Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Three Flags Tavern Dinner

I finally got my birthday wish and made it back to Three Flags Tavern for dinner. Luckily, my parents are big fans and didn't mind going again.

The menu seemed filled with comfort foods, but again I went to the chalkboard in front of me where I first noticed wine specials and realized there was a fish special as well. I can't help it!

Fish special with Andouille and Potatoes
I was surprised that both of my parents went for the fried chicken and it was amazing! I admit that I didn't really believe my friends about this dish and I have a terrible memory. It is large enough of an entree that two people can share easily so it must be good for my parents to order their own.

Fried Chicken with Pomme Puree, Greens, Biscuit, and Pickles
I was also impressed that Patience cleaned her plate since the Shrimp Etouffee appeared just as filling.
Shrimp Etouffee with Andouille, Cheddar Grits, and Fried Okra
The server was kind enough to bring my stepmom and I a birthday treat. Luckily, it was chocolate and my family let me hoard it for myself.

Chocolate Brownie with Creme Fresh
Even though it was a Sunday night, we were quickly surrounded by noisy parties and babies. Odd mix. So I guess it's more tavern than upscale dining? At least it's worth going to for the food and cocktails.

Resources:

Three Flags Tavern = http://www.threeflagstavern.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Twisted Tree

With all the positive hype I kept hearing, I jumped at the chance to try Twisted Tree for my birthday!

As soon as I walked in, I was immediately impressed with the updated decor and the blue-lit bar caught my attention. Upscale, modern and lots of dark wood seem appropriated for a steak place. I chuckled at the large "901 Liquor" sign as it was a throw back for me. Be sure to take a walk behind the bar to the bathrooms to see more "upscale" touches.

I saw a couple of private rooms to one side, but was sat in the large dining room where a chalkboard listing the day's specials covered the wall.

While waiting for my friend to arrive, the busboy slipped me a closed brown bag and a warm bread roll was tucked inside. I felt less guilty sneaking the warm bread since my friend received her own bag when she arrived.

The menu is a good length so as not to be overwhelming, but plenty to choose from. I'm actually a big fan of selecting seafood from steak houses. I was about to pick the salmon, but the fish special, a Sea Bass won me over. It came with the potatoes, but I had also ordered a side of broccoli as well.

Sea Bass with potatoes and greens
All main courses are served with a family-style salad bowl as well. The two of us couldn't finish one bowl, so it's probably best for three to four, but we were smart and saving room for the rest of our meal.

The best part of the salad was the different dressings and following our servers orders, we tried them altogether! Another foodie friend hunted down the Pear Tree Vinaigrette for himself!

If you order a steak, your server will wheel out a large cart and "sauce" your meat right in front of you. Here is my friend's six ounce filet with a baked potato with the au jus all over!

Filet Mignon and baked potato
With all the extras and typically large portions, neither one of us had room for dessert, which was a bummer because I really would love to try a boozy milkshake!

Menu
Make note that we were there fairly early on a weeknight and the room filled up quick. For a weekend, I bet the room gets noisy fast so definitely be sure to make a reservation, especially with all the hype.

Resources:

Twisted Tree = http://twistedtreesteakhouse.com/

Sardella

The name has changed and the interior is now a bright yellow with blue tiles and sardine cans, but it's still really Niche. Meaning... still the same upscale, fine dining experience with excellent food and cocktails.

I'll just let the pictures do the talking...

The Lillet is light and lemony, just how I like it!

Lillet
The Rye was perfect for Patience.

Rye
There are quite a few small plates to start off with and it's very hard to pick what to eat since there is also a handful of pastas and large plates on the menu as well. My plan of attack is two small plates per person, and then either a pasta or main entree. Luckily, there are two of us to double that amount and cover more ground...

I picked winners: Uni Risotto Balls (smile!) and the Cauliflower Soup was amazing.

Uni Risotto Balls with Mozzarella in a Crystal Aioli

Cauliflower Soup with Farro and Brown Butter
Patience chose Orange-Braised Carrots (a chilled dish that was sweet) and her favorite, Mussels, that came in a white wine sauce with Creme Fraiche, Thai Chili, and Smoked Paprika.

Orange-Braised Carrots with Yogurt, Honey, Buckwheat, Chili, and Lime

Mussels in White Wine, Creme Fraiche, Thai Chili, and Smoked Paprika
I had to go with the Gnocchi of the Sea...crab with tomato, chili, and bone marrow. You must order this.
Gnocchi of the Sea with Crab, Tomato, Chili, and Bone Marrow
The new menu item, Drunken Pappardelle, was also sweeter than I expected, probably due to the olives. The noodles were massive!

Drunken Pappardelle with Pork, Red Wine, Olives, and Gremolata
Believe it or not, we made ourselves stop halfway through our pastas so we could order dessert. Again, nothing but winners. Check out the ultimate chocolate-ness going on here!

Chocolate Cake and Ganache with Blood Orange and Almonds
This is a Sump Espresso Affogato that Patience got to pour herself!

Sump Espresso Affogato with sugar cookie
Did you miss Niche? Have a special occasion to celebrate? You should go to Sardella for sure.

Menu
I cannot wait to try Breakfast and Lunch too!

Resources:

Sardella = http://sardellastl.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Monday, January 2, 2017

STLCheesegirl Top Post 2016

While I didn't have as many reviews this year, I actually hit an all time high for my top blog post. 

I also didn't hit as many PW Pizza beer dinners nor as many cheese classes, but each year brings something new as I am now a regular at Larder & Cupboard for their classes, and there were a lot of new restaurants coming out.

A friend from my "growing up" is now a fellow wine geek and got a job at the winery. So of course a road trip was required. I'm not sure the last time I had gone to that winery, but it's all grown up and has a brewery on the property as well. I'm not sure if Megan shared this post on her blog or what, but I had a ridiculous amount of page views.

After recently celebrating their one year anniversary, the Fondue Class is its most popular class as it sells out very quickly each time. Unfortunately, the class size is limited, but this month alone there are two seatings! Be sure to check the events page on their website. Additional classes include Beer and Cheese pairings and Whiskey and Chocolate pairings.

One of the hottest new restaurants of the year...you should definitely make it a date night at least once. Just be sure to make a reservation way in advance!

This was my birthday dinner with great friends and another hot, new restaurant. Be sure to check out their brunch too!

I finally made it to one of Mike Ward's classes...he's such a great wine expert and teacher, and I always learn something new from him. Unfortunately, his classes are a bit far south for me so this was the only class I made it to. 

Whiskey and Chocolate Pairing at Larder & Cupboard -  http://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2016/06/whiskey-and-chocolate-pairing-june-2016.html
Another winning combination and there will be more of these this year!

I am a loyal customer of the monthly PW Pizza Beer Dinners. These dinners are a great way to try beers from craft breweries around the country, as well as the local area. The list for this year is out so sign up EARLY because these dinners book up quick!

This restaurant was introduced to us by fellow foodies who were regulars at one point. Another great date night location.

Not only did we get an IKEA, but we now have a Mellow Mushroom! We are on the map! I probably should have waited until the hype died down, but definitely a family friendly environment with the level of noise. I was eating that pizza for days. 

Another new restaurant that I got to enjoy for Mother's Day. This is a special occasion place for sure.

Mona's

When my friend suggested "Mona's" for lunch... I just assumed it was "just another Italian spot on the Hill". Not exactly...

As soon as I walked in, I had that weird feeling that I had been there before....AS MODESTO!!!!!

What a happy surprise...getting to try "the new version" of Modesto on my day off. We were there at lunch time and had the place to ourselves.

The first thing that struck me was how bright and airy the restaurant is now and having an open kitchen area makes it feel even more spacious. The bright blue and yellow color scheme is also happy and inviting. This did make me miss Modesto a little bit tho...

Since we were there for lunch, we mostly opted for salads and sandwiches, which also includes a pick two option for soup and salad.

I actually did a two-fer...trying two different salads. Fried green tomatoes is a rare treat, although there were just four tomatoes on top of a regular salad. Yet, I really enjoyed the rest of the salad since it came with house-made cheese and black olives!

Fried Green Tomato Salad
Then I got my favorite...chopped salad, which comes with even more of my favorite veggie goodies like chickpeas, artichokes, green olives, and white cheddar.

Chopped Salad
The Mona's Burger is actually a double patty with smoked provolone in the middle, balsamic onion jam, tomato confit, and their "Mona's sauce".

Mona's Burger
And the side of fries are all hand cut potato wedges!

Fries
The meatball sandwich was just huge...covered in melted provolone and Mona's homemade tomato sauce.

Meatball Sandwich
Only Patience went traditional with the adult-sized order (meaning two meals) of Spaghetti with meatballs. The pasta is made fresh there and had such thick noodles!

Spaghetti
I definitely hope to get back there to try their pizza and pasta!

Resources:

Mona's = http://www.monasjoint.com

Photos by Patience Scanlon