Tenacious Eats | 6.18.14

Tenacious-Eats 75We would be served a new course about every 15 minutes complete with a signature cocktail.

Tenacious-Eats 500

I have to admit something—I am not a foodie.

I am what you might call a basic eater. Burgers, steaks, and pizza make up my main food groups. So, when I had the opportunity to review the Tenacious Eats event I had my trepidations.

Tenacious Eats is the brainchild of Chef Elizabeth Schuster. She combines the two art forms she loves the most, food and film. The combination of the two is a natural combination. Most people attach deep emotions to both art forms.

I can’t tell you the number of times I cry at the end of A League of Their Own when Dottie and Kit hug at the Baseball Hall of Fame. I know it’s coming, but I watch it every time. Or in Pretty Woman when Edward rescues Vivian from the fire escape. I bawl like a baby.

Likewise, I remember the emotions I felt the first time I had a dinner date with my now husband, Nate. We met at City Diner and talked for hours. He had the fried egg sandwich—which I recommended. That meal took place ten years ago, and I still remember the range of emotions I felt that night.

Fortunately for me, Nate likes a wide variety of foods, so I had to enlist him to be my partner in crime for the night.

The tag-line of Tenacious Eats is “full contact dining.” What Chef Liz does is create a five course meal based on the movie of her choice. Since June is gay pride month, she wisely chose to show, Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

When we arrived at Meyer’s Grove, we were immediately greeted by the host(ess) of the night, Jeremy Whaley, who was decked out in his best Hedwig outfit. I got to spend a few moments chatting with him as we waited in the main bar. Energetic and charismatic are the best words to describe Whaley. I learned that each Tenacious Eats event is unique. Sometimes people come dressed in costume. Sometimes they have special backdrops for people to use as they snap a selfie. On this night, there was a sense of fun and frivolity as the patrons mingled in the bar.

We made our way into the cabaret where we were sat at a table with another couple, Bruce and Wes. Nate and I usually just keep to ourselves, but this was a special night and the four of us became quite friendly. Whaley took the stage and laid out how the evening was going to run. We would be served a new course about every 15 minutes complete with a signature cocktail created by Meyer’s Grove owner/mixologist Dan Stoner.

I want to point out while this menu is heavy on the meat, Chef Liz can create a signature meal for those with food allergies or are vegetarians. You just have to contact her ahead of time so she can custom design a meal for you.

We were served our first course called:

“Hello New York. Hello Missouri”

Casing free, house-made German brat, red apple kraut, whole grain mustard, and local horseradish sauce, Busch Beer poached apple served on mini wheat bagel.

Nate’s take: It was sweet and sour with the kick of horseradish. It was a nice way to start the meal.

Cocktail pairing: Caramel Apple Summer Shandy: PBR, lemonade, and a caramel apple vodka.

My take: While I am not a beer connoisseur, the sweetness of the drink left me looking for a refill.

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While we were being served (and for each subsequent course), Chef Liz went into great detail about the dish. She talked about the ingredients she chose and why they were pertinent to the movie. Her passion for food is undeniable. Chef Liz and her staff, Chef Jake Alcorn, and Pastry Chef Steve Schmidt worked in perfect unison as they prepared each of the courses.

Second course:

“The Origin of Love”

Purple haze goat cheese tart, grilled romain heart, heirloom tomato, raspberry brandy coulis, fresh greens, herbs de provance, and house made brioche.

Nate’s take: All the ingredients worked harmoniously, but the highlight of the dish was the dressing.  

Cocktail pairing: Lavender Sidecar: brandy, margarita mix, and lavender bitters with a sugar rim.

My take: I love margaritas. The bitters and sugar rim made this drink outstanding.

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Third course:

“I’ve Got an Angry Inch!”

Mini braised pork belly mignon (wrapped in bacon) beer battered and fried. Bok choy flowers. Served with sweet onion, tarragon, mango, wasabi pickle relish and toasted barley salad, and plum hoison sauce.

Nate’s take: The duck bacon was a delightful surprise. The pork belly mignon was tender and delectable.
Cocktail pairing: Tangria. Red wine, Fireball cinnamon whiskey, Tang, orange juice, and a Tang rim.

My take: This sounded crazy when Dan was explaining it, but it worked. The cinnamon whiskey came though strong and the Tang rim made it sweet.

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We then had an intermission which featured a drag queen sock puppet show. The puppets were called “Socks in Frocks.” After the performance, Thomas Cash spoke to the crowd about how they were auctioning off the sock puppets to raise money for PAWS.

PAWS stands for Pets Are Wonderful Support. They are an extension of St. Louis Effort for AIDS which provides education and services to people living with HIV/AIDS, so they can keep pet companions as long as possible. This organization is very near and dear to my heart, and I was happy to see people bidding on the sock puppets.

You can bid on the sock puppets on the Tenacious Eats Facebook page until June 28.

Fourth course:

“Hedwig, Would You Give Me the Apple?”

Wienerschnitzel, a la holstien, (veal, lemon, capers and farm fresh egg) with dill roasted mixed local beets and served with potato pancake, herbed sour cream, and roasted apple sauce.

Nate’s take: This was the star dish. The egg was cooked to perfection, the beets added a tangy flavor, and the wienerschnitzel gave the dish a hearty taste.

Cocktail pairing: Gin and Tonic. Gin, apple bitters, honey simple syrup, lemon juice, and tonic with a lime garnish.

My take: This drink was crisp and refreshing. After the tangy flavor of the previous drink this served as a nice way to clean the palette.

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Fifth course:

“More than a Woman or a Man”

Duel layer cakes: “Hedwig” dark chocolate cake, layered with raspberry and Kirsch and cognac soaker. “Tommy” chocolate velvet cake, layered with cream cheese and lemon curd. Both cakes covered in white chocolate ganache.

Nate’s take: Multiple layers of flavors combine flawlessly to create a depth that made each bite unique.

Cocktail pairing: Spice Cake Spritzer. Champagne with cake batter rum and a couple of drops of Jägermeister.

My take: This was the star drink of the night. Dan had me from when he said it had Jäger. The combination of champagne, rum, and jäger worked brilliantly with the rich dessert. 

While I may not have been the target audience for the courses served, I’m glad I tasted every dish. Chef Liz is an amazing chef. Anyone that can get me to try a goat cheese tart and wienerschnitzel deserves a culinary medal. Perhaps it was the fabulous cocktails that accompanied each course that loosened my palette. Either way, the entire night was visually and tastefully entertaining.

It is easy to see why Tenacious Eats has such a loyal following. Chef Liz’s passion for food is impressive as is her taste in movies. I have been to several events where the food has been themed for the event, but this type of event is something special. The communal experience of watching a classic movie while experiencing new food combinations makes for a euphoric experience.

Ticket prices are $65 per person. For more information on upcoming events visit their website at tenaciouseats.com

One last note: Chef Liz and her talented staff are available for any mobile event. She can create menus for corporate events or private events as well. | Jim Ryan

You can follow me on Twitter @ReviewerJim

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