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A Night Out — Claverach Farm Style

2015 July 19
by Becky

What’s your idea of a perfect night out?

Mine includes a little adventure, something totally out of the norm. I want an experience. While walking down to Grand and pigging out at any one of the awesome restaurants within blocks of our house is always fun, making plans and changing things up feels more “date-like”.  It doesn’t have to be lavish or expensive (although a little splurge isn’t out of the question), just different and exciting.

My perfect evening out starts at a place like this.

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This is Claverach Farm.

Over a year ago, I heard about this place and their farm dinners. Heard they were out of this world and worth the drive to Eureka, MO. So a few weeks back I booked our sitter and reserved our seats to give it a go. Our group included my mom, who’s visiting this week, as wells as my aunt and uncle.

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We headed west on 44 before transversing two miles of winding, tree lined gravel roads along the Meramec River, passing grape vines and perfect rows of vegetables before a barn came into view. Just seeing it gave me a special feeling, like undoubtedly something incredible was about to happen. Set just beyond an huge, beautiful tree, sits the 100 year old renovated barn where our meal and many drinks were served to the tunes of live bluegrass. Sunlight streamed through the open windows, the smell of the wood burning stove churning out delicate flat breads filled the space, and the sound of roosters crowing set the scene.

Our evening started with cocktails, crudité, and a guided tour of the closest gardens. Luckily the heat dialed down a bit just in time to make the walk pleasant. What a treat to look out a field from which, just that day, your dinner was picked. We spotted bunnies, peacocks, chickens, and a deer—just in case we didn’t believe this was the country.

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The farm is worked by just a few people, all day, every day. And it’s impeccable. The same few people run the dinners, everything from hosting, to touring, to cooking. Hearing about the working of a 300 acre farm (especially when it’s been sweltering outside) was pretty intimidating, I’m happy when we get a few cherry tomatoes and some basil from our yard each year. I could have listened to stories about soil and lyme and wine grapes all evening…if I wasn’t so excited to eat dinner.

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Everything was delicious, from the simple, lightly pickled pink beets to the main course smoked pork shoulder with summer ratatouille. Dinner was an all-evening affair, served at a pace that felt special, each course leaving us with the urge to lick our plates. The food inspired plenty of food-related conversations about our favorite St. Louis dining experiences, with our own group and the next group seated at our community-style table who, in true STL style, are practically our neighbors in the city. We consumed several liters of the farm’s own refreshing rosé. Before we knew it the sky was dark and candles sparkled as our buttermilk panna cotta was delivered.

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My favorite part of dinners like this is that I make no decisions, I just enjoy what the chef considers to be his best meal. How could anyone ask for more in a dining experience?! No questioning your choice, no wishing you’d ordered what your neighbor is devouring. Just a passionate cook feeding people amazing food.

We had anticipated this night for over a month and were already planning our next visit within 20 minutes of our arrival, since it’s a little like being invited to someone’s incredible country house for the evening, especially for us city dwellers. It’s a perfect date night, a wonderful family gathering place, or a really fun night out with friends.

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Have you been to Claverach Farm or something like it? If not, I think it’s clear that I highly recommend it. They are apparently serving these dinners nearly year-round now, so if you need a little escape featuring yummy food in a gorgeous setting, this is the place.

 

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