by Nancy Stiles
Despite the roller coaster that has been this week, you can still get out and about this weekend. Patronize your favorite restaurants on North Florissant Road, or escape to the country with Chaumette Vineyards and Baetje Farms. Keep calm and eat on -- check out our food-related recommendations after the jump.
Friday (Aug. 15):
The Dam has made quite a name for itself in just a year. Come celebrate with burgers -- there will be slider versions of the double cheeseburger, the Animal and the Dam burgers, plus a potato-peeling contest and drink specials at Amsterdam Tavern. It's $10 to enter the contest, which benefits Lift for Life. From 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free.
Saturday (Aug. 16):
Seriously, is there anything better than a festival all about bacon? There's a Bacon Battle, $2 bacon dishes from restaurants like Molly's in Soulard and Joanie's Pizzeria and of course, the Hog Log. The Hog Log is 500 pounds of ground Italian sausage wrapped with 500 pounds of bacon. Hog Log proceeds benefit the USO. From 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free.
Check out some of the best local food purveyors in town, from Blueprint Coffee to 4 Hands Brewing Company and Billy Goat Chips. Enjoy free samples and tastings and meet some of the people behind your favorite items. From noon to 3 p.m. Admission is free.
Party like you're in France at the Kitchen Conservatory. Enjoy a menu inspired by Provence in the South of France. Come solo or with a date to nibble on scallop bouillabaisse, daube de boeuf au pistou, Parisienne potatoes, tomatoes Provençal and a peekaboo apricot tart with apricot sherbet. From 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $50 each, available here.
Sunday (Aug. 17):
"Alive magazine is holding its sixth annual Top Chef Ultimate Burger Challenge. The chefs participating are Bob Brazell, formerly of Athlete Eats, Carl Hazel of theScottish Arms, Laura Borghardt of Stacked Burger Bar, Rachel Obermeyer of Prime 1000, Anthony Ellerson of the Kitchen Sink and Mike Johnson of Sugarfire Smokehouse. Johnson is the defending champ, and we know he's hard to beat. From noon to 4 p.m. Tickets are $25 for general admission (which gets you six mini burgers and a drink sampling) and VIP spots are $40 (you get six mini burgers, two drink tickets, access to the VIP tent and private bathrooms), available here."
Get to know Banfi wines at the five-course wine dinner in west county. Start the night with olive oil-poached seabass paired with 2011 Luna Mater Reserve Frascati. Next it's Missouri wild mushroom risotto with a 2008 Regolo Rosso Veronese. For the third course, you'll have duck confit vol-au-vent with the 2010 Banfi Creso Verona. The fourth course is a roast loin of Montana elk paired with the 2010 Sartori Estate Amarone. For dessert, enjoy an almond pear tart. Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $95 each; call 636-449-6700 for reservations.
"Chaumette executive chef Adam Lambay and the Cheshire Hotel's executive chef Rex Hale pair up for part two of their farm-to-table communal dinner at the Barn at Chaumette Winery overlooking grassy fields, a pond, vineyards and the hills of the Saline Creek Valley. A tour of Baetje Farms, a certified humane artisan goat-cheese dairy and creamery, and tasting with owners Steve and Veronica Baetje, precedes the meal." From 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $65 per person, available here.
Alpha's quarterly cook-off focuses on wings this time, so bring your A-game. Enter your wings at 1:30 p.m. to compete for the title of best recipe, or eat two kilograms of wings in five minutes in the wing challenge. From 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tastings start at $7 -- get all the details to enter either contest here.
Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.
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