> Our town has been at the center of the culinary universe lately. The James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists for its 2011 awards last week, and St. Louis was well-represented. Local chefs GERARD CRAFT of Niche, KEVIN NASHAN of Sidney Street Cafe and KEVIN WILLMAN of Farmhaus Restaurant have all been named semifinalists for Best Chef: Midwest, and sommelier GLENN BARDGETT of Annie Gunn’s is a semifinalist for Outstanding Wine Service.
> If that wasn’t enough, Willman, ANTHONY DEVOTI of Five Bistro and JOSH GALLIANO of Monarch are all on the Food & Wine Magazine short list for The People’s Best New Chef 2011: Midwest. You can vote for your favorite at http://foodandwine.com/peoples-bnc">foodandwine.com/peoples-bnc until March 1. Go online and support the great culinary talents we have in our town. Congratulations to all!
> Mosaic Bistro Market has introduced Twenty-Five Tuesdays. Every Tuesday the restaurant features a $25 three-course dinner and $25 wines by the bottle. The menu will include the choice of a weekly feature entree, and three favorites from the regular menu. Menu updates will be posted at http://mosaicrestaurants.com">mosaicrestaurants.com.
> Enjoy unlimited slices of authentic Italian pizza for $18 at Cielo, courtesy of Chef FABRIZIO SCHENARDI. Dubbed ‘Pie In The Sky,’ the promotion will run from 3 to 9 p.m. on Sundays. Call 881-5800 for reservations.
> Oak Barrel American Bistro & Artisan Bakery is now open at 957 Waterbury Falls Drive in O’Fallon, Mo. Formerly the French Gourmet Bakery, chef/owner TODD KUSSMAN has kept the bakery and added a menu of rustic American fare. The 42-seat restaurant will be focusing as much as possible on local purveyors. Look for ‘Know Your Farmer’ wine dinners and other events in the near future.
> We told you recently that the latest Lombardo family venture, Angelo’s Taverna, would be coming soon to the former Max & Erma’s spot at 316 Market Street downtown. Well the wait is over: The restaurant is now open for business. Look for Sunday lunch hours coming soon.
> Slow Food St. Louis is hosting another class on growing fig trees on, March 5 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Crown Room at the Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood. Cost is $45 per household; two people from a single household may attend for one fee. Participants will learn the ins and outs of cultivating the trees and get a fig tree for themselves (limit one per household). RSVP to Kelly@slowfoodstl.org. Those RSVP-ing after Feb. 28 will be able to pick up their trees March 12 at the Schlafly Farmer’s Market.