Earlier this week, I ventured over the fairgrounds on our lovely golf cart to go and sample the breakfast that the culinary students at the Missouri Grown Bistro were offering to the public. Now, it's lunchtime.I got to speak with Chef Toby from  L’Ecole Culinaire a while back about the Bistro and their mission, which is to show the average joe how wonderful local Missouri meat, vegetables, cheese, and more can be.  It's very important to know where your food comes from, and they're trying to raise awareness of locally grown foods. And putting a little fancy spin on some of it to make it shine doesn't hurt.  On to lunch!

It's  much more crowded this time.  And there's music!  I hear Kenny Chesney, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, this must be nice for the regulars.


Then, he came out.  ***ANGELS SING** Oh. My. Lanta.  That is a whole heck of a lot of food.  I know I can't eat all this!  I'll have a few bites of each.  But I kinda feel bad about wasting food.  Not bad enough to not EAT it, of course.

Steak and Watermelon Salad.


Steak is always nice.  It looks about medium rare.  I'll have a bit of watermelon.  Oooh! There's something a little spicy here!  I like it. Nice sear on the steak, good seasonings. Oh, I see jalapeno! That explains it.  This dressing looks like a vinaigrette. Oooh, it's cilantro! It's supernice with the watermelon.  I see corn, tomatoes, is that  a red onion?  Very nice. I could keep eating this but I'd better not.

Smoked Chicken Derby Cobb.


This looks refreshing.  I bet after a long hot day, this hits the spot. There's a dipping sauce, let's see what that is. Honey mustard! I get a little blue cheese (which I love), some bacon, avacado... and I bet this is a spinach wrap.  The dressing is a little sharp, but I like that.  It helps to cut through the creaminess of the avacado, the fluff of the egg.

Director's Sandwich.


This thing looks bigger than my MOUTH, and it's not even the full sandwich. My first bite I basically got the beef and bacon.  The bacon was a little mapley! I managed to shove more of it in my gullet the second bite.  The fresh lettuce and onions were really nice.  And that sure looks like a home made pickle. Great sammich!

BBQ Pulled Pork Tacos with Fries.


Chef Toby said this normally doesn't come with fries, but he wanted me to try them. I can see the little flecks of seasoning. Kinda tastes like it was baked over a wood fire.  Soft, but not mushy.  Onto the taco! You definitely get a sweet barbecue flavor. And that slaw!  Crunchy but not overpowering.  The cabbage works really well with the pork. Pork can be so rich, it's nice to have that freshness.

Waffle Cristo.


Oh, I just touched it and you can tell the waffle is crispy. Nice. Oh. Oh my god.  This is amazing.  This goes from salty to sweet to back to salty and they just DANCE together.  THAT JAM. Spicy and sweet and.... eugh.  This is amazing. I've always loved the sweet/salty combo, though, so this is pretty much made for someone like me.

Cajun Catfish Po Boy.


A nice, big bun, again, probably too big to fit  in my  mouth. I see a nice little sauce under the fish.  That's delicious!  The catfish is nice and crunchy, and the cajunness definitely comes out. The fish is nice and tender inside.  It's a little bit spicy.  The bun is nice and soft, helps to mush the whole thing down.

Show Me Bratwurst.


I think this is something Husbando would love. The brat is soft, I can't quite place what it is.  The grilled onions add a little sweetness while the saurkraut adds a little bite. Maybe it's the beer braise that I'm getting on the brat. I'm sorry, I liked most of it but I just kind of didn't like the beeryness of the brat.  Yeah, husbando would love it, though.

The Show Me Special.


This is different every day.  Today Chef Toby did some lamb and veggies on skewers! You definitely get the curry.  That's awesome.  The grilled veggies have just a bit of a char, just right. The rice is very coconutty, that's a nice compliment to the curry.

Woah.  Now, I feel like a whale. But it was WORTH IT.  I'd have to say overall my favorite was the Waffle Cristo.  That just... sang to me.  The other items I tried were very very very good, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be the Cristo.  Really, I didn't meet a dish here I didn't like something about.

So overall, I say, come on and try a few things.  Nothing's very pricey, it's good quality stuff, and you get to sit in the air and take a break. Try the Cristo, though. You'll like that.

You've still got time to head out and try the Missouri Grown Bistro for yourself these next few days.  Trust me, you don't wanna miss out on this one!

Tastingly yours,


More From Mix 92.3