by Nancy Stiles
It's the last weekend before the holiday rush is officially upon us. Take advantage with some leisurely dinners at the Libertine and Vom Fass, or brush up on your cooking skills at Dierbergs or the Kitchen Conservatory prior toThanksgiving. Check out our food-related recommendations after the jump.
Friday (Nov. 22)
Learn to whip up some holiday dishes that won't put a strain on your waistband. There's the Christmas cranberry cocktail, Italian vegetable soup, kale caesar salad, parmesan crisps, pork loin chops with chutney pan sauce and fudge brownies. From 10 a.m. to noon. Tickets are $30, available here.
Sample holiday eats at area Sam's Clubs to help you put together your holiday dinner shopping list. Club members are invited to "try before you buy" several Thanksgiving sides, desserts, treats and drinks. Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Bissell presents its annual Christmas show, the interactive murder mystery A Christmas Killing. Shows are available on Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. from now through December. The cost per seat is $52.95 per person and includes a four-course meal with entree options such as an eight-ounce New York strip and baked white fish with an almondine sauce. Call 314-533-9830 for reservations.
Saturday (Nov. 23)
"So, by now we all should know the primo local tradition that is the Schlafly Farmers Market. Held weekly during the bountiful, warm months of spring, summer and early fall, this fantastic gathering of regionally sourced fruits, vegetables and assorted foodstuffs offers up the freshest products from Missouri and Southern Illinois farmers, bakers and food artisans. But when the cold creeps in on steel-toed boots, you don't have to forgo the market life. Instead, check out the Schlafly Winter Market, held inside the Schlafly Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Avenue, Maplewood) either the third or fourth Saturday each month from November through March (visit www.schlaflyfarmersmarket.com for exact dates). It's the same concept, same location, different season. Today's market is the largest of the year, with up to 32 vendors displaying their panoply of goods just a few days before Thanksgiving -- which, we've noticed, tends to be a rather food-centric occasion. Nice timing. Market hours are 8:30 a.m. until noon."
"In support of the National Children's Cancer Society, Beers and Cheers will pair a local craft brew with a similarly local and crafty comic. Andrew Frank, Kenny Kinds and Erik Anker will get you laughing with your drafts, followed by rock & rollers Bruiser Queen. Recently added to the bill is Gabe Kea, the host of Cincinnati's Go Bananas Comedy Club. He comes through St. Louis a handful of times a year, and every time he does the crowd wants to know when he's coming back." 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, available here, and $25 at the door.
"Attendees can expect to find a massive and diverse selection of more than 250 whiskies, including single malt and blended Scotch, bourbon, Irish, Tennessee, Canadian, Missouri, Japanese and other international whiskies. When navigating the grand selection of whiskies, attendees are able to go on a self-guided tour, visiting vendor stations throughout the ballroom, carrying their very own Glencairn whisky glass that they can use for the tasting. This festival of whiskies will take place from 6 to 9:30 p.m. (there's a 5:30 p.m. early entry for VIP ticket holders)." Tickets are $90, available here.
Continue for Sunday's events.
Sunday (Nov. 24)
Every Sunday night you can enjoy a feast of local produce and meats at Chaumette Winery in Ste. Genevieve. This week, it's vegetables in chicken broth; hearty autumn greens with herb buttermilk, croutons, and radish; braised chicken in an acorn squash bowl; and creamed leeks and cauliflower with egg noodles in maître d' butter. $18 per person, $7.45 for kids twelve and under. Call 573-747-1000 for reservations. From 5 to 8 p.m.
Love those mini whoopie pies at bakeries around town -- even Starbucks? Learn how to make your own with Conservatory staff member Christie Maggi. You'll make chocolate-chip cake whoopie pies with whipped chocolate ganache, pistachio cake whoopie pies filled with candied lemon buttercream, coconut-pumpkin whoopie pies with cream cheese frosting and chocolate cake whoopie pies with caramel-peanut butter filling. From 1 to 3:30 p.m. Class is $55; register here.
Chef Elizabeth Schuster of Tenacious Eats is preparing a three-course meal with wine pairings from Ionia Atlantic Imports. Start with wine-poached duck breast with wine-poached pear, mission fig and local greens with a Vom Fass Waldburg Star fig gastrique. The second course is braised and cherrywood-smoked beef short ribs, flash-fried kale chips, black garlic whipped potatoes and beef demi glaze. Finish with wine-poached apple, stuffed with brie and apple butter, baked in housemade pie crust with wine gastrique. Attendees will get 10 percent off any Vom Fass purchases that night. Reservations must be made by Friday, November 22, at noon. From 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $50 per person; call 314-932-5262.
For its weekly Sunday Supper, the Libertine's Josh Galliano is doing soul food. The three-course meal features oxtail soup, country-fried steak (made with the same batter as Galliano's famous fried chicken), neck bone gravy, mac & cheese and greens, and finishes with red velvet cake. Dinner is $30 per person; call 314-862-2999 for reservations. An a la carte menu is available as well.