Sunday, January 31, 2016

Tenderloin Room

Even though it's one of my parent's top restaurants, I had never been to the Tenderloin Room. Yet, I had just been in the Chase Park Plaza the night before to see a movie.

The hotel restaurant is quite fancy and there is definitely top-level service, which is nice to experience once a year or so.

Of course there is a lengthy list of steaks, given the name of the restaurant, and my Dad got his favorite, liver and onions. But Patience, Linda and I all ordered fish.

The raw bar wheeled to our table was incredibly tempting...shrimp cocktail, oysters on the half shell... but we were well-behaved since we knew dessert was in our future.

We started off with salads and I was really pleased that they had one with a lot of goodies on it: tomatoes, feta cheese, kalata olives, and hearts of palm.

Country Salad
Patience's Spinach salad also had its share of goodies...mushrooms, eggs, hearts of palm, and parmesan cheese!!
Spinach Salad
The rest of us ordered the fish special, the grouper, which came with the biggest stalks of broccoli ever!

Grouper with broccoli
Skipping the raw bar paid off in the end since in addition to the complimentary chocolate dessert, it turned out our server was quite skilled at making Bananas Foster table-side, so we wanted to see the show up close!



Bananas Foster
Chocolate Cake
The fire for the chocolate cake is not quite as exciting, but definitely my preference.

This is a good spot to take your parents for a special evening.

Resources:

Tenderloin Room = http://www.tenderloinroom.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Grapeseed

Every Friday night, you'll probably find my friends at Grapeseed, located in St. Louis Hills. When my plans fell through, I knew where I could find them. Luckily, they were willing to share their favorite neighborhood joint as long as we followed one simple rule.

DO NOT SHARE THE FRENCH FRIES!

We had to get two orders of these beauties!

House Cut Fries with Aioli and ketchup
The house made aioli was like a fancy ranch dip and I tried to scrape every last bit of it off with the fries.

Now with a name with "grape" in it, you would think that we'd be popping open a bottle of wine, but instead my friends had started with cocktails and we followed suit.

I selected an "egg-nog-like" Gingerbread cocktail that had The Big O in it...

Gingerbread Cocktail
 ...while Patience went with the Grapeseed Gin & Tonic made from local Pickney Bend Gin.

Grapeseed Gin & Tonic
We decided to split several small plates since our friends raved about the fries and the turkey leg nachos, while I was very interested in the Tagliatelle and Ricotta Gnocchi so we got them all!

Tagliatelle
The Tagliatelle came with Neuner Farm American style Kobe beef short rib on top with mushrooms, onion, carrot, sour cream, and dill gremolata. The rib meat could have been it's own separate dish!

Ricotta Gnocchi
The Ricotta Gnocchi wasn't as decadent as I had anticipated and that might have been because of the Brussels sprouts and squash covering the gnocchi.

As for the turkey leg nachos... those were really amazing!

Turkey Leg Nachos
The turkey is from Buttonwood Farms and sweet potato chips were used instead! This might be the best nachos I've ever had. Yes, I said it!

I have a feeling all their large plates would be just as delicious as well if you can just rip yourself away from the fries and nachos long enough.

And then we made the mistake of looking at the dessert menu even though we were already stuffed. Our friends didn't hesitate to order the carrot cake, while we made the best choice of going with the chocolate!

Carrot Cake

Chocolate Cake
So if you're ever looking for a place to go on a Friday night...

P.S. There are a lot of vegetarian and gluten free items clearly marked on their menu and it looks like they are emphasizing local farms for their meat.

Resources:

Grapeseed = http://www.grapeseedstl.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Ferguson Brewing

A long time ago, in this very galaxy, I had put Cork Wine Bar on my "restaurants I must try" list. Then after meeting Patience, I also added Ferguson Brewing. After a slight delay of the political nature, our friend Julia finally moved it to the top of our list and set a date to make it happen.

Ferguson Brewing is definitely a neighborhood happy hour hot spot because the large restaurant was already packed when we walked in at 6pm. Since it's a brewery, we didn't mind waiting at the bar for a table, and we started off with house Pub Chips and fresh made onion dip. I could have eaten a whole bag of the chips and took the extra onion dip with me to our table. Luckily, I got some more chips with my entree later on too.

I played it safe and went with the Golden Blonde beer, which is their lightest brew at 4.5% ABV and 12 IBU.

Patience tried their bigger beers, the Oatmeal Stout, Khaldi's Coffee Brown Volume 2, and her favorite was the Pecan Brown Ale. Top choices from our friends include a Imperial Vanilla Bourbon Porter and the Irish Red. (This is only the second time I have seen a "red" beer made by a St. Louis brewery!)

You can also order a four-taste flight to try multiple beers.

Flight of Beers: Golden Blonde, Hefeweizen, Irish Red, Oatmeal Stout
We got to finish our first beers just in time to sit down at our table about 45 minutes later (due to have a party of five). We all were starving and ordered quite a lot to eat.

I couldn't resist the sliders (you can also order Pot Roast, Pulled Pork, BLT, or Brat versions!) and it came FOUR on a plate. Angus Beef topped with American cheese, pickles (hanging out the sides) and a chipotle mayo all on fresh baked dollar rolls. I also dipped them into my leftover onion dip!

Beef Sliders
Patience got a full-sized Brew House half-pound burger with swiss cheese and sauteed onions. Massive!

Brew House Burger
Julia and Leslie opted for the nine-inch flatbread pizzas...

Flatbread
Margherita Flatbread
...while Megan had an interesting mix of Bavarian Pretzel Bites to start with (served with cheese sauce and a spicy mustard, but I used my onion dip) and a sensible plate of Fish Tacos.

Bavarian Pretzel Bites
Fish Tacos, rice and carrots
No one goes away hungry here! That was probably a good thing since a lot more beers followed...

If you are a beer nerd, you definitely have to stop here. These are some of the best beers in the Lou!

Resources:

Ferguson Brewing = http://www.fergusonbrewing.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Winslow's Home Breakfast and Lunch

Shortly after moving in to the University City neighborhood, I would try to take walks in different directions to see what I could see. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Winslow's Home is within a ten minute walk of our new place!

Also, when I walked inside to check it out, I was pleasantly surprised a second time when I saw Josh from Home Wine Kitchen as the General Manager! Talk about feeling at home!

I was really impressed at how different this restaurant was since it also serves as a small shop so to speak. It's part coffee bar, wine bar, and then local beer, cheese, and bread are in stocked in cases at the back. The length of another entire wall serves as a book store. It's all quite cozy.

For breakfast and lunch, you pick up a menu and then stand in line at the counter to place your order, while drooling over a small case of pastries and other fresh breads. Whereas for dinner, it's the usual sit down service. I was planning on going by for dinner so I held out on writing about it for a while, but then I realized that it will have to be a separate post for the future.

Since I work from home a couple of days a week, it's the perfect spot for meeting up with friends for lunch because it's so close. While I don't have pictures, I was impressed how hearty the Turkey Sandwich was... piled high with a turkey breast, pickle relish, pepper jack, and mustard mayo. Choice of fries or salad on the side. It was quite filling.

The Pulled Pork Sandwich my friend ordered was almost falling out the side as well. My goal is to keep going back so I can work my way through all the sandwiches.

Recently, we were ready to venture back out for weekend brunch, and again this close location made it an easy pick. The menu for breakfast is even lengthier so there is something for everyone.

I ordered my favorite, the Egg Sandwich, adding avocado and turkey sausage on top! I also got more than enough breakfast potatoes on the side.

Egg Sandwich with Avocado and Turkey Sausage
Patience got her favorite... pancakes!

Buttermilk Pancakes
But they also serve a good ole Basic Breakfast of two eggs, any style, potatoes, bacon, or sausage, along with toast or buttermilk biscuit. I promise you we didn't need lunch that day.

Basic Breakfast
So if you're around University City and need a quick and filling brunch or lunch, this is a quaint spot for you. Feel free to invite me too since I'm right up the street!

Resources:

Winslow's Home = http://www.winslowshome.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Robata

Patience wanted to try one of the new ramen restaurants and it was a perfectly chilly night for some over the holidays. I had never been in the building that used to be a Church's Chicken and I thought it was funny how now there are no parking spaces available.

The building still looks like a fast food joint and it's quite small, but they have squeezed in two rows of counter spots as well as quite a few tables in the main dining area. When we walked in, we crammed ourselves in the doorway area with a handful of others who were waiting for a table as well as for orders to go. Robata was prepared and provided a couple of heaters outside for those who waited there as well.

We were very lucky and only had to wait about five minutes for a table for four, so you may want to try off peak hours. Or perhaps wait until it gets warmer so it's not a chilly wait outside.

It was a little overwhelming to be handed two menus since the sushi menu is quite long and then the ramen menu is a large plastic page as well. For the ramen, they give you a marker so you can circle your choices right on the menu and then it's erased later for the next customer. Quite clever!

There are actually only two real choices for the ramen though... first decision, type of noodle. I'm guessing it's mainly a noodle size difference, but I went with the "Rice Noodle" since those are the clear, glass noodles that I love, even though they cost a little extra.

The second choice is much harder since you must decide the style of your soup. It seemed to me that only difference was pork broth vs chicken broth, although both included roast pork, green onions, hard boiled egg, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, nori, red ginger, and mushrooms.

Then it was broken down even further to with or without corn, miso, or soy.

So I decided to go with the last option, which was Yashi, or vegetarian. That way I got all the veggies and just added chicken on top at the end, which is your last decision...any extras you might want.

Yashi Ramen with Chicken
You really don't need any of the extra toppings unless you want something special. Patience went all out and added scallops and kimchi in a miso-based broth.

Miso Ramen with Scallops and Kimchi
The soup really reminded me of Pho a lot and nothing like what I used to have in college. I managed to eat most of the soup and all the goodies inside, but with the sushi on the side, I filled up rather quickly. You won't go home hungry! Then I had a delicious lunch for the next day as well.

Now that it's winter, I definitely recommend hitting up one of these new ramen restaurants, but this is probably the smallest location so be prepared to wait if you going during the rush.

Resources:

Robata = http://www.robatamaplewood.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon