Chocolate and Wine Is So Fine

A box of Russell Stover for V-Day? Come on, you can do better than that. Instead splurge on two tickets to the Chocolate Wine Trail in Hermann. You and your honey will spend the third weekend of February sampling luscious chocolate and wine pairings at seven stops along the beautiful Hermann Wine Trail.

The tasting menu at the 2013 Chocolate Wine Trail, February 16 and 17, will feature:

• Adam Puchta Winery — Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake, paired with the newly released Cat’s Meow

• Bias Winery — Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Surprise, paired with Strawberry Weisser Flieder

• Dierberg Star Lane Tasting Room — Blueberries in a Black Pepper Chocolate-Syrah Syrup, paired with Three Saints Syrah

• Hermannhof Winery — Chocolate Truffle Torte with Norton-Blackberry Ganache, paired with Norton

• OakGlenn Winery — Cincinnati Chili, paired with Chardonel

• Röbller Winery — Chocolate Whoopie Pie, paired with Villa Rouge

• Stone Hill Winery — White Chocolate Popcorn with Raspberry Drizzle, paired with Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine

The $30 per person ticket price includes a souvenir wine glass. Participants also may enter a drawing for a $30 gift certificate from each winery and a night’s stay at a Hermann B&B. Wine Trail tickets may be purchased online at Visit Hermann or from the Hermann Welcome Center, 800-932-8687. Advance purchase is required. (A word to the wise—tickets usually sell out early for this popular event.)

Information about the Hermann Wine Trail is available at Hermann Wine Trail.

The Chocolate Wine Trail is one of five annual events hosted by the Hermann Wine Trail, which hugs the Missouri River for 20 scenic miles between Hermann and New Haven.

Thinking ahead? Bacon will be the theme of this year’s Wild Card Wine Trail the first weekend of May; Berries & BBQ Wine Trail during the last full weekend of July celebrates the flavors of summer; and the Holiday Fare Wine Trail is the third weekend of November for a festive start to the holiday season. Say Cheese Wine Trail rounds out the year during the second weekend of December which is the same weekend as Hermann’s popular Kristkindl Markt.

Winter Farmers Market

Columbia Farmers Market will be open on Saturdays from 9 AM to 12 PM at its winter location at Parkade Center through March 30. I had a chance to visit a few weeks ago and loaded up on eggs, veggies and beef. And pumpkin seeds. It feels odd to me to go market shopping without the sun on my back and the wind in my hair, but I’m delighted to be able to get my fresh farm goods during the winter months.


Dinner and Movie Nights at Centro Latino

Centro Latino is holding spring dinner and movie nights as part of their health literacy program. The dinners look delicious–fresh, hardy, plant-based fare. The films are the sort that prompt much discussion and reflection.

Friday 4-27-2012 @ 6pm FORKS OVER KNIVES: Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.

Saturday 4-28-2012 @ 6pm REVERSING THE IRREVERSIBLE: While traveling around the United States and Canada teaching about the raw food lifestyle, Valya Boutenko has encountered many individuals who improved their health naturally. Inspired by their stories, Valya decided to film some of the most amazing turn-arounds and to share them with the rest of the world.

Sunday 4-29-2012 @ 6pm HOLLISTIC WELLNESS for the HipHop Generation: This film is dedicated to all of those who are willing to thug, ride and freedom fight against the mind, body and soul sickness that we have internalized. This film is represented in three parts; mind, body and spirit/soul. Each being a vessel to motivate and inform the youth about the importance of liberating their minds, cells and stomachs from the clutches of disease. Before we can change and affect the world, we must first affect and change ourselves.

Friday 5-4-2012 @ 6pm THE POWER OF COMMUNITY: When Cuba lost access to Soviet oil in the early 1990’s the country faced an immediate crisis – feeding the population – and an ongoing challenge: how to create a new low-energy society. Cuba transitioned from large, fossil-fuel intensive farming to small, less energy intensive organic farms and urban gardens, and from a highly industrial society to a more sustainable one.

The movie/dinner nights are being held at Centro Latino, 609 N. Garth St. in the Comedor Popular (People’s Diner). A ten dollar donation is suggested.  I am particularly interested in the last two films; maybe I’ll see you there.

Feed Me CoMo: Oasis Cafe

Chicken Shawarma with Hummus

I had heard some good reviews about the new Oasis Cafe here in Columbia, so today I grabbed a friend and we headed out to lunch. There are signs on the wall with pictures and descriptions of the different menu items, and the owner Ayman Harb will be glad to explain them to you as well if you aren’t familiar with an item. We placed our order and went to sit and wait for our food, which was quickly prepared and out to us within five minutes.

My friend ordered #17, the Gyro plate with salad. It was a large platter full of rice, gyro meat, grilled onions and peppers, and came with a large Mediterranean type salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomato, Greek olives and dressing). She reported that everything was delicious. I ordered #8, Chicken Shawarma with Hummus (as you can see in the picture above; it also came with pita that I couldn’t squeeze in the frame). The chicken had wonderful flavor to it (it was described as having 20 spices) and was cooked well with a slight crispness to it that could be described as blackening, but in a good way. The hummus was smooth and nutty and came with olive oil in the middle and a spicy-but-not-too-much-so chili paste. Either meal would have been plenty had we decided to split one (and yet I still ate all of mine, which is why I need a nap this afternoon).

The cafe itself is clean, simple and utilitarian; I’m guessing not much remodeling was done after the last tenant left. There are plenty of tables inside for the small size of the store, and a couple outside as well.

Prices range from$6.95 to $11.95 and are worth every penny.

The Oasis Cafe is located at 2609 E. Broadway, Suite 204 (the old Roly Poly location). Phone is (573) 442-8727.

Art + Food = Let Them Eat Art!

On Thursday, April 5, the Columbia Art League hosted Let Them Eat Art!, an evening event pairing creative art with creative food. The event was held in conjunction with CAL’s current exhibit, Eat Me!, featuring food-inspired works of art. For Let Them Eat Art! a dozen local chefs were invited to choose a piece of art as inspiration for a platter of tapas-style dishes. Guests sampled the tapas and voted on the most creative dish. I heard the evening was so successful that CAL may consider it as an annual event. If so, keep an eye out for this on their calendar next Spring. If you appreciate good food and art, this is something you don’t want to miss!

Also, please visit our facebook page to see more photos from the event!


CoMo Food : Friday Bites

A few quick bites of information about food here in Columbia, Missouri…

  • The Bleu move: In case you missed the uproar, Bleu is picking up and moving to the Boone Tavern space. We were given the lowdown by an insider and the move wasn’t Bleu’s choice but is probably the best thing since relations with The Tiger were quite strained. Get the scoop on Show Me Eats. Note: Bleu won’t be reopening until April so plan to get your True/False eats elsewhere.
  • Penn Station, a popular sub chain, just opened a franchise location in the Gerbes shopping center on Grindstone (next to Hallmark.)  The fresh lemonade has gotten high marks from friends.
  • Get your tickets now for the Art of Food evening benefiting North Village Arts District Farmers and Artisans Market. For $30 a ticket (or $50 for two) you can enjoy food and beverages. Local chefs from  local chefs from Broadway Brewery, Les Bourgeois, Red and Moe’s, Sycamore, and The Wine Cellar & Bistro will be preparing appetizers.  The event is March 15th from 6-9 and a limited number of tickets are available at PS Gallery and the Root Cellar.
  • The second wave of Bell’s limited release Hopslam is at local outlets like HyVee and Schnucks. Schnucks seems to have the best price, $18.99 a six pack. Here’s what The COMO Collective’s own Zac Early thought of this year’s release.


CoMo Food: Not To Miss Dishes, Patric Chocolate Edition

Patric Chocolate In-NIB-itable BAR
Winner of the GOOD FOOD award

Usually I share thoughts on a not to miss dish that I’ve discovered here in CoMo, but from time to time I’d like to mix it up with local foods made here in our city.

I became familiar with Alan “Patric” McClure about three years ago when I was seeking local products to feature at a blogger conference, and I must say  it was love at first bite.  You’ve probably seen his chocolate at the farmers market, your grocery store or favorite coffee shop. You may have read that the In-NIB-itable bar won the GOOD FOOD award or that he was featured on FORBES top 10 truly artisanal foods to try now.  And then there were features of Patric Chocolate in Food and Wine Magazine, the New Yorker, FEAST magazine and dozens more.  The word has gotten out, CoMo has an incredible chocolate craftsman with delicious bars.

So why have I chosen to feature Patric Chocolates?  Not only are they incredibly authentic, made with great attention to detail and delicious.  They are local-CoMo local.  We should be proud of this not to miss chocolate bar and vote with our dollars not to mention there are some great new flavors in the lineup.  Alan partnered with Kaldi’s Coffee to develop two original bars that are incredibly tasty, I personally love the Cappuccino bar-great for “white” chocolate lovers.  New flavor  mint OMG and pbj OMG also live up to their names.  Quality bean to bar chocolate is a little luxury everyone can treat themselves to.

Last week during a Culinary Adventures “cooking with chocolate” class lead by Chef Craig Cyr he used Patric Chocolate in every dish, I personally loved the pork tenderloin with savory chocolate sauce.  Alan talked to the group about the bars being hand crafted, and how those hands are attached to people that live here in CoMo, offering jobs and supporting our community.  It was then that I fell in love with Patric Chocolate all over again!

The Comoian: An Ode to Reuben

It’s Monday, but I don’t feel like complaining. We’ve got time before the whole world comes to an end later this year. So, I’ll complain about something next time.

For now, it’s time to talk about my only reason for living: Reuben Mondays at Sub Shop.

My first love was a red-headed boy with eleven toes and eighteen teeth named Reuben. Reuben was tall, like seven-foot tall and had the boniest elbows that would just make me purr with delight – like an alley cat in heat. With such large hands and feet, one would think that his head would also be large, but instead it was maybe the size of a softball. Still, I longed for the moments when Reuben would wrap his entire frame around my 4’10”, 90-lbs. body and scream sweet nothings into my ear with his raspy voice, unable to control his volume due to a neurological disorder caused by the power lines over his childhood home, hence my poor hearing.

I loved that boy. However, it was never meant to last as he died from a horrible accident, trying to surf down I-70 on top of his brother’s 1973 Dodge Dart. See, Reuben didn’t fit inside the car, so he rode on top (much like our [redacted] sessions). Damn that overpass!

After Reuben’s beheading, I was beside myself, not knowing how to honor his memory. Luckily, I discovered Sub Shop’s Reuben sandwhich. And even luckier – I am Vietnamese after all – I discovered that one can buy a half-Reuben (which is how I remember him), chips, and a soda for a measly $6.99!

That makes me want to [redacted] all over myself.

And I will be faxing my order today, along with a sixer of some Boulevard Wheat (slumming it at work today). You’ve got to have that Reuben on rye. It’s how our Lithuanian brethren from Omaha would have wanted it. Just don’t get the kraut and sausage sandwich, unless you like the feeling of a hundred-million dumpster fires leaking out your [redacted].

So, there’s my review. Thinking of sending it to Columbia Monthly Wedding Advertainment Magazine or maybe The Heartbeat so that I can get paid. What do you think? Do you have a favorite sandwich in town? Do you like the Reuben? Should I have gone with the vegetarian instead? Does Sub Shop really have the hottest buns? If so, why haven’t they asked me to be a spokesmodel? Do you like the  feeling of a hundred-million dumpster fires leaking out your [redacted]? Will you go to Sub Shop based on my recommendation?

Feel free to print out my copy of the menu above. I’ve added some notes to help you with your order. Cheers!

CoMo Food: Not To Miss Dishes, Addisions Edition

Ahi Tuna Amuse-Bouche
Ahi Tuna Appetizer

Addisons has long been known for their incredibly fresh tuna and this new menu item is a great reflection of that.  While most folks associate Addisons with Nachos Bianco or their delicious broccoli with Asiago sauce this new item has my vote as their not to miss dish.

The Ahi-Tuna amuse bouche is a plate of multi layered deliciousness.  Described on the menu as “seasoned tomato tortilla crisps are topped with lemon cream cheese, raw Ahi tuna, pickled ginger, scallions, red pepper, sesame seeds, and cilantro. Finished with a honey soy reduction and wasabi.”  This appetizer is a perfect meal.  The freshness of the tuna and zest of the lemon cream cheese cool your mouth while the  richness of the tuna adds body to the tortilla chip and the soy reduction balances the heat of the wasabi cream.  I ordered the wasabi on the side so I could control the heat and a little goes a long way so I definitely recommend asking for it that way.  This dish is crunchy, chewy, sweet and spicy.  A definite palate pleaser!

CoMo Food: Not To Miss Dishes, D. Rowe’s Edition

D. Rowe's Smoked WingsMy friend Lena turned me on to D. Rowe’s smoked wings.  She and her husband went there for lunch recently where she told the server, whatever I smell cooking is what I want for lunch, as it turns out it was their smoked chicken wings.  Lena was SO enthusiastic about them I had to see for myself.

It just so happened that some friends asked me to join them for dinner at D. Rowes Tuesday night for a little holiday get together, one of them had the ribs, the other pulled pork – both said they were delicious!  As for me I sampled the smoked wings.  Listed under appetizers and simply stated on their menu as “dusted with seasoning and hickory smoked.”  The wings did not disappoint, they were perfectly coated with “seasoning” crisp on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside.  Don’t mistake these for hot wings, these are a completely different flavor profile and served dry.  The flavor is smoky, rich and juicy I asked for a side of bleu cheese and bbq sauce to dip them in for additional goodness.  My mouth is watering as I type this, I can see why my friend raved about them and I will definitely order them again.  Most certainly a not to miss dish in CoMo!