Monday, October 1, 2018

PW Pizza Odell Brewing Beer Dinner

While the name Odell Brewing sounds familiar, I really wasn't familiar with any of their beers.

I was thrilled to start out with an Oktoberfest since that is one of the beers I generally like and this one had plenty of flavor. It paired well with the Bavarian Pretzel and trio of mustard sauces, which was a big change from the usual starter course. (You know I couldn't handle the sauce with jalapeno in the middle.)

Bavarian Pretzel
My favorite pizza of the night was the Wurst Pizza, but it wasn't the worst by far! Ha! The apple chunks, mozzarella, and sausage went well together as you would expect, although the Rupture Fresh Grind Ale was too hoppy and overpowering. At first I thought they had accidentally served the IPA a round too early!

The Wurst Pizza
The German Potato Salad Pizza was definitely something unique and I ended up getting extra slices of this one. The mustard vinaigrette and Gruyere cheese made this a tasty pizza, but again, the Odell IPA was way too bitter for me. I even made the "bitter beer face"!

German Potato Salad Pizza
Dessert was another winner with a Black Forrest Cupcake...chocolate for the second month in a row too! The 90 Shilling is a Scottish-style Amber Ale and was also quite strong despite the mid-range level of IBUs.

Black Forest Cupcake
Luckily, I got extra cupcakes from my table mates after donating most of my beers!

Menu
Resources:

Odell Brewing Company = https://www.odellbrewing.com/

PW Pizza = https://pwpizza.com/


Turn

I have walked by Turn several times on my way up to Sophie's bar on the second floor of the .ZACH building in mid-town and I was always curious about the first floor restaurant. It started out strictly breakfast and lunch, but luckily my friend Ann, who works in the building, notified me that they had recently started serving dinner Thursday - Saturday!

With the small theater right across the lobby, the location makes a perfect pre-show dining spot, but it's even better is when there is NO SHOW!

So my friends and I ended up having a lovely, quiet, Girl's Night Out with maybe only a couple of other tables occupied. A menu on the smaller side made it easier to order, but honestly, we all were torn what to pick.

For those who might be in a rush to make it to a show, you could easily make a dinner out of two or three small plates as everything we tried was delicious.

The Trio of dips included tarragon hummus, caponata, and tapenade.

Trio of dips! 
I could not tell that the Vegan Poke Tacos contained jackfruit since the mangos are what stood out the most, along with the crunch of the taco shells.

Vegan Poke Tacos
Unfortunately, I forgot to capture the Aranchini, and probably should have ordered more of them along with poutine, mussels, and baked brie that were also calling out to me.

Trying to eat a main course on top of a few small plates was quite a challenge, and I smartly brought my leftovers home.

Ann ordered the Shrimp and Grits, which were actually listed under the small plates...also known as "45s" since the chef is also a DJ. The main courses are "LPs" and dessert is the "Encore". But this was definitely main course-sized.

Shrimp and Grits
The Scallop Bowl was calling my name as well, but luckily Beth ordered it and even let us have a bite. There were a generous FIVE scallops in this dish! Beth loved the broth just as much as the scallops too.

Scallop Bowl
I admit I played it safe, but I really enjoyed the Risotto with seasonal vegetable from Urban Harvest. I definitely wanted to finish off the plate, but I wanted to bring a treat home for Patience.

Risotto with vegetables
You might not know Turn is open for dinner so if we keep it between us, it can be our special secret rendezvous spot. Yet, I have heard wonderful things about their brunch, so I definitely hope to go back, no matter what time of day!

Resources:

Turn = http://davidkirklandcatering.com/turn/

Monday, September 24, 2018

Yolklore

I had my old brunch / foodie friends back in town and they wanted to try someplace new. So I made them my guinea pigs since I had been wanting to check out Yolklore for some time.

I was initially surprised at how small the kitschy restaurant was and I suppose they always have a line out the door on the weekends? The size doesn't seem to scare off too many people, but I did notice a lot of to-go orders.

If nothing else, the time spent standing in line allowed us plenty of time to review the menu as there are some interesting unique dishes as well as plenty of typical breakfast items that can be ordered a la carte.

I ordered the Seasonal Frittata (which came with a small fruit cup) and a side of potatoes. The frittata had cheese, mushrooms, creme fresh, tomato jam, and topped with arugula. This really hit the spot!

Frittata and Potatoes
My friend Chris went traditional with the French Toast made with homemade brioche.

French Toast
Anne was brave and tried the Nest Egg, one of their specialties, where two eggs are cooked inside of a biscuit crust with bacon bits, cheddar, and pickled red onion decorating the top. Unfortunately, the "nest" part was very hard to break into to get to the goods inside.

Nest Egg
Although I'm not a coffee drinker, I was impressed that they provided reasonably-priced coffee that you can help yourself to once you order.

We were also lucky that a table for four opened up right as we got through the line, so be prepared to get a to-go order in case there are no places to sit. All items are served in recyclable trays that can easily be converted into a traveling container.

Resources:

Yolklore = http://yolklore.com

Sunday, September 23, 2018

PW Pizza Earthbound Beer Dinner

I definitely think the weirdest beers in town are from Earthbound Beer. I've been to the old and new brewery locations and I'm still never quite sure about the beer I'm picking out.

We definitely had a weird beer right out of the gate with the Fuzzy Pickle Gose. I'm not the biggest fan of Gose beers and then adding a pickle smell on the nose...OY! Just when you think it can't get any weirder, the pickle beer was paired with a Watermelon Gazpacho! I left a lot behind this course...

Watermelon Gazpacho
Yet, Earthbound also brought very normal beers such as the Irish Red Ale. (There aren't too many local breweries doing red beers so this was nice to see.) This beer was well paired with the Roasted Turkey Pizza that came with Gruyere, Brussels sprouts, and bacon on top. (Luckily all the bits I didn't like were well covered by the cheese!)

Roasted Turkey Pizza
Back to the strange flavors, the Doing It Extreme IPA was paired with a Pork Chop Pizza. Nothing wrong with that per se, but the pizza also came with grilled peaches on top. I believe the name of the beer came from all the variations of hops that went into the beer.

Pork Chop Pizza
Luckily, all these weird beers and pairings meant that I had plenty of room for dessert - finally a chocolate one! The Chocolate Cake was well paired with the Midnight Mass Stout.

Chocolate Cake
I probably won't ever like anything too out of the norm. I guess I'm getting old and predictable in my old age! HA!

Resources:

Earthbound Beer = http://www.earthboundbeer.com/

Third Wheel Brewing

As much as we love all the craft breweries popping up, we don't usually cross over into St. Charles County much.

Regardless, Third Wheel Brewing had been on my list for a while since I'm a big fan of Abbey Spencer. I first met Abbey at Craft Beer Cellar as my cicerone instructor. This was the first time I had met a female who knew a TON about beer. (I know she is tired of talking about it, but it's a true statement.) Not to mention she is a super cool person overall.

I was totally stoked to hear that she was opening up her own brewery and that it's been well received. I couldn't wait to try it for myself.

Most of the time, Patience and I want to try the whole menu, but this time I just flat out ordered way too much food. For a brewery, they have a large selection of items to choose from. For those of us who drove all the way over from the city, we (mostly me) were starving, and that is probably what lead to all the extra ordering. Whoops!

Third Wheel sticks out in the strip mall that it's in, but the huge warehouse interior makes it a perfect space for a brewery.

Third Wheel Brewing
Even on a busy Friday night, there were still quite a few open tables and you can just seat yourself since it's also "serve yourself". You can't miss the huge bar in the middle for ordering drinks (they have more than just beer!), with a window opening on the side of one wall for food. And you can easily see the brewery magic happening at the far end through large windows.

The best part of the brewery was that everything is CLEARLY LABELED with huge signs.

The best way to tackle ordering the food and the beer was to split up...half of us went for beer, while the rest of us ordered at the kitchen opening. They smartly gave out buzzers to avoid any overcrowding near the food window too.

I was sad that the poutine was already sold out, but at least I still got to try the deviled eggs and a couple of types of chicken wings. The Cherry Wings were the best, although I could handle the "spicy" wings easily.

Cherry Wings and a beer flight

Spicy Wings
The deviled eggs were unlike any other I have ever had! Squares?!?! I had to pull the bacon strips out, but the chipotle maple syrup still gave plenty of flavor.

Deviled Eggs
My friends didn't help me much with the eggs as they were too busy with the pork rinds, officially known as Cracklin' Chicharrones. You can also get them dusted with a Red Hot Riplet seasoning and they come with a Chipotle Ranch dip on the side.

Cracklin' Chicharrones
Since we all loaded up on appetizers, not too many of us could make it through our main dishes. I highly recommend splitting something!

Classic Brew Cheese Burger and Waffle Fries
 The Ophelia Grilled Chicken is brined in Third Wheel's Olphelia's Wit!

Ophelia Grilled Chicken Sandwich and side salad
The Trixie Grilled Cheese is also no joke as it comes with four types of cheese on Mr. Meowski's sourdough bread!

Trixie Grilled Cheese and Waffle Fries
I made the mistake of ordering a Grilled Chicken salad and beer cheese soup. The salad was HUGE. I got through the soup and some of the chicken. I was just too full from wings and eggs!

Pan Seared Chicken Salad and Beer Cheese Soup
With all this food, especially all the spicy options, I was happy that there were plenty of lighter beers to balance it all out.

I hope they can keep up with the large and diverse beer menu because there was something for everyone (lighter beers for me, stouts for Pai, Irish for Julia) and everyone was happy.

There are a few different flight choices so you can do a sampling too.

Make sure you get to this brewery...it's worth the trip!

By the time we were done, we needed ALL the wheels to get us home!

Resources:

Third Wheel Brewing = http://www.thirdwheelbrewing.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Billie Jean

Earlier this year, Patience finally got to cross two Zoe Robinson restaurants off her list as we dined at both I Fratellini and Bar Le Freres back in January.

Another one, Billie Jean, recently opened in the same neighborhood and was put on the top of our list for the next birthday or anniversary. Thankfully, this was the chosen location for BethFest this year (my friend Beth's birthday) so we didn't have to wait until January!

We've heard such great things about it and it really lived up to the hype.

Beth picked out an awesome bottle of wine from Chateau Musar, one of our (expensive) favorites so it was a treat to drink it again! Definitely a special occasion wine.

Chateau Musar
Billie Jean also helped us celebrate with the Grilled Lobster Tail small plate to kick things off.

Grilled Lobster Tail
Patience and I still ordered another starter since Beth raved about their Dumpling Soup. This is definitely a must order. We split the smaller portion and it was still plenty filling for two of us. It comes with a small container of chili paste, but I didn't touch it! hehe

Dumpling Soup
For the next set of small plates, we shared the Duck Spring Rolls and Tuna Crudo!

Duck Spring Rolls

Yellow-Fin Tuna Crudo
I was fine with multiple small plates, but Patience also ordered an entree knowing that she would end up taking it home. I was super jealous since her Braised Short Rib with fingerling potatoes was definitely a winner! (She even added morel mushrooms to it as well so it was quite decadent.)

Braised Short Rib
I also figured that there would probably be some sort of birthday dessert, but thanks to our well-known birthday girl, we ended up with three desserts that none of us could finish.

Bread Pudding

Chocolate Tort

Expresso Creme Brulee
If you have a special occasion and enjoy dark, tres chic restaurants, this is a must go. Service was top notch as at all Zoe restaurants.

Menu
Resources:

Billie Jean = https://www.billiejeanstl.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Monday, July 30, 2018

PW Pizza Public House Brewing Beer Dinner

I have actually been to Public House Brewing, featured at this month's PW Pizza beer dinner, so I was happy to support a place I enjoy. It's a very easy to drive down 44 south to St. James and I definitely recommend taking a day trip this fall!

Thanks to my friend Megan, I hung out at the winery / brewery a couple of times since St. James shares a patio with them. That is one way to make sure everyone is happy if they can have a choice of wine or beer to pair up with all the delicious snacks they serve there.

Three out of four beers were still new to me so that was fun to try some new things...

We started off with a different "salad" course, more of an appetizer I guess? Melon-wrapped Prosciutto, drizzled in balsamic. You know I took the piggy off immediately and gave it to Patience. It made for a light first course, but I figured...more room for pizza later! The Hide and Seek Hefeweizen the melon was paired with was a little too hoppy from what I'm used to with Schlafly's version.

Melon Prosciutto
The first pizza was the winner this night! Even though it said Spicy Sausage Pizza, the sausage was not spicy at all and the best part was all the mozzarella cheese oozing all over it. The sausage was cut in large chunks so that you could still get plenty of flavor with all the mozzarella all over it! The Frisco 1501 Amber Lager was easy to drink as well.

Spicy Sausage Pizza
I learned that the Elusive IPA combines six types of hops and not the ones you typically find so that led to it's name. It still has a big grapefruit nose and of course they paired a spicy Jerk Chicken Pizza with it. But again, it really wasn't that spicy other than the small bites of jalapeno, which I could easily pick off.

Caribbean Jerk Chicken Pizza
Dessert was over the top as I was served a hamburger-sized Oatmeal Raisin Whoopie pie!! The server even pointed out that she gave me the largest one out of the entire dinner. hehehe It was a great dessert to go with the Revelation Stout, which they brew year round. It's way too bitter for me, but perfect for Patience, and definitely was a great pairing.

Oatmeal Raisin Whoopie Pie

Menu
Resources:

PW Pizza = https://pwpizza.com/

Public House Brewing Company = https://www.publichousebrewery.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Benevolent King

I was very sad to hear when Water Street closed and I knew the next place would have big shoes to fill. Well, Ben Poremba had no problem filling the space and adding to the eclectic list of restaurants in downtown Maplewood.

I could have used more instruction from our waiter and I actually tried to listen to another server to learn more about the dishes since the menu doesn't have too much detail. That other server saw us oogling her tray and even stopped to inform us of what was being delivered. And it wasn't uncommon for other tables to lean over to check out what was just put down.

Luckily, our guesses worked out in our favor and everything was delicious, but a Moroccan-themed restaurant is definitely for the adventurous.

Before we get to the menu, even if you don't like Moroccan food, just go and get a cocktail from Tony Saputo. Patience tried the Amir and Prince of The Believers, while I kept it light with the house sangria. There is a long list and they are quite complex and delicious.

Amir


Sangria
Since the menu changes daily, there is not much posted on their website so I just happened to spill some sauce on a menu and asked to bring it home with me to add to my collection. But I have a feeling they're going to keep a large selection of snacks and small plates, which you could easily make a meal from. There may not be too many dinner entrees, but I still struggled to pick one out.

June Menu
Patience and I like to order (almost) the whole menu when we try new places and I would definitely recommend trying a couple of things from each section. The snacks and the small plates really weren't that different since there was a lot of dips.

From the "Snack" section, I let Patience choose since I wasn't sure of the M'Samen or the Briouat. She ordered the items that were familiar: Fresh Farmer's cheese, which was served with several crudites and Split Pea Falafel that came with a tahini dip.

Fresh Farmer's Cheese (jben)

Split Pea Falafel with tahini
Since the tahini dip was a little spicy, I opted for putting everything in the creamy cheese dip instead!

I had just as much trouble picking out dishes in the "Salatim" section (I assume it means small plates?), but luckily they are priced at 3 for $20 or 5 for $30.

Our favorite was the Ikra, a Balkan caviar dip with pickled onions.

Ikra (tarama): Balkan caviar dip, pickled onion
The Taztziki was a very pretty dish with thinly sliced cucumbers. Since the rest of the dishes were finger foods, I just picked up the cucumbers with my hands too. hehehe

Tzatziki: Greek yogurt, cucumbers, dill, and honey
I did use a fork for the Roasted Peppers, which probably would have made a good side dish with an entree.

Roasted Peppers Mechouia
We actually were starting to slow down and decided to save the rest of the dips to take home as well as ordering two more pieces of the pita bread. Skip the Hearth Bread on the menu and just order more of these if you need more for your dips! They only charged us $1 each and were one of my favorite things that's not even listed on the menu!

Pita
For our main course, Patience went old school and got the Grilled Sea Scallops. There were only two, but they were large and split in half so we could easily share.

Grilled Sea Scallops
I even gave Patience one of my Lamb Meatballs, which were set in a smoked tomato sauce. I used the bread on the side to mop of alllll the sauce.

Lamb Meatballs, smoked tomato sauce, ras al hanout
And you probably won't be surprised that we ordered dessert...two of them...flan-like cake for Patience, while I ordered the custard.

Creme Caramel, orange blossom
Malabi: milk custard, rose water, cherry, halva
The custard reminded me a lot of the dessert from Vicia, beautifully decorated, and I really enjoyed the cherry flavor. (Even though chocolate would have been the perfect touch. Do they have chocolate in Morocco? I'll have to ask Ben next time I see him.)

Resources:

The Benevolent King = https://www.thebenevolentking.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon