Sycamore, Flat Branch & home-grown tomatoes


On our first day in Columbia, we had dinner at Sycamore in downtown. This is my in-laws’ favorite restaurant, and I had to promise I wouldn’t say anything mean about it – but honestly, it was wonderful. The menu is seasonal, with an emphasis on local products, the service is truly excellent, and they make a very decent martini. We started with a nicely done fried calamari plate, then we all split the green salad with goat cheese and roasted beets.


My mother-in-law got the gnocchi, which she really likes (she was very smitten by their autumn version with butternut squash). These were served with asparagus and shiitakes, and lots of garlic. I got to finish her leftovers for breakfast and they were extremely good, deceptively light and fluffy. Continue reading

the pie lady of Blackwater

Blackwater, MO

As we drove on a sweltering summer’s day from Kansas City to Columbia, Missouri, we made a lunch stop in Blackwater, a very small town near Boonville. We hadn’t really planned anything for lunch – we had eaten a lot of round things (i.e. bagels and doughnuts) with the family in K.C., but were feeling peckish while still aways out of Columbia. I saw a sign for “Blackwater historic downtown” and for some reason decided that meant restaurants, so we took the exit and wound our way through rolling hills and cornfields until we suddenly emerged in a small, unlikely frontier-ish town studded with flags.

When we parked the car the first thing we saw was a small storefront with a handmade sign informing us of the availability of sandwiches, soup and pie. We went in. The place was full of hand sewn items: aprons, potholders, baby accoutrements and pillows, and there were two tables set with napkins and placemats. On a counter sat some plates, pitchers and a number of pies.

pies Continue reading