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Chris Hennes

REPORT: An eG Gathering in STL for Bulrush

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I got to St. Louis an hour or so ago, and whilst staying at the Angad Arts Hotel some pregaming is clearly in order...

 

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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@gfron1 We are on the yellow happiness floor: here’s a shot of the room...

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The hotel is great: there is art everywhere. I guess there is a concert tonight, plus a wedding, so the rooftop bar was packed. We may have enjoyed some tequila cocktails 🍸 up there. 

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Does the other side of the pillows show the eyes shut?   That could be a bit disconcerting at times....😉

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2 minutes ago, IowaDee said:

Does the other side of the pillows show the eyes shut?   That could be a bit disconcerting at times....😉

I just checked: the eyes are open on both sides. Always watching you.

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Under the bed so they can keep an eye on the monsters that live there.  

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Alright, I'm home now, following one of the best meals in recent memory (or even not-so-recent memory!), starting in this unassuming St. Louis facade... and yes, I'm ever so slightly biased here. Caveat emptor!

 

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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We began with a very dessert-like course of pickled strawberry, yogurt ice cream, and a cherry amazake sphere.

 

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Rob promised that this was the only course he was going to give instructions with: that amazake sphere is white chocolate filled with a liquid, so you had to eat the whole thing at once. The splash of liquid was somehow surprising even knowing it was coming.

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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The "menu"was projected onto the wall: no real indication of the order of things, but at least it helped me remember what it was I was eating at any given time! By and large the dishes were quite sophisticated, so it was a challenge to keep track of what all was on the plate.

 

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Next up, a grilled carrot with a carrot/miso mousse, sassafras crumble, and a spring herb salad:

 

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I don't think I caught anyone actually licking their bowls, but I won't say we weren't tempted...

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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According to Rob, it just wouldn't be Ozark cuisine without some fried pies... here's an action shot of the frying. All of the a la minute cooking is done in front of you, with the seats arranged in a square around a small work area:

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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And here are the pies: the gluten version had filling of charred greens, and was served with a cherry mostarda. Individually each component was good, but it was together that they really shone. This course was definitely a case where the whole was greater than the sum of its parts.

 

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The gluten-free version of this course was chickpea-based, and didn't have the greens in the filling:

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Next up, a chanterelle pâté topped with peaches, a tiny bit of pork hock, purslane, and a hard red wheat cracker:

 

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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The next plating involved acorn-shaped lids and a smoking gun. Here's Rob getting it plated up:

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Delivered to the table looking like this:

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Opening:

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To reveal an acorn donut with turnips, a white chocolate mashed potato, a black walnut pickling liquid (I think?) and charred chard (I think). This was the most unexpected success of the evening, In my opinion. Individually the components were not all that impressive, but taken together they packed a powerful and complex flavor that worked on a number of different levels, and changed with each bite.

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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And of course, an adventure like this isn't embarked upon alone: here's one of Rob's partners in crime at Bulrush, Sous Chef Justin Bell, smoking both himself and some beans (those dried things hanging from the hood):

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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We are in the midwest, after all, so even a many-course meal like this does ultimately crescendo to an entree, in this case an incredible pork coppa (fresh, not cured) served alongside a ragout of wheat berries, millet, and husk cherries. As good as the pork was, the grain medley stole the show.

 

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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The penultimate course, an intermezzo of sorrel mousse and redbud vinegar jelly atop a buckwheat sablé:

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Thanks of course to @gfron1 for having us in for dinner and putting up with our incessant stream of questions, and to @Alex for arranging the whole thing in the first place! Here we all are in front of the famous wild persimmon drip wall:

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Thanks for posting this! @gfron1 This looks incredible - I'm so happy to see all your hard work executed so well!  I wish I lived closer so we'd be able to come...

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Just sick I had to leave early. Crisis at home successfully resolved, but I'd much rather have been up there with y'all!

 

At least I did get one excellent meal, at Vicia, although I know Bulrush would have topped it. 

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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