• Once again the Missouri Botanical Garden is a trailblazer. It is home to the first Certified Green Restaurant, Sassafras, in the state, a designation that did not come easy! The Green Restaurant Association worked with MoBOT to recommend sustainable practices for the cafe, which is operated by Catering St. Louis. To maintain the designation, Sassafras must continue to make improvements. While visitors will see the recycle bins, they may not know that the tabletops and divider walls are made of recycled paper products, or that the aerators installed on the kitchen sink equipment conserve water use dramatically. So ‘go green’ at the garden by having lunch at the cafe from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
• If you have ever dreamed of becoming a Certified Specialist of Wine (or just wished you knew enough to converse with the sommelier), then maybe you should spend your Tuesday nights at the Melting Pot this fall. The Wine School offered there is taught by JENNIFER JOHNSON, a CSW and sommelier herself. Beginners are taught the fundamentals and tasting skills, sipping four to five varietals a week. This is the third time The Wine School has been offered, says director ZACH SMITH, and some students have even used the class as a precursor to becoming a Level 1 sommelier! Call 725-4141 to sign up. Classes begin Sept. 16 and cost $185 for six consecutive sessions.
• Almost a year after opening Local Harvest Grocery, owners MADDIE EARNEST and PATRICK HORNIE have expanded their Morganford Road real estate holdings. In July, they launched Local Harvest Cafe just across the street. The breakfast and lunch spot offers healthy food at fair prices. Moms will love the Local Yokel sandwich: a PB&J made with Eastwind peanut butter from Tecumseh and Centennial Farms preserves from Augusta on fresh baked bread from Companion. Eat in or carry out for a picnic in Tower Grove Park, less than a block away.
• The Wine Press opened earlier this month off the main CWE Euclid strip (4436 Olive St.). The dream of owner GREG STEVENS to have a wine bar next door to his printing business was made possible when his old printing presses were moved out. Since Greg still runs Peace Institute Printing Co, he hired JOHN MacLEOD BROWNLEE of Glasgow (Scotland!) to be general manager. Brownlee has put together a list of 30 varieties, split evenly between reds and whites. “It’s not an elitist list,” he commented, giving a plug to its “reasonable prices.” Bottled beers, as well as bourbon and single malt scotch, will be available to those coming to unwind from 4 to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
• Other bits: Ronnoco Coffee Co. recently named ROBERT CARPENTER director of green coffee operations. A licensed grader on the New York Coffee Exchange, Carpenter will be responsible for importing green coffee from more than 25 countries around the world…Former chef/owner of Sidney Street Cafe, TOM MCKINLEY, is now the head food guru for the meal prep company Time for Dinner. His work on menu items and recipe development mean restaurant-quality cuisine at home for economical prices…And Terrene has named TELLO CARREON its new head chef. Next week’s Spicy Bits will detail Terrene’s new seasonal menu.
Got something for Spicy Bits? Write to Amy Peck Abraham at email@example.com.
P.S. Art and Food lovers should go to http://laduenews.com">laduenews.com to see a great photograph of eight St. Louis top chefs. Companion creative director Aaron Seagal used his art history knowledge to present the chefs in the CollaBREADtive Series in a portrait with Companion head baker Josh Allen taken by local photographer Robert Grimm. Every six weeks, a specialty bread will be paired with a new menu item at a different restaurant; a link to the bread calendar is also on the LN Web site.