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Monday, January 15, 2024

The Mainlander

I was very curious about this new upscale restaurant since it is not like anything I had tried to before. 70's kitsch, limited reservations only, and the menu changes monthly or by what's in season. Also, you pay online, in advance, without tipping. I actually asked permission if we could leave at the end, but really it was because I didn't want to.

I was very surprised there were only seven tables total and only three were four-tops. The lack of a crowd made for an intimate experience, and it was cool to have a good view into the bar and kitchen. It did feel like we were in someone's living room in the 70's although VERY dark. (Definitely good for  date nights.)

The host (who was quite gregarious and I wanted to applaud) was also the server, although the chef came out a couple of times to deliver plates himself. It was nice to talk to him directly and he said there was only a staff of five doing everything.

Patience is always up for a food adventure and she loved that she didn't have to make any decisions. (We took a moment to salute "No Menu Monday" from Home Wine Kitchen.)

Thanks to the appetizer or "Tidits" course of the evening, I started to fill up before the main course came out. (You will not leave hungry!)

To warm up, we were served a Hot Buttered Rum to kick off the night.

Hot Buttered Rum

The first item, Sweet Potato Frites were just adorable, with local caviar on top! 

Sweet Potato Frites

Pate de Campagne Musubi and China Moon Shrimp Toast

The musubi was also almost too pretty to eat.

I never had Warm Mushroom Salad before, and I think this would have made for a good "vegetable" side dish. 

Warm Mushroom Salad

Under advisement, we opted to share a wine flight, (and to save money) although the cocktails looked very creative. One was entirely on fire at the table near us, but I think we made a great choice looking at the quality of the wine list!

Wine List

The entire first course was paired with a Tatomer Riesling. It was incredibly dry and was amazingly well balanced to pair with several different flavors. A perfect food wine. I hope to come across it again someday.

I didn't know what to think about a "Chicken Fried" Walleye, but I see how it made for a light batter. The fish pieces were HUGE and I made the mistake of finishing mine, although I didn't eat too much of the sides. 

Chicken Fried Walleye

The mustard greens were quite sweet with the apple honey marinade, but greens in general are not my favorite.

Apple Honey Mustard Greens

Since the chili sauce was too spicy for me, I ended up mixing the popcorn grits with my bites of chicken fried walleye. They were kind enough to package up the leftovers since we couldn't finish any of the main course.

Popcorn Grits

The main course was paired with a Gamay Noir, which I don't know if I've had before. This was fruity, but not overpowering, so well paired again.

YOU MUST save room for dessert. I know it'll be different each time, but I'm pretty sure it'll be decadent. I doused my German Chocolate Bao in the Flaming Caramel sauce. I finished mine even though I was so full. (The sparklers were for our 11th anniversary, which was very fun.)

German Chocolate Bao with Flaming Caramel

The last wine, a Mataro, was quite dry, but was a smart pairing with the chocolate in the dessert.

Although I say "for special occasions", we definitely hope to make our way back to try more menus. 

Main Menu

Bar Menu

Resources:

The Mainlander = https://www.mainlanderstl.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Madrina

 I couldn't wait. We literally went the third night Madrina was open, totally breaking my internal rule about waiting for a new restaurant to get its bearings before trying it out.

I had promised Alisha Blackwell-Calvert that I would visit while she worked at Cider House, but it's not the easiest restaurant to just drop in at so I totally failed at keeping my promise. Madrina is now just minutes away in one of my favorite areas, downtown Webster.

Once you step inside, past the hostess stand, you'll forget all about the CJ Muggs that used to be there. This is now old school Italian.

Alisha's service quality did not disappoint and was the highlight of the evening. 

Alisha Blackwell-Calvert

Just explain what you'll be eating, what you like to drink, and she'll quickly have the perfect wine to pair. If only I could bottle it and take her with me everywhere.

While the logistics weren't totally in place yet, the recipes are definitely ready to go. I'm just going to let the dishes speak for themselves from here on out. 

They own the recipe to the Mayfair salad dressing so you know that was my starter. Comes with a little shaved prosciutto on top.

Mayfair salad

We also shared the Whipped Ricotta appetizer with bread service. Our server was kind enough to keep bringing us more bread!

Bread service

Whipped Ricotta

Our friend Jacqui wanted to share her dish, Beef Carpaccio. There was plenty to share!

Beef Carpaccio

The main courses were just beautiful...Spaghetti Chitarra Carbonara, Seared Scallops, and I ordered the Egg Raviollo.


Spaghetti Chitarra Carbonara

Seared Scallops

 
Raviollo

What's INSIDE the Raviolo you ask?? Check it out...

Egg oozing from the Raviollo

And you can't forget about dessert! Cannoli of course!

Cannoli

You're going to want to add this to your date night, special occasion, and meet up for drink list!

Resources:

Madrina = https://www.madrinastl.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

City Winery

While City Winery is actually a wine bar / restaurant, we headed down there for our first time as a concert venue. A friend got me into Dar Williams and so I try to see her every time she comes through.

Dar Williams

I understand there is a membership to give those folks the right to buy tickets before anyone else, however, I would recommend trying it out before making that kind of commitment. I admit that for level of talent, you can pretty much wait until tickets go on sale.

Unfortunately, all the tables run long ways down the room so you have to turn awkwardly to the side to watch the performance. Also, the tables are fairly small so you also have to keep track of your feet as well. The servers are squeezing by so you can't leave them in the aisles either.

View from the back

I highly recommend getting to the show as close to doors opening as possible to give yourself time to study the menu and order, as well as finish your dinner before the lights go down.

We each ordered a (fairly pricey) glass of wine and shared some appetizers: Lobster Risotto and Truffle Fries

Lobster Risotto


Truffle Fries

Great for a date night, but I'd probably only go for the right performer, since the place is a little pricey over all.

Resources:

City Winery = https://www.cityfoundrystl.com/directory/city-winery

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Friday, November 24, 2023

Brick River Cider

I had been wanting to try this Cidery / restaurant ever since it opened and we finally got the chance once Patience's friend came in town to visit! 

The building is small, as it was a former firehouse converted into the cidery, so there aren't a lot of tables.

Not only are there quite a few ciders to choose from, ranging from sweet to dry, the menu is extensive.

Featured below is the Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese, Portabella Grill Sandwich, Deviled Eggs, Spinach and Mushroom Flatbread, Brick River Salad, and Cider Brined Wings - something for everyone!

Variety of dishes from Brick River Cider

Resources:

Brick River Cider = https://www.brickrivercider.com/

Bistro La Floraison

As I mentioned earlier this year in my post about Bar Moro, it is my goal to visit all the former Zoe Robinson restaurants under their new owners and concepts.

I FINALLY got my chance to visit Bistro La Floraison thanks to Beth and Matt Sorrell, who is a bartender there a few nights a week. Beth was looking for a date to sit with her at the bar and I jumped at the chance, especially since she was able to guide me through the courses.

THE Matt Sorrell

I highly recommend their cocktails, probably because I know a bartender there, as they have clever names and some classics.

Beth was kind enough to split all the dishes with me, which helped to make the evening a little more affordable as well.

We started with a few items from the "L'apero" section. More of a small bite than an Hors d'Oeuvre. 

French Onion Financiers, which were almost too pretty to eat, and the Golden Kaluga Caviar were Beth's favorites.

French Onion Financiers

Golden Kaluga Caviar on potato waffles

I picked the Gougeres since they are made with a gruyere mousse!

Gougeres

For the main course, Beth let me pick the Ricotta Gnudi since I'm such a fan. There were quite a lot braised beans as well. An incredibly flavorful dish for something so simple!

Ricotta Gnudi

And Beth made sure we got dessert, so you should be sure to make room as well. The Hazelnut Pot De Creme was so light and creamy, although you know I was wishing there had been a little more chocolate involved.

Hazelnut Pot de Creme

Your meal will always be a winner here, so save up for that special occasion!

Menu from September 2023

Resources:

Bistro La Floraison = https://www.bistrolafloraison.com/