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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Libertine - Clayton Restaurant Week

Now that Chef Matt Bessler has taken over at The Libertine, Patience really wanted to go and support him.

Since it was Clayton Restaurant Week, they were serving a prix fixe menu that included an appetizer, entree, and dessert for $25! Of course we got a cocktail so it ended up around $35 per person by that time, but still a great price.

The best part about going a week before the new menu was officially released, we got to try a few new menu items!

Here are are our cocktails: Lennon in Almeria and Big Sur Reverie, which is made with the Big O!

Lennon in Almeria

Big Sur Reverie
Our appetizers, which are also on the new menu: Beef Carpaccio and Mussels & Bacon Brodo

Beef Carpaccio

Mussels & Bacon Brodo
Now our entrees...The Diner Burger...

Diner Burger
Acqua Pazza...that day's fish was Snapper...

Acqua Pazza
And I got the Warm Weather Risotto....

Warm Weather Risotto
Can't forget about dessert!

Blueberry Pie with Honey-Vanilla Ice Cream

Hazelnut Chocolate Torte
(Madagascar Chocolate Mousse and Homemade Coffee Ice Cream)

Milk and Cookies
Photos by Patience Scanlon

Resources:

The Libertine = http://www.libertinestl.com/

Clayton Restaurant Week = http://www.claytonrestaurantweek.net/

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Cheese and Beer Pairings - Goose Island

After switching things up last month with a wine and cheese pairing class, the cheese has been reunited with beer at Dierbergs featuring Goose Island and Wisconsin cheese.

Goose Island beer with Wisconsin Cheese
Before they were bought by AB, I would say I was a big Goose Island fan, but I haven't paid as much attention to them lately and part of that is from being with Patience and her bias. But, I will still order a Matilda or a Sofie since those are among some of my favorite beers. And I've always enjoyed a 312 (I still call it Three Twelve hehe) as an easy drinking light beer.

I actually learned a lot this class like Goose Island only makes ales, not lagers. And the fourth largest animal source where cheese comes from is water buffalo!

Anyway, the 312 ended up as our welcome beer since it is so light with low ABV and IBU. It's easy to drink this all summer long.

Kicking off the pairings was another light beer, the Summer Ale, which has a little more kick to it due to a slightly higher IBU. But once you pari it with the creamy Carr Valley Fontina, you hardly notice. The accompaniment along with this was a sweet apricot paste. This was probably my favorite pairing due to the creaminess of the cheese.

Next up was the Honker's Ale and I did not realize this had been their flagship beer before expanding into other flavors. As another lighter beer, I found it very easy to drink and I enjoyed the Satori Bellavitano Gold with it since it was a dry cheese. It tasted like a cheddar and a parmesan combined and is definitely a good grating cheese. These richer flavors went well with a salty salami as the accompaniment.

The IPA came in the middle, and not at the end. Luckily, it was paired with a Carr Valley Menage, meaning it was a blend of sheep, goat, and cow's milk, giving it a barnyard, full flavor. It helped to dissapate the hoppiness of the beer and I enjoyed dunking this cheese into a fig jelly.

My favorite beer, Matilda, was served next and since it has such a complex flavor full of baking spices, a heartier cheese was served with it. The Uplands Pleasant Ridge Reserve reminded me a lot of my aged favorite, Midnight Moon. It helped to stand up to the beer for sure. To stand up to both of them, a spicier jelly was offered on the side, but it had too much kick for me.

I had not tried the 312 Pale Ale before and this was not as hoppy as other Pale Ale's I've had. Unfortunately, this was paired with a Emmi Roth Buttermilk Blue and although the Cheese Expert said it was mild, it really overwhelmed the milder beer. On the other hand, milk chocolate was served as the accompaniment and that helped, but I did have to pass the cheese to Patience in this case.

Next month...4 Hands!

Resources:

Dierbergs Cooking School = http://www.dierbergs.com/School

Goose Island = http://www.gooseisland.com/

Avenue

I finally had a good excuse to stay in Clayton for dinner  last week since I have signed up for a three-week beer class. Unfortunately, quite a few restaurants are not open for dinner or not open on Mondays so I had to hike a little bit to find a new place nearby.

I had heard a lot of good things about Avenue and it really lived up to the hype. Since I had gone so early on a Monday night, I had the bartender and servers complete attention, which really spoiled me. What's really nice is that Avenue seems to be open all the time since their menu covers breakfast, brunch, and lunch as well.

I didn't get too far down the dinner menu because everything on the starters list looked amazing. I really wanted one of everything. So I asked for advice and the server was dead on.

First, I had to start with a couple of oysters...they were a little small but delicious.

Oysters
Next up, I couldn't miss the gnocchi, which also came with burrata on top...double win!

Gnocchi with Basil, Roasted Tomato & Burrata
The server raved about the spinach ravioli with roasted shallot and goat cheese, and I could have eaten a lot more of them.

Spinach Ravioli with Roasted Shallot & Goat Cheese
I probably should have stopped there, but I had a little more room, and went with the next suggested starter, the wild mushrooms with burrata over a toasted baguette.

Wild mushrooms with Burrata over Toasted Baguette
The bartender was kind enough to give me a roll of bread as well to help mop up all the sauces, so by the time I got through the toasted baguette, I was completely full.

It was a  hot, slow walk back to my office since I was so stuffed, but it was definitely worth it. I really hope to go back again since I still would have loved to try the mussels, smoked salmon and tuna starters.

Their entrees list is quite lengthy as well, although I'm not sure how I could choose only one. Plus, they include Pomme Classics such as Eggplant Involtini and Duck Confit.

I hope I get to go again!

Resources:

Avenue = http://avestl.com/

Russell's on Macklind

My friend Amy keeps raving about Russell's on Macklind and I finally got the chance to go for brunch this past month. They are open for lunch and dinner as well and is in a quaint neighborhood spot for those city types.

I also learned that you have to say the "on Macklind" part because there is one in Fenton too!

It's a good thing there are quite a few tables both inside and out since it got packed for brunch right around 10:30AM! You order from the counter and the line was almost to the door at the busiest time. It worked out well for me because it gave me time to walk up to the menu board to decide what to order. That way there is no hesitation when you get up to the cashier and you can place your order quickly.

Another trick they do is have you line up in front of all of the desserts...and yes I fell prey to a large piece of gooey butter cake. They also had a peanut butter version, but I wanted to try the original first. It took me three sittings to eat it!

Gooey Butter Cake
For my actual breakfast, you know I went with eggs, a Veggie Egg Wrap, so there was spinach, peppers, tomato, feta, and onion in a wheat wrap.

Veggie Egg Wrap
Patience got the Breakfast Grilled Cheese. I was quite jealous, but I did get a bite. Both items came with a lot fruit, which I really appreciated and it felt it made the brunch worth the money since it was quite filling.

Breakfast Grilled Cheese
Resources:

Russell's on Macklind = https://macklind.russellscafe.com/

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Katie's Pizza and Pasta Passport Dinner: Sicily

June's version of Katie's Pizza and Pasta Passport Dinner focused on Sicily, which is a big island and meant seafood!

Menu
The first course was Arancini, better known as risotto balls! I am thinking this would make a great addition to the appetizer menu!

Arancini

Arancini - The Inside
I was secretly thrilled to see eggplant on the menu and turned into a cute small plate called Panelle + Eggplant Caponata. Panelle is a Sicilian "fritter" and is a common street food. I think the eggplant on top gives it some class.

Panelle + Eggplant Caponata
Getting into the heavier courses, the pasta course was Handmade Busiati Pasta + Pesto Trapanese. You can't go wrong with any of Katie's handmade pastas! Check out the cheese on top too...

Handmade Busiati Pasta + Pesto Trapanese
The home run dish was the seafood course, like I had been expecting. This was a total money shot right here and you can see the prawn up front, two mussels, fried calamari in the middle, seabass in the back, all on a bed of couscous.

Trapani Cuscusu
Let's just say this dish even tops Eggplant Parmigiana and absolutely must be on the menu!!!!!! Write-in campaign time!!

Unfortunately, in all of our excitement over the last dish, we do not have any pictures of the dessert, Cassatelle Alla Trapanese. I can assure you we were way too full at this point to even give much attention, other than the hint of chocolate that it provided.

Resources:

Katie's Pizza and Pasta = http://www.katiespizzaandpasta.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon