"Here -- taste this." That's what my older brother used to say to me whenever he found some strange, unlabeled container in our refrigerator. Often it was pickle juice being saved for some unknown reason, or bacon drippings from Sunday's breakfast, but once it was homemade whipped cream with amaretto, which we shared underneath the back porch with lightheaded childish glee. The moral to the story? "You never know what you really like unless you try a little of everything." Well, this is the weekend to do just that.
The black-tie tasting event of the weekend is Sunday's A Tasteful Affair, benefitting Food Outreach, a volunteer organization serving St. Louis' HIV-infected community. At the Henry VIII Hotel, you'll find food samples from St. Louis restaurants and caterers, local chefs giving demonstrations of their craft, and live music by local pianists. For those of you more inclined to spend Sunday afternoon outdoors, Shaw Park hosts the Taste of Clayton, possibly the largest of the weekend's "tastes." Food from Clayton restaurants, music by the Ralph Butler Band and a children's area make for a perfect family outing. If you're living farther out in the county, you might want to take in some new flavors at the Taste of Ballwin, featuring food from slightly more exurban restaurants.
Knowing what's coming on Sunday will help you pace yourself when attending one or more of Saturday's events. The biggest of the day's happenings is Taste of West Port, which offers samples from 12 of the plaza's restaurants. You'll find the food, children's activities, street performers and live music outside on the patio. Other places to strap on the feedbag on Saturday include the Taste of Tilles, boasting Italian and Bosnian flavors, and Savor Crestwood, the annual event in Whitecliff Park.
-- James A. Duffy