Taste of St. Louis is finally here, and in Chesterfield for the first time. Even if you're miffed about the location change, you should still check it out -- dozens of St. Louis' best restaurants will be on hand. You could also check out the Lebanese festival or celebrate Belleville's bicentennial. Continue on for more of our food-related recommendations this weekend.
Friday (Sept. 19):
"The annual Taste of St. Louis festival is upon us, and for the first time ever, it's out in Chesterfield. Some people are pretty pissed about that and some people are happy -- either way, you're still going to want to check it out. Sauce Magazine's Restaurant Row is a huge draw for the fest, and it's one of the only events (besides, say, our own Iron Fork) that you're going to get all these restaurants in one place. You'll be able to vote for your favorite restaurant and favorite dish, too. All weekend, eight chefs will compete against each other in seven different categories to be named top chef. This year's competitors are Aaron Baggett of Edgewild, Eric Brenner of Fit Fuel 365, Carl Hazel of the Scottish Arms, Josh Norris of Triumph Grill, D. Scott Phillips of Balaban's, Dave Rook of Bishop's Post, Robert Trampier of St. Louis Country Club and Wil Pelly of Sanctuaria. In several rounds, they'll focus on specific ingredients: chicken and egg, pork, tomato, cheese, beef, mushroom and finally, seafood and Stella Artois." Admission is free, with amphitheater tickets available here. Friday, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Webster University is throwing a public lunchtime party to kick off its 100th birthday celebration. There will be live music, games, photos with mascots and food trucks including Yo! Salsa, Andrew's Bayou Ribs, Sarah's Cake Stop and Gioia's Deli. Stick around for the Garden Glow event, which will project "Webster100" on St. Louis landmarks. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free.
The fundraiser supports Saint Louis University's garden programs. Enjoy garden tours, live music and a silent auction, plus small plates prepared with items from SLU's own garden paired with beer and wine. From 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Registration is $50 at the gate.
"A young Melissa Gilbert as Laura Ingalls Wilder had way more heart than Nellie Oleson, more spunk in her pigtail braids than her sister Mary had in her whole body (sorry, Mary) and far more chores than any modern-day child -- living out on the prairie was hard work! Even still, fans of Little House on the Prairie know that those simple times sure looked like fun, and now, we can have a taste of that old-style life, thanks to Gilbert's My Prairie Cookbook: Memories and Frontier Food from My Little House to Yours. This assemblage of 80 recipes meant to evoke that special time are accompanied by Gilbert's memories and photos of the wholesome, beloved show. At 7 p.m. Gilbert visits the Maryville University Auditorium to meet her fans, chat about her cookbook and sign copies. Admission to this special event costs $30 for one person and includes a copy of the book (for $35, you get admission for two, a copy of the book and a $5 credit toward another book); to purchase tickets, visit melissagilbert.brownpapertickets.com, and for more information, check out www.left-bank.com."
None other than the Beach Boys are kicking off the celebration for Belleville's 200th birthday. It's also when the city usually holds Oktoberfest, so they're combining the two for one super weekend. Check out a Civil War reenactment, a petting zoo, craft and food vendors, a German Volksmarch (sort of like a 5k) and even a vintage baseball game. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10: 30 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Find a full schedule and more information here.
"For more than a decade Dawn Karlovsky has created site-specific dance pieces for both the Market in the Loop and Strauss Park with her Dine on Dance performance series. She returns to both places for an eleventh round on at noon on Friday, September 19 (Market in the Loop). Karlovsky's piece for 2014 is Elegance, which is which is created live through an improvised structure in response to the performance space. Her friends and sister dancers Ashley Drumm and Alice Bloch also dance at the space, Drumm with the group piece E... (inspired by words that start with the letter E) and Bloch with a suite of pieces choreographed by Isadora Duncan, with Colombian folk dance troupe Grupo Atlantico accompanying her. Admission is free, so use your lunch hour to eat outside and catch one of the city's most inspirational ongoing performances."
Saturday (Sept. 20):
It's the first year ever for this festival celebrating the diverse South Grand neighborhood. The day starts with free yoga at 10 a.m., but you can catch food demonstrations from Baileys' Restaurants, Mangia Italiano, and drinks by Absolutli Goosed at 1:45 p.m. There will also be live music, a DIY Craft Zone, brewers, street performers and restaurant specials all day. From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is free.
"Get a taste of the Middle East in the Midwest at St. Raymond's annual Homecoming Festival at the Catholic church, located at 931 Lebanon Drive. After mass at 5 p.m., enjoy Lebanese food, drinks and live music from 5 to 10 p.m. Mass will also be celebrated at 10 a.m. Sunday morning, followed by lots more Lebanese food, raffles, children's games, tours of the cathedral and more. Hey, maybe you'll even run into Mayor Slay, who is a member. Admission is free. Saturday, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m."
Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.
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