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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

PW Pizza O'Fallon Beer Dinner

I am a little sad that this is the last PW Pizza Beer Dinner of the year, but I'm pretty proud that I only missed once. This month, O'Fallon Brewery was featured and they were all new beers to me. I am really high on O'Fallon Brewery right now because they're going to be building a new facility in Maryland Heights, not that far from me!

Menu
We started off with the best salad of the year. While the title claims "Bacon Parmesan Salad", I didn't get much much bacon, and loved all the goodies in the salad with a rich, thick, Ranch-like dressing.

Bacon Parmesan Salad
Oh yeah...it was paired with the Zeke's Pale Ale, nice and light but still a little too hoppy for us.

My favorite beer came next. The Hemp Hop Rye was very mild with an easy finish. The pizza paired with this was very busy with toppings and with flavor since there was chicken, portabella mushrooms, blue cheese and red onion. Everyone tried to fill up on this one.

Marinated Chicken & Portabella Pizza with Hemp Hop Rye
The third pairing of the night put together all the pumpkin flavors. Unfortunately, the pumpkin on the pizza and the beer was really intense. The Imperial Pumpkin is no joke! The Roasted Pumpkin Pizza was topped with goat cheese, caramelized onions, sage, and golden raisins. First time I've ever had raisins on a pizza!

Roasted Pumpkin Pizza with Imperial Pumpkin
Of course the dessert course was Patience's favorite: Pecan Walnut Bread Pudding (really dense!) in a ginger caramel sauce and lemon grass whipped cream with a King Louie Winter Toffee Stout.

Pecan Walnut Bread Pudding with King Louie Winter Toffee Stout
I can't wait to see what breweries are available in 2015!

Resources:

PW Pizza = http://pwpizza.com/

O'Fallon Brewery = http://www.ofallonbrewery.com/

Three Flags Tavern Brunch

While I have been trying not to confuse Three Flags Tavern with Three Kings, which has burgers and cajun food in the Loop, I was thrilled at the chance to finally try out this new restaurant for brunch. This location was suggested by my friend, Alisha, before a Rams game. Fun fact: the Three Flags refers to the transfer of the Louisiana Purchase from Spain and France over to the United States.

I have heard a lot of great comments about their oysters and lobster rolls for lunch or dinner, but they only recently opened up for brunch. Thanks to super spy Alisha, I already knew I wanted to order the Eggs Benedict with Crab so no homework was even necessary. It was a slam dunk recommendation for sure.

Eggs Benedict with Crab
Luckily, their brunch menu is pretty concise to make an easy selection, although they do have some unique dishes including a Duck Hash, Heritage Rice & Beans, and a Croque Madame.

We were curious about the Calas to start off our brunch and it tasted just like a round beignet with cinnamon, honey and chopped walnuts on top.

Calas
Luckily, Patience ordered my second choice, the Omelet of the Day: a vegetarian omelet with a green salad and rye toast.

Vegetarian Omelet, greens, rye toast
To jazz up her breakfast, Patience did order the Buttermilk Biscuits, with Devonshire cream and fruit preserves. Let's just say this could be a meal unto itself!

Buttermilk Biscuit with Deveonshire cream and fruit preserves
Last but not least, you can still get your favorites for those "picky eaters" that prefer the usual. The biscuits and large chunks of potatoes were fantastic.

Two Eggs with bacon, biscuit, and potatoes
And I can't forget about the drinks! While I had my usual Mimosa, there are a handful of creative Bloody Mary drinks: some with claim juice, another with Rye whiskey, and an Oyster Shooter!

Bloody Mary
 Definitely a must go...and a must go more than once. Hopefully, a visit for dinner will be next!

Resources:

Three Flags Tavern = http://www.threeflagstavern.com/

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sweetology

I was invited to a food blogger event by my foodie friend, Amy Burdge, author of the blog Eat It, St. Louis. I had never been to or even heard of Sweetology before, and it turns out they’ve been open for about six months. When I checked out the website, I learned that Sweetology is a do-it-yourself cake decorating place...almost like Build-A-Bear but for desserts! I thought immediately this would be perfect for little girl’s birthday parties, but I found out that there is something for adults as well!

When I first walked in, my first thought that I had definitely found Willy Wonka’s factory if it had been a candy factory. Bright colors and lighting make it a cheerful place, especially on a cold winter’s night. Then your eyes are immediately drawn to all the colors…all the colors of CANDY!!!

Wall of Sprinkles!
 
Rows of candy! All natural on the left, classic candies on the right
These are just some of the items that you can use to help decorate your cakes. In addition to cakes, you can also decorate cupcakes and cookies, all of which are premade. Not only is there no cooking involved (probably best for someone like me), but you can leave all the mess behind at the store!

After a tour of the store, (there is a meeting space upstairs!) we were treated with samples of their buttercream icing and various chocolates - each one had something different in the middle. As a professional foodie, I made sure to try the vanilla as well as the chocolate. (Such sacrifice!) 

Buttercream and chocolate samples
Although, I only had enough room to taste one all-chocolate cupcake. Did I mention this was my dinner? 

Cupcake Samples
To help wash down all these samples, we had our choice of drinks. Fancy coffees and red or white wine. Yes, wine - so now I'm thinking "Girl's Night Out" and not just for little girls!

Now it was time to get to have some fun and get our hands dirty! We each got to choose a cake, cupcakes, or cookies (or as many as you want) to start decorating. We got a quick demo of how to mix colors with the icing and then use the piping bags for decorating. I must say it is harder than it looks!

Starting out...
It took me a couple of tries, but I was able to create a "ode to cheese" as well as a rainbow-colored cupcake from all the various colors available! Notice the different piping! 

My cupcakes
Byron was able to master icing roses and we all stood around to watch his magic.



Here are some other adorable decorations!

Stefani's Cupcakes and Cookies
The best part was seeing fellow foodie friends and making new ones!


Here is a more professional article about our experiences that night:

Resources:

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Wine Merchant Cheese Class November 2014

The Wine Merchant in Clayton is now on the second round of going through the top cheesemaking countries so for the second time this year, I attended a "USA" themed cheese class. This makes sense since there are so many cheeses to go through! While cheese making hasn't been around as long in the United States, there are still plenty to choose from and always something new to taste.

American Cheeses
I was thrilled that the first cheese of the night was the Midnight Moon, which if you know, is my all time favorite. It's a goat cheese, but firm due to aging and has a rich, nutty flavor. I learned tonight that this cheese is made in a gouda style, so that probably adds to the heavy flavors. 

Normally I tell people to pair this with red wine because because of its strong flavor, so I was surprised this was paired with a Bonny Doon Riesling 2013. Even more suprising is that this Riesling came from a southern California winery, but it was explained to me that the grapes come from all over the eastern United States. So two of my favorites together means a top pairing in my book.

Next up was the Domaine Napa Chardonnay 2012 and this was also a good pairing because the rich oaky wine was able to match the coffee flavors in the Barely Buzzed cow cheese. 

The first red wine was a soft Mahoney Pinor Noir Carneros 2011, which is well known for its "French-style" lightness, but I thought it still had plenty of body to stand up to the Pleasant Ridge Reserve, a raw cow cheese that is similar to a cheddar.

We went upscale on the next two wines: Silver Peak Cabernet 2011 and a Ramey Syrah Sonoma Coast 2012. Both were necessary to pair with the soft and rich, brie-like Kunik (a mix of goat and cow's milk), and the pungent, cow's milk Ameribella, which was hard for me to get through.

I had a much easier time with the Rogue River Blue, which paired really well with the jammy Austin Hope Troublemaker. I instantly thought this would make for a good Thanksgiving wine to stand up to all the rich flavors.

Resources:

Wine Merchant = http://winemerchantltd.com/

Pasteria Brunch

I have been to Pasteria a few times, but after seeing a friend post a brunch picture on Facebook, I knew I had to put it on my brunch list. Luckily, it was the best central location (Clayton) for brunch with multiple family members.

The best part about going there for brunch is that there are plenty of parking spaces in the nearby garage, and since we met there at opening time (10AM), there was no need to call ahead or worry about lines.

Ok, so that probably wasn't the best part, but definitely a high point for me. Let's skip ahead to the best part now that I mention it – doughnuts! I got a super chocolately doughnut that was so decadent and I'm sure Patience can say the same thing about her Bombolini – which was stuffed with marscapone cheese. You gotta try one! (There are a few to choose from too.)

Chocolate Doughnut

Bombolini
On a more calm note, Pasteria has a reasonably sized breakfast cocktail list so it was easy to pick out a Mimosa.

Also, their menu is not too big either, but plenty of interesting choices. Patience and I got our usual favorites: I got the Wood Oven Baked Eggs with Pomodoro while she got the French Toast with powdered sugar and whipped mascarpone.

Wood Oven Baked Eggs with Pomodoro

French Toast
Then my cousin ordered the "Huevos Rancheros" with thick cut toast, white beans, ham, and salsa verde.

Huevos Rancheros
I was nervous about having a red sauce with my eggs, but my dish was more of a warm breakfast casserole with a lot of flavor. I would claim that mine was the best dish of the meal, but I was really impressed with the breakfast pizza! It's the same size as their regular pizzas so it's something you definitely need to share. Must go back...

Resources:

Pasteria = http://pasteriastl.com

Photos by Patience