Unique Global Home Goods

The Silk rodeo: lucky #7

featuring Chef Ben Grupe

Photo: J. Pollack

Photo: J. Pollack

It is no secret that number 7 is known as a lucky number. In ancient Chinese culture, the number 7 also symbolizes "togetherness". Sound like a plan? Let's get together on Saturday, February 27th at Hammer & Hand and wine and dine with award winning Chef Ben Grupe! 

Who is Chef Ben Grupe? 

Ben is an award winning chef that has accumulated over twenty National and International medals. His training has taken him all over the U.S. and the world. 

Ben was born and raised in St. Louis and started cooking at the age of 15.  Like many chefs he started from the bottom and worked his way through the ranks. His most recent job was as Executive Chef at Meadowbrook Country Club in 2014. 

He now spends most of his time traveling with Culinary Team USA and competed in the World Cup last fall in Luxembourg. They earned two gold medals and placed third overall out of thirty-two countries. The team has now begun training for the IKA Culinary Olympics in 2016.

Chef Grupe is also no stranger to doing pop up dinners! He has held dinners at lovely and prestigious Inns at St. Albans and other fantastic venus around St. Louis. 

One of our biggest fans and favorite food writer George Mahe from St. Louis Magazine has this to say about the Chef:

"Grupe's country club affiliations have kept him somewhat under local radar but his resume (including Captain of the 2016 ACF Culinary Team USA) and talents are impressive."

Chef Ben Grupe and his staff will wine and dine you in our unique and one-of-a-kind shop all night long! 

We are also very excited about the pairings from Bommarito Wines. We will have a few sommeliers on hand to guide you through the tastings and teach you more about the pairings. 

Hammer & Hand promises to make this an evening you won't forget. And, the best part? With your ticket purchase you will receive 30% off any item in our store!


Nori Macaroon | Shiitake | Green Tea

Hamachi | Ginger | Chili | Lemongrass
Nora  Albarino 2014

Crispy Beef Cracker | Tri-Tip | Charred Broccoli | XO
Dom. Du Joncier  Cote du Rhone "L'O" 2013

Chicken Dumplings | Poached Egg | Green Onion Kimchee | Dashi
Leitz  Ries. "Eins Zwei Dry" Trocken 2013

Char Sui Pork Belly | Roasted Eggplant | Pickled Bok Choy
Curried Cauliflower
Joullian  Zinfandel 2012

Honey Miso Cheesecake | Lychee Sorbet | Yuzu Curd | Thai Basil
Black Sesame
Elk Cove  Ultima 2012

*Seating is limited to 30. Reserve your seat today before it sells out. 

Amy & Chris

P.S. We do tend to mix and mingle the guest list. If you have a group that you are putting together, please message us so that we can seat you at the same table.

the silk rodeo: round 6

the young & the talented

Midwest heavyweights Work the Ropes at the rodeo

Super pumped to have this well known and respected young chef for round 6 of The Silk Rodeo. We met Josh online when he began following the Hammer & Hand Instagram account last year. At that time we were flattered that such a respected young chef loved what we do. Fast forward a year and we read that Josh was departing his position as Chef de cuisine at the acclaimed restaurant, Elia. He hadn't decided what his next move would be but he did know one thing; he wanted to take a ride on the rodeo! We were over the moon when Josh asked if he could do one of our dinners. Hmm...let us think a- hell yeah!

Photo via Riverfront Times

Photo via Riverfront Times

We immediately made reservations at Elaia so that we could taste his cooking. Unreal! The food was phenomenal! We felt like rock stars that a chef of his caliber wanted to cook for The Silk Rodeo! Even more exciting is that a few short weeks after he announced his departure he was named Executive Chef of Element which just happens to be down the street from our shop! Read more about his plans for Element HERE.

Josh made it to round 5 of The Silk Rodeo featuring Chef Russ Bodner, with his lovely finance, Brittany. What a wonderful couple. We just love those two.

Photo: Rick Gould

Photo: Rick Gould

Shortly after, we sat down with Josh to go over the details of the dinner and how he envisioned his turn on The Silk Rodeo. Then it happened. We were discussing wine pairing and DING! DING! The epic dinner was forming. One name. Andrey Ivanov. For those of you that don't know (I am sure there are very few), Andrey is a super star sommelier. As wine enthusiasts this was the best news!

Andrey took home the top prize at the highly regarded Chaine de Rotissuers young Sommeliers Competition in Santa Barbara, CA on May 15th. This just after taking third place in the Guild of Sommeliers TopSomm competition in April. We would link you to an article but there are so many out there. Just Google him. Andrey Ivanov. Andrey is also the beverage directed at the recently opened and highly anticipated restaurant Reeds American Table by Chef Matt Daughaday in Maplewood. 

As you can imagine, this is not just dinner. It's going to be an epic celebration of food, wine and culture held inside St Louis' most eclectic furniture store, Hammer & Hand Imports. You will be dinning on gorgeous farm tables and surrounded by antique and vintage imported treasures. To top it off, we will have one of a kind floral arrangements by one of St Louis favorite floral designers, Jenny Thomasson of Stems. 

Every guest will also receive 30% OFF any item the night of the dinner!

We have aptly named this dinner The Young & Talented: Midwest Heavyweights. Josh is ready to rock this dinner. He wanted it to be more intimate and limit the seats to 30. But is that enough for St Louis? No way! It was decided, two seatings would be in order. We will have a 5:30 and a 7:30 seating. 

Josh  has put together an incredible menu for us. Here's what he has to say about the menu...

As far as the menu/style, I have taken traditional "Asian" dishes or parts of dishes and put my Midwestern spin on them. I have always been drawn to Asian flavors such as soy, ginger, cilantro, lime and chilies but also the thought process behind the Asian cuisine. Everything must be in balance. Acid, salt, sweet, bitter and unami. I think my cooking style naturally reflects these flavors and balance. When all of these tastes come together you end up with very "clean" food where you can really let the ingredients shine. 


Menu by Chef Josh Charles//Wine Pairings by Andrey Ivanov


Reception Wine: 2014. Xarmant "Txakolina". Hondarribi Zuri. Arabako Txakoli

1st course
bay scallop crudo

*2014. Do Ferreiro. Albarino. Rias Baixas

Curried pumpkin soup
Creme fraiche, pepitas

*2014. Pago de Larrea, "Caecus Verderon". Viura. Rioja Alavesa

Reuben Steamed bun 

*2011. Dominio do Bibei "Lalama". Mencia based blend. Ribeira Sacra

Marinated Spanish mackerel
Sticky rice, chili, lime

*2014. Ameztoi "Rubentis". Rose of Hondarribi Beltza/Hondarribi Zuri. Getariako Txakoli

Beef Bulgolgi
Quick pickle carrots, shrimp chips

*2012. Vina Sastre. Tinta del Pais (Tempranillo). Ribera del Duero

Coconut rice pudding
Raspberries, white chocolate

*NV. Bodegas Grant "La Garrocha" Amontillado. Fortified Palomino. Jerez-Xeres-Sherry

*Wine pairings by Andrey Ivanov - Spanish theme

The silk rodeo: round 5

Kiss my kimchi!

The Silk Rodeo traveled the dirty south with chef russ bodner on August 24th

We were very excited about this dinner. Chris and I were both born and raised in the South and we have had our fair share of Southern cuisine. Twist that with Asian cuisine and were in heaven! Our favorite dish was the curried grilled okra with harissa. It was magnificent! Well done chef. Well done!

About the Chef:

Russ grew up in University City, and after college at Indiana University, he decided to pursue his culinary adventures. He attended The French Culinary Institute in Manhattan and worked at Anthos, a new-age Agean restaurant in midtown. From there, he traveled to Alabama to work for the talented Rob McDaniel of SpringHouse Restaurant. He was Robs right hand man for 5 years, and has decided to return home and be a part of the thriving St. Louis dining scene. Currently, he is now the chef de cuisine for the soon to be open Randolfi's in the UCITY Loop.
Dinner Menu - 6 Courses w/ 5 wine pairings

1st Course

Boiled Peanuts
Curried Grilled Okra with Harissa

2nd Course
Som Tum with Heirloom Tomatoes
{sliced heirloom tomatoes, green beans, green papaya, shaved carrots}

*Michele Biancardi "Solo" Fiano 2013 (Certified Organic)

3rd Course
Pork Skin Noodle Soup
{shrooms, mustard greens, egg and smoked dashi broth}

*Antonutti Pinot Nero 2014

4th Course
Crawfish Pirlou
{rice with bacon, peas, corn and miso}

*Michele Biancardi "Uno Piu Uno" 2013(Certified Organic) 

5th Course
Smoked Short Ribs
{kimchi braised collard greens}

*Pianrossi Sidus 2011

6th Course

Szechuan Peppercorn Chocolate Mousse

*Manicardi Lambrusco "Amabile"



The wine was incredible! By far our favorite pairing in the series so far. The pairings were done by Jason Ledbetter from Tavolo Vigneto. What a great guy. Thanks for being a part of the rodeo Jason! We hope to have him back soon!

Photo: Rick Gould


Photos: Rick Gould

the silk rodeo: Round 4

Lambay's India

The silk rodeo explored india on july 27th


Round 4 of The Silk Rodeo series featured Chef Adam Lambay, Excutive Sous for Union Station and formerly of Chaumette Vineyards & Winery. Being that Adam's father is Indian, his cooking skills are heavily influenced by Indian culture and tradition. He created a six course dinner for us.  His menu is full of traditional and exotic spices that we had never seen! Our love for India and its culture runs deep so the cuisine is on the top of our list.

Notes from the chef...

I am looking forward to serving the first Indian dinner at Hammer and Hand.  My father was born and raised in Mumbai, India and immigrated to the United States with his siblings in his early 20s. As a child, I grew up helping Grandma - my mom's mom - cook German classics for Sunday dinner, and then back at home my dad would make us beef curry.  For both my grandma and my dad, cooking was a way to preserve their heritage and to share it with their families.  They cultivated a love of cooking that inspired me to become a chef and in sharing their respective cuisines, I like to say I was fusion before fusion was cool!

celebrate a love of Indian cuisine that shines through in the uniqueness of these spices with foods that aren't always seen on Indian restaurant menus. 

Heirloom tomato salad
Local tomato, puffed basmati rice, tamarind vinaigrette, summer greens, spiced cashews

Tandoori style roasted crab
Ginger and coriander seasoned fresh crab, roasted over hot coals. Served with chutneys, chapatti and a salad of petite lettuces, herbs and sprouts

Chicken 65
Indian spiced quick fried chicken with Baetje Farms goat cheese, scallions, cilantro and chili peppers

Pork Vindaloo
One of the most unique curries. It is a blend of spices, wine, herbs and potatoes

Goat lal Mirch
Simply means Goat cooked with chili peppers, served with creamy goat cheese basmati rice

Kama sutra
Goat cheese cheesecake cake pops
Mango custard
Bananas samosas

Photo courtesy of Feast Magazine

Photo courtesy of Feast Magazine

A peek inside Lambay's India...

Read the Blog from the dinner 

Courtesy of Alive Magazine (Katlyn Moncada)

The silk rodeo: Round 3

Thieves in the Night

chef bailey took A Ride On the Silk Rodeo on june 8th


We were introduced to the Chef for round 3 of The Silk Rodeo, Chris Bailey, by Whiskey and Soba blogger Spencer Pernikoff. Chris is from Portland and shares our love of travel and Asian food! He is known for his sold out pop-up dinners in Honolulu and for his Asian-inspired Dinner Lab in St. Louis. We were salivating at a chance to taste his curry. We heard he was named "the curry king". He definitely holds that title in our eyes (bellies)!

Photo: Rick Gould

Notes from the chef...

Our supper club is based in Honolulu, Hawaii, but every now and then we catch a case of island fever. So we are packing up our underground kitchen and are headed to St. Louis, Missouri; a gem of a city in the heart of America, where the food and hospitality are stellar.

A friend introduced us to Amy and Chris Plaisted, the owners of Hammer & Hand, an import store of amazing Southeast Asian furniture and antiques. They happen to also host a fledgling dinner series, the Silk Rodeo, in the shop. It proved to be a fortunate meeting indeed! And Amy and Chris have graciously opened their store to us to take part of one of St Louis' rising underground pop-ups.

Our turn on the Silk Rodeo is set for Monday June 8th at 7:30 PM. We'll be offering a 5-course dinner with wine pairings for $75, tax included. Please bring cash for service tips. It'll be a night you don't want to miss!


Madai crudo / strawberry miso / shaved bottarga / pickled seaweed

Chilled broccolini / licorice root ponzu / seed brittle / katsuboshi / yogurt

Shrimp fat curry en croute / whipped coconut milk

Braised pork jowl / nam jim jaew / chicken fat rice / 

Khanom mor gang / fried shallot / bird's eye chili sherbet


a peek inside thieves in the night...

We also had a chance to meet the very lovely and talented Sommelier, Alisha Blackwell! The wine pairings were magnificent. The rosé was by far our favorite of the night. We even bought a few bottles to take home! Can't wait to have you back Alisha!

Photos: Rick Gould

read the Blog from the dinner

Courtesy of Whiskey and Soba

The silk rodeo dinner series: Round 2

Ni Hao//A Taste of Asia: Hiro Asian Kitchen

this aint our first rodeo: the silk rodeo earns its ropes

What can we say, the people wanted more, so we gave them more! The first dinner with our great friend Bernie Lee, of Hiro Asian Kitchen is wildly popular and we had a huge wait list. Bernie loves to feed people and the people love Bernie! 

Photos: Jonathan Pollack - J Pollack Photography

The Silk Rodeo: Round 1

NI HAO//A TASTE OF ASIA: HIRO ASIAN KITCHEN + La Patisserie chouquette

The start of it all: Our first rodeo

How did The Silk Rodeo start? Well, like all great ideas. We had a vision and thought it would be cool. So we did it! Okay, it's a little more interesting than that. Chris and I had recently received our shipment from our buying trip in Bali. We had all of these fantastic farm tables and decided to set them up in the front of the showroom. The tables looked so good and the atmosphere was so rad that when our friend Bernie Lee, owner of Hiro Asian Kitchen walked in he immediately felt like he walked into a restaurant. We pretty much just decided right then and there that we were going to hold a pop-up dinner and he would be the chef. Well, lucky us! We happen to be obsessed with Bernie's cooking and couldn't think of a better way to enjoy it but in the comfort of our own home (shop)!

How lucky were we? The one and only, top pastry chef and all around amazing lady, Simone Faure of La Patisserie Choquette joined us for round 1 of The Silk Rodeo dinner series!

The first dinner sold out in 48 hours! Wow! We must be on to something. We should do this again. So we decided to call it The Silk Rodeo as a play on The Silk Route. The Silk Rodeo is an Asian inspired underground dinner series focusing on cuisine that you might find alongThe Silk Route. Each dinner will have a different chef, wine pairing and menu! We do not have a kitchen so the chefs prepare most of the food off site. They can bring in burners, grills, toasters or any other warming element to do their magic! 

The dinner series caught the attention of Feast Magazine! Read all about it HERE!

A peek inside NI HAO//A TASTE OF ASIA...

Photos: Virginia Harold