You guys are on fire right now. My last two meals there have been the kind of gut-busting, coma-inducing dinners that make diners euphoric. When I ate there just the other week, it was a completely different menu than earlier this summer, but it looks like parts of it are going to be changing again soon. So enjoy looking at pictures of food you aren't going to be able to eat for a year.
You know fall is here when everyone's wearing plaid.
You can't go to Juniper and skip out on the [symple_highlight color="blue"]bread basket[/symple_highlight]. Cornbread, hushpuppies, Carolina biscuits, angel biscuits and gullah biscuits rest upon a slab of wood, making it easy to just slide them all into your mouth at once.
We'd never gotten the [symple_highlight color="blue"]deviled eggs[/symple_highlight] before, so we had to try those. Half were a sweet creamed corn mix and the other half were "green eggs and ham". I had a drink in me by this point, so I just about swallowed these whole. The corn ones were the winner for me.
I must mention that our bartender for the evening, Drew (I believe), was mixing up some tasty, tasty drinks. Two of use did the Bartender's Choice twice; all four drinks were outstanding. Not unlike the drink I had at Taste, the best I got was some sort of coffee and tequila mix. I was pretty buzzed throughout this meal, which is how Juniper is meant to be experienced. The food is fun. It's low country done upscale. The restaurant's design is so casual and homey that it is borderline fancy. You see people dressed up and people dressed down. It's just a fun place to go for a meal or drinks.
This right here is how you do a salad. John Perkins doesn't bother with lettuce. He takes [symple_highlight color="blue"]fried green tomatoes[/symple_highlight] and puts them over a creamy, sweet corn curd, then tops that with country ham powder and a preserved lemon bacon vinaigrette. I know this will go away as tomatoes stop growing, and that saddens me. I'm sure he'll replace it with a 'salad' that is just deep fried bacon on top of cheese.
The [symple_highlight color="blue"]watermelon salad[/symple_highlight] was just as summery, but with a fruity flair. I opted to take more of the fried green tomatoes than this, but the gazpacho base, pickled rind and crunchy grains were very good. Sexy plating, too.
We're coming into a Golden Age of fried chicken here in St. Louis. Ben Poremba's Old Standard has just opened, Josh Galliano busts his out once a month, and Juniper has theirs available nightly. Whose is best? I can't possibly say. This chicken was damn good though. You can see how crunchy it was, but you can't see how well seasoned or how juicy the meat inside was. If I were the kitchen staff, I'd definitely eat the leftovers on everyone's plates.
I had this on both my recent visits: the [symple_highlight color="blue"]frogmore stew[/symple_highlight]. You get three enormous head-on prawns, some charred corn on the cob, a couple tender taters and a huge disk of house made andouille that is out of this world. It's so smokey. I want to use it on and in everything. If they made a cologne out of the scent, I'd wear it.
The fish (aka the only healthy thing on the menu) for the evening was a crispy skinned trout served with green beans and sweet potato. My notes say that it was topped with a tartar sauce mixed with crab, but I was pretty buzzed at this point and I'm not sure that is actually true.
I thought the fish was superb. It wasn't topped with a bunch of things covering the flavor: it was just straight up crispy trout. And a totally non-greasy trout, at that. I approve!
Juniper's got an A-team working on their desserts too, it seems. First we tried the [symple_highlight color="blue"]Paw Paw[/symple_highlight] ice cream. I had no idea what a Paw Paw was, but a quick Googling says it's an indigenous North American fruit. It looks like a papaya and tastes like a banana. I want to grow Paw Paw's now.
[symple_highlight color="blue"]Mimi's Pound cake[/symple_highlight] came with whiskey peaches, buttermilk ice cream. Awesome.
My favorite dessert is the [symple_highlight color="blue"]moon pie[/symple_highlight]. I hate that every time I've gone I've had to share it. It's like a giant s'mores cookie, and I love me some s'mores.