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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mellow Mushroom

After watching several people post on Facebook that they had really long waits at Mellow Mushroom, I was beginning to worry about setting up plans for a birthday dinner there for my friend Beth.

So I decided to play it smart and headed down there early with the "No Wait" phone app ready to go. Even though the former Growler's looks a million times better with the new building, neon colors, and paved parking lot, the lot was already completely filled by 6pm. So I did what I normally would do when visiting Growler's, park across Lindbergh in the strip mall parking lot.

As soon as I got close to the restaurant, I clicked my place in line using the "No Wait" app. By the time I finally parked and walked up to the counter to check-in, I already had moved up a few spots!

Thanks to the app, our wait was probably only 15-20 minutes and we got to sit down even though we were missing a couple of people in our party. Again, going early worked in our favor as we had to wait longer than usual for our server to initially greet us. Our server apologized and it was easy to see that she was doing the best she could among all the chaos.

By the time we got our drinks and "munchies" ordered, our other guests started to arrive.

At least you can use the long wait time to review the menu because there is a lot to choose from. I was impressed with the long list of items under "munchies", not to mention hoagies and calzones in addition to the pizza. There is even a lengthy local beer list too!

We started off with the hummus and pretzel bites...

Hummus with soft pita bread
As she dropped off the pretzel bites, the server said these were her favorite. The pretzels were so soft!! They're actually dough twisted into pretzels. Of course we got the beer cheese on the side.

Pretzel Bites
But we were there for pizza! It totally lived up to the hype.

We tried one of the unique flavors selected by Beth, the Thai Dye, and it really had a curry taste thanks to the Thai chili sauce.

Thai Dye
And since we had THE STLVegGirl with us, we also tried a vegan (Daiya cheese) Mega-Veggie pizza. (Veggie pizza is my favorite flavor so I can avoid the greasiness of the meat pizzas.)

Check out the CHUNKS of veggies everywhere! Sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, black olives, Roma tomatoes, broccoli, banana peppers, artichoke hearts and tofu.

Mega-Veggie
Wait a few more months, but definitely keep this high on your list, especially if you got kids.

Resources:

Mellow Mushroom = http://mellowmushroom.com/store/st-louis

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Gift A Meal app + donate to Food Outreach

I was recently approached by Jacob Mohrmann, the Chief Marketing Officer of GiftAMeal.

Since you know how much I love to dine out and take pictures of my food, there is finally an app for Android (and iPhone) that will donate some of my dine outs to charity!

I have selected Food Outreach as my charity of choice as I have attended a few events for them such as "A Tasteful Affair".

Want to join me?

1) Download "GiftAMeal" app to your smart phone. (Perhaps buy a smart phone first?)
2) Click "Sign Up"
3) For the Promo Code type: MMFO  (This is my promo code to share! Please share it!)
4) Check the "I agree to Terms" box and sign in with either Facebook or your email address.
5) Fill out the info form. (Some typing with a finger is involved but you can do it!)
6) Click the "Sign Up" button and wait for the intro screen to appear.
7) Dine out and use the app by taking a picture of your food and posting it!

Each time a user signs up with my Promo Code MMFO, GiftAMeal donates $1 to Food Outreach!


Note: This app is good for restaurants in St. Louis and Chicago.

Resources:

GiftAMeal = http://giftameal.com/

Food Outreach = http://foodoutreach.org/

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

American Cheese Society Conference

Thanks to the efforts by Iowa State University, the American Cheese Society held their annual conference in Des Moines this year. Since that's drivable and I have a place to stay near by, this was my big chance to see what the conference was all about.

Unfortunately, the conference is for cheese professionals and I didn't want to spend the money for all the activities during the week. So I just went to the Festival of Cheese, where you could taste all the cheese, which was open to the public.
Festival of Cheese
It was pretty awesome being surrounded by so much cheese, but it was also quite overwhelming. With 14 tables spread around the convention floor, surrounded by sponsors selling their wares on the edges, there was a lot to see and eat.

Festival of Cheese Tasting Map

Cheddar

Massive convention floor

All the tables were crowded

Soft Ripened Cheese

Washed Rind Cheeses
I tried to eat as much cheese as possible, which probably wasn't the best plan of attack. Then I tried to focus on the award winners, which were designated by ribbons.

Award Winners designated by ribbons
Here is one of the cheese makers sporting their winning medal!

Award winning cheesemaker!

At least I can cross this off my bucket list!

Resources:

American Cheese Society = http://www.cheesesociety.org/

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Beer and Cheese Pairing August 2016

I think this is the first Beer and Cheese pairing at Larder & Cupboard and it's been a while since I've gotten to attend this type of pairing class since they are no longer offered at Dierbergs.

My favorite beer by Piney River, the Float Trip Ale, was the first beer served and was paired with Swiss Gruyere due to its nutty flavor.

Piney River Float Trip Ale with Swiss Gruere
I think this would have been better paired with the Baetje French Chevre in the second pairing, since both are so light.

Kenny's Farmhouse Awe Brie, which has more of an intense flavor, went better with the Piney River Black Walnut Wheat.

Piney River Black Walnut Wheat with Baetje Fresh Chevre and Kenny's Farmhouse Awe Brie
The Piney River Bronzeback Pale Ale was appropriately paired with a Macroot Tipsy Cheddar, which is made with Schlafly Pale Ale.

Piney River Bronzeback Pale Ale with Marcoot Tipsy Cheddar
Another IPA from Old Bakery was paired with a triple creme Vermillion River Blue. I think this beer could have used a stronger blue cheese to stand up to it.

Old Bakery Beer North End IPA with Vermillion River Blue
The Gruyere was featured again in the last pairing with Old Bakery's Porter, which has strong coffee notes.



Looking forward to more cheese classes at Larder...both cheese making and cheese pairings!

Resources:

Larder & Cupboard = http://www.larderandcupboard.com/

Beer and Chocolate Pairing August 2016

Back again at Larder & Cupboard for more Beer and Chocolate - together!

We started off the night with my favorites, so I guess that makes it my favorite pairing? The very refreshing "Float Trip Ale" along with a melt-in-your-mouth Apricot Grappa chocolate.

Apricot Grappa chocolate with Piney River Float Trip Ale
The Piney River Missouri Mule IPA is too hoppy for me as it is made with four types of hops, but another top chocolate was the Apple Caramel...it really has an apple flavor!

Apple Caramel and Kickstart Granola with Piney River Missouri Mule IPA
Patience loves the Piney River Hobby Farm Ale, which is a seasonal beer that has a lot of floral notes to it. That paired well with the Tomato Bark and Seed Geeks Chocolate Creamed Honey.

Tomato Bark and Seed Geeks Chocolate Creamed Honey with Piney River Hobby Farm Ale
The Piney River Masked Bandit IPA is made with two different malts and two types of hops. This was paired with a Pecan Caramel, which tasted just like pecan pie.

Pecan Caramel and American Spoon Fudge Sauce with Piney River Masked Bandit IPA
For dessert, a Tropical Pale Ale, tasting much like passion fruit, was appropriately paired with a Coco-Cashew Caramel. You can see the bits of coconut on top!

Coco-Cashew Caramel with Tropical Pale Ale
You'll probably be seeing a lot more classes like these as the seasons change, which means new flavors of beer and chocolate.

Resources:

Larder & Cupboard = http://www.larderandcupboard.com/

Kakao Chocolate = http://www.kakaochocolate.com/