Dateline Maplewood: Café Solas, a "wellness café" at 7322 Manchester Road where you can eat a "vegetarian-based" meal, get a massage and drink in regional works at the "complete art gallery," all in one handy location.
Webster Groves: Just in time for the winter outdoor swilling season, Big Sky Café's long-anticipated wine garden opened last month; it features 75 wines, 35 wines by the glass and six specialty wines served only in the courtyard.
Creve Coeur: For your stirring/frying enjoyment, Stir Crazy, 10598 Old Olive Street Road. A glitzy Hungry Buddha for those who fear downtown, the Chicago-based, "Asian-inspired" chain with the dorky name lists among its attractions "watching flames and food fly in and out of a chef's wok." In bed.
Speaking of the Hungry Buddha, you know their kitschy pink plastic chopstick dispensers, the ones embossed with the mysteriously sexy word "cherry"? You can similarly accessorize your own dinette. The dispensers are sold at Jay International on S. Grand for about two bucks; fill yours with disposable chopsticks for a pittance more, and don't say I never gave you a cheap holiday gift idea.
"Nothing will ever be the same again," is the constant post-9/11 refrain, but apparently the American appetite is exempt from the metamorphic effects of apocalypse. The American Institute for Cancer Research recently conducted a study to determine the extent to which our eating habits have changed since September 11. The "overwhelming majority" of respondents were sufficiently unaffected by the tragedy that -- surprise -- they reported no change in their diet or weight. I guess we can all stand just as tall in line at Krispy Kreme as anywhere else.