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Monday, January 2, 2017

STLCheesegirl Top Post 2016

While I didn't have as many reviews this year, I actually hit an all time high for my top blog post. 

I also didn't hit as many PW Pizza beer dinners nor as many cheese classes, but each year brings something new as I am now a regular at Larder & Cupboard for their classes, and there were a lot of new restaurants coming out.

A friend from my "growing up" is now a fellow wine geek and got a job at the winery. So of course a road trip was required. I'm not sure the last time I had gone to that winery, but it's all grown up and has a brewery on the property as well. I'm not sure if Megan shared this post on her blog or what, but I had a ridiculous amount of page views.

After recently celebrating their one year anniversary, the Fondue Class is its most popular class as it sells out very quickly each time. Unfortunately, the class size is limited, but this month alone there are two seatings! Be sure to check the events page on their website. Additional classes include Beer and Cheese pairings and Whiskey and Chocolate pairings.

One of the hottest new restaurants of the year...you should definitely make it a date night at least once. Just be sure to make a reservation way in advance!

This was my birthday dinner with great friends and another hot, new restaurant. Be sure to check out their brunch too!

I finally made it to one of Mike Ward's classes...he's such a great wine expert and teacher, and I always learn something new from him. Unfortunately, his classes are a bit far south for me so this was the only class I made it to. 

Whiskey and Chocolate Pairing at Larder & Cupboard -  http://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2016/06/whiskey-and-chocolate-pairing-june-2016.html
Another winning combination and there will be more of these this year!

I am a loyal customer of the monthly PW Pizza Beer Dinners. These dinners are a great way to try beers from craft breweries around the country, as well as the local area. The list for this year is out so sign up EARLY because these dinners book up quick!

This restaurant was introduced to us by fellow foodies who were regulars at one point. Another great date night location.

Not only did we get an IKEA, but we now have a Mellow Mushroom! We are on the map! I probably should have waited until the hype died down, but definitely a family friendly environment with the level of noise. I was eating that pizza for days. 

Another new restaurant that I got to enjoy for Mother's Day. This is a special occasion place for sure.

Mona's

When my friend suggested "Mona's" for lunch... I just assumed it was "just another Italian spot on the Hill". Not exactly...

As soon as I walked in, I had that weird feeling that I had been there before....AS MODESTO!!!!!

What a happy surprise...getting to try "the new version" of Modesto on my day off. We were there at lunch time and had the place to ourselves.

The first thing that struck me was how bright and airy the restaurant is now and having an open kitchen area makes it feel even more spacious. The bright blue and yellow color scheme is also happy and inviting. This did make me miss Modesto a little bit tho...

Since we were there for lunch, we mostly opted for salads and sandwiches, which also includes a pick two option for soup and salad.

I actually did a two-fer...trying two different salads. Fried green tomatoes is a rare treat, although there were just four tomatoes on top of a regular salad. Yet, I really enjoyed the rest of the salad since it came with house-made cheese and black olives!

Fried Green Tomato Salad
Then I got my favorite...chopped salad, which comes with even more of my favorite veggie goodies like chickpeas, artichokes, green olives, and white cheddar.

Chopped Salad
The Mona's Burger is actually a double patty with smoked provolone in the middle, balsamic onion jam, tomato confit, and their "Mona's sauce".

Mona's Burger
And the side of fries are all hand cut potato wedges!

Fries
The meatball sandwich was just huge...covered in melted provolone and Mona's homemade tomato sauce.

Meatball Sandwich
Only Patience went traditional with the adult-sized order (meaning two meals) of Spaghetti with meatballs. The pasta is made fresh there and had such thick noodles!

Spaghetti
I definitely hope to get back there to try their pizza and pasta!

Resources:

Mona's = http://www.monasjoint.com

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Garden on Grand

Our foodie friends, Jamie and Shannon, wanted to try Garden on Grand and we were intrigured to try someplace new. I was hoping it wasn't just all salads, but I would describe it more like Asian fusion.

The unique craft cocktails definitely stood out here. Manhazerac (love the name!) for Patience and a Brexit 75 for me.
Manhazerac

Brexit 75
Since we were the first ones to arrived, we picked out the appetizers. (You could probably make a meal out of them really.)

Pan Seared Duck Dumplings (pot stickers) and the risotto (a special for that night) were also winners.

Risotto
But wait, there's more!

There are only a few entree selections, but there is something for everyone in addition to the specials of the night.

Patience went with her go-to, Fried Rice, but their version came with coconut oil with shrimp.

Shannon dared to try the Roasted Salmon, which has gotten great reviews and was probably the best entree of all.

Roasted Salmon
Here is Jamie's burger. -record scratch-  At least they used a 6-year cheddar cheese to melt all over it.

The Burger and Fries
And here is my entree...wonder what's inside?

Covered dish...
I ordered the special of the night, Baramundi, a white fish, which came with cherry tomatoes and white beans in a broth.  It was good, but the salmon was really the way to go.



Of course dessert happened. Shannon and Jamie got their favorite, bread pudding, which went quick, so I'm thinking it was a good choice.

Bread Pudding
Patience ordered the Panna Cotta all to herself since I was way too full and there wasn't any chocolate besides the chocolate stick.

Panna Cotta
Be sure to make a reservation for a weekend night, or else you might want to wait until spring. Since we didn't have a reservation and had to sit by the door, it was quite chilly whenever the door opened.

Resources:

Garden on Grand = https://www.thegardenongrand.com

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Pie 5

My coworkers and I decided to venture out from Clayton to try someplace new for our weekly team lunch. I think this is the fastest pizza I have ever ordered.

Pie 5 is located right off of Hanley near the new Manard's so it was very easy to get in and out of and there is plenty of parking in the strip mall.

As you can see, there is plenty of seating and the wall of windows makes it very bright and airy.

Large, airy dining room
I would recommend studying the menu first so you don't hold up the ordering line. There are quite a few choices that you need to make concerning the crust, sauce, cheese, and toppings.

You can build your own pie or order a suggested combo. You know I had to make my ultimate pizza of black olives and mushrooms (along with a few other veggies since there is no limit).

I chose the traditional Italian crust since it was my first time, but the classic pan is the way to go so that the dough will hold up all your toppings.

A lot of choices on the menu!
So...many...toppings!! I just kept piling it on... sauce AND sliced tomatoes!

Lots of toppings to choose from.
And they have one of those cool soda machines where you can select from several choices. Although there is only one so I felt bad when I took forever to look at all the options.

Perfect place for a lunch! They even have a "bundle" price if you want a drink and side salad to go with it, although the pizza was plenty by itself.

Resources:

Pie 5 = https://www.piefivepizza.com/

Dark Room Dinner

Since the Dark Room is in between the Fox Theater and Powell Hall, we normally stop by for an after-show drink. Every single time, Chef Samantha comes out and asks if we wanted something to eat and we just weren't hungry so late at night.

So we promised to make a date to go there JUST for dinner and to try her handmade, gnocchi of the week. Luckily there were a few other goodies on the menu as well!

We were greeted by a cute, little sign at the bar and Kelli was right there to start pouring for us!

Our reservation waiting for us...
The Dark Room is known for their wine list so we each picked out a favorite in addition to trying the Featured Wine from the special dinner menu for the night. The wine list is quite lengthy so I actually recommended just telling the sommliers your preferences and have them narrow it down for you.

Wine selection
Of course we had to have some cheese to pair with all that wine! We usually order the cheese plate as a late night snack, but ordered it as a starter this time.

Cheese plate
To make things simple after that, we just ordered one of everything off of the featured menu. The first course was the Chef's Soup Bowl, vegetable beef that came with fresh bread.

Vegetable Beef with bread
Of course the main course was the weekly gnocchi...they're huge! These are Zucchini Gnocchi with roasted brussel sprouts, crimini mushrooms in a creamy gorgonzola dolce sauce. I wish I had room for a second order....

Zucchini Gnocchi
Dessert was no joke either...we each got our own S'mores Pie a la Mode! Serendipity's Tahitan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream was served on top of a cake with marshmellow "stuff" on top. So filling!

S'mores Pie a la Mode
The featured menu changes weekly, but they do have a few staples on the menu such as hummus and a couple of flatbread pizzas that are great as last night snacks. While there is a weekly gnocchi, the flavors change frequently.

Featured Menu
In case you haven't heard, the Dark Room will be moving inside the Grandel Theater at the beginning of February, and the menu will be expanded even more!

Hopefully, a future blog post from the new location will happen in 2017!

Resources:

Dark Room = http://www.thedarkroomstl.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon