Every Monday we bring you the SL Hot List, a round up of the five latest and greatest things to hit the South. Consider it your weekly update on our region’s most buzzworthy food, culture, and style news.
1. A new art exhibit. St. Louis’ Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts launched a new exhibit on Valentine’s Day, running until August 20. The show, “Art of Its Own Making,” explores the relationship between artists and their audience and surroundings. For example, the Pyramids of Conscience by Agnes Denes features four large plexiglass pyramids, three of which contain different liquids. The first is filled with local tap water, the second is oil, and the third is water from the Mississippi River collected from the historic St. Louis waterfront. The fourth pyramid is a reflective surface that allows the viewer to see themselves among the forms. Artist Meg Webster’s piece, Moss Bed, Queen, is a bed-shaped mound on the floor of the gallery. The moss is live and will continue to change shape and grow over the course of the exhibit.
2. A new winter craft beer. Listen up, craft beer lovers, Back Forty Beer Company based in Gadsden, Alabama, has released the latest in their seasonal series of craft beers. Scotch Ale is a limited release so you best drink up now. Inspired by the Alabama winter season, Scotch Ale has hints of spice with a complex flavor and note of toasted caramel, ideal for pairing with a hearty meal. “Our winter seasonal Scotch Ale was created for those cold Southern nights. The full body and unique blend of spices does a great job of keeping you warm,” says Jason Wilson, founder of Back Forty Beer Co.
3. Craft cocktails in Austin. The city’s newest watering hole is popping the top on the craft cocktail craze. Located on Rainey Street, Half Step is inviting and comfortable and designed to promote interactions between the bartender and the consumer. The decor is dimly lit with a mixture of old and new. On one side is a section of tables for those that like a more relaxed environment without the bustle that usually comes with the bar seats. On the other side are bar stools around a stainless steel bar that is topped with a plethora of mixologist tools and ingredients. On the menu, the Kentucky Colonel is a simple drink of bourbon, Bénédictine, and Angostura bitters.
4. New Orleans: The Underground Guide. This recently released book by the Louisiana State University Press is an intimate look at what goes down off the tourist strip of New Orleans. Venturing from Bourbon Street, authors and NOLA natives, Michael Patrick Welch and Brian Boyles, explore the eclectic and oft-forgotten music, cuisine, and locals that make New Orleans the beloved city it is. Some excerpts include Mardi Gras advice from banjo player Geoff Douville and where to go to take part in the New Orleans Giant Puppet Festival. $15.45 on Amazon.com
5. D.C. pop-up dinners. Two chefs, J.J. Basil and Chris Wolff, met while working at New York’s wd-50 restaurant. Now, the friends are returning to J.J.’s homeland (he was born in Arlington, Virginia, and raised in D.C.) to eventually start a restaurant, but they’re kicking things off with pop-up dinners at Darnell’s Bar in Northwest D.C. The project, called Zero Degrees Zero Minutes, will feature eight dinners starting February 18 and running until April 1. The dinner will set you back $125 but includes a few small nibbles prior to your six-course meal (with wine pairings), followed by coffee and petit fours. Menus will change each evening, but a sample menu includes things like stone crab, aged Highland beef, and black tea ice cream.