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Monday, June 28, 2010

Twelve in Ten Challenge: Local Harvest

Ryan and I have had an overwhelmingly busy June. We've traveled to Chicago for my brother's graduation and Wisconsin for a 200-mile relay race. We've juggled school (Ryan), marathon training (me), and work all while trying to enjoy the fun things St. Louis has to offer in the summer (Shakespeare in the Park, the Muny, and trips to Ted Drewes). As the month drew to a close I became increasingly worried that we wouldn't fit this months Twelve in Ten challenge in. Thankfully, we caught ourselves free on a random Tuesday night and decided it was the perfect time to try Local Harvest (note: Local Harvest replaced Mosaic on our original list because I realized I'd been there twice before and the purpose of this challenge is to try places neither of us have been to). Perfect, save for the excessive heat that threatened to ruin our plan to bike there.

Ultimately, we chose to face the heat and humidity (those of you living in St. Louis know what a challenge this is!). There were too many reasons to bike: I needed to fit a cross-training workout in, we're trying to make good use of the new bikes we've purchased, it was "bike night" at Local Harvest meaning we'd score a deal, and food always tastes better when you've worked for it. Am I right? A quick eight miles on our bikes and we pulled up to Local Harvest. We were sweaty, and probably stinky, but they didn't seem to mind. In fact, their AC was out so everyone was sweaty and stinky :)

The restaurant is small but homey, with funky artwork decorating the walls and giant boards spelling out specials and sides and a list of the local establishments where they get their food from. It was a relatively quiet night, with a steady but never crowded stream of customers both dining in and picking up orders. Service was great--we had two individuals who were incredibly attentive, refilling water glasses, checking on our meals, and just chatting with us.

Any restaurant that lets me show up in my biking clothes is already a win in my book, but the food really sealed the deal at Local Harvest. Because we'd biked in, we were eligible for a buy 1, get 1 sandwich. Ryan selected the Brisket sandwich (menu description: Grass-fed, Missouri beef, thinly sliced & served hot with smoked gouda, horseradish aioli, & field greens on a semolina roll) and I opted for the Morganford Mediterranean (menu description: Ah!zeefa lentil dip, feta, onion, roasted red peppers, cucumbers, kalamata olives, field greens, balsamic dressing on foccaccia --I got on 5-grain bread). Each meal came with tortilla chips and a side. For me, pickled snap peas and for Ryan, a quinoa salad. 

Our food arrived in no time and we quickly snapped pictures before digging in. I can't offer a single complaint about my food. Everything about my sandwich was perfect and I spent much of dinner scheming how I'd recreate this sandwich at home with my panini press (anyone have a good recipe for lentil dip/spread?). The pickled snap peas were new to me and I loved them. Ryan's meal was also a hit--he loved the combination of gouda, horseradish, and beef. And that quinoa salad? WHOA. Our server was kind enough to investigate in the kitchen when I inquired about the salad
ingredients. Quinoa, sweet potato, black eyed peas, and tomatoes were confirmed, and I'm quite sure it had some sort of a tahini dressing. Whatever it was, it was delicious!

Our dinner at Local Harvest couldn't have been better. We were impressed with the service, the amount of food you get for your money (sandwich, chips, & a side at dinner is $10), and, best of all, they offer seasonal, local foods. I couldn't agree more with their food philosophy: Know Your Food.

(see full menu here. We'll definitely be going back for breakfast sometime!)

Local Harvest Cafe on Urbanspoon