Red Eyed Driver, Helium Tapes and Brain Regiment
Despite all our pushing of local art, music and whatnot...admit it: like us, you sometimes find it hard to shake a leg and get out there to enjoy what you claim to love. What a refreshing treat, then, this triple-local bill at one of our town's best listening rooms! Red Eyed Driver (including seemingly all the friendly waitstaff from Mangia Italiano) rocks hard, and drummer Jill Aboussie especially works herself into a lather; Brain Regiment turns on a dime from Americana folksiness to crunchy guitar; and the best surprise of the night, for me, was Helium Tapes, fronted by the ever-enchanting Sunyatta Marshall, who stomps and twirls and sings and plays glockenspiel: the total package. (AD)
Eat Me in St. Louis: Tales from The Dinner Club
Café Ivanhoe, 3257 Ivanhoe Ave., 314-647-4455
This Dinner Club took place soon after Hurricane Katrina, and many restaurants were participating in an effort to give percentages of their proceeds for two days to hurricane relief. This is similar to Dining Out for Life, sponsored by St. Louis Effort for AIDS each year around December 1st, World AIDS Day. The original intent for this Dinner Club was to add a third rule that each person's vote had to also be limited to one of these, which is what has been done when the Club Dined Out for Life.
However, despite the list of participating restaurants being quite lengthy, it was a challenge to find very many that met the criteria of the other two rules (the restaurant must be in the City and the voter has not been there before). So, the third rule was dropped. But, as it turned out, the winning pick was one from the hurricane relief list anyway, so everybody was happy, including Weasel the Cat, who was growing tired of the continued bickering about rules and simply wanted the dozen humans to leave the house and go eat.
Where is Café Ivanhoe? Well, it's on Ivanhoe, of course, but perhaps that doesn't help you. There is a quaint strip of Ivanhoe in the Lindenwood Park neighborhood containing several other establishments, such as Babe's and Colossus. These sit between Arsenal and Fyler, and Café Ivanhoe opened this past spring.
Fittingly for the cause, and previously unknown to us, Café Ivanhoe features New Orleans-style food, such as jambalaya, muffaletta and poorboys. The chef used to work at Bobby's Creole in New Orleans, we were told. The atmosphere is very pleasant with eye-pleasingly colored walls displaying local art for sale, and comfortable furniture in a relatively small space. Our group of 12 presented a logistical seating challenge, but luckily we're all close friends (or became so afterwards).
The salmon with pomegranate reduction was described as "amazing," the St. Peter's Fish "not bad," and the shrimp jambalaya as "smoky sweet." Several bowtie pastas were ordered and regarded as "a little soft," the salmon Niçoise salad was noted to be "good stuff and no anchovies," and the shrimp sandwich was "very fried." The menu also includes a crab cake appetizer, a free-range chicken burger among its many sandwiches, and pan-roasted pork chops.
The beer selection was decent, the staff was friendly and the restaurant is conveniently located less than a mile from Ted Drewes (hooray!) Café Ivanhoe also features outdoor seating on a relatively quiet street, so take advantage while the weather still allows.
Eat City. (JG)