Sunday, March 25, 2012

Broadway Oyster Bar

After looking at the menu, I knew I was going to have a problem because I really wanted to try one of everything at Broadway Oyster Bar. Luckily, my FAC friends helped out by ordering a lot of food as well. Sunday was definitely the best day to go down there since all the crowds had dissipated from the weekend activity and we had no problem finding a spot on the patio so we could enjoy the weather.

Of course I got to try a few types of oysters and I didn’t realize that you could even order some of them as “cooked”! Between a few of us, we split oysters on the half shelf, chargrilled, and fried. Each order came with six oysters and I didn’t realize how filling they could be!

I am not sure where the raw oysters were originally from, but they were quite large and for the first time, I had them with cocktail sauce. I think I like that even better than hot sauce since it added a sweet flavor.

The fried oysters had a weird texture with the crispy outside and gooey inside. The grease was too much for my stomach but using their homemade tartar sauce helped a little bit.

The best ones were the Chargrilled Oysters and that’s mainly because they came with a layer of parmesan cheese on top of them! These oysters had the most flavors with all the butter and spices in addition to the cheese.

For tradition’s sake, I ordered the crab cakes as a starter and I probably should have stopped at appetizers. The two crab cakes were about the size of my fist and were covered in a rich sauce. With very little fishy flavor, I mostly tasted the sauce. I was ready to trade a crab cake for my friend’s fish taco but he was too stuffed to even dare look at a crab cake, so I got to take it home.

I am also a huge fan of fish tacos, even though it was the typical fried tilapia, the Cajun cole slaw on top really added a kick to the taco. I just had one and by this point I was already quite full. My friend didn’t make it too far through his other fish taco since it came with a side of red beans and rice, and he had started with the Crawfish Bisque that looked fantastic as well.

Even though I was stuffed, I still had a main course to eat but I had no room for it! Even worse, I ordered the sampler so that I could taste some of everything. I only got half way through the Crawfish Etoufee, which was not too spicy but again, very filling.

I did finally get to try the sampler as leftovers a few days later and it came with Gumbo Ya Ya, Jambalaya, and Red Beans and Rice along with the Crawfish Etoufee. At this point, it was all mixed together so I’m not sure which was which.

Just be aware that all the dishes are filling and you might just want to split oysters and appetizers and call it a day. Or perhaps just split a main course along with some oysters.

Resources:

Broadway Oyster Bar = http://www.broadwayoysterbar.com/menu.html

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery

Cheese classes are back in 2012 at the Whole Foods Galleria and this month's theme featured cheeses from Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery. We got to try four different goat cheeses, and the last one was actually a whipped cream from cow's milk.

We started off with Bonne Bouche, which means "good mouthful" and it is a typical goat cheese with a pungent, gamey flavor. This was paired with roasted tomatoes and a highly acidic wine, to help cut through such a strong cheese.

Another aged cheese, Bijou, is a French-style goat cheese that was melted onto a Crostini for us, but it didn't lose any of its barnyard flavor. Another white wine with a sharp, crisp, and dry finish really helped to mellow out the cheese.

The Coupole looks like a domed brain with all its wrinkles on top and this one was much milder from the first two. This cheese was paired with a fig spread and the tangy flavor helped to calm down the flavor of the cheese as well. This cheese was paired with a red wine, which was a bit too much, and a red probably would have been better paired with one of the first two cheeses instead.

The Cremont is actually a mix of goat and cow's milk and is named for "Cream of Vermont". This cheese had a milder flavor thanks to the cow's milk mixed in and was easily my favorite since it is a double creme. This paired well with a mild red, 1912 Ventoux (France), and tasted similar to a Pinot Noir. Although, I am biased since that's my favorite red these days.

The last cheese, the Creme Fraiche, is a whipped cream that was mixed with raspberries to top. After milking the cows, the cream that rises up is separated and set aside. The cream had a smooth and sweet flavor, but definitely missing some chocolate sauce to make it an official dessert. As a dessert, this was paired well with a Crement sparkling wine.

Resources:

Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery = http://www.vermontcreamery.com/

Whole Foods Galleria = http://wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/st-louis/

1912 Ventoux = http://www.1912-ventoux.com/en/1912-ventoux.php

Sunday, March 11, 2012

L'Abbinamento Regional Wine Dinner at Stellina

Last month I went to an Italian wine dinner at Stellina Pasta Café with each course representing different regions of Italy. STLwinegirl, Angela Ortmann, provided the wine pairings with each course.

It’s so hard to pick favorites since each course was so uniquely different from each other.

As you may know by now, fish and bubbles are always my favorite pairings since both flavors are so light together.

The candied lemon was a sweet treat on the first course along with the Mascapone Ice Cream! I was amazed at the combination!

The lamb tenderloin was another favorite because the meat was so tender and came with a red wine risotto that was fantastic.

I had to pass on the Birkshire Braised Pork Cheek course, especially since it came with brussel sprouts as well.

Luckily, we finished up with a chocolate mousse surrounded by fruity flavors. Amazing.

Amuse:
Flounder Crudo made with Avocado, Cucumber, Apple, Prosecco Fluid Jelly, Puffed Cargo Rice
Paired with Anna Spinato Prosecco

VENETO:
Beet Terrine, Mascarpone Ice Cream, Extra Olive Oil Powder, Golden Beet Puree, Mizuna, Candied Lemon
Paired with Villa Erbice Soave Superiore

SICILY:
Black Olive Capellini
Squid Ink, Fried Anchovies, Pine Nut Brittle, Sweet Chili Sauce, Roasted Shallot Puree
Paired with Acate-Cerasuolo di Vitoria 2008

TUSCANY:
Lamb Tenderloin wrapped in Chicken Mousseline
Red Wine Risotto, Grilled Red Fire Lettuce, Carbonated Grapes, Lamb Demi
Paired with Tenuta Sticciano-Chianti DOCG “Casa La Fornace” 2009

PIEDMONT:
Braised Pork Cheeks, Brussel Sprouts, Cracklins, Sweet Potato Puree, Truffle Marshmallow, Jus
Paired with Riofava-Dolcetto d'Alba DOC 2009

DESSERT:
Chocolate Mousse, Candied Pineapple, Passionfruit Curd, Strawberry & Mint Salad, Roasted Pineapple & Strawberry Sorbet, Chocolate Rocks, Pound Cake Tuille
Paired with De Luca-Passito Rosso IGT “Gocce Del Conte Genoino” 2007

The only disappointment was that I did not get to try anything on Stellina’s original menu so I guess I will just have to go back! I have heard that the lasagna is very good…

Note: Stellina's chef, Jamey Tochtrop, is known for his hand-made agnolotti, a stuffed pasta with panchetta and leeks. To see how they are made, check out this blog post by City in a Jar!

Resources:

Photo by Angela Ortmann

Stellina Pasta Café = http://www.stellinapasta.com/

STLwinegirl = http://www.stlwinegirl.com

Monday, March 5, 2012

STLwinegirl Wine and Cheese Pairing Class

STLwinegirl, Angela Ortmann, is now hosting wine classes at BOTH Whole Foods locations and this month’s class was held out west in Town & Country. This class also had my favorite theme: pairing wine and cheese! I have to admit that I've tasted quite a few cheeses over the last few years, but I never get tired of trying more. There are always new combinations to try!

We started off with a light pairing with one of my favorites: Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam triple crème with a sparkling wine from Argentina. This pairing is something everyone can do at home! Triple crèmes are often popular and bubbles are always fun and refreshing.

I was surprised that the next cheese was a Gorgonzola Dolce because the more pungent cheeses are usually held until the end, but it was paired with a very sweet Traminette from Missouri. I understand that contrasting flavors are sometimes a good balance but the Gorgonzola was way too overpowering. I try to keep Gorgonzola and blue cheeses as small crumbles in a salad in order to rein in the flavor!

I really enjoyed the next two cheeses since both were firm in texture with quite a bit of kick to them, so of course they were paired with red wines. The Heartland Creamery Aged Gouda was paired with a Charles & Charles from Washington State. The Aged Manchego el Trigal was a bit overly salty but luckily it was paired with a spicy Rioja from Spain. With Rioja, I taste a strong pepper flavor so I figured “salt and pepper” must be a good fit!

The last cheese was a Sotocenere, or a truffle cheese, and was definitely the strongest of them all. It really needed a wine with high tannins, and the Chianti from Italy served that purpose well. Both cheese and wine were too much for me so I had to stop after a few bites and sips. I still prefer to stick with my sweet wines!

Resources:

STLwinegirl = http://www.stlwinegirl.com

Whole Foods Town & Country = http://wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/townandcountry/

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hamburger Mary's

I had heard about Hamburger Mary’s from my foodie friend Beth, who was familiar with the chain. We got the chance to try it out for the first time before seeing West Side Story at the Fox. We got there plenty early just in case, but Sundays don’t seem to be too busy and it was a good time to go. Since we were waiting on friends to join us, unfortunately, we got lost in a shift change or something because it took us a long time to find someone to help us.

At least this gave us a lot of time to look at the menu. Beth suggested the Lobster Mac, which surprised me because I was thinking about burgers all the way. We decided to be smart and split one of each! Much like Bailey’s Range, they give you a lot of “flavors” of burgers for you to pick from and then you can pick your meat: fancy Kobe beef for an extra $6, regular Angus beef, or even turkey, chicken, or fish! There is even a “Brat” patty but I’m not quite sure I’d ever be brave enough to try that.

I talked Beth into the Mushroom burger, although I don’t think there was all that much arm twisting involved. It probably didn’t help that I had a fantastic Mushroom burger at Bailey’s Range so I thought Hamburger Mary’s version was just alright. I prefer a swiss cheese on a mushroom burger so perhaps that was missing, but what it came down to is that the Lobster Mac was FANTASTIC and I would have to get that every time.

I got to try several types of fries and “Tasty Ta-Ta’s” thanks to my friends at the table and due to poor service and a mix up of orders at our table, we got to try the Fried Twinkes for dessert in honor of my friend’s Amy birthday. Talk about decadent! The best part is that they were covered in chocolate, but it was too rich for more than one or two bites after a greasy burger.

If you have plenty of time, you might want to give Hamburger Mary’s a try to say you’ve been but it’s mostly hype with the loud dance music and diner style “look and feel”. There are just too many other good burger places around town.

Resources:

Hamburger Mary’s = http://hamburgermarys.com/stlouis/