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Pink Tomatoes - We see them at grocery stores, in the local burgeries, even in the finer local restaurants--and no one seems to care but us. Those blush- or rouge-colored, hardly-registers-as-a-color-at-all, devoid of any positive qualities save moisture, winter-issue tomatoes. The other day, we were served a mealy-looking slice, tomato core intact, which we returned to the kitchen--silently--but with a "Really?" look on our faces. Our disdain grows...

George Mahe

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Insider Tip

Cinco de Vino - at Robust. We missed it again this month, so now we've marked our calendar: Every fifth of the month, all day, at all three locations, Robust Wine Bar discounts bottles of wine--sometimes as much as 40%--in the wine bar as well as everything in the shop by 15%. Our reaction? A clink to the cinc!

George Mahe

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  • Backbar at Scape — Like the Cardinals' home opener, it happens every April: the announcement that the ivy-walled Backbar at Scape is open for business, serving up goodies like black and blue tater tots, shrimp and grits, and ahi tuna tacos. The first few week's calendar touts Easter Brunch on 4/20, the official kickoff party on 4/24, brunch and live music on 4/27, and Dinner and a Movie on Tuesday, April 29 (and subsequent Tuesdays after that). Opening day is April 15--weather permitting. Watch the sky, then stop on by. 48 Maryland Plz, 314-361-7227
  • Quincy Street Bistro — No one whomps up home cooked meals like Rick Lewis (excluding grandma, of course). The chef of Quincy Street Bistro is becoming locally famous for his buttermilk fried chicken, pimiento cheese stuffed potato skins, and meatloaf (Lewis’ fave entree item). He'll conjure childhood memories with a superb fried bologna sandwich and a braunschweiger so good he can't keep up with demand--so if you see it, order it. Wash all this wonderment down with a 25-ounce Busch Bavarian beer, served in a snug-fitting brown bag along with a pickleback shot. Lewis is obviously onto something when the James Beard folks take notice: they recently called him out as one of the "Rising Star Chefs" for 2014, one of 30 chefs in the country to be so honored. 6931 Gravois, 314-353-1588
  • The Block — When the question is, "Can you recommend a restaurant that's good...and cheap?" one of our go-to answers is The Block, Marc Del Pietro's restaurant/butcher shop, with locations in Webster and the CWE. In-house butchering and prep translates to entrees priced in the teens, a rarity. A great deal gets better at Happy Hour, with $5 apps and cocktails, plus standard and craft brews for $2.50. The good rep is spreading: FlipKey, a website owned by TripAdvisor, recently singled out The Block as its Missouri choice for a "Top Restaurant Worth Traveling For."

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