Craig Cyr’s East Meets West Salad

I am sure this salad sets the record for most ingredients — steak, mushrooms, goat cheese, hard boiled eggs, pecans, bacon, sage, cilantro, chives, basil, lavender, honey, croutons and many others. But Craig Cyr’s point was to show off the great local products from Saturday morning’s farmer’s market. It worked. The executive chef

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and owner of The Wine Cellar & Bistro in Columbia put on a cooking demonstration using almost entirely fresh and local goods. He made the most elaborate salad I’ve ever seen, but it was one of the best I’ve tasted, too.

“The market this morning seemed to scream salad,” Cyr said. But with a slight chill in the air he decided to make a warm vinaigrette for a hearty lunch or dinner salad. The idea gradually came together at the market and in the kitchen, then continued to evolve as he prepared the dish in front of the crowd.

He put an Asian style marinade on the flank steak from Show Me Farms. Then he sautéed mushrooms in butter and white wine, and made a red wine vinaigrette with bacon and chives — very French. Thus, he dubbed the salad “East meets West.”

I loved that every bite was different from the previous. Sometimes you got a lion’s mane mushroom and lavender-scented pecan. Then it would be a bite of cilantro, bacon and egg. You’d get steak with goat cheese. Or spinach and a crouton. There were different textures, and the sweet, sour and savory balance was perfect.

Craig and Sarah Cyr, owners of The Wine Cellar & Bistro
Craig and Sarah Cyr, owners of The Wine Cellar & Bistro

I don’t know how much of each ingredient Cyr used, but I’ll go through the ingredients and process he went through. You can try to create something like it, or at least try some of the elements in a salad of your own.

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An Introduction to My Love of Beer

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don’t claim to be a beer expert, but man do I love a good brew. Microbreweries around the US tend to make seasonal offerings that I strive to find and try whenever I’m at the grocery or liquor store. Granted, my budget is that of a student, but I do my best. (I’m currently at around 120 different six packs, see my “beer wall” further down).

If you’ve never tried a seasonal, you’re missing out. Most good local bars will feature at least one or two seasonals from their favorite brewery. Around Columbia, expect to see the latest Schlafly, Boulevard, or New Belgium, and of course Flat Branch rotates their own selections.

Trying new beer is risky, but it’s not too dissimilar from trying new food. If someone tells you it’s good, you sometimes just gotta believe them. And trust me, I’ve spent good money on beers I’ve tried and regretted, but more often than not, I’ve been extremely happy with the learning process.

Continue reading “An Introduction to My Love of Beer”