The Best Food Events in St. Louis This Week: December 22 to 25

Categories: Events

Christmas lights in St. Louis Hills. | Kholood Eid

Yep, it's finally here. The final night of Hanukkah is Wednesday, and Christmas Day is Thursday. Get in some last-minute shopping at local businesses or take a night off before the relatives (and the snow) hit and enjoy yourself. Continue on for our list of food-related recommendations.

See also: Where to Eat in St. Louis on Christmas Eve

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Vote for St. Louis' Most Underrated Cocktails

A smoked cocktail at the Good Pie. | Jennifer Silverberg

As we said before, craft cocktails really aren't a new things in St. Louis. You guys definitely have been around and know where the cool kids sip Manhattans -- the actual cool kids though, not hipsters. Check out the nominations and be sure to click the poll to vote. Don't worry if your favorite didn't make the cut -- you can write them in.

See also: The Life, Death and Resurrection of the Craft Cocktail in St. Louis

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Guess Where I'm Eating These Brisket Tacos and Win $25 to iTap

Brisket tacos. | Nancy Stiles

You know what's better than regular tacos? Brisket tacos. In this town we like to add barbecue to almost anything so we were surprised we hadn't had these tacos before. If you think you know where we got them, you could win some free grub.

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Blank Space Debuts Expansion Featuring Daytime Hours and a New Food Menu

Categories: First Look

Hummus, black-sesame baba ghanoush, and pistachio halvah from Confluence Artisan Foods now available at Blank Space. | Photos by Mabel Suen
"I just was wondering: Is this a record store, a lounge, or what?" inquires a curious passerby who happened to pop into Blank Space (2847 Cherokee Street) during a recent daytime visit.

"All of the above." responds owner Kaveh Razani without dropping a beat. "We're an art gallery, bar, venue, tea house, record store and coffee shop."

Since its inception two years ago, Blank Space has taken on many identities, earning honors such as best art gallery and best hip-hop club in RFT's best of St. Louis in 2013 and 2014, respectively. As the result of a major expansion that transforms the building into a three-story multiplex, the hybrid community-oriented stomping ground rolled out new daytime hours on November 18 along with a new food and drink program.

See also: Blank Space Begins Major Expansion on Cherokee Street

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Chef Chat: River City Casino's John Johnson Knows How to Rock a Bacon Hat

Categories: Chef Chat

River City Casino's chef John Johnson in his signature bacon hat. | With complements of River City Casino

"Did you know that a pineapple is actually a berry?" John Johnson asked when we first met. The River City Casino (777 River City Casino Boulevard; 314-388-7777) executive chef is filled with these sorts of fun facts. One guesses they come from his time spent as a history major in college, but actually, it started much earlier. "My mom would have us learn about a different country every week when we were growing up. We'd sit around the table, talk about different places, their foods -- it's where I first got interested in cooking."

See Also: Have Lunch Inside a Life-Size Gingerbread House This Holiday Season

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The 10 Most Instagrammed St. Louis Restaurants and Breweries of 2014

Thumbnail image for instagram_cupcake.jpg
Patrick Devine

In 2014, Instagram had 300 million active users who posted about 70 million photos every day. A lot of those are, obviously, images of food (if only we knew exactly how many -- probably 65 million?).

Knowing how popular it is to whip out one's smartphone before actually digging in, start up company MyFab5, creator of a new restaurant review app, obtained some St. Louis-specific data directly from Instagram for this year. Using the photos that were geotagged, their data wizards were able to determine which local restaurants, breweries and coffeehouses were the most Instagrammed of 2014.

See also: The 10 Best Food Instagrams in St. Louis This Week: December 9 to 16

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10 Best Spots for Vegetarian Food in St. Louis

Lulu's Local Eatery | Jennifer Silverberg

Some have forsaken meat for dietary reasons, some do it to lessen their impact on the environment and some have joined the recent "Meatless Mondays" movement. For chefs and restaurants owners, it doesn't matter why, it just matters that there is delicious, satisfying food available for those seeking it. And these days, there are a surprising number of strictly meat-free restaurants and many that offer meat- and dairy-free options. It's not always easy to find them, so we've assembled a list of our ten favorites.

See also: The 10 Best Restaurants for Fresh Pasta in St. Louis

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#53: The Smoked-Turkey Nachos at Grapeseed

Smoked-turkey nachos at Grapeseed. | Jennifer Silverberg

When the smoked-turkey nachos arrived at our table there was an audible gasp. We had expected to receive a simple twist on bar food. Instead, chef Ben Anderson and his team at Grapeseed (5400 Nottingham Avenue; 314-925-8525) produced one of the most visually impressive dishes of the year. One bite of a turkey-covered sweet-potato chip later, and it became clear that this dish was much more than a pretty plate.

See Also: Review: Grapeseed Serves Earnest, Seasonal American Cuisine in Southampton

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Where to Eat in St. Louis on Christmas Eve

Categories: Fa La La La La

The trout, with Marcona almond, lingonberry, herbs and horseradish flan at Three Flags Tavern. | Corey Woodruff

Christmas will be here before you know it, but there are several options for a holiday out on the town in St. Louis. The Ritz-Carlton is going the traditional route, while Balaban's is a little more low key. And one of the best restaurants of the year, Three Flags Tavern, is totally doing its own thing.

See also: 5 Local Gifts for the St. Louis Foodie

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The Best Food Events in St. Louis This Weekend: December 19 to 21

Garden Glow 2013. | Chris Yunker

Take a break this weekend -- you'll be holed up with all the relatives come next Saturday. Catch a performance of the Nutcracker and meet the Sugar Plum Fairy herself, or celebrate Italian-style at the Libertine. Continue on for our food-related recommendations

See also: 5 More Local Holiday Gifts for the St. Louis Foodie

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