> Where did food author and James Beard Award winner Michael Pollan dine after his May 22 appearance at the St. Louis County Library in Frontenac? The Crossing in Clayton! Chef Jim Fiala served the food activist a salad with local asparagus and homemade ricotta, homemade ravioli with farm fresh eggs and porcini sauce, local mixed greens, and grass-fed beef with young collard greens…locally grown, of course. Pollan was in town to launch the paperback version of his latest book, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto.
> Get ready for Chouteau's at 39th, opening in the space that once housed Revival and King Louie’s. The menu, to be created by Mike Johnson, reportedly will include several of his popular dishes, including spicy Thai calamari and The Fatty Melt, a half-pound burger between TWO grilled cheese sandwiches. Pete Slay (formerly of Fu Manchu) will serve as chef.
> On Monday, June 29, Entre, St. Louis’ by-invitation-only underground dinner party, literally went underground when The Clandestine Chef took diners to a posh wine cellar in Augusta, Mo. Every month the gourmet group meets in a new location for a fabulous feast. June’s ‘do included brioche toast with black garlic, goat cheese, micro greens and balsamic glaze, and white and green asparagus with fried béarnaise and strawberry foam. You can contact the Clandestine Chef at danssouslaterre.com, but there’s no guarantee you’ll make the guest list!
> Chaumette Winery in Ste. Genevieve, Mo., named Mark Baehmann its new winemaker. Baehmann has been at Mount Pleasant Winery for the past 17 years, at Montelle Winery in Augusta prior to that. While at Mount Pleasant, his wines received numerous gold medals, the coveted Governor's Cup of Missouri, and high ratings from Wine Spectator. Also new at Chaumette: Spa Café, an outdoor dining area open weekends through October, and serving tasty treats like grilled lamb chops with raita and salade nicoise. Get there early; hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
> Craving that cup-o-Joe, but want to be good to the earth while you enjoy it? The Saint Louis Science Center's new Science Cafe features Kaldi's Coffee, organic and fair trade. The cafe, in the main lobby, serves snacks and lunch, as well as free wi-fi. Kaldi’s mission is to roast high-quality coffees while protecting the soil in which the beans grow and the hands that produce them. Also, the company recently added new biodegradable cups for both hot and cold drinks.
> American Humane Certified, the country’s oldest farm animal certification program, has partnered with Viking Cooking Schools to educate consumers about the benefits of humanely raised food. Teachers at Viking’s 15 U.S. schools are integrating the information on beef, pork, poultry, veal, eggs and dairy products into their lesson plans.