by Nancy Stiles
With all of this holiday cheer floating around, there are many who take the opportunity to make adorable, edible gingerbread houses. If you're like us, though, it usually turns into a gooey disaster (or, it's soin edible that it lasts until the Fourth of July and you blow it up with fireworks). Skip all the disappointment. Bring the kids to the restaurants at Ameristar and River City casinos, and you can eat inside a life-size gingerbread house.
Chef John Johnson came up with the idea of pairing for a charity -- a reservation in the gingerbread house costs $25, but 100 percent of that money goes to the Center for Hearing and Speech. Both houses feature a $20 prix-fixe holiday menu, but you can order from the regular menu as well.
The houses were created by executive pastry chef Eric Phillips, who has won the American Culinary Federation's Regional Pastry Chef of the Year and Stephen Schubert, this year's national winner of the AFC's Pastry Chef of the Year.
We visited the River City location (along with an appropriate critic -- she's fourteen months old), which was built using 600 pounds of gingerbread, 170 pounds of powdered sugar, 70 pounds of Rice Krispie Treats and 25 pounds of chocolate. There are also 900 gingerbread shingles, 35 gingerbread men decorated to look like the baking team, four giant cupcakes and and nine-foot-tall musical Christmas tree. Needless to say, our tiny food critic loved it.
You can make reservations at either house though December 24, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. You will have to make the $25 reservation donation, which go to the Center for Hearing and Speech. Call 636-940-4454 for the Ameristar location or 314-388-7625 for River City.
Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.
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