Sunday, March 31, 2013

MX Movie Theater

EDIT: I feel that I need to update this post since it's only a little over a year old and things have changed. I went back this past weekend (August 2014) and I was quite surprised to see that the menu was quite different. Instead of the gourmet menu, the new menu just consists of "upscale bar food" like toasted ravs, flatbread pizzas, chicken fingers, and quesadillas for example. While we did enjoy our food, it was NOTHING like what it had been.

Another disappointment was that eTab ordering tablets were not working. That is the WHOLE fun of going to MX. If nothing else, the bartender was EXTREMELY friendly and helpful. We placed our order with her and she WALKED us to our seat so she could send our food to us in the theater when it was ready. I really wish I had tipped her more...

I hope to try another "movie dine-in" place somewhere else...

From March 2013...

I finally got to try my first “dining movie theater” last night at The MX downtown on Washington. First off, I am so thrilled that they redeveloped the building and I’m happy to see that there is a movie theater in the downtown area again as well. Not to mention, happy to see another Pi location as well as a second Robust location across the street from the MX on Washington. If you’re a tourist, this is where you want to be!

I went downtown a little early because I didn’t know if it was going to be crowded at the theater or in the area but it wasn’t bad at all…probably from the lack of sporting events.

I found the 7th street garage pretty easily, despite the construction, and there was plenty of parking in the garage. What was really nice, is that the movie theater is on the same level as the garage, making it very easy to find. I was very impressed when I first walked in since the lobby was actually a large bar with the Final Four game on! Very cozy.

I turned in my “receipts” that I had printed off from the website, where I had purchased tickets, and exchanged them for a real ticket. I also knew to ask for a $1 parking coupon so that when I left, I put the coupon into the machine (after my garage parking ticket), and it covered me for the time I was in the movie! Just be sure to know which coupon is which since they are identical. Luckily, I noticed that the theater coupon had the word “theater” on it!

The theater opened the doors for the show about 30 minutes before the start time and I quickly learned that it’s important to get there early for the dining part! Not only do you need time to click around on the e-Tab machine to figure out what you want, but you also want to start eating before the movie starts! While it’s very easy to reach into a box of popcorn, I had to use the light from my cell phone (sorry neighbors) to fork my dinner.

It took me a second to find the electronic menu…I was taking off my coat and noticed the “tablet device” under another row’s seat. (Instructions were not given until the previews had started.) I was really impressed with the menu because there were quite a few delicious appetizers, even though the sandwiches and entrees were limited to just four each. The only downfall is that everything was quite pricy.

I ordered a beer on draft and then was kicking myself when I saw someone had ordered a bottle of Matilda, from Goose Island, which is one of my favorites. (Don’t worry, I hung out in the bar afterwards and got to order one then.) So I took my time with the food to try and figure out if I wanted a salad (only two to choose from) or to try an appetizer.

I selected the shrimp tacos (of course) and they were two, cute mini soft tacos. Even though they were small in size, they were stuffed full with shrimp and flavor. I highly recommend them. My friend was kind enough to order the beer cheese dip with chips and although I love cheese, it was a little bland. I couldn't help it but I ordered the most expensive item on the menu, the scallops at $15. I got five or six small scallops on a long plate with roasted potato wedges and peppers. Excellent and filling!

We went to the 6:15pm showing and it was not crowded for a Saturday night. I wonder if there are busier times or nights? Maybe when more tourists are around? But definitely a fun night out to try once.

I will probably try Des Peres and West Olive in the future to see if I can find a movie I actually want to see (MX only has three theaters) and perhaps more variety of food that isn’t so pricy, although I know it probably won’t be as tasty as my scallops.


MX Movies =

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hemingway's Zen Garden

For full disclosure purposes, my friend, Cherie Moery-Metzka, took the Chef position at Hemingway’s Zen Garden wine bar in O’Fallon, Illinois and since I had seen pictures of her homemade meals for a couple of years now, I jumped at the chance to finally taste her cooking. I just wanted to make sure you were aware of the complete bias of this blog post!

Chef Cherie knew a cheese plate would be the perfect way to start off my night and all three cheeses were amazing. The sausage even came with a little mustard on the side for dipping. I used my leftover crackers for the Smoked Seabass & Horseradish Pate since the toasted Brown Soda Bread was quite heavy and I knew I had too much more food to eat!

I also ordered the Irish Rarebit as a starter and I will just call this “cheesy yummy goodness”. The cheese was melted over soft French bread slices, joined by some small sweet pickles on the side.

We probably could have called it a night just from appetizers, as well as the salads that came with our meal, but we were troopers. I really wanted to order all three of the dinners that were available, but I luckily got to try two of them. (the other was a Roasted Leg of Lamb.) I had to follow my friends' recommendations to order the Corned Beef Brisket with Cabbage, Kale, and Roasted Taters. All four of them had ordered it and said it was the best that they had ever had. I could not believe how soft the Corned Beef tasted and it melted in my mouth.

Corned Beef Brisket with Cabbage, Kale, and Roasted Taters
As delicious as the Corned Beef was, the Fresh Icelandic Cod was amazing. So light and fluffy and so many flavors, but without overwhelming the dish either. It was hard not stealing more than a bite!

Fresh Icelandic Cod with a Hard Cider & Cream Sauce
Last but not least, I had to try one of Chef Cherie's desserts because it is another one of her expertise. I was disappointed there was no chocolate choice but that means I'll just have to go back. I went with her homemade Lucky Cheesecake, which had with a sweet, lime flavor. Let's just say it went VERY well with my semi-sweet Riesling!

Lucky Cheesecake

This was Cherie's second week and made a St. Patrick's weekend special menu. I cannot wait to see what the menu is going to look like next might have to visit repeatedly since I have a feeling that the menu will be changing quite often, especially to fit the season.

Now if only Cherie will introduce her famous pizza there…I may have to move over to Illinois…


Mia Sorella

After visiting Circle 7 Ranch a couple of months ago for my birthday, I saw just how close by Trattoria Marcella’s new Mia Sorella “casual Italian” restaurant was located…like right next door! This was the perfect location and speed for a mid-week dinner without the noise of Circle 7 Ranch. Unfortunately, between the two restaurants, parking is very difficult so the earlier you can get there, even during the week, the better.

Mia Sorella had TWO types of gnocchi on their menu and my friend was kind enough to order the other one so I got to try both. Mine came with spinach and mushrooms in a truffled parmigiano cream. Quite heavy, but delicious. Hers came in a meat ragu, which was almost as good and hard to call. You’re better off deciding if you’re in a red or white mood. Regardless, both were amazing.

Since it’s a casual restaurant, there are quite a few pizzas available on their menu as well as sandwiches, in addition to their famous pastas. But I pretty much saw everyone ordering pasta, so I don’t think you can go wrong there.

I was also quite impressed with their lengthy wine list and I got so excited to see a Sparkling Lambrusco on the menu but unfortunately they were out. Too many others must have been as thrilled as I was, so I went with my usual German Riesling, Bloom 2009.


Mission Taco

I had been looking forward to STLwinegirl’s Fourth Business “Birthday” because it meant breaking in a new restaurant, Mission Taco Joint, from the same owners as Milagro Modern Mexican, Tortillaria, and Barrister's! If there is one thing that I love to eat, it is FISH TACOS!

I had fond memories of the place as the Delmar Lounge, but I love the replacement far better. Since we were the “soft opening” for the restaurant, we got to order whatever we wanted. I was all about the Baja Fish Tacos and you can choose if you want them grilled or fried. I also tried a Roasted Duck Taco and a Nopales, which is roasted cactus, but either that or the spicy peppers did not agree with me. Vegetarians and vegans should be happy to note that there is also a Mofu Tofu Taco on the list as well!

Thanks to my tablemates, I can also definitely recommend The Cowboy burrito (definitely large and filling, so maybe split this) and the Chicken Flautas (incredible flavor)!

In addition to all the tacos I devoured, I also tried a couple of the four cocktails that were available for the evening. The First Punch Thrown (rye whiskey, raspberry, honey, lemon, orange) was very sweet and perfect for me because it was too sweet for everyone else. You can’t taste the alcohol at all so you needed to be careful! I also had a Coctel De Conac (cognac, curacao, blood orange juice), which also was quite the citrusy sweet drink. Everyone else was raving about the Ostrich Milk, which looked like Bailey’s Irish Cream but had rum, cynar, cinnamon syrup, and milk.

I have since been back because it is the perfect stop to make before a show at The Pageant (if you don’t have time to wait for a Pi Pizza!), but I have yet to order the famous lobster taco. They were out when I got there so be sure to grab one when you can!

This is absolutely a place you have to try a few times so you can work your way through the menu. The food, cocktails, and beer selection (local beers!) are all winners.

I’m not quite sure how STLwinegirl will top this for next year…


Mission Taco Joint =

Tenacious Eats Sideways

I got to attend my second Tenacious Eats event when The American Wine Society St. Louis Chapter presented a six-course dinner and wine pairing with the movie “Sideways”. I have only seen the movie once so I was looking forward to seeing it again and this time, with food and wine in hand.

My dates for the evening: Michael Segura and Cocktails-Are-Go man, Matt Sorrell!

Unfortunately, I did not get any wine notes with the pairings so my biases pretty much went with the two Pinot Noirs that were served with the pork tenderloin and brisket…also the best pairings since the medium reds were well balanced with the meatier courses. But you can see all the wines in the picture below.

First Course: You Could Work in a Wine Store
Manchego and asparagus souffle on a nest of toasted almonds, strawberries, shaved green asparagus, local ice cycle radish, and a Waldburg Balsam grape, lemon and ginger vinaigrette.

Second Course: Why Do "Foulon" Fall in Love!
Cherry wood smoked pork tenderloin medallion, truffle salt, wasabi whipped baby Yukon potatoes, root vegetable hash cup, and a pork and pinot noir demiglaze.

Third Course: And it Tastes so Fucking Good
Briased grass fed highland cow brisket, parsnip and potato pommes frites, Gruyere dust, sauteed local kale and Amish Bleu creme.

Fourth Course: Picnic for Four
Chilled fried free-range chicken, local sixty-degree egg, pickled grapes, whole grain mustard creme fraiche.


Fifth Course: I Left My Heart in Santa Barbara
St. Louis Style BBQ spare ribs, Bou-yah slaw and sexy soft white cheddar grits

Sixth Course: Christina's Wedding Cake
Thibodaux chocolate cake, Conord grape jam, almond butter French butter cream, cabernet reduction and macerated currents, apricot and cherries.

The best part about this Tenacious Eats was the “reenactment” scene put on by distinguished wine members, which included Jeff Callahan drinking and spilling a bucket of wine all over himself. You just never know what you’ll get at a Tenacious Eats viewing!

Special thanks to our Chefs for the evening: Chef Elizabeth Schuster and Justin Yarrington!


The American Wine Society =

Photos by Jacqui Segura, also known as The Cocktail Ambassador =