Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Marketing Lush: Entering the Court

My friend, Megan Vogel, runs a marketing + wine website and she published my story about taking the Level 1 Court of Master Sommeliers certification test.

You can check it out here: http://themarketinglush.com/2014/12/29/entering-the-court-studying-wine/

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wittmond Hotel

I didn't really know where I was going when I agreed to a short road trip to the Wittmond Hotel, but I was promised a smorgasbord when we got there so I was in. Some food adventures are a little heavier on the "adventure" side of things.

Wittmond Hotel
Not only had I never been to Brussels, IL before, but I had never been in a car on a ferry before! The unseasonably warm December day and stretches of sunshine really made for a pretty day overall. We drove north of New Town to the Golden Eagle Ferry, where we crossed the Mississippi river. More windy roads awaited us on the other side and I was so glad our friends knew where they were going.

We got the tour of the small town of Brussels on the one main street where you'll find the bank and post office are all one building, right across from the Wittmond Hotel. The hotel was built in 1847 and started out as a trading post built by Conrad Wittmond, a German immigrant. When you first walk in, you pass through the regularly used (and modern) bar, cutting through a "store" full of knick-knacks, and then over to the restaurant side.

The restaurant serves family style meals Friday-Monday so they stop coming with food only when you give in. We tried to have a small breakfast in order to have room!

Before you even sit down, a relish tray is waiting for you! There were beets, carrots, celery, apple rings (this was new to me), corn relish (also new), and peach preserves, which I spread on the hot rolls they brought out. You can see the applesauce on the side as well as the cole slaw below, which I mistakenly filled up on since it was so good.

Relish Tray
Cole Slaw
Then they bring out Chicken Noodle Soup and Sausage. (Unfortunately, Cinnamon Rolls only come out on Sundays.)

Chicken Noodle Soup
This probably would have been enough for lunch on most days, but that was just warm up!

Next up was the main course...or should I say courses? There was roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, green beans, and the star of the show, fried chicken. My friends were nice and left me the legs! Patience tried to get a little of everything on her plate.

Fried chicken, roast beef, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy
Then we tried to "save room" for dessert. Luckily, there was nothing chocolate to tempt me, but I did help out and shared the peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream a la mode!

Peach Cobbler
Needless to say, we had to roll home...all the way down to the river. By the time we got back to Missouri, we were all very sleepy.

If you go, make sure you have an appetite raring to go!


Wittmond Hotel = http://www.wittmondhotel.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Wine Folly Cheese and Wine Pairings

Recently I have started subscribing to WineFolley.com and this week there was a post about Wine and Cheese Pairing Ideas.

You know I can never get enough!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

PW Pizza O'Fallon Beer Dinner

I am a little sad that this is the last PW Pizza Beer Dinner of the year, but I'm pretty proud that I only missed once. This month, O'Fallon Brewery was featured and they were all new beers to me. I am really high on O'Fallon Brewery right now because they're going to be building a new facility in Maryland Heights, not that far from me!

We started off with the best salad of the year. While the title claims "Bacon Parmesan Salad", I didn't get much much bacon, and loved all the goodies in the salad with a rich, thick, Ranch-like dressing.

Bacon Parmesan Salad
Oh yeah...it was paired with the Zeke's Pale Ale, nice and light but still a little too hoppy for us.

My favorite beer came next. The Hemp Hop Rye was very mild with an easy finish. The pizza paired with this was very busy with toppings and with flavor since there was chicken, portabella mushrooms, blue cheese and red onion. Everyone tried to fill up on this one.

Marinated Chicken & Portabella Pizza with Hemp Hop Rye
The third pairing of the night put together all the pumpkin flavors. Unfortunately, the pumpkin on the pizza and the beer was really intense. The Imperial Pumpkin is no joke! The Roasted Pumpkin Pizza was topped with goat cheese, caramelized onions, sage, and golden raisins. First time I've ever had raisins on a pizza!

Roasted Pumpkin Pizza with Imperial Pumpkin
Of course the dessert course was Patience's favorite: Pecan Walnut Bread Pudding (really dense!) in a ginger caramel sauce and lemon grass whipped cream with a King Louie Winter Toffee Stout.

Pecan Walnut Bread Pudding with King Louie Winter Toffee Stout
I can't wait to see what breweries are available in 2015!


PW Pizza = http://pwpizza.com/

O'Fallon Brewery = http://www.ofallonbrewery.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Three Flags Tavern Brunch

While I have been trying not to confuse Three Flags Tavern with Three Kings, which has burgers and cajun food in the Loop, I was thrilled at the chance to finally try out this new restaurant for brunch. This location was suggested by my friend, Alisha, before a Rams game. Fun fact: the Three Flags refers to the transfer of the Louisiana Purchase from Spain and France over to the United States.

I have heard a lot of great comments about their oysters and lobster rolls for lunch or dinner, but they only recently opened up for brunch. Thanks to super spy Alisha, I already knew I wanted to order the Eggs Benedict with Crab so no homework was even necessary. It was a slam dunk recommendation for sure.

Eggs Benedict with Crab
Luckily, their brunch menu is pretty concise to make an easy selection, although they do have some unique dishes including a Duck Hash, Heritage Rice & Beans, and a Croque Madame.

We were curious about the Calas to start off our brunch and it tasted just like a round beignet with cinnamon, honey and chopped walnuts on top.

Luckily, Patience ordered my second choice, the Omelet of the Day: a vegetarian omelet with a green salad and rye toast.

Vegetarian Omelet, greens, rye toast
To jazz up her breakfast, Patience did order the Buttermilk Biscuits, with Devonshire cream and fruit preserves. Let's just say this could be a meal unto itself!

Buttermilk Biscuit with Deveonshire cream and fruit preserves
Last but not least, you can still get your favorites for those "picky eaters" that prefer the usual. The biscuits and large chunks of potatoes were fantastic.

Two Eggs with bacon, biscuit, and potatoes
And I can't forget about the drinks! While I had my usual Mimosa, there are a handful of creative Bloody Mary drinks: some with claim juice, another with Rye whiskey, and an Oyster Shooter!

Bloody Mary
 Definitely a must go...and a must go more than once. Hopefully, a visit for dinner will be next!


Three Flags Tavern = http://www.threeflagstavern.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Sunday, November 23, 2014


I was invited to a food blogger event by my foodie friend, Amy Burdge, author of the blog Eat It, St. Louis. I had never been to or even heard of Sweetology before, and it turns out they’ve been open for about six months. When I checked out the website, I learned that Sweetology is a do-it-yourself cake decorating place...almost like Build-A-Bear but for desserts! I thought immediately this would be perfect for little girl’s birthday parties, but I found out that there is something for adults as well!

When I first walked in, my first thought that I had definitely found Willy Wonka’s factory if it had been a candy factory. Bright colors and lighting make it a cheerful place, especially on a cold winter’s night. Then your eyes are immediately drawn to all the colors…all the colors of CANDY!!!

Wall of Sprinkles!
Rows of candy! All natural on the left, classic candies on the right
These are just some of the items that you can use to help decorate your cakes. In addition to cakes, you can also decorate cupcakes and cookies, all of which are premade. Not only is there no cooking involved (probably best for someone like me), but you can leave all the mess behind at the store!

After a tour of the store, (there is a meeting space upstairs!) we were treated with samples of their buttercream icing and various chocolates - each one had something different in the middle. As a professional foodie, I made sure to try the vanilla as well as the chocolate. (Such sacrifice!) 

Buttercream and chocolate samples
Although, I only had enough room to taste one all-chocolate cupcake. Did I mention this was my dinner? 

Cupcake Samples
To help wash down all these samples, we had our choice of drinks. Fancy coffees and red or white wine. Yes, wine - so now I'm thinking "Girl's Night Out" and not just for little girls!

Now it was time to get to have some fun and get our hands dirty! We each got to choose a cake, cupcakes, or cookies (or as many as you want) to start decorating. We got a quick demo of how to mix colors with the icing and then use the piping bags for decorating. I must say it is harder than it looks!

Starting out...
It took me a couple of tries, but I was able to create a "ode to cheese" as well as a rainbow-colored cupcake from all the various colors available! Notice the different piping! 

My cupcakes
Byron was able to master icing roses and we all stood around to watch his magic.

Here are some other adorable decorations!

Stefani's Cupcakes and Cookies
The best part was seeing fellow foodie friends and making new ones!

Here is a more professional article about our experiences that night:


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Wine Merchant Cheese Class November 2014

The Wine Merchant in Clayton is now on the second round of going through the top cheesemaking countries so for the second time this year, I attended a "USA" themed cheese class. This makes sense since there are so many cheeses to go through! While cheese making hasn't been around as long in the United States, there are still plenty to choose from and always something new to taste.

American Cheeses
I was thrilled that the first cheese of the night was the Midnight Moon, which if you know, is my all time favorite. It's a goat cheese, but firm due to aging and has a rich, nutty flavor. I learned tonight that this cheese is made in a gouda style, so that probably adds to the heavy flavors. 

Normally I tell people to pair this with red wine because because of its strong flavor, so I was surprised this was paired with a Bonny Doon Riesling 2013. Even more suprising is that this Riesling came from a southern California winery, but it was explained to me that the grapes come from all over the eastern United States. So two of my favorites together means a top pairing in my book.

Next up was the Domaine Napa Chardonnay 2012 and this was also a good pairing because the rich oaky wine was able to match the coffee flavors in the Barely Buzzed cow cheese. 

The first red wine was a soft Mahoney Pinor Noir Carneros 2011, which is well known for its "French-style" lightness, but I thought it still had plenty of body to stand up to the Pleasant Ridge Reserve, a raw cow cheese that is similar to a cheddar.

We went upscale on the next two wines: Silver Peak Cabernet 2011 and a Ramey Syrah Sonoma Coast 2012. Both were necessary to pair with the soft and rich, brie-like Kunik (a mix of goat and cow's milk), and the pungent, cow's milk Ameribella, which was hard for me to get through.

I had a much easier time with the Rogue River Blue, which paired really well with the jammy Austin Hope Troublemaker. I instantly thought this would make for a good Thanksgiving wine to stand up to all the rich flavors.


Wine Merchant = http://winemerchantltd.com/

Pasteria Brunch

I have been to Pasteria a few times, but after seeing a friend post a brunch picture on Facebook, I knew I had to put it on my brunch list. Luckily, it was the best central location (Clayton) for brunch with multiple family members.

The best part about going there for brunch is that there are plenty of parking spaces in the nearby garage, and since we met there at opening time (10AM), there was no need to call ahead or worry about lines.

Ok, so that probably wasn't the best part, but definitely a high point for me. Let's skip ahead to the best part now that I mention it – doughnuts! I got a super chocolately doughnut that was so decadent and I'm sure Patience can say the same thing about her Bombolini – which was stuffed with marscapone cheese. You gotta try one! (There are a few to choose from too.)

Chocolate Doughnut

On a more calm note, Pasteria has a reasonably sized breakfast cocktail list so it was easy to pick out a Mimosa.

Also, their menu is not too big either, but plenty of interesting choices. Patience and I got our usual favorites: I got the Wood Oven Baked Eggs with Pomodoro while she got the French Toast with powdered sugar and whipped mascarpone.

Wood Oven Baked Eggs with Pomodoro

French Toast
Then my cousin ordered the "Huevos Rancheros" with thick cut toast, white beans, ham, and salsa verde.

Huevos Rancheros
I was nervous about having a red sauce with my eggs, but my dish was more of a warm breakfast casserole with a lot of flavor. I would claim that mine was the best dish of the meal, but I was really impressed with the breakfast pizza! It's the same size as their regular pizzas so it's something you definitely need to share. Must go back...


Pasteria = http://pasteriastl.com

Photos by Patience Scanlon

STLwinegirl Traveling Table at Juniper

The STLwinegirl “Traveling Table” is back! I was especially thrilled that the first restaurant chosen for the restart of the famous wine dinners was Juniper, since I had been to the previous versions of the restaurant, but not the latest “southern cooking” incarnation.

I don't eat southern cooking too often so most of the dishes are new to me. I also have to admit that I probably would never order any of these items on my own, so at the Traveling Tables there is always something new to try, taste, and pair.

While I've enjoyed a lot of oysters, I'm not sure I've had them fried as an appetizer before. The blue cornmeal on the outside was so crunchy and tasty, and the Saint Hilaire Sparkling Brut helped to cut through the grease.

Fried Oysters paired with Saint Hilaire Sparkling Brut
Instead of your typical “chicken and dumplings”, Cornish Game Hen and Sweet Potato Gnocchi took their place for this course. This was my favorite dish of the night because the game hen was so tender after sitting in the smoked chicken broth. We even were given a spoon to scoop up the rest of the delicious broth. This was paired with a Manciat Macon Morizottes to match up with the richness of this dish.

Cornish Game Hen with Sweet Potato Gnocchi in a Smoked Chicken Broth
The last course was the Tasso Pork Chop, but most of us were way too full from the first two courses to make much of a dent. Yet, I thought this was the best pairing with the Trenel Beaujolais Villages since they both complimented each other so well. The sweet sauce on top of the pork paired perfectly with the jammy wine. I love all the fruit that comes with Beaujolais!

Tasso Pork Chop with spoon bread, pickled apples, and smoked onion petals
paired with Trenel Beaujolais Villages
When we first sat down, we all had wished that there was a dessert course, but no one was able to look at the menu by the time we got to the third course. So let this be a lesson for you, be sure to share a couple of dishes in order to save room at the end of your meal!

After all the different courses, I still will need to go back and tried their fried chicken, since I've heard about that dish the most.


STLwinegirl = http://www.stlwinegirl.com

Juniper = http://junipereats.com/


Thanks to some new friends, I finally was able to get into EdgeWild during a week night. The weekends are totally jammed there and now I know what all the hype is about!

I first was impressed with the wine tasting bar right when you walk in (for a nominal fee). What a great way to pass the time while you wait for your table! The bartender was very friendly and even introduced me to the best wines on their list, which took away the guesswork before I got to the table.

While we were at the bar, I learned all about their “wine club”, which really sounds like a good deal because it involves a monthly bottle as well as free wine classes. I think that is brilliant marketing by the restaurant to encourage repeat business.

EdgeWild is also like another winery since a lot of the wine list are wines produced specifically for the restaurant. I had my doubts, but the best white wine I found was one under the EdgeWild brand.

After sitting down at the table, our hosts generously started the night with goat cheese mixed with pistachios and honey. I tried very hard not to eat the entire plate by myself, but came pretty close.

I had done my homework earlier in the day so I was able to narrow down my dinner choice to scallops and I figured Patience would do the same. We did end up sharing each other's side dish at least since she ordered the butternut squash risotto, while I got the couscous. We both cleaned our plates.

Scallops with couscous

Scallops with Butternut Squash risotto
Somehow, Patience found room for dessert and got the pie with Serendipity ice cream on top. Our guests shared their order of chocolate covered grapes. Oh yeah...I forgot to mention the restaurant also has a glass case full of Bissenger's Chocolates. The bartender admitted that he has had customers request one of everything in the case!

If you can get in and make it through the wait, this restaurant definitely lives up to the hype. The owners even came over to the table since they recognized our friends as regulars. How welcoming!


EdgeWild =  http://www.edgewildwinery.com/

Serendipity = http://www.serendipity-icecream.com/

Bissenger's Chocolate = http://www.bissingers.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Sunday, October 26, 2014

PW Pizza Bell's Beer Dinner

My regular photographer was not available for October's PW Pizza dinner, but luckily a friend who really enjoys Ales was available to help me enjoy the Bell's beer dinner.

I had only tasted a few of their beers before so it was a good chance to taste a variety of flavors as well as one special release.

My favorite beer was the first one, the Brown Ale, as usual, because it was the lightest and least hoppiest.

Grilled Pork Crostini with Wild Mushroom, Scallions, Peppercorn Aioli
The first pizza of the night included shrimp but the spicy sauce on top was a bit overwhelming for the Amber Ale.

Smoked Paprika Shrimp Pizza with Feta Cheese, Green Pepper,
Red Onion, Corn, Cilantro and a Cajun Remoulade
The butternut squash pizza was definitely my favorite since it was covered with caramelized onion on my favorite honey wheat crust.

Butternut Squash Pizza with Herb Ricotta, Caramelized Onion,
Garden Greens and a Portabella Cream Sauce
The dessert course was really intense with whipped gargonzola on top of a raspberry sauce. You could taste chunks of cheese in each bite. An intense pairing overall!

Sweet Whipped Gorgonzola with Raspberry Mint Coulis, Toasted Walnuts

PW Pizza = http://pwpizza.com/

Bell's Brewery = http://bellsbeer.com/


Now that my friend Chris has come back home from Europe, we finally got to resume our brunching schedule at the second and newest Rooster, located on South Grand. My friends were able to walk there and recommended it to us. Our trip over was a little more difficult since we had to take back streets to avoid a marathon.

I hadn’t done my usual homework for Rooster, but I quickly caught on to the crepe theme when I first looked at the menu. Actually, before I could even get to the brunch menu, I got stuck on the drink menu. There were seven different types of Mimosas and around ten Bloody Mary choices – each with a slightly different mixture! Now there is a very reason to go back multiple times!

I am usually in the mood for eggs in the morning so it helped that I could focus on the “breakfast crepes”, which there were eight different crepe combinations with eggs. You could get your egg with cheddar or goat cheese, or even black beans! Since I couldn’t get one with ALL THE CHEESES, I was pretty adventurous and chose the Egg #4 – egg crepe with cheddar potatoes, and house-made salsa.

Egg crepe with cheddar potatoes and house-made salsa
One of the reasons I really want to go back is the large section of the menu with savory crepes. Sometimes I’m not always quite up for a heavy meal early in the morning but these sounded amazing. There are a couple of crepes with sausage, a couple brie, several bacon, smoked sirloin, and the one I really want to try is the Smoked Salmon! Lox on a crepe! Brilliant! And there is even a three cheese that would be high on my list.

If you didn’t want a crepe, there was still yet another “breakfast” section were you could get seven different types of eggs scrambled with a good variety ingredients mixed in: ham, chicken, goat cheese, spinach, corned beef, black beans, and on and on. Oh yeah…there is even a slinger, biscuits and gravy, French Toast, and Finnish pancakes. Even house-made granola!

Biscuits and gravy
I’m not sure how Patience was able to decide, but she got a “b.e.l.t” – bacon, egg, romaine (I guess the lettuce?), and tomato on focaccia bread, which made for a huge oozing sandwich!

And of course we finished the brunch off with a “sweet crepe”. I could not refuse the classic Nutella crepe (which you can get with bananas, strawberries, or both)! My friends ordered the roasted apple crepe and it tasted just like hot apple pie.

Everything was amazing and even though they were slammed, we still got great service. There is a large patio area with picnic tables that helped since it was warm still warm out. Just a beautiful modern building all the way around.


Rooster = http://roosterstl.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Article: Top 10 Wine And Cheese Pairings To Try Now

You know I have to share everything "wine and cheese pairing" so as luck would have it, here is another article from St. Louis Magazine!

Also written by one of my favorite winos: STLwinegirl

Top 10 Wine And Cheese Pairings You Should Try Now

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

VinePair: How To Throw A Wine & Cheese Party

I just found a new wine website to follow called VinePair and I just had to share this post:

How To: Throw A Wine & Cheese Party

I never get tired of reading (or tasting!) cheese and wine pairings. That's right, I put the cheese first!


VinePair = http://www.vinepair.com

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Thanks to winning a gift card from Green Dining Alliance, I got to try out Onesto's for the first time, which is in the middle of a south city neighborhood. If you didn't know it was there, you probably wouldn't ever come across it.

The restaurant looks like a small, family-owned, "Mom and Pop" type of restaurant, and it was a beautiful night for sitting on the patio. Instead of wine, I went with a refreshing "Hampton Fizz".

Me with a Hampton Fizz
I thought for sure we were going to order the Lobster Mac & Cheese and a pizza, since those items stood out on their menu, but of course, the specials menu won us over.

After ordering, we immediately were presented with adorable garlic balls to start us off. I wish I had saved a couple for the end to help mop up the sauce from my entree, but they were just so delicious!

Garlic Balls

The Lobster Risotto was Patience's pick for appetizer and then we also split a Caprese Salad so we could get a few veggies in.
Lobster Risotto Balls
Caprese Salad
The seasonal Butternut Squash Ravioli called out to us and it was quite sweet. I really enjoyed the pistachios in it as well...

Butternut Squash Ravioli
The pizzas we did see come out were HUGE and every one of those tables had to take them home. So be prepared for leftovers if you do order a pizza.


Onesto's = http://www.onestopizza.com/

Green Dining Alliance = http://www.greendiningalliance.org/

Photos by Patience Scanlon