When St. Louis native Erica Willert and husband, Bryan, returned to the States after five years living in Shanghai, they chose University City for their new home because of its diversity and multicultural character. Bryan is executive VP of Willert Home Products and president of the company's Shanghai operations, while Erica is an agent with Dielmann Sotheby’s International Realty. Sons Grant and Luke are members of the So iLL Rock Climbing team, avid snow-skiers and are keeping up on their Mandarin at St. Louis Modern Chinese School on the weekends. We asked Erica about what her family enjoys most in the neighborhood.
The culinary scene in St. Louis continues to flourish, and 2013 was an especially exciting year for diners and drinkers and those who serve them. Here are just a few of the notable events in the past 12 months:
Mission Taco Joint
Happy Birthday, Ol’ Blue Eyes. The Four Seasons Winery, located within the Four Seasons Country Club in Chesterfield, will be celebrating FRANK SINATRA’s birthday with a special five-course dinner on Thursday, Dec. 12. Entertainment will be provided by local favorite TONY VIVIANO and his band. Admission to dinner, dancing and the tribute show is $35 person (includes tax and gratuity), and a cash bar will be available. The evening will also give diners an opportunity to preview the planned full-scale launch of Four Seasons as a wine and fine-dining venue. Proprietor Mehdi Rouhani, of the popular Candicci’s and Talayna’s restaurants, says he plans an official launch of the expanded facility early next year. For reservations, call 956-6266.
Mission Taco Joint is the latest from brothers Adam and Jason Tilford. Unlike their other restaurants, Mission concentrates on simpler fare, serving up both classic and unique takes on Mexican street food with impressive results.
Kraftig Light, brewed by St. Louis' William K. Busch Brewing Company, took top honors in the American-style Light Beer category at the North American Beer Awards, held earlier this month in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The brew bested entries from many of the biggest names in beer in the country, including Anheuser-Busch's Michelob Ultra and Budweiser Select, which took second and third places, respectively.
We just reported last week about the closing of Araka in Clayton, and now there's already news to relate about the next resident of the space at 131 Carondelet Plaza: It’s 801 Chophouse, and it'll be the fifth location for the Des Moines-based restaurant chain, which specializes in USDA prime steaks, chops and seafood items. We'll keep you posted on an opening date.
With tax season almost upon us, Truffles in Ladue has decided to give its customers a break with a unique promotion. The restaurant has announced it'll be ‘Tax Free Till Tax Day,’ and pay all taxes that its customers usually are responsible for from March 1 until April 15. Hey, every little bit helps!
The Crystal Cajun Cook-Off, one of the premier events leading up to the city's Mardi Gras celebration, was held Jan. 26, in the City Hall rotunda downtown. The contest featured 10 amateur and 10 professional chefs slugging it out in the kitchen for the title of best Cajun/Creole Dish. When the dust settled, Lumiere Place/River City executive chef and LN Cooks columnist JOHN JOHNSON top honors in the pro category, while chef GEORGE MACDONALD came out on top in the amateur division. Congrats to both chefs!