I've been hearing about a place up north, off of my beaten path, called Justus Drugstore. Everyone said it was amazing. And even though I didn't doubt them, it still took some convincing before I was willing to get in the car and drive 20+ minutes (gasp!) to get to Smithville, MO (where?) to go to a place that used to be drugstore (what?).
But, hey. I'd heard they are supporters of local food. So when I finished the big rhetoric-of-the-local-food-movement paper I've been working so diligently on, I decided a trip to a restaurant that supports local food might be the perfect celebration.
So finally tonight I went to Justus Drugstore and Oh. My. Gosh. . . . EVERY single thing that passed through my lips was remarkable. From the Beet Ricotta Gnocchi amuse bouche (the vegetarian amuse bouche they brought us so generously when we told them we don't eat meat) to the flight of housemade ice creams for dessert. The thyme/rosemary infused gin ... the "persimmon paint" ... the pea shoot salad ... the butter ... the crispy bok choi in my risotto ... and everything in between was just amazing.
I am certain that even the best of English majors would struggle to find the words to describe what went on around my taste buds tonight. No, not taste buds. Taste blossoms. No, wait: taste full blooms. Yes that's it - full blooms of taste.
All I know is that the mint powder ... or did they call it mint dust? I can't even remember what they called it; much less can I describe it myself ... when that mint powder/dust touched my tongue and melted - I tell you - MELTED, I immediately thought of every fresh mint plant I have ever smelled, tasted, harvested, cooked with, garnished with, chopped into a salad, or macerated into a mojito. It was like cotton candy for adults. Mint cotton candy. Exquisite mint cotton candy.
And THAT was an item served on the side, so imagine how much you'd be reeling if you'd had a full meal - amuse bouche, appetizer, salad, entree, AND dessert - like I did tonight. Positively reeling.
Drive to Smithville, MO, I tell you. You won't be disappointed.