Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Libertine Fried Chicken

I am pretty sure writing about a restaurant three times is unprecedented on the STLCheesegirl blog, but I just had to share that I finally made it in to The Libertine for Josh Galliano’s famous fried chicken.

I got on the mailing list and followed The Libertine on Facebook so I would know exactly when the next Fried Chicken dinner would be. (A friend also forwarded me an email just in case!) It appears the fried chicken dinners occur the second Sunday of every month, one of the Sunday Supper specials. It turned out to be the kickoff of my birthday week!

My friends and I started off the three-course, prix fixe dinner for $30 with each of us trying one of their unique cocktails. If nothing else, you should certainly try The Libertine a few times just for their interesting drink list. These Sunday Suppers also list  a special cocktail of the night, but we ended up ordering off of the main list since there are so many to try.

After starting off with a Citrus Salad, I couldn’t wait to get to the Southern Fried Chicken main course. The skin has a very crispy flavor, with very little grease. Everyone gets half a chicken, so you could easily split a dinner, but mostly because I filled up quickly on the creamy grits and spinach madeleine.

Fried Chicken, Spinach Madeleine, and Grits
Another reason I should have immediately stopped halfway…the third course, dessert, was a slice of King Cake with your choice of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream a la mode.

An amazing dinner, while worthy of a birthday, you don’t need to wait for a special occasion to try this place out!

Resources:

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

Photo by Patience Scanlon

Cheese-ology

While I know Cheese-ology is not the typical gourmet dining that I usually write about, I feel that the STLCheesegirl needed to at least see what all this cheesiness was about, especially on my birthday. And because who doesn’t love mac & cheese?

Of course I think it is a brilliant idea since it is such an accessible dish and I’ve gotten crazy a time or two throwing in some hot dogs or broccoli with my mac & cheese or mixing it with some chili. I do admit that their version is not your normal mac & cheese, since these dishes are baked, so it’s more like a casserole, and you’ll be a little disappointed if you’re expecting the powered cheese you grew up with.

I was certainly overwhelmed by the amount of choices listed on the board when I walked in. So much that I didn’t realize that there were two size choices as well. I thought my mini-skillet serving was a little small, but the mac & cheese was so filling that I was happier I ended up with a “regular” as opposed to the “large”. The large almost makes it pricy for mac & cheese.

I was torn between the Mediterranean and the Spinach Artichoke since those were the most heavily vegetable dishes, but luckily Patience was willing to split with me. My cheeses were mozzarella and goat cheese, and while I love black olives, the Kalamata olives were a little bit overwhelming. I thought the Spinach Artichoke had a better blend of flavors, with Monterey Jack and Parmesan cheese.

Mediterranean Mac & Cheese
I am tempted to go back for mixing in some protein like the Shrimp Scampi or really I should have just created my own…but I would probably want to mix in everything. I probably should try it at home…

There is also a Vegan option made with Daiya Vegan cheese too.

I was thinking this might be a good place to take kids since this is something that they’ll eat, but then I saw that they served beers on tap as well…so perhaps it really is geared towards adults, or perhaps something for everyone?

Birthday Mac & Cheese!
Resources:

Cheese-ology = http://www.cheese-ology.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Thursday, January 9, 2014

STLCheesegirl Top Posts

I was going to do a "Best of 2013" blog post listing out my highest-viewed posts about my "food adventures", but my second highest-viewed post is actually from 2012.

Going over my posts from the past four years, only had a handful of views for those first few posts so it's fun to see how far this blog has come. Thanks to a mailing list of loyal friends and family, as well as using social media and Patch.com blogs, I get quite a few more page views.

But there are still a few posts that have gotten a ton of views...some make sense, like my adventures to top St. Louis restaurants like Niche and Robust Wine Bar. Yet, there are quite a few surprises so you might want to check them out...

Robust Wine Bar MX - http://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2013/08/robust-wine-bar-mx.html
This is my top most-viewed post and I wonder if it's from a following of the restaurant as well as a popular wine spot. I definitely recommend this as a date night because you can combine it MX Movies (another top post) either before or after the show.

Astoria Kabob House - http://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2012/10/astoria-kabob-house.html
Astoria has been in my neighborhood for a long time and I had never gone there for dinner until a friend needed to try an ethnic restaurant for a school assignment. I went there on the same night as a wedding reception so the tables were close together and service was a bit slammed. Other reviews I have read have also complained about the service, but hopefully people have been willing to try it out for themselves and maybe even used that Groupon for it?

Tenacious Eats Sideways - http://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2013/03/tenacious-eats-sideways.html
This was one of my more favorite Tenacious Eats viewings because it included a wine pairing to coincide with the wine-themed movie. It also helped that a lot of my wine friends were able to attend since it was hosted by the American Wine Society, which I will be joining this year.

Hemingway's Zen Garden - http://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2013/03/hemingways-zen-garden.html
My good friend, Cherie, Moery-Metzka, decided to take on a new challenge as Executive Chef at a quaint wine bar and restaurant over in downtown O'Fallon, IL. I found myself driving over the river and through the woods (well, really along the highway) a couple of times a month because of her. Cherie used to tease her Facebook friends with her home cooking and this was a way for me to finally taste her cooking. Let's just say her sea scallops are the best ever...

Niche - http://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2013/02/niche.html
This restaurant speaks for itself but I finally got to go once it moved to Clayton and I went for my birthday. Definitely worth it for a special occasion.

MX Movie Theater - http://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2013/03/mx-movie-theater.html
I was a couple of months late celebrating my birthday with a friend, but this was a fun activity to try something new in the city. While I'm never the first one to try a new trend, I do get there eventually. Pretty much the best meal I have ever had at a movie theater...

Mission Taco - http://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2013/03/mission-taco.html
Thanks to STLwinegirl hosting her "business birthday party" in conjunction with a soft opening of Mission Taco, we got a first peek and taste at the latest restaurant from the Tilford brothers. Needless to say I have been back MANY times and it's a great place to get a bite before a show at the Pageant.

A Good Man is Hard To Find - http://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2013/04/a-good-main-is-hard-to-find.html
This was the first physical restaurant that John Perkins started after his underground dining under EntreSTL. Here is an updated website for Juniper, the latest and permanent version of the restaurant. I hope to get back there to taste more southern cooking: http://junipereats.com/

Mia Sorella - http://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2013/03/mia-sorella.html
I was surprised to see this one on my most-viewed list since I really haven't seen much press for it. I figure you can go wrong with Trattoria Marcella’s sister restaurant and I this is one of the last dinner's that I had with my best friend before she moved out of town. Parking, with snow on the ground, made it tough but the food and company was wonderful.

Tenacious Eats Soul Food - http://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2013/02/tenacious-eats-soul-food.html
This was my first time at Tenacious Eats so I was really blown away by the whole production. I love the creativity of the idea and Executive Chef, Elizabeth Schuster. You should try at least once, even though it makes for a late night. Or host your own party...

Nico - http://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2013/02/nico.html
Now this one really surprises me because Nico has not gotten the best reviews so perhaps people were wanting more opinions? Regardless, this makes me want to try Franco very badly.

Food Media Forum 2013 - http://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2013/11/food-media-forum-2013.html
Now this one makes me feel very guilty as I wrote about my two-day conference experience SEVERAL months late. It probably helps that this was a food blogger's conference and so I made a lot of connections, but I do appreciate everyone who stopped to read some of this post even though it was quite outdated.

STLVegGirl Vegetarian Party - http://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2013/11/stlveggirl-vegetarian-party.html
One of my favorite experiences was getting to hire my friend, Caryn Dugan, aka STLVegGirl to cater Patience's birthday party since so many of her friends are vegetarian or special diets. You can't get that kind of service from just anyone. I hope a lot of vegetarians are following her now!

SLeeK Lobster Extravaganza - http://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2009/05/sleek-lobster-extravaganza.html
While this is NOT one of my most-viewed posts, I had to add it in at the bottom of this post because THIS is where STLCheesegirl got started. The restaurant SLeeK is now defunct, but at least I can say I met Hubert Keller and I am STILL good friends with Angela Ortmann, aka STLwinegirl.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Cheesepocalype?

This article about the lack of Velvetta cheese was brought to my attention on Facebook of course...

http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/the-exchange/cheesepocalypse-nears-as-kraft-runs-low-on-velveeta-162026476.html

But instead of panicking, I think people need to learn about what REAL CHEESE options are out there for them!

My personal favorite melting cheese is Chihuahua Cheese. You can find more info here: http://www.cooksinfo.com/chihuahua-cheese



What REAL cheese do you like to use for melting?