awfully impressed with everything we've tried at all locations.  we're particularly fond of the lightly dusted and fried veggie baskets.

Karyn's Cooked on Urbanspoon

yeah, this place is a far cry from chicago diner in terms of aesthetics, but their commitment to local, seasonal veg food will make you comfortable enough to look past the pretense.  and, anyway, dealing with pretense is hardly an annoyance when you get to sample ingredients as unique as those found at green zebra.  this is truly elevated vegetarian cuisine, and you're always going to find something surprising.

Green Zebra on Urbanspoon

yes, we know this is an institution of meatiness, but trotter's flagship is one of the best restaurants in the world, and his kitchen takes pride in using the finest local produce available.  they offer a vegetarian tasting menu for about 150 bucks a person, but it's sure to be the singular dining experience of your life.  or at least it better be.

coming soon: native foods
chicagoans are in for a real treat when california's best vegan chain comes to town this year.  native foods serves up incredible food, huge portions, and the freshest ingredients, and everything is priced reasonably.  we can't wait to see what they serve up in chicago!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

city review: new york

many publications rank nyc near the top of "best veg-friendly city" lists (another list here), and there are certainly plenty of vegetarian options on nearly every corner of manhattan and brooklyn, but none of our favorite meals have occurred during a nyc visit.  this is not to say that you can't find good food; chances are, though, that you won't be overwhelmed.  (full disclosure: we're hardly authorities on food in nyc, as we're often more likely to choose a slice of pie than we are to sit down in a restaurant.)

we had a nice lunch here, for sure, but everything seemed just a bit too tame.  we'd have liked more spice on everything.  still, the space is tranquil and the food is healthful.  combine that with some delicious tea, and you have yourself a nice retreat from the manhattan streets.

Zen Palate on Urbanspoon

prices are fairly reasonable for an upscale manhattan restaurant, and the all-vegan menu is as diverse as you'll find in this area.  it's awesome that all of their ingredients are local and organic.  we recommend the grilled seitan burger.

Candle 79 on Urbanspoon

city review: san diego

a lot of people talk about the great vegetarian food in southern california, and though we certainly had some good food, we found san diego a bit underwhelming.  still, there are some highlights...

technically, this isn't in san diego, but it's close enough (escondido) and daggone good enough to easily justify the drive north.  we had one of the finest tempeh burgers we've ever had.  and although we love schlafly for all the ingredients they source locally, not even they can match stone's commitment seasonal and local produce.  it's difficult to exaggerate how impressed we were with everything stone showed us.  oh, and by the way, their beer is off the charts!

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens on Urbanspoon

this place is hardcore.  pretty much anyone you talk to about vegetarian food recommendations in san diego will tell you to go here.  of the veg shops in san diego, it's been around the longest, and it's the most philosophically radicalcommitted. whether you're interested in the teachings of sri chinmoy or just want a wicked good vegetarian meatloaf, jyoti-bihanga is the place for you.

Jyoti Bihanga on Urbanspoon

this is the first place clark ate when he visited san diego for the first time as an adult, and it's always on his list of places to visit.  the owners have been the same from day one, and they're in the cafe every single day serving local, fresh produce.  the food isn't extraordinary, but it's always comforting to know that every aspect of the food preparation is centered on healthful food.  try any of the "specialty burgers."

Veg n Out on Urbanspoon

other possible options:
a lot of folks swear by pokez, but we weren't impressed at all.  besides, it's not 100% vegetarian, and the care put into the food seems negligible.  at ranchos, there seems to be a more attentive chef/kitchen, but the food is just so-so.  again, the it's not at all 100% vegetarian, but you can find some decent options here.

Friday, July 29, 2011

ginger bistro

u city

it's a terribly confusing restaurant, for sure. garlands, tall vases of plastic granny smiths, landscapes hung seven feet up, geometric "modern" art in the group seating area... trying to make sense of it all, we sort of wincedstared from our booth, seated at a darkly varnished and "lacquered" table like you'd find in a chinese buffet. despite our head-scratching, we actually found it kind of kitschy. darnit, they tried.

the hostess was very friendly and warm, and our server was endlessly attentive and careful--almost personally concerned. even the sushi chef was chatting up customers and keeping everyone good company in the front end. the most striking part to us was that none of the staff's behavior seemed forced or insincere at all. we started to feel a little bad about judging their flower baskets dressed in prim bows.

as is our m.o., we had a certificate to spend so we went to town on ginger bistro. for sanakuu (starters... get it? :] ), we ordered the spring rolls, which were filled with deliciously crunchy lettuce, carrots, and piquant mint sprigs, folded in a tender but sturdy rice wrapper. the dipping sauce, while not as spicy as we'd hoped, was also quite nice--we even used the rest of it on a later dish. 

for entrees, we shared the curry noodles and the house fried rice. we were a little disappointed by the noodles. "curry" promises fragrance, warmth, and complexity, but we found this dish to be pretty flat. not only were there very few actual vegetables in there, but the noodles just didn't seem coated enough and the curry flavor wasn't fully developed. we're not sure what it is, but we've noticed a similar problem at other establishments in the city--that curry powder isn't being cooked or paired with other spices properly to really maximize its full flavor potential. we had much the same complaint with the fried rice: too few veg, unevenly seasoned rice, and a little light on flavor (what they call "delicately seasoned" is somewhat of an understatement). we did opt to add some fried tofu (which our diligent server assured was prepared vegetarian-friendlily), which made a big improvement to the rice. otherwise, the texture would have been too one-note: all a little soft, no chewiness, no crunch. but the tofu had a nice sponginess and crisp outer layer--just enough variation to save the dish, along with the hot sauce from the rolls. somehow, despite our pleading to kitchens across the city to make us sweat, the food still never comes out quite as hot as we'd like.

finally, just to taste, we ordered a side of szechwan green beans and a banh mi with tofu. the portion of the beans was quite generous, and we actually ate all of them smothered over our noodles and rice. perhaps a little salty and coated with that sort of off-putting gelatinous sauce, they definitely weren't flawless, but the beans themselves were fresh and crunchy and actually packed a little heat. the banh mi, on the other hand, was the blandest offering of the night--fried tofu on a loaf with a few greens (albeit fresh and yummy in their own right) just don't offer a whole lot of flavor or texture variety. more hot sauce and mayo should help, though.

we really didn't know what awaited us at ginger bistro before we went; overall, though, we were more satisfied than we expected to be. their menu is crazy extensive and the kitchen seems willing and able to improvise for the needs of vegetarians if you only just ask. if you're looking for great service, some bang for your buck, and a plate of fried rice in the loop... then this is your place.


vegetarian-friendly score:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

city review: bloomington, indiana

clark's hometown and lois's adopted town for grad school, bloomington holds a special place in our hearts. it's one of the only towns in indiana that's worth visiting, and thanks to the diversity at the university, there are a surprising number of vegetarian-friendly restaurants to be found.

clark has been eating here since the early '90s, and it's still one of his favorite places on earth. (note: this is the place that spawned all the laughing planets in portland.) sure, over the years they've become inconsistent, but they do so many things right that it's almost always worth your time. the zapatista is our favorite salad on the planet, just make sure you add seitan and guacamole to it. the burritos, of course, are the stars at laughing planet, and there are just as many opinions about the best concoctions as there are bloomington residents. here's ours: light black beans, spinach, kale, seitan, extra cheese, and no salsa fresca. it's not that the fresca is bad, but if you leave it in you're likely to have a burrito "blow out," which'll leave you forking up the remains. anyway, eat here if you eat nowhere else in bloomington.
Laughing Planet Cafe on Urbanspoon
known by some as the dragon lady, the owner of esan thai is one tough customer, but boy does she know how to do thai food right.  the place is as no frills as it gets, but it's not about ambience at esan thai; it's about the illest khao pad in the country.  seriously.  we order khao pad pretty much wherever we find thai food, and nothing has come close to esan thai's version.  order it "thai hot" with tofu, and prepare for thai bliss.
Esan Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon
bloomington's newest vegetarian addition, the owlery is 100% vegetarian, even going so far as to ensure that all of their cheeses are made without animal rennet.  it's just one of the reasons we love them; the others include the classic poutine and the b.l.t.
The Owlery on Urbanspoon
 the first time clark took lois to roots, she cried.  in the middle of eating her sandwich.  one problem is that roots is inconsistent; the other problem is that they decided to start serving fish.  when roots started out, they were 100% vegetarian, and the food was consistently good.  when the new owners took over, roots benefited from the addition of thai dishes, but they made a grave mistake by losing their purely vegetarian designation.  still, we almost always find time to visit roots while in bloomington, and we think you oughta find the time, too.  just be sure to suggest that they stop serving fish.
Roots on the Square on Urbanspoon
mostly meaty but noteworthy:
restaurant tallent is probably the best restaurant in indiana, and chef dave tallent consisently gets nominated by the beard foundation.  if you've got the dough, and if you let them know ahead of time, they're sure to whip you up some extraordinary veg food.  if nothing else, stop by for some wine and top-notch desserts.

upland brewery is a bloomington staple, and it produces some of the finest brews in southcentral indiana.  you'll be pleasantly surprised with the vegetarian options, too, and they even have a 100% vegetarian fryer. we enthusiastically recommend the seitan gyros.

city review: los angeles

so. much. good. food.  we actually prefer los angeles to new york, particularly if we're talking about vegan restaurants, and we're already planning our next vegan vacation to l.a.

easily one of the top five meals we've ever had.  it's rare enough to find decent vegetarian sushi, but to find transcendent vegan sushi is simply unheard of.  if you eat nowhere else in los angeles, make this place your priority; if you eat only one thing, make it the dynamite roll.  oishii!
Shojin Organic & Natural on Urbanspoon
if you're looking for really good vegan grub for a reasonable price, head to veggie grill.  we hear that lots of celebs pop in to veggie grill, but you won't be disappointed even if the place is empty.  they use gardein as the meat substitutes, and though we're ordinarily not fond of gardein (give us match meat, instead), veggie grill works some serious magic with the stuff.  the star: the bayou chicken.  the blackening of the gardein transforms it into something totally crave-worthy.
Veggie Grill on Urbanspoon
man, do we love this place.  it's crazy tiny, so seating is at a premium, but don't be scared away by the wait.  the food is definitely worth your time, and the prices are very reasonable.  take a bite of the club sandwich, sit back, smile, thank the gods for badass vegan food. repeat.
Flore Vegan Cuisine on Urbanspoon
we're so happy that this place exists.  tucked away in inglewood, this unassuming little cafe delivers the good for real.  how many places are you gonna find vegan soul food?  make sure to order kilamanjaro quesadilla.  this dish is epic, y'all.  you will need a minimum of two people to finish this thing off, but you'll enjoy every last gut-busting bite.
Stuff I Eat on Urbanspoon

all vegan, all the time.  not a single thing we've had at native foods has been less than exceptional.  you must try the scorpion burger and the nachos.  if you have room--though we doubt you will, considering how generous the portions are--try the saigon roll.

Native Foods on Urbanspoon
obviously, there are countless other vegan and vegetarian restaurants in l.a.  these are just the ones we think you oughta try first, and they all happen to be 100% vegan.  viva vegans!

search and devour: sweetart cupcakes

yeah, we know, sweetart has received plenty of press about their cupcakes, but we want you all to know that the hype is real.  reine bayoc whips these things up from scratch with all natural ingredients, and there's a flavor to tempt anyone's palate.  can't decide which one to devour?  go with the gluten-free, vegan chocolate-red velvet.  it's not as airy as the ones with gluten, but we dig the denser cake, and it loses none of the moisture.  we seriously don't understand how reine accomplishes such a delicate yet substantial cake, and her icings are even more baffling.  that woman is a magician.  now get over there and support those fine folks.  and eat a banh mi while you're at it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

search and devour: everything at puravegan

no need for a long review here, folks.  puravegan's food is all raw, all vegan, and all gluten-free.  almost anyone can eat there without guilt or concern.  yes, it'll cost you a pretty penny to get filled up (much like the owners' hummer...), but we're pretty confident that you'll have a helluva good time doing it.  if your order nothing else, be sure to get the tacos.  outside of chicago, you won't have anything else like them in the midwest.  and that veggie burger (pictured above) is mighty tasty, too, but we're even more in love with the housemade kale chips!

PuraVegan on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 24, 2011

search and devour: vegan brunch at black bear bakery

we've been eating bread and pastries from black bear bakery for a couple of years now.  whether we get it at a farmers market or at black bear's storefront on cherokee, the food is consistently good.  the other day, we bought a voicedaily coupon to black bear, and clark hopped online to check their hours.  much to our delight, clark spotted a tiny announcement of black bear's weekend vegan brunch [since changed to "neighborhood brunch," though we don't understand why they're no longer announcing the vegan-friendliness of the spread].  as you know, we're down with anything vegan, so we hustled over to cherokee for some chow.

choices ranged from fried rice with edamame to tofu scramble to fresh fruit, and everything was quite flavorful. of course there's toasted bread, too, but it was the fried rice that stole the show. in any case, you can get all of this spread for just 10 bucks, and for two bucks more you can get coffee or juice.  the bonus is that you get to support an awesome local business--one that's committed to local food and local people--and you get to hang out with their great staff (shout out to janette!).

(side note: the weekend brunch is totally vegan only on sundays; on saturdays, though there are still vegan options, you'll also find eggs and cheese.)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

future projects: food truck friday

not that we need an excuse to visit tower grove park, but we'll be attending the second "food truck friday" tomorrow night to sample as much vegetarian food as our budget (and bellies) will allow.  anyone else planning to attend?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

rap session with local harvest's clara moore

Picture courtesy of River Front Times.
a little while ago, we had the privilege to catch up with clara moore of local harvest café. we’ve seen her all around the web in many different capacities and wondered how such a busy chef makes time for all her endeavours. of course, we’re avid—and rabid—fans of her cooking, but her involvement in the community really made us curious to know more about her. she’s down-to-earth, passionate about food in every aspect of her life (and yours), and she’s one to keep on your radar.

on being approached to head local harvest:
i had quit mangia and was in mexico, was there for a while, came back and was like, “i’m sick of the restaurant industry! i’m never going back!” famous last words, right? i was running the mangia pasta factory, training some guys, but got a little bored of that. so i started working at the [local harvest] grocery store, just once or twice a week. it was my first time working retail, and it was pretty exciting. it was really nice to be around the food community but not having to cook. and they had a little food counter, like a sandwich counter, and i helped them organize that—train staff, things like that. so about six months later, maddie and patrick were like, “we’re really thinking about opening a café, and you’re the one we really want to open it.” i was extremely flattered, and i thought about it for a little while, and said, “sure! why not?” it’s exactly what i wanted and was looking for in a restaurant. i can’t really ask for more.

on a fortuitous connection landing her in mexico:
i ended up there out of a friend of a friend situation. i was looking for a reason to learn spanish; i've always wanted to be bilingual. i was just talking to somebody, and a friend of a friend had been down in [guanajuato] and stayed at a bed and breakfast that was looking for someone who spoke english to come work there. so, i emailed them, and they emailed me back, and I emailed them, and they emailed me back. and then they were like, “okay, buy a plane ticket!” sight unseen! it was actually really wonderful, beyond wonderful. the most amazing six months of my life.

on cooking locally and seasonally:
[former employer jim voss at duff’s] introduced me to cooking locally and seasonally, but even before that, my mom always cooked seasonally—went to the farmers market, stuff like that. i didn’t always know what that meant; i just knew that sometimes we got oranges and sometimes we didn’t, and sometimes apples tasted good and sometimes they didn’t. it wasn’t really introduced to me as a concept until i worked at duff’s. honestly, he wasn’t really heady about it, he just ordered from local farmers and it was a thing he did. and on his days off he would drive to the farms that couldn’t deliver and go get the best cherries and the best asparagus. it was his passion; it was amazing to see. he’d get really excited about good food, and you’d taste the difference between the asparagus we’d get in the winter and the asparagus we’d get in the spring. that’s when i started realizing, “oh, there’s a difference!” almost every restaurant i worked at subsequently didn’t really work seasonally (the ones i worked at in st. louis), because it’s too expensive to get from different farmers. it’s easier if you just get it from the same place all year long. it was kind of a sad number of years there where I worked at a couple of places, and i strived and tried. when i was the chef at mangia i got my way, which was nice. not as much as i do here, but i got to order from farmers and started relationships with farmers and things like that.
on her own vegetarian past:
i was, for eight years. started when i was 12. i quit when i went to culinary school. it was my choice to go to a really expensive vegetarian culinary school or a less expensive regular culinary school. i thought, i shouldn’t pigeonhole myself. anyway, that’s why we have a lot of vegetarian and vegan stuff, because i really find it’s important. even for myself as an omnivore, i only eat meat two or three times a week. i really think that everyone could limit their meat consumption, if not completely take it out.

on the vegetarian fare at local harvest:
control of the menu is mostly with me and the owners. pat will say, “i want this!” and we do it. the vegetarian dishes are intentional—we want options for people. the whole point is for people to come here and be able to get good food, healthy food, and it’s for all walks of life—vegetarians or vegans or omnivores. they can all find something to eat and happily coexist. it’s really, really important for people also to understand how to get more vegetables in their diet without just eating a salad. we actually have this joke here that omnivores make the best vegan food, because you’ve learned all the skills and you’re not just holing yourself into only vegan food. you learn how to cook, and you can adapt those techniques [for other diets]. so i’m glad that i [went to a regular culinary school]. i love meat now—i’m sorry, i probably shouldn’t talk about that!

on her many extracurricular activities:
i love working in restaurants, but, as you know, i’ve been frustrated before, and i feel a little boxed in. so i've been working on trying to write and blog, trying to expand the things that i do so it’s not just always cooking. i was listening to podcasts—i got a new ipod and was checking out all the podcasts. indiana public radio has eartheats, which has really wonderful podcasts. not only are they about food, but also food legislation and food safety, and political food stuff. you rarely find recipes and political food stuff in the same place. i really found that was important, and i really liked what they were doing. i checked out their blog and saw that they had a lot of different bloggers, so i emailed them and was like, “hey! how would you feel if i blogged for you?" and they were like, “yup, send it on over.” it was as easy as that, and it’s great.  
i’m spying on them because i really want something like that for st. louis. they just do a small podcast and a really nice blog. we could do something like that here, talking about more missouri or illinois issues. the political stuff i always find gets pushed to the wayside. nobody wants to talk about what’s going on. i feel like that’s sad, you can’t divorce politics and food… although…well, it’s hard because you just want to enjoy your food, right? i find you enjoy it more when you know what’s happening to your food and when you feel connected. there’s just a lot of stuff going on that the farmers don’t even want to talk about because they don’t want you thinking about that while you’re at the farmers market. for one, they’re passing a lot of animal legislation where you have to tag—basically barcode—each animal that’s born within so many hours. it’s really hard on the small farmer who has very little support, very little money.

on her old cookbook collection & how they’re still relevant:
i started collecting in antique stores and thrift stores. my collection started with old church lady cookbooks, from the 40s, 50s, 60s. that stuff’s passed down from before there was refrigeration. and then i have some old antique cookbooks from the 20s and so forth. i have a retired friend who lives in d.c. who likes to go hunting. so now i have more than i can possibly ever read. but i do go through them. there’s a lot of interesting stuff out there. it really does help me to work seasonally and also not waste anything.
there are even a lot of vegetarian recipes. pre-50s was a time of not a lot of meat consumption. this is just in the last half-century that americans are consuming five times as much meat as they ever did. there’s really a lot of stuff that is vegetarian, or things that just have ground beef in them that you can omit and still have a really good recipe. [my friend in d.c.] even sends me a lot of natural and vegetarian cookbooks because she knows i’m into that. there’s even older vegan cookbooks out there, amazingly.
it’s really interesting to see the fads and the styles. usually in the beginning [of the book], they talk about nutrition, and what’s the nutritional fad of the day. it’s really, really cool. it makes you put it into perspective. right now you think butter’s bad for you and margarine’s the best, and then ten years later it’s like margarine’s horrible for you, butter’s better, but lard’s even better! they don’t really know. so it puts it all in perspective, which i really enjoy.

on women chefs in st. louis:
i have a couple events coming up that involve other chefs, and i’m the only chick at both of them. whenever we do slow food’s art of food, i’m always the only chick there, of all the head chefs. i never really think about it, but i was just mentioning to a friend of mine—“oh, and then this thing i was the only girl there, too, oh my goodness!” i’m just so used to it. it’s such a man’s world that i’m used to being the only girl around. i don’t really have too many female chef friends. one, cassie vires, she helped open ernesto’s—she’s now working with feast a lot and does a lot of freelancing. and another friend of mine works at frazer’s, doing all their desserts and bread. she is also vegetarian, and she is incredible. her name is kim bond. she is hardworking and amazing and really creative. i mean, insanely creative. she and i actually, a couple years ago, held our own south city iron chef. she was like, “if we had a south city iron chef who would you pick?” i said, “i’d pick you!” and she was like, “yeah, i’d pick you!” we decided to throw one, and we did it in somebody’s backyard. we competed—she won. we’re supposed to have a re-match soon. that was a lot of fun. it was total chick power, it was awesome. 

some fun quick-fires, just to get to know clara a little better: 
strangest request while at work:
i’m sure we’ve had some great ones! oh man, i got nothing. generally we just kind of brush it off! it's kind of a daily occurrence. 

favorite childhood memory:
well, this is on my mind because i was just in michigan and went to the old beach that we used to go to. my mom would get us there with the last ten dollars in gas to go see my grandparents. it was the quietest, calmest area with a little cottage, a little quiet beach, and i was soooo bored when i was a kid. but i thank god that at least i got a week of that a year, to know what comfort and quiet and relaxation can seem like and look like. i miss [that] really badly. [being a chef is] all go, go, go. going back there was a big reminder. you do have to have a little respite at least every once in a while. i have a dog now, which helps keep me tied to my house.

top two bucket list items:
oh, i’m so impulsive that i’ve done most of them already! to go back to being bilingual—i was bilingual when i lived in mexico, but now i’ve completely lost it. so i would really like to live in a south or central american country and really reconnect with the language and reconnect with the culture, because that’s a beautiful culture down there. talk about basic food and basic needs and a really to-the-earth sort of thing. that’s on my scope…eventually. most of it just involves traveling. i just want to travel as much as i can all the time. i really want a house in the city and a house in the country so i can have it all. 

on St. Louis as a foodie city:
well, i’m a little biased, of course, because i know all the little niche places. but i think we’re doing pretty well. i was just in detroit recently—the city’s a little bit bigger than ours, but about the same level of stuff going on. but really exciting things. i think we do pretty well for ourselves. it’s a nice community and a supportive community, and that’s the important part: the support. i don’t think we’d be able to exist if we didn’t have a supportive foodie community. things like taste [of st. louis]… a lot wouldn’t be possible if people weren’t slightly enlightened. and thanks to feast, and sauce, and everybody that’s out of there—there’s a lot of blogs out there writing about what’s going on.
some days i’m like “come on, st. louis! let’s do something!” but i think we’re moving forward. i just hope we don’t get too far ahead of ourselves, and we kind of trend out of it or past it. i mean, the fact that sauce has been around for, what, 10 years now…and now there’s feast…they’re making a go at it. it means there’s a large community and there’s a lot of people who are interested in what’s going on. it’s a nice social network that we have here. one of the things maddie likes to say about st. louis is that you can have an idea and go do it here. and nobody else has done it! there’s a big, huge empty canvas in st. louis for you to write on and do whatever you want.

we agree with clara on how interested st. louisans are, and we really admire her pride and dedication to her community. clara reminds us how important it is to stay connected and that there’s always more we can all do. not that we or she are getting up on our soapboxes here—we’re just impressed and touched to find people who genuinely care about the happiness of others, people who use their creativity to spread joy. we know that if you’ve visited local harvest, this feeling probably sounds familiar. so, next time you go, be sure and tell someone what a cool chick you think clara moore is! she might even show you her motorcycle.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

farewell: terrene

terrene was the first place clark ate at when he moved to st. louis, and terrene was the first place he took lois on a proper st. louis date.  we've eaten many, many meals there over the last three years, but perhaps the most memorable was our last meal before they closed the doors for good.

because of our close attachment to the people, place, and food at terrene, we decided to document our last meal.  the food was extraordinary, which made the evening even more bittersweet.  there was certainly no shortage of tears. no doubt, we will miss everything about terrene.

beet salad
lois is gaga over fresh beets right now, so even though we just ordered this salad a week ago, we ordered the daggone thing again.  it didn't disappoint.  the highlight: the candy cane beets.  close second: homemade ricotta.

asparagus and fingerling salad:
fresh, green, light--this was pure health on a plate.  and don't be fooled by the taters, as they have plenty of vitamins and are highly underrated. oh, and that's a quail egg.  quail eggs are frickin good, y'all.

veggie sausage flatbread:
this was the very first thing clark ate at terrene, and he's eaten about 30 or so since then.  (and, in case you're wondering, he does share. occasionally.)  sauce just published the recipe for the flatbread, but we're willing to wager that the odds are slim to none that anyone can recreate terrene's perfect storm of flavor, consistency, and presentation.

veggie burger:
terrene's version stood only behind sweetart's veggie burger in our rankings (to be released soon).  chef mykey had been perfecting the patty and the toppings for a couple of months, and we're just terribly bummed that we won't get a chance to eat it again.  and, yep, that's an empty plate where once sat a veggie burger and some frites.  we were so anxious to eat it that we completely forgot about pics.  it can't have helped that we'd already polished off a bottle of wine by then and were having trouble fighting off the tears.
best. fritesfood. ever.  we may never have frites that match these.  rest assured, though, that we'll search for the remainder of our days.  for you, readers, for you.