Thursday, December 15, 2016

Garden on Grand

Our foodie friends, Jamie and Shannon, wanted to try Garden on Grand and we were intrigured to try someplace new. I was hoping it wasn't just all salads, but I would describe it more like Asian fusion.

The unique craft cocktails definitely stood out here. Manhazerac (love the name!) for Patience and a Brexit 75 for me.
Manhazerac

Brexit 75
Since we were the first ones to arrived, we picked out the appetizers. (You could probably make a meal out of them really.)

Pan Seared Duck Dumplings (pot stickers) and the risotto (a special for that night) were also winners.

Risotto
But wait, there's more!

There are only a few entree selections, but there is something for everyone in addition to the specials of the night.

Patience went with her go-to, Fried Rice, but their version came with coconut oil with shrimp.

Shannon dared to try the Roasted Salmon, which has gotten great reviews and was probably the best entree of all.

Roasted Salmon
Here is Jamie's burger. -record scratch-  At least they used a 6-year cheddar cheese to melt all over it.

The Burger and Fries
And here is my entree...wonder what's inside?

Covered dish...
I ordered the special of the night, Baramundi, a white fish, which came with cherry tomatoes and white beans in a broth.  It was good, but the salmon was really the way to go.



Of course dessert happened. Shannon and Jamie got their favorite, bread pudding, which went quick, so I'm thinking it was a good choice.

Bread Pudding
Patience ordered the Panna Cotta all to herself since I was way too full and there wasn't any chocolate besides the chocolate stick.

Panna Cotta
Be sure to make a reservation for a weekend night, or else you might want to wait until spring. Since we didn't have a reservation and had to sit by the door, it was quite chilly whenever the door opened.

Resources:

Garden on Grand = https://www.thegardenongrand.com

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Pie 5

My coworkers and I decided to venture out from Clayton to try someplace new for our weekly team lunch. I think this is the fastest pizza I have ever ordered.

Pie 5 is located right off of Hanley near the new Manard's so it was very easy to get in and out of and there is plenty of parking in the strip mall.

As you can see, there is plenty of seating and the wall of windows makes it very bright and airy.

Large, airy dining room
I would recommend studying the menu first so you don't hold up the ordering line. There are quite a few choices that you need to make concerning the crust, sauce, cheese, and toppings.

You can build your own pie or order a suggested combo. You know I had to make my ultimate pizza of black olives and mushrooms (along with a few other veggies since there is no limit).

I chose the traditional Italian crust since it was my first time, but the classic pan is the way to go so that the dough will hold up all your toppings.

A lot of choices on the menu!
So...many...toppings!! I just kept piling it on... sauce AND sliced tomatoes!

Lots of toppings to choose from.
And they have one of those cool soda machines where you can select from several choices. Although there is only one so I felt bad when I took forever to look at all the options.

Perfect place for a lunch! They even have a "bundle" price if you want a drink and side salad to go with it, although the pizza was plenty by itself.

Resources:

Pie 5 = https://www.piefivepizza.com/

Dark Room Dinner

Since the Dark Room is in between the Fox Theater and Powell Hall, we normally stop by for an after-show drink. Every single time, Chef Samantha comes out and asks if we wanted something to eat and we just weren't hungry so late at night.

So we promised to make a date to go there JUST for dinner and to try her handmade, gnocchi of the week. Luckily there were a few other goodies on the menu as well!

We were greeted by a cute, little sign at the bar and Kelli was right there to start pouring for us!

Our reservation waiting for us...
The Dark Room is known for their wine list so we each picked out a favorite in addition to trying the Featured Wine from the special dinner menu for the night. The wine list is quite lengthy so I actually recommended just telling the sommliers your preferences and have them narrow it down for you.

Wine selection
Of course we had to have some cheese to pair with all that wine! We usually order the cheese plate as a late night snack, but ordered it as a starter this time.

Cheese plate
To make things simple after that, we just ordered one of everything off of the featured menu. The first course was the Chef's Soup Bowl, vegetable beef that came with fresh bread.

Vegetable Beef with bread
Of course the main course was the weekly gnocchi...they're huge! These are Zucchini Gnocchi with roasted brussel sprouts, crimini mushrooms in a creamy gorgonzola dolce sauce. I wish I had room for a second order....

Zucchini Gnocchi
Dessert was no joke either...we each got our own S'mores Pie a la Mode! Serendipity's Tahitan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream was served on top of a cake with marshmellow "stuff" on top. So filling!

S'mores Pie a la Mode
The featured menu changes weekly, but they do have a few staples on the menu such as hummus and a couple of flatbread pizzas that are great as last night snacks. While there is a weekly gnocchi, the flavors change frequently.

Featured Menu
In case you haven't heard, the Dark Room will be moving inside the Grandel Theater at the beginning of February, and the menu will be expanded even more!

Hopefully, a future blog post from the new location will happen in 2017!

Resources:

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

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Parigi Jewish Deli Breakfast Popup

I was SO stoked when I saw that Ben Poremba was putting on a Jewish deli pop up for brunch! Not only are these all my favorite foods, but I was happy to finally check out his new restaurant Parigi. It is high on my list for dinner as well.

The paper menu was placed in front of us as we sat down and I thought that was nice to share a thank you note. Unfortunately, it took the server's help to explain that we had to flip it over to see the actual menu! hehehe

Thank you note
AH! Much better! One of everything please!

Menu
Ok, we really didn't order one of everything, but we sure tried! We started off with a Breakfast Cocktail (think baking spices) and a Mimosa (it's huge).

Patience ordered coffee and a Breakfast Cocktail

My mimosa
You know we had to have a bagel and lox (Smoked Salmon Plate) and I believe there was homemade schmeer! All the "fish appetizers" came with cucumber, capers, red onion to top the bagel. Plenty of lox to heavily cover each side of my bagel...but that was just warm up!

Smoked Salmon Plate with cucumbers, capers, and red onion
Here is a beautiful completed bagel...so pretty I could cry!

Bagel with smoked salmon, cucumber, capers, and schmeer
Adorable blintzes... with jam on top. One for each of us so no fighting!

Blintzes
Patience loves egg salad so that was an easy pick. I didn't realize it was also available at Olio!

Olio's Famous Egg Salad

Then we saved another favorite for last, matzah ball soup! We each got two small "sinkers"!!!


Matzah Ball Soup

I know there is a second one coming up THIS Sunday, December 18th, and I hope he'll do more throughout the year. There weer so many things we didn't get to try like latkes, chopped liver, Beef Tongue, and white fish all were calling to me.

And you better come hungry if you dare to order one of the sandwiches!

I could eat this food everyday for breakfast!!

Resources:

Parigi = http://www.parigistl.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Thursday, December 8, 2016

PW Pizza Civil Life Beer Dinner

We finally made it to the last PW Pizza beer dinner of 2016 at the end of November, his time featuring a local favorite, Civil Life Brewery. I did notice they moved this dinner into a larger dining space since they are so popular.

This one was an all-round winner since I loved all the courses...and the beer wasn't too bad either. hehe

We started off with a Roasted Butternut Squash Soup...perfect for the fall. This was paired with their Kolsch (one of my favorite styles), so this was my top pairing.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
The Cuban pizza was topped high with goodies...the dill pickle was interesting! This was paired with their Alt Bier that was pretty hoppy.

Cuban Pizza
The Shepherd's pizza is exactly what you think it is... lamb, roasted carrots, corn, English peas, mashed potato, and brown gravy! I actually really enjoyed it and the fact that it was on the pizza made it easy to eat this dish. (Almost forgot to stop long enough for a picture!) This was paired with the heavier Premium Bitter.

Shepherd's Pizza
Finally a chocolate dessert! Boston Creme Pie Cupcake had the creamy goo in the middle and I got to enjoy a couple of these thanks to my tablemates! It made sense to pair this with a milk stout that was actually fairly light.

Boston Creme Pie Cupcake

Menu
Check out the different logos...one for each year...one of them is actually based off of a real person!

Anyway, I am getting smart this year and I signed up for all ten beer dinners in advance since I had to miss a few due to them selling out early. You can call 314-621-1996 for reservations.

2017 PW Pizza Beer Dinners
Resources:

PW Pizza = http://pwpizza.com/

Civil Life = http://www.thecivillife.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Tavolo V

Thanks to the grand opening of Delmar Hall, we had a good excuse to eat at the east end of of the Loop. We had hit up the gyro place, Noodle House, and Pi Pizza in the past so it was nice to try something different!

This is a great date night place and for a Friday night, it didn't get too busy until 7pm, but you should definitely make a reservation. Tall windows facing Delmar let it a lot of light and the high ceilings gave the restaurant a spacious feel, along with an open kitchen area.

We sat at the bar where there was plenty of room as well and we love being waited on by the bartender. We enjoy having a front row seat to watch our cocktails come together. I started the night off with a Candied Apple combining cider with Amaretto, some of my favorite things!

Candied Apple
Patience went with her favorites as well: an Original Manhattan and later on, a Negroni Classico.

Original Manhattan

Negroni Classico
There were quite a few pizzas and pastas on the menu, but we chose items from the Antipasta section instead. Again we went with our favorites, Melanzana for me, which is really Eggplant Parmesan, and Brussel Sprouts for Patience.

Melanzana

Brussel Sprouts
Even though we had an entree picked out to split, the special, beef spedini over tortellini in a red sauce won us over!

Beef Spedini with Tortellini
We were both full but SOMEONE insisted on dessert... I know I couldn't finish mine.

Chocolate ice cream for me of course...

Chocolate Ice Cream with Caramel
...and a lemon cake with berries, I think?

Lemon Cake with berries
Great date night location for sure, especially before a Pageant or Delmar Hall show right across the street.

Resources:

Tavolo V = http://www.tavolov.com

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Somm Showdown Alisha v. Andrey

I wasn't planning on blogging about the Somm Showdown since this is not an everyday restaurant you can visit, but this blog started on food adventures and this definitely was one!

I also want to support my St. Louis Sommelier heros: Alisha Blackwell and Andrey Ivanov and then executive chef Josh Charles was also involved so it was a great opportunity!

Executive Chef Josh Charles, Alisha Blackwell, and Andrey Ivanov
We didn't know the menu until we got there...

Menu
Love the "contestant" nicknames! Ha!

Nicknames
Chef Josh's courses were all quite challenging, so I was pretty impressed on how the sommeliers came to pick their wines.

The salad course came with a couple of hot peppers, but not all of them were hot so you didn't know what kind of bite you were going to get. (I admit I left those for Patience.)

Local vegetables with Honey + Thyme Vinaigrette
My vote went to Andrey this round since the Prosecco was very subtle with tight bubbles and let the salad shine, regardless what kinda of bite you had. Although if it were me, I would have gone with something closer to what Alisha picked.

Patience and I were stoked by the scallop on the menu although we were sad at how small they were. The scallops had been smoked for some time, and then served with passion fruit and lime. Talk about a tough pairing.

Smoked Scallop with Passion fruit and lime
Andrey had the perfect "passion fruit" wine pairing up his sleeve, but Alisha suggested a Riesling. I was torn.

The last course was a little heartier with fingerling potatoes and cheese curds in a gravy mixed with foie gras. I almost reached over and stole my neighbor's plate when he didn't finish.

Foie Gras, Roasted Potatoes, Brown Gravy and Cheese Curds
A heartier dish meant red wine and again we had two very different pairings. Andrey selected a fruity Gamay while Alisha picked a drier Italian wine. I preferred the drier wine myself since this dish was so rich.

Alisha came out the winner putting poor Andrey at 0-3. I hope he gets his chance to win again soon!

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Thursday, September 8, 2016

PW Pizza Uinta Beer Dinner

I was not familiar with Uinta Brewing at all before this dinner, probably because they're from Salt Lake City, Utah. Utah has a lot of weird rules about ABV, so three out of the four beers were only 4% ABV.

The other important business we must discuss up front is that the brewery's name is pronounced "U-WIN-ta".

Now we can get down to drinking and eating!

We started off light with the 801 Pilsner and Kale & Barley Salad. Perfect for me and definitely the best pairing.

Kale & Barley Salad paired with 801 Pilsner
The first pizza, a delicious Roasted Fingerling Potato Pizza on Honey Wheat Crust with gruyere, smoked leeks, and rosemary lemon butter. This was paired with the cleverly-named Ready Set Gose (pronounced GO-SA). Potatoes and leeks on a pizza? Thumbs up!

Roasted Fingerling Potato Pizza paired with Ready Set Gose
The next pizza, Beer Braised Mustard Green & Bacon Pizza used the original crust with mozzarella, tomato confit, peppered citrus aioli, and extra virgin olive oil. This was paired with the Hop Nosh Tangerine IPA. Not too hoppy, but still too much for me. This beer is a little more citrusy than their original Hop Nosh IPA. I loved the huge chunks of tomatoes on this one.

Beer Braised Mustard Green & Bacon Pizza paired with Hop Nosh Tangerine IPA
The Baba Black Lager was very smooth although this was paired with an intense Banana Gooey Butter Cake. I don't think too many people could handle the huge, thick cake. The lager was better off on it's own.

Banana Gooey Butter Cake paired with Baba Black Lager
Since the next two are sold out, I had to sign up for the one in November... Civil Life!

Resources:

PW Pizza = http://pwpizza.com/

Uinta Brewing = http://www.uintabrewing.com/