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Lists Naughty, Lists Nice 

Ian can recommend James Beard nominees Annie Gunn's, Atlas and Niche. But Missouri caviar? Not so much.

Saturday, March 1, was the opening of trout season in Missouri, which seems as good a time as any to mention that the state's Department of Health and Senior Services has released its annual "Fish Consumption Advisory." The advisory lists which fish from local waterways should be eaten in moderation and which should be avoided altogether. That list is broken down into advisories for the general public and for "sensitive" groups (pregnant women, children).

One of the few items the advisory classifies as "Do Not Eat" are the eggs of shovelnose sturgeon from the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. These eggs have become a popular domestic substitute for caviar, as my colleague Kristen Hinman reported in a James Beard Award-winning article, "Something Fishy," published March 16, 2005, and available from the archive at

You can read the full text of the state ad-visory at

THE LONG LIST OF NOMINEES for the 2008 James Beard Awards leaked to the Internet last month. Now that the list has been published just about everywhere else, I might as well mention it here. (Don't ever accuse Gut Check of not playing by the rules!)

Lou Rook III of Annie Gunn's and the husband-and-wife team of Michael Roberts and Jean Donnelly at Atlas are both semifinalists in the "Best Chef: Midwest" category, while Gerard Craft of Niche is a semifinalist for "Rising Star Chef of the Year." Congratulations and best of luck to the nominees. The short list of nominees will be announced later this month.

ONE OF THE BUSIEST restaurant areas in St. Louis just got a little busier: Basil Spice Thai Cuisine is now open at 3183 South Grand Boulevard, roughly halfway between Pho Grand and King and I. Basil Spice is open daily 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. for lunch and 5-9:30 p.m. for dinner.

Now open at 3037 Locust Street is Fountain on Locust. The restaurant, from Joy Grdnic Christensen and chef Natalia Penchaszadeh, features light fare, ice cream and cocktails.

ARE YOU OPENING a new restaurant? Know of a place that has closed? Something else for me to chew on? Drop me a line at

Be sure to check this column's virtual doppelganger for daily updates at http://blogs/

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