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Friday, September 24, 2021

Take Out September 2021

September 3rd = Even though it's not my week to pick, I still got to provide "inspiration"! Pai had sushi earlier in the week and I was super jealous and it's probably my favorite. At least we mixed it up and ordered from Blue Ocean!

Blue Ocean Sushi

September 17th = Pai and I both were out of town for the previous weekend and so we were finally back on track. Pai needed some comfort food after a long work trip so Mai Lee was called upon to get her feeling right. Since we order from them so often, I decided to try something new... Duck with Egg noodles!

Duck with Egg Noodles

September 24th = In case you hadn't heard Southern is back open for Curbside pick up and that's exactly what I did for this week's "Take out Friday"! Easy to order online (you can pick a date/time in advance) and you just pull right up front and they hand you the order through the car window! 

I ordered the Firebird sammich with mac & cheese on the side, and then extra side of cucumber salad!

Firebird Sandwich with Mac & Cheese and Cucumber Salad sides

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Big Macs & Burgandy Wine Class

I can't remember the last time I was at a wine class...much less one hosted by the STLWineGirl, so I was incredibly excited to attend this class. And it's been at least two years since I was at a Cocktails Are Go cocktail class with Beth Sorrell, who was the other host.

I have to admit it was so good to see some old friends that the class itself is mostly a blur, especially after five courses of heavy pours. All the wines were excellent and I only shared one of them, which was probably not in my best interest to finish so many of them. I am so rusty!

This class, Big Macs & Burgundy, is based on the book by the same name and there were so many people who couldn't make the class that night that there is already demand for another one.

Anyway, we started off with one of my favorite pairings, "salt + bubbles". The salt this time was potato chips, although some BBQ chips were mixed in as well. This might be my favorite because I love bubbles so much.

Salt + Bubbles

A challenging pairing of spinach artichoke dip, made sense with a Gruner Veltliner, and a glass of Pinot Gris was also added. Gruner Veltliner is the go-to for foods that are difficult to pair with.

Vegetal + White wine

I usually don't eat too many spicy foods, but luckily my other favorite, Riesling, is the best thing to pair with it. And it was Mai Lee's Lo Mein so extra bonus.

Spicy + Sweet

The title pairing, half a McDonald's Big Mac with a Coteaux Bourguignons, was just OK. I feel bad because it's hard for me to eat a Big Mac these days since I think most fast food is gross now, but I bet a fresh grilled burger from an actual grill would have done it. The wine was amazing though. I think this wine would have been awesome with some chocolate too.

Fast Food + Fancy

We wrapped up the night with Starbursts, Twinkies, and bites of cheesecake, which was well paired with an equally sweet Moscato. I had trouble drinking the Moscato as I can't do those sweet wines anymore!

If you get a chance to take the class, or any STLWinegirl or Cocktails Are Go class, be sure to sign up quickly!

Big Macs & Burgundy Menu

Resources:

Big Macs & Burgandy = https://www.amazon.com/Big-Macs-Burgundy-Pairings-World/dp/1419744917

STLWinegirl = https://stlwinegirl.com/

Cocktails Are Go = https://cocktails-are-go.com/

Novel Neighbor = https://thenovelneighbor.com/

Sunday, August 29, 2021

PW Pizza Cigar City Brewing 2021

Unfortunately, it does not appear that we'll be having any "in-person" PW Pizza beer dinners this year at the rate we're going at so it was nice to do another "take home" version, featuring Cigar City Brewing, since we skipped the last couple of months.

We actually recently tasted Cigar City's beers back in January 2020, so you can read about it here: https://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2020/03/pw-pizza-cigar-city-brewing.html

Still, there was only ONE repeat beer and the rest were new!

Cigar City Brewing 2021 can lineup

Instead of a salad, the appetizer was Shrimp Cocktail! The shellfish was well paired with a lighter IPA cleverly called "Jai Low" since it only has 4% ABV.

Shrimp Cocktail

The first pizza, a Hot Italian, (insert your own joke here) had a lot going on and there seemed to be an overabundance of onion and pepperncinis for me. All this spice went well with the Jai Alai, their traditional IPA.

BBQ Chicken Pizza on the left, Hot Italian Pizza on the right

I preferred the BBQ Chicken pizza, which was paired with their Maduro Brown, nice and smooth.

There were TWO baby Key Lime Cheesecakes included in this dinner so Pai and I didn't have to fight. This was paired with the fruity, yet sour Margarita Gose.

Key Lime Cheesecake

Now if we can just find time to get down to Tampa and visit Cigar City in person...

Menu

Resources:

PW Pizza = https://pwpizza.com/

Cigar City Brewing = https://www.cigarcitybrewing.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Friday, August 27, 2021

Take out August 2021

August 6th = I celebrated my friend Tony's birthday for this week's "Take Out Friday" and since he is Italian, we always go to an Italian restaurant. For a few years I tried mixing it up, but this time we went back to his favorite, Lo Russo's. Now the restaurant is super close to where I live!

August 13 = Friday the 13th! This particular Friday lived up to its name as we lost power Thursday evening and I ended up having to work from my friend Amy's house all day. With no power, it was a perfect time for "Take Out Friday". I decided to go to (one of) Amy's favorite restaurants since it's right around the corner from her. Russell's on Macklind has a great reputation even beyond the neighborhood, so you know the food is always good. I ordered the Ricotta Gnudi...so filling!

Riccotta Gnudi

August 20th = Pai's turn to pick so of course it was Asian, but I couldn't argue since I got to have my favorite Pho Ga from Mai Lee. It really hits the spot after a long week...

Pho Ga from Mai Lee

August 28th = With everything that's going on in the world, a friend on Facebook suggested that folks support Sameems Afghan Restaurant, as the owners are refugees as well. It was delicious and hopefully we can visit in person! Patience ordered the Lamb Qabelli while I enjoyed a chicken kabob. We were well behaved and shared samosas, well, if you count getting two separate orders!

Samosa in chutney

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Casa Don Alfonso

The whole reason I started this blog 12 years ago is because I had an amazing once-in-a-lifetime restaurant experience and I wanted to document it. 

So here I am again, trying to find the right words to describe a late Mother's Day celebration at Casa Don Alfonso, the latest restaurant inside the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Just saying "the Ritz" already sets the bar extremely high and although it was expensive, it was a great opportunity.

Menu

Sure, anyone can make a reservation (they book up quickly), but not everyone can have their experience catered by the STLwinegirl, Angela Ortmann, as she was hired on to work the floor on a temporary basis as their in-house sommelier.

We managed to get a last minute spot at the seats that face the kitchen, which is  acompletely open kitchen behind glass partitions. I cannot imagine people watching ME work, so kudos to those chefs! But it is a beautiful workspace as the copper theme shines throughout the restaurant. (Including the  entire ceiling of the kitchen and all the silverware!)

Full Kitchen

Copper utensils

Also, if you think to look up over the dining room, there are blown glass leaves hanging from the  ceiling there that make it seem "other-worldy".

Dining Room Ceiling with blown glass leaves

And if you can swing it, walk by the giant glassed wine room and check out the cigar room. Both are just as impressive.

I haven't even talked about our meal yet either!

We started out with a glass of palete-cleansing Italian bubbles along with a warm bag of homemade bread that my stepmom just loved. She tried so hard not to fill up on it, but it was hard to resist.

Italian bubbles...

Homemade Italian Bread

We all wanted to taste the appetizers, or antipasta, and any of them could have been a meal. I don't think we were in shape for what was to come! We warmed up with a truffle pizza, which again, is made in house.

Truffle Pizza

Patience and I split the Farmer's Board as well...all Italian cheeses of course.

Farmer's Board

Patience selected the Beef Carpaccio, while Linda tried the Tuna Tartare.

Beef Carpaccio

Tuna Tartare

My Dad got his very own baby pot of Tomato & Basil soup. It's so cute!

Tomato & Basil Soup

Then more wine was had...

Primitivo!

Finally, here are our main courses. I accidently let slip that I really wanted the Baked Tiny Gnocchi (so cute AND delicious), even though I volunteered to help Linda with her choice of the Housemade Fresh Tagliatelle, with shrimp, which was very rich. 

Baked Tiny Gnocchi

Housemade Fresh Tagliatelle

Patience ordered the Lasagna Napoletana, which is a Tomato Beef Ragout, and Green Peas, Eggs, and Ricotta stuffed inside. So decadent!

Lasagna Napoletana

Somehow there was still more wine.

Nero D'Avola

Not that we had any room left, but then dessert happened. I was ready to explode... 

Adorable cannolis...

Cannolis

Three flavors of gelato...

Gelato

Lemon Profiteroles...

Lemon Profiteroles

And to top it off, literally, the special dessert that Casa is known for...your picture on top of tiramisu!

Tiramisu

Even my Dad's coffee got the special picture too!

Coffee

Chef Sergio is the best!

Patience, Sergio, and I

STLwinegirl ain't too shabby herself. I really owe it to her for a fantastic evening.

Angie and Patience

The whole experience may have been a bit TOO fantastic, because now my stepmom wants to go back!

Resources:

Casa Don Alfonso = https://casadonalfonsostlouis.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon