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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Akar

Akar had been on the top of our list since it opened last year. We are huge fans of Bernie Lee and everything that is on Wydown. (You know what restaurants I'm talking about!)

How to define Akar... upscale Asian fusion? Regardless, we knew it'd be a fancy place for a romantic anniversary dinner, and with its dim lighting, its' definitely a date night destination. There are five or six tables max with a few spots at the bar. And there is no way to avoid the cold when the door opens. Intimate is an understatement so a reservation is a must.

But Akar lived up to the hype and was everything we'd hope for!

There are quite a few starters and we narrowed our choices down to the Rangoon "Ravioli" since it was lobster stuffed with a sweet mango dip.

Rangoon "Ravioli"
And we're huge potsticker fans so the dumplings were winners as well.

Potsticker of the Day
The entree list is limited, but that makes it much easier to make a choice. Well..maybe. We both were torn between two items.

I thought for sure Patience would go with the short ribs (I was torn over them myself), but she ordered the Duck Breast with a butternut squash mash in a sweet plum wine reduction.

Duck Breast
Even though it wasn't anything fancy, I ordered the Sweet Potato Gnocchi because I'm a huge sucker for gnocchi. In addition, there were three "veggie" meatballs. This would definitely be a good pick for a vegetarian with subtle heat throughout. I did try to eat around the peppers, but still had to wipe off a little nose sweat!

Sweet Potato Cnocchi
For a side dish, we picked the Stticky Rice with mushrooms since that seemed most appropriate for an Asian restaurant, although there are a few vegetables to choose from as well.

Stick Rice with mushrooms
Normally, I would have split a dessert with Patience, but they had a chocolate mousse, so I had to get my own. The chocolate mousse was super intense so the raspberry dusting was definitely necessary.

Chocolate Mousse
Patience got her own cream brulee favorite as well.

Creme Brulee
Hands down one of the best new restaurants and I'd follow Bernie Lee anywhere.

Resources:

Akar = http://akarstl.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

STLCheesegirl Top Posts of 2019

Once again, 2019 was a slow blogging year, with the same amount of posts as the year before. I guess that makes sense as we made it through year two in the house. Also, it's a real good thing that we have a standing monthly beer dinner at PW Pizza as that is most of my blog posts.

Talking to a blogger friend of mine recently, blogging doesn't seem to be such a hip thing anymore and for a second I thought about putting the blog on the shelf. I just don't have as much down time these days and do people still read blogs anymore? I know my friends are tired of waiting for us to take a picture of their food before they can eat.

Yet, there is another full season of beer dinners coming up and reservations made for 2020. Not to mention a whole slew of new restaurants that we have not yet been to and hope to try out. I love to brag about our food scene as it continues to grow. And people STILL ask me where I have eaten lately.

So here are my most popular blog posts from last year. My page views took a big hit when compared to previous years, but I blame social media algorithms.

Deschutes PW Pizza Beer Dinner - https://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2019/08/pw-pizza-deschutes-beer-dinner-2019.html
Deschutes is a huge brewery so I'm sure all their beer fans were the ones to check this post out. It was cool to try some of their newer summer beers that I've never had, but they still finished the beer dinner with their popular (and Patience's favorite) Black Butte Porter.

58hundred - https://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2019/03/58hundred.html
I love neighborhood joints - eat local! (I am also hoping everyone will also check out Stone Turtle, which I just posted about today.) Not all of my friends have had the same experience as I did, but I haven't had any issues and enjoyed their food both times I've gone. Hopefully the high page view count means you all checked out this place!

The Boathouse - https://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2019/05/the-boathouse-at-forest-park.html
Always a popular St. Louis destination and the new menu is a big hit. I hope you all get a chance to try it out or enjoy a beverage in front of the water.

Hamilton's Urban Steakhouse & Bourbon Bar - https://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2019/01/hamiltons-urban-steakhouse-bourbon-bar.html
The Hamilton's have a winner with this restaurant and my parents loved it when I took them for our second time.

Civil Life PW Pizza Beer Dinner - https://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2019/05/pw-pizza-civil-life-beer-dinner-2019.html
I shouldn't be surprised by the popularity of this blog post because Civil Life is one of the most popular breweries here in the STL. I was happy they served their Irish Red since I don't know of many local "red" beers being produced. I recently had a coworker in town and recommended their Brown Ale to him. He drank two!

Grand Tavern - https://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2019/02/grand-tavern.html
This was a much hyped restaurant and I ended up going back there for a second time for my stepmom's birthday. We had the same server so she really rocked it for us again. At least we knew to stop at one cocktail at those prices, and we probably won't go back because of it.

Great Divide PW Pizza Beer Dinner - https://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2019/07/pw-pizza-great-divide-beer-dinner-2019.html
I did not know anything about this Colorado brewery, so all their beers were new to me. I enjoyed three out of four and they had a summer beer called "Roadie"!

Jollibee - https://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2019/07/jollibee.html
Patience is obsessed with this restaurant and now wants to go every time we are in Chicago, since it's the closest one. I don't normally blog about out of town restaurants, nor "fast food" places, so this was really out of the norm for me. Of course we went back over Thanksgiving on our way out of town. I even tried a regular chicken sandwich, and it still tasted weird to me.

Frisco Barroom - https://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2019/04/frisco-barroom.html
This is such a cool place in downtown Webster and we went back to meet friends for a late night cocktail. I really need to eat there more. So much fun to hang out with friends there.

Cork & Rind - https://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2019/03/cork-rind-irish-cheese-class-2019.html
While I don't love the drive to St. Charles, it makes me really miss attending cheese classes. We haven't been able to make the drive since last summer, but I do love seeing my friends and Coach Cheesemonger Kinney.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Stone Turtle

Since it's "small business shopping" time of year, I also love to encourage folks to "eat local" and find those small niche places in your neighborhood. (Stone Turtle is actually located in Dogtown.) It is perfect for a Friday night dinner when you don't want to cook after a long week.

I almost hate to give up this little secret, but Stone Turtle had a lot of nice surprises.

First off, let's talk about the wall of bourbon! All the cocktail people need to check it out! You know Patience started her night off with a smoked bourbon cocktail, while I stuck with my favorite gin.

Smoked Bourbon Cocktail
Second, one of my all time favorite food people, Maz (formerly of Momo's and Flaco's Cocina fame, which the latter will always have a special place in my heart) is a server there! 

We just sat at the bar and had excellent service there. It was already pretty crowded by 6pm, so be sure to make a reservation.

Patience wanted to start off with an order of Garlic Herb Fried Cheese Curds, because...cheese. The bowl was overflowing!

Garlic Herb Fried Cheese Curds
I kept it light, ordering the Mushroom Gnocchi with spinach and goat cheese, along with a side of Sauteed Broccolini.

Mushroom Gnocchi

Sauteed Broccolini
Patience went heavy with the Denver Lamb Ribs, which came with a side of napa slaw and crispy fries.

Denver Lamb Ribs
We were smart and intentionally saved some leftovers so we could finish the night with dessert. One scoop of Serendipity ice cream did the trick. (Chocolate Peanut Butter for me, of course, and Salted Caramel Swirl for Pai.)

Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream

Salted Caramel Swirl
Secret shared. But please save me a spot at the bar.

Resources:


Photos by Patience Scanlon


Original J's

Now I'm a huge Mike Radolph fan (moment of silence for Randolphi's), but it was by accident that we ended up at Original J's a couple of weekends ago. What a great place to fall into!!

I was unsure about TexMex AND BBQ in the same place, but that just means twice as tasty!

We were heading down Forsyth to go to Wine and Cheese Place for boozy gifts (shop local!) and were trying to come up with places to eat that weren't pricey Clayton restaurants. Right as we were about to go under Forest Park Parkway, there was a new place calling to us!

Patience had a hankerin' for Chips and Guac, so total score there. This is some DAMN GOOD Guacamole. There has to be some kind of secret spice in there that makes you want more. It was hard to share.

We had a hell of a time trying to figure out what we wanted to eat. Tacos? Bowls? Or just a big plate of meat!?!?!

We conquered and divided...

I chose the two tacos option since I could get brisket tacos! BBQ + TexMex! (Comes with a slaw on the side.)

Two Brisket tacos
Julia got a meat bowl (brisket as well), which comes with rice and veggies in it. (Sorry about the blurred picture.)

Brisket Bowl
Patience thought about a big meat plate, but then a hamburger special in front of the register caught her eye and I got half! (That's a side of cheesy hominy with chips.) Check out that queso oozing off the burger...

Hamburger Special
The wood paneling and checkered tablecloths, not to mention excellent service, really makes you feel at home too.

I hope we "stumble" accross this place again on purpose again sometime!

Resources:

Original J's = https://www.originaljs.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Monday, December 23, 2019

PW Pizza Old Bakery Beer Dinner 2019

We finished the 2019 PW Pizza Beer Dinner series with local favorite Old Bakery Beer Company. Just like coming home for Thanksgiving, this beer dinner was definitely geared for celebrating the year end holidays.

Instead of a salad, we started with a Green Bean Casserole Crostini. Now I love Green Bean Casserole and I could have eaten a whole bowl of the stuff. But then I wouldn't have had room for pizza! Since this dish is creamy and heavier than the usual salad, the Basil Pale Ale was a good pairing.

Green Bean Casserole Crostini
For the next course, I enjoyed the fruity Digital Native Mango beer, and it made sense with the Honey Glazed Ham Pizza that came with pineapple on top.

Hone Glazed Ham Pizza
As tradition has it, we also had a Smoked Turkey Dinner Pizza, which is always one of my favorite pizzas for the whole year. Peas, mashed potatoes, turkey, and gravy go GREAT altogether on a pizza! The bigger beers lovers enjoyed the Porter as well. Probably the most popular beer of the night.

Smoked Turkey Dinner Pizza
I love the name of the dessert beer, Cat Cafe, although it really is a coffee milk stout...milk...cat...get it? Anyway, the coffee flavor was very strong for this beer, so it's very appropriate for a dessert pairing.

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

Menu
Let me know if you are interested in signing up for next year's pairings. I have the list for next year. See you in January for MORE PW Pizza and Beer pairings!

Resources:

PW Pizza = https://pwpizza.com/

Old Bakery Beer Company = http://www.oldbakerybeer.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon