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Posts Tagged ‘June 2014’

Best of Brunch: Hiro Asian Kitchen, Bixby’s, Half & Half

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

When the weekend rolls around, our minds are on one thing: brunch. We can’t wait to pass away a lazy Sunday at a spot where the people are friendly, the bloody marys are strong (and sometimes bottomless) and pretty much everything is crowned with a sunny egg or served with a short stack. That’s why our June issue celebrates the very Best of Brunch, our top 11 places to indulge in the best meal of the week.

Here, find out why Hiro Asian Kitchen, Bixby’s and Half & Half made our list:

 

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Hiro Asian Kitchen: 1405 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.241.4476,
hiroasiankitchen.com
Brunch: Sun. – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

When Asian flavors are on your mind, Hiro Asian Kitchen is the answer. Put a comb to that bed-head and hit up one of the most stylish brunches in town (with spectacularly snazzy décor to match). Hiro showcases contemporary interpretations of breakfast and lunch dishes from China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan and other Southeast Asian nations. You’ll also find familiar American a.m. fare reimagined with Pac Rim ingredients, like the parfait-esque sweet tofu pudding; the green tea waffle (pictured) drizzled with sake syrup and topped with vanilla ice cream, house-made coconut cream and fresh fruit; and the Kaya Toast, a Malaysian-style French toast with house-made sweet coconut egg jam and a fried egg on the side. Out late clubbing on Washington Avenue? Wake up with the Hiro Slinger, which features bulgogi beef, tater tots, chipotle mayo, spicy cheese sauce and an over-easy egg. From a pair of bloodies to the mimosa to the Lychee-lini, a modified bellini that subs puréed lychee for peach, the brunch cocktails here are filled to the brim with delicious Asian distinction. – L.F.

 

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Bixby’s: Missouri History Museum, 2nd floor, 5700 Lindell
Blvd., St. Louis, 314.361.7313, bixbys-mohistory.com
Brunch: Sun. – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Bixby’s is practically a St. Louis institution, tucked in a natural-lit corner on the second floor of the Missouri History Museum. Floor-to-ceiling windows ensure an unimpeded view of Forest Park, and among the after-church crowd and small family gatherings you’ll dine in a quiet bustle of activity. You can either visit the buffet to fill your plate yourself, or order as much as you want from the restaurant’s a la carte menu, then settle in while the staff brings it straight from chef Callaghan Carter’s hands to yours. In either case, you’ll be handing over $25.75 – and that includes a glass of Champagne.

We recommend the eggs Benedict of the day. During our visit, the big B included rich slices of Black Forest ham, a poached egg and locally sourced sunflower sprouts delicately arranged on top. Save room for a heaping portion of the bread pudding with caramel sauce (pictured), the capstone to this delicious – if staidly traditional – brunch experience. – G.F.

 

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Half & Half: 8135 Maryland Ave., Clayton, 314.725.0719,
halfandhalfstl.com
Brunch: Sat. and Sun. – 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Eggs and coffee are the heroes of brunch, and Half & Half knows how to do both equally well. On Saturdays and Sundays, it offers a special brunch menu of three items with fresh, seasonal ingredients and, as always, eggs. These, by the way, are executed with precision, whether they’re perfectly poached atop the Soft-Shelled Crab Benedict; scrambled to a golden fluff and stuffed in breakfast tacos with chorizo; or simply served sunny side up to finish The Mom Hash, an earthy mix of mushrooms, spinach, snow peas, prosciutto and carrots. Since the wait for a table can last up to an hour on weekends, pass the time by indulging in Half & Half’s excellent coffee program, which outstrips just about everyone else in town. The menu includes everything from pour-overs to cold brews to drip coffee to espresso drinks, all brewed from thoughtfully selected and delicious beans. Try the Rwandan Rulindo (pictured) from Handsome Coffee Roasters in a pour-over and you won’t be disappointed. – M.N.

-photos by Carmen Troesser

 

Best of Brunch: Atomic Cowboy, The Restaurant at The Cheshire, SoHo

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

When the weekend rolls around, our minds are on one thing: brunch. We can’t wait to pass away a lazy Sunday at a spot where the people are friendly, the bloody marys are strong (and sometimes bottomless) and pretty much everything is crowned with a sunny egg or served with a short stack. That’s why our June issue celebrates the very Best of Brunch, our top 11 places to indulge in the best meal of the week.

Here, find out why Atomic Cowboy, The Restaurant at The Cheshire and SoHo Restaurant & Lounge made our list:

 

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Atomic Cowboy: 4140 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.775.0775, atomiccowboystl.com
Brunch: Sun. – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Although this well-known restaurant and watering hole in The Grove opened in 2005, Atomic Cowboy’s brunch menu is a new innovation – which is good news for you, since the masses haven’t caught on yet. When we stopped in on a Sunday afternoon things felt a little empty, as if tumbleweeds might drift by.

But Lonesome Dove, Texas this ain’t, and whether you hitch yourself to the barnwood-and-brick saloon inside or the Quonset hut-shaded cabana out back, rest easy, partner – you’ve drawn a bead on one of the finest brunches east of the 100th meridian. Order the horchata iced coffee (pictured)– spiced with Grand Marnier and Kahlúa – and try the kitchen’s kinda-sorta border-country take on eggs Benedict, which sneaks grilled toast under crabcakes – carne asada and smoked salmon are also options – streaked with citrusy hollandaise and chipotle mayo.

Twenty-somethings, scenesters and those on a budget take note: You can be out the door for under $20 with a cocktail and brunch under your belt buckle. But don’t rush off – this place was made for the young and iconoclastic to gather. Saddle up and get out to your new Sunday brunch home on the range. – G.F.

 

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The Restaurant at The Cheshire: 7036 Clayton Ave., Clayton, 314.932.7818,
restaurant-stl.com
Brunch: Sun. – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

When you brunch at The Restaurant, here’s what to order when:

You’ve got Paul Bunyan’s appetite.
The prime rib hash with roasted potatoes is sauced in a flavorful, savory au jus, complete with poached eggs and horseradish hollandaise. You’ll be full until tomorrow.

Your mother-in-law is at the table.
The Bloody Caesar, a bloody mary with a shrimp garnish and gazpacho flavor, could be passed off as a meal, and after drinking one you’ll be too content to get defensive.

You’re gearing up for “Downton Abbey.”
Strawberries served with sweetened clotted cream, mint and honey is delightful. Combined with Sister Schubert’s biscuits, served to your table at brunch, it’s a smorgasbord fit for nobility.

You’re a grits snob.
Seared Alaskan halibut and over-easy farm eggs (pictured) is a stunner. The fish is perfectly cooked, the eggs are easy, the grits are cheesy and there are mushrooms and asparagus dressed in a citrus vinaigrette to make it healthy but magically delicious.

You have a sweet tooth.
The brioche French toast with lemon curd ricotta is a study in sweet. Roasted dates and vanilla syrup are tamed by tart strawberries and sharp, citrusy cheese. Or just get the bananas foster waffle – dessert disguised as brunch. – M.N.

 

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SoHo Restaurant & Lounge: 4229 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.932.5554,
eatplaysoho.com
Brunch: Sun. – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

New York’s skyline may gird the logo of SoHo Restaurant & Lounge, but the name means “Southern hospitality,” and the kitchen has assembled a menu to prove it. Though it operates as a nightclub after 10 p.m. on weekends, SoHo pulls out the stops for its Sunday brunch, a stellar procession of traditional Southern food crafted by executive chef Ceaira Jackson.

Skip the stark interior that caters to the club scene. Instead, make a beeline for the patio that overlooks Manchester Avenue and even features a couple shade-giving pagoda tents. The pacing of the service is a bit lax, but remember this is a lounge, people – plan to stay awhile. Kick back and listen to the music. Don’t neglect to order a mimosa (pictured) – brightened with a splash of pineapple juice, it’s one of the best we’ve had – while you wait for an order of catfish and grits (authentic, battered in cornmeal), red velvet pancakes (divine – they include vanilla cream frosting) or the chicken and waffles (crispy and sweet). SoHo is surely the biggest indicator that The Grove is the place to be on brunch day. – G.F.

-Atomic Cowboy photo by Elizabeth Jochum; SoHo photo by Carmen Troesser

 

 

Best of Brunch: Cleveland-Heath and Brasserie

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

When the weekend rolls around, our minds are on one thing: brunch. We can’t wait to pass away a lazy Sunday at a spot where the people are friendly, the bloody marys are strong (and sometimes bottomless) and pretty much everything is crowned with a sunny egg or served with a short stack. That’s why our June issue celebrates the very Best of Brunch, our top 11 places to indulge in the best meal of the week.

Here, find out why two Saturday options – Brasserie and Cleveland-Heath – made our list:

 

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Cleveland-Heath: 106 N. Main St., Edwardsville, 618.307.4830, clevelandheath.com
Brunch: Sat. – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Time for a pop quiz. Of the five total dishes on the small-yet-mighty brunch menu at Cleveland-Heath, which is the best one to order? While you think, ponder the drink menu, where choices are simpler. Lighter palates can order a delightful mimosa with fresh-squeezed orange juice, but for those wanting a real kick, order the CH Bloody Mary – the bloody to convert all bloody haters.

OK, time’s up. If you said the Lomo Saltado (pictured), a dish with roots in Peru but reminiscent of a Midwest slinger, you’d be right. Meltingly tender strips of rib-eye and caramelized peppers and onions are tossed with soy sauce and laid over a mountain of crisp shoestring fries (both russet and sweet potato), which is crowned with two over-easy eggs just begging to be punctured.

Of course, if you said the house-made cheddar drop biscuits and red-eye gravy, you’d also be right. Same for the stack of pancakes smeared with house-made tart cherry jam, sitting in a pool of maple syrup. Because the truth is that with impeccable service, hearty portions and unbeatable prices (each dish is $9), there are no wrong answers at Cleveland-Heath’s brunch. Class dismissed. – C.K.

 

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Brasserie: 4580 Laclede Ave., St. Louis, 314.454.0600, brasseriebyniche.com
Brunch: Sat. and Sun. – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If too many bad bloody marys and overpriced plates of scrambled eggs have tainted your love for brunch, Brasserie just might be your panacea. The service is exacting, the scene is classy but not stuffy, and most importantly, the food is always on point. Since being too full for something sweet is just sad, start your meal by ordering the French toast with lemon curd or the hazelnut waffle topped with seasonal fruit compote. Then, move on to the croque-madame for yourself and the eggs Benedict for your companion. After inhaling your croque, invite your friend to help you drag every last fry through all the deliciously decadent leftover Mornay sauce in exchange for a stab at her hollandaise.

If, like any true brunch-goer, you have a Pavlovian response to the pop of a Champagne cork, bypass the common mimosa in favor of the carefully concocted Violet 75, which adds gin, crème de violette and lemon to the bubbly. And if you find last night still has you feeling a bit fuzzy, there’s always the Corpse Reviver to sip and savor on the patio as you watch the world pass by, jealous of you and your reignited liaison amoureuse. – J.C.

-Cleveland-Heath photo by Carmen Troesser; Brasserie photo by Elizabeth Jochum

 

 

Best of Brunch: Best of Bottomless Drinking

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

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{The Bloody Ghost, a bottomless option at Gamlin Whiskey House}

 

You survived Saturday night. Still up for a few more? If you find yourself with a hollow leg come Sunday, we recommend the bottomless cocktails here for taste and price.

Vin de Set
Head upstairs to slake your mimosa yen, and since you’re there, try the Kir Royale, a sophisticated pour of Champagne and crème de cassis, a liqueur made with blackcurrants.
$12 for bottomless mimosas; $1 extra per drink for other Champagne cocktails. 2017 Chouteau Ave., St. Louis, 314.241.8989, vindeset.com
Sun. – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Jax Cafe
Your ticket to the brunch buffet also earns you one on the mimosa gravy train. All aboard!
$22, includes brunch and bottomless mimosas. 2901 Salena St., St. Louis, 314.449.1995, jax-cafe.com
Sun. – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Gamlin Whiskey House
In our February Nightlife column, we liked the Bloody Ghost – pepper-infused Jacob’s Ghost white whiskey and Zing Zang – so much we’re mentioning it again. Our favorite part? It’s bottomless on Sundays.
$28. 236 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 314.875.9500, gamlinwhiskeyhouse.com
Sun. – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Scottish Arms
You’re committed for 90-plus minutes to that soccer game – order yourself a generously poured bottomless mimosa while you watch the match in this classic pub atmosphere.
$15. 8 S. Sarah St., St. Louis, 314.535.0551, thescottisharms.com
Sun. – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Central Table Food Hall
With unlimited mimosas and unlimited bloody marys, this popular Central West End spot is a shoo-in for a hang-loose Sunday brunch.
$15. 23 S. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 314.932.5595, centraltablestl.com
Sun. – 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cielo
It doesn’t get any more elaborate – or delicious – than Cielo’s bottomless bloody mary bar, otherwise known as Mary Mayhem. Choose from about a dozen infused spirits, six different flavors of ice cubes and countless garnishes.
$12. 999 N. Second St., St. Louis, 314.881.2105, cielostlouis.com
Sat. and Sun. – 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

What I Do: Jacqui Segura

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

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No cocktail connoisseur is more dedicated to promoting the culture of the artisan beverage than Jacqui Segura, aka The Cocktail Ambassador. She took a breather from her frenzied schedule – holding down a day job in e-commerce and raising four kids – to talk about her favorite cocktail, hosting events for imbibers and what she misses seeing behind the bar.

When did you become The Cocktail Ambassador?
September 2012. About two years earlier, I’d met (bartender) Matt Seiter. The only thing I drank at that time was Ketel One and tonic. (I) jumped whole hog into this cocktail list he had. They used to joke that I was their ambassador because I would go around to the tables at Sanctuaria and try to understand why every person there was not trying to finish this list and drink these amazing cocktails.

What’s your favorite cocktail?
Negroni. I love the simplicity and its tolerance for mistakes.

What’s the stupidest cocktail you’ve ever had?
We went to New Orleans. I had a hurricane. I remember getting headaches. It was so syrupy and sugary and powdery and red.

What are your favorite haunts in St. Louis for a cocktail?
It’s so hard for me to separate bartenders from the haunts. I’ll follow Ted (Kilgore) anywhere. Kyle (Mathis) has done an outstanding job keeping the bar program at Taste going. I like Tony (Saputo) and Seth (Wahlmann) at Eclipse a lot. I think they’re always doing creative things.

Are you going for the bartenders or the cocktails?
I go for the cocktails, but I’ve had enough cocktails that I know who I can rely on to provide consistency. There has to be (enough) trust with the bartender that I can say, “I’d like to do a cognac drink tonight.” And that they know me well enough to help me push forward in a new area.

How does Boozy Book Club work?
I choose a book that’s cocktail- or spirits-related. I recommend people read it ahead of time – that’s just a recommendation, not a requirement. I find a bar to host us. The book club meetings are all about “tasting” the book. I don’t want them to know that they’re actually learning something. I don’t want to make it a lecture.

Why did you organize the Drink Like a Lady event series in March?
This craft cocktail community is heavily male-dominated. I wanted to involve the women bartenders in St. Louis. And then I extended it even further: Can I challenge these women bartenders to use women-produced spirits in the cocktails they’re creating? That was the extent of the instructions that I gave bartenders. From there, they could do anything they wanted.

Would you call the event a success?
My expectation going into that was I was going to give out 30 passports. To hear that Mandi (Kowalski at Planter’s House) sold over 300 of her Fujiyama Mama (cocktail) – I’m like, “Wow!” Next year, there’s no reason to limit it to St. Louis. I’m going to do a passport for Kansas City, Chicago and St. Louis.

What cocktail trends excite you?
A return to simple, core ingredients – three to four (of them). You really have to think about the quality of the ingredients. There’s one (trend) that’s gone away and I’m like, “Come back!” – the theater of preparing a cocktail. I love that. Part of my concern with places going to bottled cocktails and cocktails on tap and quick-dispensing things is that you lose the theater. I’m paying anywhere from $10 to $15 for a cocktail. I want a floor show with it.

What do your kids say about your hobby?
I had to fight less with them and more my image of what parents did. The idea of taking one evening a week and saying, “At 8 o’clock on Wednesdays, I am going to be someplace doing what I want to do” was a big step for (my husband and me). We were like, “Now, if you say you want to go to the gym and do yoga, that’s OK. Going to the bar to drink, that’s not OK.” I worried about that for about two weeks, then I was so over it.

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

Hit List: 4 new places to try this month

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

 

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Sweetology: 9214 Clayton Road, Ladue, 314.736.4800, sweetology.com

Just when you thought you’d exhausted your outings-with-kids options, sucrose playground Sweetology opens its doors. At this interactive retail concept, patrons young and old can get their hands sticky decorating cookies, cupcakes and cakes (including gluten-free varieties). The process includes stopping at the wish machine, which dispenses edible candy that you can write on and then insert inside your treat; using the frosting dispenser and mixology machine that will squirt out just the right shade of chartreuse; and choosing from nearly 200 sugar art options for decorations to turn that cupcake into a sugary masterpiece. Exhausted parents: Let the Sweetologists guide the kiddos through the decorating experience while you relax in The Drinkery with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Good luck leaving without a bag of candy tapped from a massive bulk selection that also includes all-natural and dye-free sweets.

 

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Lulu’s Local Eatery: 3201 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314.300.8125, luluslocaleatery.com

Popular food truck Lulu’s Local Eatery has found its abode on bustling South Grand. You’ll find hearty wraps and sandwiches filled with local produce and served up with scratch sauces, plus a handful of noodle and stir-fry bowls and even a kids menu. Followers of this lunch wagon will notice that many of their favorite rotating specials now have a permanent place on the brick-and-mortar menu. As for sides, expect to find us indulging in both the kale salad and tater tots. After ordering from the counter that’s sustainably outfitted with repurposed wood, head to the patio where you can admire vegetables and herbs growing in recycled yellow filing cabinets. Food this fresh, flavorful and filling – not to mention super affordable – will keep even meat lovers contented. Just wait until the meal is over to tell them that Lulu’s isn’t just a vegetarian restaurant; it’s vegan.

 

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4204 Main Street Brewing Co.: 4204 Main St., Belleville, 618.416.7261, mainstreetbrewingco.com

Belleville’s first brewery in decades towers above surrounding fast-food chains and mom-and-pop spots lining Main Street. The former Amarillo Tex now sports dark leather, gleaming wood and shining fermentation tanks. Order a four-brew flight from the seven options currently on tap (Make sure two of your picks are the saison and California Common Rye.). The meat-and-potatoes crowd will find a wide selection of Certified Angus Beef steaks and burgers. Among the many dishes with flavor twists, try the stuffed mushrooms with pickled beet-horseradish sauce. House-made whole-grain mustard spiked with beer accompanies a croque-monsieur stuffed with smoked ham, apples, shallots and caramelized aged white cheddar. An open-faced meatloaf sandwich is packed with flavor, wrapped in applewood bacon and smothered in gravy. For dessert, pair a chocolate stout with the profiterole, which eschews traditional choux in favor of fried biscuit dough.

 

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ArtBar Saint Louis: 2732 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.769.9696, artbarstl.com

This colorful watering hole on Cherokee Street is to the creative set what sports bars are to Cardinals fans. Art lines the walls and artists in all media are encouraged to use the space to perform, create and imbibe. Cozy up to the 54-foot bar and choose from 15 wines by the glass and nearly 20 local brews, or have the bartender craft a cocktail using small-producer spirits and house-made syrups. Build a board from a changing selection of local meats, cheeses and house-made pickles. Or fill a paper cone with the daily popcorn flavor. And if all that inspiration moves the artist in you, pick up the colored pencils and paper handed to you when you sit down and doodle away.

 

 -photos by Michelle Volansky

 

 

 

Best of Brunch: Big Sky Cafe, Cucina Pazzo and LHC

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

When the weekend rolls around, our minds are on one thing: brunch. We can’t wait to pass away a lazy Sunday at a spot where the people are friendly, the bloody marys are strong (and sometimes bottomless) and pretty much everything is crowned with a sunny egg or served with a short stack. That’s why our June issue celebrates the very Best of Brunch, our top 11 places to indulge in the best meal of the week.

Here, find out why Big Sky Cafe, Cucina Pazzo and LHC made our list:

 

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Big Sky Cafe: 47 S. Old Orchard Ave., Webster Groves, 314.962.5757, bigskycafe.net
Brunch: Sun. – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tucked away off bustling Big Bend Boulevard in tree-lined Webster Groves is the respite from everything that ails you on a weary Sunday. At Big Sky Cafe, you’ll find an uncomplicated menu, a friendly, attentive wait staff and a serene setting, whether you take a seat in one of the dining rooms or settle into a thick-cushioned chair on the patio. Dishes are well executed and celebrate the bounty of nearby farms, like the Farmer’s Breakfast (pictured), a fill-me-up platter of buttermilk pancakes, scrambled farm eggs, Todd Geisert Farms bacon and breakfast potatoes, the latter a thoughtful mix of finely diced russet and sweet potatoes. The house-cured salmon roll-ups, stuffed with lemony Claverach Farm sprouts and a parmesan-caper whipped cream, impressed with their fresh, savory goodness. If you’ve got a hankering for sweet, order the buttered peach French toast bread pudding with a dollop of airy Frangelico whipped cream. On the beverage side, little touches go a long way: The water carafe remains on your table; the Bellini is spot-on balanced; and the bloody mary, with its house-made bloody mix featuring local tomato juice and freshly grated, local horseradish, is the cleanest we encountered. – L.F.

 

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Cucina Pazzo: 392 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 314.696.8400, cucinapazzostl.com
Brunch: Sun. – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Dining alfresco is the only way to do brunch at Cucina Pazzo. The patio is shaded by trees and, on a cool morning, makes for a lovely place to tuck in. Begin with the Meyer’s Wakeup Call, an infusion of vodka, espresso and Rumchata on ice finished with cinnamon. The menu is full of Italian twists on traditional brunch dishes: the Chicken Saltimboca Benedict – breaded chicken, fontina, prosciutto, sunny side up eggs and a mushroom Madeira sauce on an English muffin – is satisfying and filling, especially with crispy pesto home fries on the side. Or share the Pancetta di Pazzo, thick-cut pancetta served with a jammy apricot and cherry mostarda, which has that salty-sweet thing down. But we especially loved a perennial favorite among the restaurant staff: Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes (pictured). Two pancakes are dotted with plump blueberries and ricotta cheese and topped with a frothy lemon zabaglione, which begins to melt the instant the custard hits the hot cakes. A modest drizzle of maple syrup and life-altering sea-salt caramel butter finish the dish. If you order only one thing for brunch, it should be this. – M.N.

 

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LHC: 3137 Morgan Ford Road, St. Louis, 314.772.8815, localharvestcafe.com
Brunch: Sun. – 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

True to name, nearly everything on the menu at LHC, formerly Local Harvest Café, is locally sourced or organically grown. It shows. Although its brunch lineup is barely two months old and cribs a bit from the regular menu, this is a hit-lister for anyone craving farm-to-table freshness (and a hangover cure).

Sip on Kaley’s Comet (pictured), an effervescent juice of freshly pressed kale, apple, lemon and ginger, naturally sweetened by the fruit. Order the Sunrise Plate, the restaurant’s fragrant berry kefir poured over granola and topped with banana slices, served alongside toast and sliced fresh fruit. If you’re feeling deeper hunger pangs, go for the cheese grits and Italian sausage, braised in spicy tomato sauce. The Belgian waffle, too, is worth your while. Currently, it’s studded with blueberries and served with maple syrup, both organic, and is enough to take you back to Sunday mornings at the grandparents’. In such a cozy space, expect this nascent brunch haven near Tower Grove Park to start filling up soon – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay a visit yourself. – G.F.

 

-Big Sky Cafe and Cucina Pazzo photos by Carmen Troesser; LHC photo by Greg Rannells

A Pancake Walk Through the CWE

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Three brunch spots near the intersection of Euclid and McPherson avenues in the Central West End are turning out unusual, stellar pancakes. While they’re all steps away from each other, they are miles apart in flavor. Here, the quickest route to first-rate flapjacks in the Central West End.

 

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Start at Cucina Pazzo and order the Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes. Easily the best brunch dish on their menu, these pancakes are also the restaurant staff’s favorite. It’s not an unheard of flavor combination, but here, it rises to new heights with an Italian twist. A dollop of fluffy citrus zabaglione begins to melt once it hits the ricotta- and blueberry-studded hot cakes. Fresh blueberries and a modest drizzle of maple syrup finish the dish, but don’t be shy about adding the sea salt caramel butter served on the side. (If you somehow have extra, we recommend taking it to go.) If you order only one thing at brunch, it should be this.

 

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Then, step next door for Cary McDowell’s dream-like pancakes at Gringo. They’re dense, moist and flecked with orange zest for a fresh, citrusy zing. McDowell serves them with a shower of powdered sugar and a little cup filled with cola syrup. This is a sensational short stack, and hands-down the most unique on our list.

 

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Ready for dessert? Of course you are. Cross McPherson Avenue and walk down to Dressel’s Public House for Guinness & Chocolate Chip Pancakes. Spiked with the Irish brew for a sophisticated sweetness and speckled with a bittersweet chocolate, there’s no need for syrup to sweeten them further. (Although if you ask they do have fine, local syrup available.) A cloud of freshly whipped cream and a side of bacon crown this dessert posing as breakfast.

-Cucina Pazzo photo by Carmen Troesser

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