•  First there was Pomme Restaurant, which eventually begat Pomme Cafe, both on Central Ave. in downtown Clayton. Then on March 31, the husband and wife team of BRYAN and DIANNE CARR opened their third venture, Mockingbird Market, in Olivette. Located in Price Crossing, Mockingbird Market is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Market is a unique neighborhood grocery that offers everything from sherry vinegar and paper towels to organic popcorn and rustic, deep-dish quiche. The soups of the day are listed on the chalkboard alongside sandwiches and salads, all written in multi-colored chalk. Then there is a long display case of prepared foods ranging from crab cakes to house-made corned beef to the famous Pomme hazelnut dacquiose. The market also sells wine and beer and if you call ahead, they will finish baking your La Brea bread so it’s hot out of the oven when you get there.

•  ‘Tis a long way from the Ozarks to the Scottish Highlands, but the quest to find the perfect oak for the barrels of  Glenmorangie Astar single malt scotch was worth the effort. Dr. BILL LUMSDEN, the head of Glenmorangie Distilling and Whiskey Creation, chose ‘astar,’ the Gaelic word for ‘journey,’ to capture the distances, time and experience that resulted in the just-released, 114.2 proof, 10-year single malt scotch. At a delightful luncheon at Ruth’s Chris Steak House last week, Lumsden waxed on about the fine grain of the American White Oak he discovered in 1985 as he wandered in the Ozark forests. “‘Twas better than working,” he joked, then expressed admiration for the work of the coopers who cut and crafted the ‘designer’ casks. He shared that the barrels are rented to Jack Daniels for four years before being shipped to Scotland. Then he poured the golden liquid and remarked that it is “dangerously drinkable.”

•  Her Benton Park neighbors and friends were patient and helpful over the year that it took MICHELE FLOYD to completely renovate a former meat market into her upstairs living quarters and the delightful new coffee and wine house that now takes up the whole first floor. The Map Room serves specialty coffees, teas and hot chocolates; all three available in ‘spiked’ versions. The bakery case is filled with gorgeous tortes and muffins made by Kristian Vesth, her Danish baker. Michele’s attention to detail is evident in the eclectic collection of damask upholstered couches, the antique dish racks, the pom-pom fringed napkins and the international bohemian music selections. The patio is idyllic and perfect for the summer movie nights and authentic Louisiana shrimp boils she is planning. Located at the corner of Lemp and Withnell avenues, The Map Room is open from 7 to 11 a.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.

•  Mark ‘TA21’ in your calendar on Sunday, April 19, when Food Outreach’s annual fund-raiser, A Tasteful Affair, will be held in the Khorassan Ballroom at The Chase Park Plaza. More than 30 restaurants and caterers are participating in the food extravaganza, including Mike Shannon’s, ~scape, SqWires, Serendipity, Cravings, and Companion. Non-foodies should go just for the extensive silent auction, more than 300 items!  Last year’s event drew a crowd of 1,500 and raised more than $280,000 to help provide nutritious meals to low-income men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS or cancer. Go to foodoutreach.org for advance tickets; $50 for TA21 and $120 for preview party access.

•  For Spicy Bits Readers who have devoured this Ladue News special Food Aficionado section but still want more, visit laduenews.com to find profiles of CHRISTOPHER DESENS, Racquet Club Ladue executive chef, and VITO RACANELLI JR., chef/owner of Onesto Trattoria. Chris earned a gold medal at the 2008 Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA) International Culinary Art Competition in Erfurt, Germany, and Vito won the 2008 Taste of St. Louis competition.  

Got something for Spicy Bits?  Write to Amy Peck Abraham at spicybits@laduenews.com.

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