Recently Cyndy and I headed out Hampton to a small cafe and mini-market—Edibles & Essentials, listed this year among Ian Froeb’s 100 Best Restaurants in St. Louis. It took less than 20 minutes for us to get there, which I like in a restaurant destination. We were welcomed warmly by Matthew Borchardt, who was wearing several “hats” during the mid-afternoon shift: chef-owner, greeter, server and cashier.
Lunch on the Patio
At the counter, I asked Matthew what he suggested from the menu. Most popular, he said, was the banh mi taco, veggie burger and fries. We went with his advice. It was warm that day, so rather than eat indoors, we headed out the back door to the comfortable, spacious patio.
In no time at all, Matthew arrived with our food. The banh mi taco was a Saigon-meets-Santa Fe medley of goodness, featuring pork belly, napa cabbage slaw, pickled onions, hoisin mayo on a corn tortilla. The flavor fusion commingled nicely. Even the side of pickles were exceptionally crisp and tasty.
You could tell the kitchen had put some effort in devising just the right texture and taste for the veggie burger—crispy on the outside and holding up well on the inside.
And the sprinkle of grana padano cheese and chopped garlic made those French fries zing even before being dipped in smoked ketchup or truffle aioli.
Edibles & Essentials. . . & Enticements
There are so many things to entice the diner to this pleasant neighborhood cafe and boutique market. There’s Tapas Tuesday, when you can chow down on fish tacos, steamed clams, and chicken sliders. On the Saturday brunch menu, you’ll find such favorites as biscuits and gravy, pancakes, pork tamales and salmon Benedict.
But wait, there’s more! During the warm months, you can listen to live bands while enjoying a cocktail on the patio. (See website for performance schedule.) A kids’ menu is sure to keep the youngsters happy with toasted ravioli, grilled cheese, pizza, or peanut butter and jelly. E&E’s rotating menu, fine wines and cheeses, hand cut steaks and chops, pastries and condiments mean that customers keep coming back for more.
Edibles & Essentials. 5815 Hampton Avenue. Open Mon-Thu 11a-9p; Fri 11a-10p; Sat 9a-10p; Sunday Closed. Monday night: Prix-fixe (3 courses for only $20); Tapas Tuesday, 5p; Saturday Brunch 9a-2p.