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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Lulu's Local Eatery

Due to a snow storm last month, we finally got to try Lulu's Local Eatery. I had heard nothing but wonderful things about this vegan restaurant so even though we did see a few flakes at lunch, we made sure not to miss this night.

Our friends were kind enough to point out their favorites and some new menu items and we really wanted to try one of everything. It was nice that some choices came in a "bowl" option or a wrap, which is what my friends got.

I thought I would order a wrap myself but then I saw the "bowls" listed under the Entree section and I chose the Buddha Bowl: udon noodles, organic marinated tofu, stir-fried vegetables, green onion, cilantro, crushed peanuts, black sesame seeds and homemade peanut sauce.

Patience ordered the Spring Roll Bowl: house made crispy cauliflower bites with greens, cucumber, shredded carrot, green onion, cilantro, crushed peanuts, fresh avocado with orange peanut sauce over brown rice.

Both bowls could be made gluten free as well!

The bowls and wraps were quite filling, which again removed any fears that I had about vegan foods. The bowls were served warm while the wraps were chilled.

There is such a wide variety of interesting sounding dishes like the Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger and the General Tso Cauliflower. While it probably won't taste exactly like the original, it's nice to know that it's much healthier.

It was busy on a Friday night, and seating is limited, but once it gets nicer out, you'll be able to sit on the patio. This was very casual as you had to order from the counter and a food runner delivers it to you.

Also, another large local craft beer list!

Resources:

Lulu's Local Eatery = http://luluslocaleatery.com/

5 Star Burgers

So I have to admit that I had not tried 5 Star Burgers because I had them confused with 5 Guys Burgers, and boy are they two completely different burger joints. It's a shame their names are so similar because it is night and day between the two.

Right away I was shocked to see that it's a sit-down restaurant and not just an "order from the counter" place. Also, I was pleased to see the long list of ingredients that you could add to any burger. Of course I was going to add mushrooms, avocado, and an egg and no I don't care that it's going to be a towering mess!

I was also really surprised to see at the top posted in bold letters "FRESH, ALL-NATURAL, HORMONE and ANTIBIOTIC FREE" when referring to their beef. So without hesitation, I wanted to try one of their signature burgers for my first time. I chose the "Magic Mushroom" since that came with the sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, and swiss cheese that I would have ordered anyway for the plain burger.

Magic Mushroom
Now I can't wait to go back because I also really want to try all their specialty burgers like veggie, turkey, lamb, and bison. Plus they have other types of sandwiches like grilled chicken, salmon, and a portabella. For a burger joint, they have a lengthy salad list on top of that. Something for everyone!!

I knew better than to order a side dish but the fries, fried pickles, and crispy cheese curds looked fabulously greasy and good.

Oh...and they have a fantastic happy hour EVERYDAY from 4-6pm where they have sliders for $1.50 each! I was impressed with their local, craft beer selection too.

I can't wait to go back....

Resources:

5 Star Burgers = http://www.5starburgersstl.com/

PW Pizza Second New Belgium Beer Dinner

I was so excited to see that New Belgium was picked as the featured brewery this month since they were the very first brewery for a "beer night" back in 2011. You can read about it here:
http://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2011/08/new-belgium-pipa-tasting-and-pw-pizza.html

PW Pizza wised up and realized they should probably serve some food with all the beer tastings!!

Once again, IPAs were the featured beers for the night as we got to try their Slow Ride Session IPA and the Rampant Imperial IPA.

Yet, my favorite beer of the night was the new Snapshot Wheat because it was so light and easy drinking. I think it'll be perfect for the summer too.

Unfortunately, I did not have my personal photographer with me this time so I forgot to take pictures besides the menu and dessert course.

Menu
The Snapshot Wheat was paired with an Almond & Arugula Salad while the IPAs were each paired with a pizza.

The Thai Chicken Pizza was covered in pineapple, so that was an excellent pairing with the big citrus flavor of the Slow Ride Session IPA. This beer was not too bitter for an IPA and was easy drinking and food friendly.

The Rampant Imperial IPA was a lot more bitter and so that was paired with the Spicy Hot Capicola Pizza, although it was just a few pepper flakes to add heat. It did to help cut through the sausage on top.

I just wanted to skip to dessert, a Chocolate Almond Tart that was incredibly decadent!! Well paired with a Portage Porter, which could be dessert in itself!

Chocolate Almond Tart with Ginger Caramel Sauce and Whipped Cream
PW Pizza has already announced their beer dinners for the year so let me know if you're interested in signing up for one each month!

Resources:

PW Pizza = http://pwpizza.com/

New Belgium = http://www.newbelgium.com/

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dark Room: Slow Down and Indulge

Since I have a connection to The Dark Room, I signed up for their mailing list and follow them on social media. Just last week, I got a slew of Facebook Event invitations for a new dinner series at The Dark Room called "Slow Down and Indulge".

This new dinner series is a four-course dinner that will take place on Thursday nights, each night with a theme. The first two Thursdays start with a French theme and next up will be a Moroccan dinner. Surprisingly, I happened to have a Thursday night open and could finally try out one of these dinners.

I have been to The Dark Room before for a late night glass of wine as well as a Wine Girl Wednesday with STLwinegirl, but not for a four-course meal! I was curious how this would go...

I immediately received a printed menu as soon as I sat down and everything sounded elegant, especially the wine pairings. (Of course there are a wine pairings at a wine bar!)

Menu
The dinner started off with a small appetizer and bubbles to help clean the palate. The cheesy biscuits were two bites of cheesy goodness! Since the main course was a heavier dish, I was happy to start off light.

Thyme & Gruyere Gougeres with Fig Marsala Jam and
N/V Domaine Baumard "Turquoise" Brut from Loire Valley
The second course could have been an entree for me. A little larger than a side salad, a healthy piece of tuna came with the Salad Nicoise, I was already quite happy as this is one of my favorite salads. Perhaps they could add this to their regular menu???!!! (Write-in campaign starting NOW!)

Salad Nicoise with Tarragon Vinaigrettte
2013 Domaine Lafond
The salad was paired with a very light, but slightly dry blend from Lirac, France. There was actually a choice between this and a fruitier white from the Alsace region.

For the main course, I was really looking forward to the classic Boeuf Bouruignon and the meat was so soft,  you didn't even need to use your knife!

Boeuf Bourguignon with Yukon Potatoes and Carrots
2013 Domaine Laporte
Extra special was the side of bread, which I don't normally eat, but it is the owner's grandmother's recipe and has a touch of sweetness to it. It was sturdy enough for butter or jam, but was perfect for sopping up the gravy afterwards!

A rich dish like this needs a big red so out of the four choices, I selected the 2013 Domain Laporte Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley. My friends let me try their Merlot from Bordeaux and it was too dry for my taste so the Cab Franc was just right.

The big red was also a good pairing for the dessert course, a Flourless Chocolate Cake with Tawny Port Whip and Ghiradelli Caramel on top. You know how I feel about chocolate. Perfect meal.

Flourless Chocoalte Cake with Tawny Port Whip, Ghiradelli Caramel, and Fleur de Sel
My friends opted for a glass of Tawny Port to go with their dessert and it got to star in the photo above.

Hopefully, The Dark Room will keep coming up with unique food and wine pairings!!

Resources:

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

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Frida's Deli

After watching "Forks Over Knifes" last night, I was inspired to try Frida's Deli. All my veg-head friends have raved about it and is very centrally located in U. City. I didn't realize it was RIGHT NEXT DOOR to Momo's, another favorite.

You can see the modern and sleek look of the interior from their website. I also enjoyed the techno music playing and the eclectic scenery of people walking by with the large windows. Most hilarious was the picture of "Frida the cat" with full length eyebrows. I bet my Haley would love having her own portrait as well!

Anyway, after reading a lot of reviews, I really had my heart set on the Mushroom Reuben. While the mushrooms really aren't similar per se, the sandwich had a thick consistency and was very filling. (Always a fear I used to have with vegan foods.) Although, I do admit, I probably got filled up on the Energizer smoothie, a thick purple fruity drink. It takes like blueberries and bananas to me with the green tea and spinach mixed in.

Mushroom Reuben with Energizer smoothie
And the small scoop of hummus to put on my cucumber slices was cute and tasty! Gave me something to eat while I waited for my sandwich to cool down.

I really hope to go back because there are so may interesting types of sandwiches and smoothies.

Resources:

Frida's Deli = http://www.fridasdeli.com/