ALIVE Lifestyle Lounge

Fun time Friday night at The Thaxton on Olive in downtown St. Louis! It was the ALIVE Influencer Network’s Lifestyle Lounge with many cool people and things.

Food and drink were provided by Snarf’s Sandwiches, Billy Goat Chips, Eckert Farms, Strange Donuts, Bissinger’s, The Dark Room, Old Bakery Beer and Barrister’s (among others).

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The Dark Room in Grand Center brought chef Samantha Pretto’s Chicken Florentine Meatballs. They were spicy and delicious.

Oldbakerybeer

Old Bakery Beer from Alton, Illinois served up a couple of their brews including the Golden Oat which I loved. (Went back for seconds.) (That’s Ryan Myers grabbing a brew from Patrick Shaw of OBB.)

Eckertsstrawberries

Eckert’s Farms of Belleville shared Strawberry Shortcake made with freshly-harvested strawberries.

Sam and Kristie Boctor of Barrister’s in Clayton brought food and drink. Nice folks! BTW, they offer brunch on Saturdays and Sundays at their place on Forsyth.

Attendees at the event included a couple of folks who were guests on my Food Talk STL radio show back in 2012. On left in the photo below is Stefani Pollack with her 15.8K Instagram followers at @cupcakeproject. On the right, with his 111K (!) Instagram followers at @grillinfools is Scott Thomas. (Stefani’s husband, ace photog Jonathan Pollack, is in the middle.)

Bloggers

Some other folks I enjoyed visiting with at the event: Lindsay Van Quaethem from Downtown St. Louis and  Jen Porto of Jenporto.com.

Also… reps from Opera Theatre of St. Louis (opening night is May 21), St. Louis Premium Outlets, Firecracker Press, Snapdragon Studio, My Coconut Kitchen, Living Collective and Fair Acres Quality Goods.

Thanks to Linday Pattan of ALIVE Influencer Network and Mad Dog of the Thaxton for the hospitality!

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Gnocchi at The Dark Room

The Dark Room on Grand Boulevard in St. Louis has a new chef, Samantha Pretto, who joined recently from the Scottish Arms. One big way she’s put her stamp on the menu is with a weekly gnocchi program featuring fresh house made gnocchi with a variety of ingredients.

She hand rolls and hand cuts the thick, soft dough dumplings, mixing in featured ingredients. The 1″-2″ gnocchi pieces are pan-seared to the desired texture.

White Gnocchi

Among the ingredients she adds to her gnocchi are sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, spinach, and roasted red pepper. Chef Pretto (pictured below) then adds various butters, wine sauces and creams, topping it all with seasonal vegetables, artisan cheese and local greens.

Samantha Pretto

Dark Room wine and gnocchi

Along with gnocchi, The Dark Room’s food choices include appetizers (featuring charcuterie and cheeses) and an assortment of flatbreads. Also: Catalan meatballs, vegetable curry and desserts. To see The Dark Room’s menu, click HERE and scroll down through their extensive wine list. (The proper billing for the place is The Dark Room Wine Bar and Photo Gallery.)

The Dark Room is located at 615 North Grand Boulevard, between the Fox Theatre and Powell Hall. Call 314-531-3416.

Social links: Twitter: @TheDarkRoomSTL

Instagram: @TheDarkRoomSTL

Facebook: Facebook.com/TheDarkRoomSTL

 

 

 

Opera Tastings

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Look, I know opera is weird to many people. Maybe better words would be different, exotic, unknown. Kind of like green vegetables were to me when I was a kid. I now love green veggies and I think opera is okay, too. Which is why this is such a cool idea.

Opera Theatre of St. Louis is partnering with several local food/beverage venues for Opera Tastings. These are hourlong events which will offer a sampling of opera performances, along with wine samples and small bites. All for just $10.

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The lineup:

Thursday, March 26, 7:00 p.m. at Herbie’s, 405 N. Euclid in the CWE.

Friday, March 27, 7:00 p.m. at Moulin Events, 2017 Choteau in Lafayette Square.

Saturday, March 28, 7:00 The Dark Room, 615 N. Grand in Grand Center.

Of course, each of these venues invites you to stick around and enjoy drinks and dinner afterward.

If you’d like more information about this week’s Opera Tastings, call Opera Theatre of St. Louis at 314-961-0171.