My Latest Discovery
Every now and then I stumble upon a hidden gem tucked away on a city side street daring to be discovered. I shake my head in wonder. Why did it take me so long to find this treasure? Last week Cyndy and I went to lunch at just such a place. It was drizzly and overcast— the kind of day to pick a restaurant near home. Instead, we made a 30-minute trek across town to “Russell’s on Macklind.” There are other renditions of this trendy café/bakery, but they were equally far off in Chesterfield and Fenton.
Despite the weather, the place was packed. But as luck would have it, the couple sitting by the fireplace got up to leave just as we came in. How fortuitous is that! I quickly selected the ½ and ½ combo, giving me a B.L.A.T. sandwich (bacon, lettuce, avocado, and tomato) alongside a bowl of mixed greens called the Kitchen Sink.
Our server spoke enthusiastically about the bacon, saying it was “hand cut, thick, and smoked in house” and the sandwich quite ample. And she was right. When my sandwich arrived, I had to downsize the contents by one or more bacon strips before I could get my chops around the hefty Dagwood. The B, the L, the A, and even the multi grain bread all excelled in their roles. But the T, (the tomato), was what my father would’ve called “mealy.” This I can forgive as an off-season happening, that I’m confident will be remedied with the availability of fresh garden produce.
Cyndy surveyed the exquisite selection of cakes and cookies at the back of the room and reported that there were several calling our names. After lunch we both took a look—this is an activity best done on a full stomach. We got a baking tutorial from the young lady behind the counter, who was as proud of the cakes and cookies as if she had made them herself.
She spoke glowingly of the multilayered buttermilk pound cakes iced with either a ganache or lemon curd. In a show of great restraint, we got two mini cupcakes: a carrot cake and a raspberry-chocolate. We divided them clumsily, using our over-sized utensils. (Those who dine out regularly should carry surgical tools to facilitate the delicate act of dessert sharing.) We each had two small, but magnificent bites. It was hard to walk away from the cookies—all made in house. The snickerdoodles and the peanut butter cookies dipped in dark chocolate were the size of a coffee can lid.
More to Come
We didn’t go upstairs, but I read that since opening five years ago, chef-owner Russel Ping has added 30 more tables, a bar, and a private dining area on the second floor. Our server volunteered that there was yet more fine dining coming to the area with Ping refurbishing the space that was formerly Grapeseed.
Hmm. . . I’m wondering if he’d be interested in some space on the lower floor of one of these new high-rise office buildings in downtown Clayton?