Sunday, April 19, 2020

Where we are quaran-dining

Yesterday I was asked where we are ordering from as I have been promoting a once a week "order out" to everyone.

I feel like A LOT of restaurants now have their curb side or delivery services set up so there are quite a few choices out there. But my strong recommendation is to order your favorites so that your favorites will still be there after this is over. Also, order local or hyper local in your area of town.

We have mostly chosen places that we can order through Postmates, but there are also a handful of delivery services so that you do not have to leave your house!

You can find a restaurant on the St. Louist Post-Dispatch's page:
https://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/dining/restaurants/restaurants-where-you-can-get-takeout-and-delivery-in-the/html_fc41d5c6-d9ec-5031-858b-0236b6deb60b.html

Both of the STLfoodie magazines have lists on their websites as well.

Anyway, here is our list thus far:

Week 1 - March 18th: Our beer dinner was cancelled so we ordered PW Pizza. Looks like it's going to be cancelled agains this month as well.

Week 2 - March 27th: Pai was craving Mexican, so we ordered from Mission Taco Joint, which then lead us to purchasing avacados and queso each week.

Week 3 - April 3rd: When Pai isn't craving guac, she craves ramen. Nudo House was the easy choice there.

Nudo House Ramen
Week 3 1/2 - April 7th: We ordered various sundries from the Tower Grove Farmer's Market, which they deliver on Saturday mornings. Boxes of produce, meat, etc, go live on Tuesdays at Noon! We finally got our hands on some Larder & Cupboard jams and Baetje Farms goat cheese.

Larder & Cupboard Jam
Week 4 - April 10th: A this point, I had been getting inaundated with Pasta House emails. (They have some really good deals and they deliver!)

Week 5 - April 17th: Pai saw a Facebook post that Felix's Pizza would be selling all their pizzas in 18 inches! We also got the trashed wings too.

Week 5 1/2 - April 21st: I had ordered from Katie's Pizza and Pasta as they have switched to selling frozen pizza and pasta bakes. Since their delivery takes 3-5 business days to order, it made for an easy meal during the week. It's easy to order from their website, and it makes a great gift to someone (just make sure it's in their delivery range).

Katie's Pizza and Pasta - Pasta Bake
Week 6 - April 24th: Pai had ANOTHER crazing for Mai Lee. You can't go too long without it! Nothing really needs to be said here... you know how good they are.

Week 7 - May 1st: Since this question was originally asked by our friends in Webster Groves, they said they had ordered from Guerilla Street Food repeatedly, so I felt as though we needed to take our turn. We hadn't had it in forever and we had really missed it.

Guerilla Street Food Chicken Adobo
Week 7 1/2 - May 5th:We celebrated a friend's 40th birthday in her front yard spaced apart with Olympia Kebob House. It was a little messy to eat, but it made for a fun picnic.

Olympia House Baklava 
Week 8 - May 8th: Since the birthday dinner fell on Cinco de Mayo, we celebrated Ocho de Mayo instead with El Paisano, which is our neighborhood Mexican restaurant and I walk by it just about every day on my walk.

El Paisano 
Week 9 - Pai wanted Nudo House again...she has to have it at least once a month! At least I mixed it up by ordering Yo Lo Mein with chicken this time around.

Yo Lo Mein with chicken
Week 10 - SOMEONE wanted a margarito and we knew that we could get some to go from La Catrina, which is our friend's favorite place. I always get soft tacos and the usual rice and beans come with it. To prevent a fight, we each got our own bag of chips, guac, salsa, and queso! hehe We did have some leftovers, but definitely on purpose.

Tacos, chips, salsa, guac, queso, and margaritas!

Week 11 - 



Sunday, March 22, 2020

Vom Fass Raclette Class

While helping to close down Larder and Cupboard, my friend Cindy's store at the end of 2019, we reminisced about our favorite classes that were held there.

My favorite class has to be the "Raclette Class", where scraping melted raclette from a fancy cheese-heating machine was the grand finale. See: https://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2016/05/fondue-class-at-larder-and-cupboard.html

Cindy immediately perked up and shared that Vom Fass, her Swedish retail next door neighbor, was hosting a raclette class at the end of February! We both signed up immediately!

Vom Fass
Since it's a lot of work, Vom Fass only holds these classes a couple of times a years. (They could probably make a mint doing it once a month!) Heads up...next one is rumored to be in November.

If you love cheese, even half as much as I do, this is an awesome experience.

The store is closed at night to make room for three large, round tables, with a hot plate in the center of each one. Just below the cooking surface for the meats are rows of small squares to melt your cheese. Vom Fass perfectly cut aged and young swiss slices to be placed on the squares so the meats and cheese all get hot together before they are combined on your plate.

Table spread with meats cooking in the middle...
The table is also covered with various toppings too...bacon, ham, pineapple, corn, gherkins pickles, black olives, garlic, and bread. And you can have a small potato as well.

Before...
I made sure to cut up the potato first so when the cheese was melted, I could smother the potato as well as the cooked meats I picked out.

And after! Meat, cheese, mushroom, and tomatoes covered in cheese!
In addition to the slices of beer, tomatoes, garlic, and mushrooms were my favorite items to be topped by cheese.

The $65 also covers drinks... we started off with some rose bubbles to clear the palatte, and bottles of both red and white wine poured by the staff throughout the night!

This is a great social event as you have lots of time to chit chat with your table mates while the meat cooks and you can see how others are adding toppings to their cheese.

And somehow there is always room for dessert! The owner's husband made these beautiful panna cottas himself!
Panna Cotta
You can check for upcoming classes at Vom Fass (hopefully things will be back to normal come May) here: https://www.vomfassusa.com/blogs/events

Resources:

Vom Fass = https://www.vomfassusa.com/blogs/stores/st-louis

Larder and Cupboard = https://www.instagram.com/larder_cupboard/

Pictures by Patience Scanlon

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Kitchen Conservatory with Nico Shumpert

Normally I don't take cooking classes, much less fancy cooking classes at Kitchen Conservatory, but over the holiday season, we decided to treat ourselves to signing up for one of Chef Marianne Moore's classes - with cocktails to boot.

Cocktails R Go stirred up the drinks and the class was appropriately called "Booze and Bites"!

While the cocktails were a smash, unfortunately, Chef Marianne was not available to teach the class.

--record scratch--

This isn't the first time I failed to get Chef Marianne to cook for us.

Instead, we got the opportunity to meet Nico Shumpert... an "up and comer" in the St. Louis scene.

Chef Nico Shumpert
We got a front row seat for his culinary show... delicious food and great stories! I hope you catch him around town, although he mostly does private cheffing these days.

Anyway, here are some of our boozy bites...

I told Nico to go easy on the spice for the Spicy Cannellini Bean and Prosciutto Flatbread with Gin and Tonic Quick Pickles. I could have eaten a whole tray of these babies.

Spicy Cannellini Bean and Prosciutto Flatbread with Gin and Tonic Quick Pickles
Of course it was paired with "The Best Gin and Tonic" made from local product Pinckney Bend gin and Pinckey Bend tonic syrup! (That's where the pink comes from.)

Goat cheese with a BOOZY tomato jam...what the what??

Sure enough, 1/4 cup dry gin was mixed into the jam!

Crostini with Whipped Goat Cheese and Boozy Tomato Jam
Another favorite for me was the Blini with Gin Cured Salmon, Crispy Capers, and Dill Creme Fraiche.
Blini with Gin Cured Salmon, Crispy Capers, and Dill Creme Fraiche
Blini's remind me of brunch and with brunch, a French 75 is well paired with this!

More goat cheese was used to hold together the Apricot Truffles with Toasted Pistachios.

Goat Cheese and Apricot Truffles with Toasted Pistachios
Another full flavored Spicy Garlic Prawns with Warm Baguettes and Charred Lemon

Spicy Garlic Prawns with Warm Baguettes and Charred Lemon
The night was rounded out with a Vesper, also known as a James Bond Martini. (Shaken, not stirred.)

Cocktail Menu
And if kitchen gadgets is your bag, you're going to love all the items for sale at Kitchen Conservatory too!

Resources:

Kitchen Conservatory = https://www.kitchenconservatory.com/

Nico Shumpert = https://nicoshumpert.com/

Marianne Moore = https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariannemoore/

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Bulrush

"Wow," Patience said. And that was just the first thing we ate...the Loaded Cornbread.

Loaded Cornbread
"God damn delicious," said Beth, in summary.

Let's just say Bulrush exceeded my expectations.

Fun  Cocktail Menu Cover!
My birthday kept rolling right along and this is another top restaurant that you should try this year. Oh, by the way, we were only sitting at the bar with the limited menu and that was amazing on its own.

The cockatil menu is quite extensive though, with a lot of seats around three sides the bar. I highly recommend going during the week to get a spot.

Cocktail Menu
Beautiful cocktails

Pai's Manhattan
The bar's food menu is "shown" on the wall.

Bar menu
The Venison Burgers were soft and tender, so we ended up ordering two orders of these.

Venison Sliders
When I saw "Bread & Pickles", I thought they meant "slices" of pickle, but it actually consisted of a variety of pickled apples, beets, and a couple of other vegetables.

Bread & Pickles
All the items were a dense collection of flavors, with many layers, and I was surprised to feel full at the end.

And when you share small plates, that means there is room to try BOTH desserts!

Pawpaw Bread tasted more like a dense carrot cake.

Pawpaw Bread
The Acorn Macarons just melted in your mouth. Oh my! I would have sworn it was chocolate.

Acorn Macarons
Hopefully someday I will get the chance to try the full menu, where you get to sit at a bar in front of the chefs, but it is pricy.

And before you go...it's tradition to get your picture taken in front of the colorful, artsy wall!

Beth, Pai, and I
Make sure you put this restaurant on your list for this year! I have no doubt the menu will be seasonal, so be sure to hurry and go for each season.

Resources:

Bulrush = http://bulrushstl.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

PW Pizza Cigar City Brewing

Patience is a huge fan of Cigar City Brewing from Tampa, Florida, so it was random luck that they were picked to kick off the 2020 PW Pizza Beer dinner series!

As per usual, the first course was my favorite since it was the lightest beer of the night. The Florida Cracker is not some kind of slur, but a reference to the colonial-era settlers and the crack of their whips. Regardless, this Belgian style white ale had a lot of flavor. The canjun shrimp had a little bit of kick, but luckily there was plenty of cheesy grits to cool off with.

Cajun Shrimp & Cheesy Grits
The Four Pocket Pizza was a reference to the four pockets that you'll find on a guayabera shirt, the quentessential shirt you'll find a Cuban man wearing when you think of Cuba. I also learned that with four pockets and two hands, you'll be able to carry a six pack!

The tropical theme carried onto the pizza, which had pineapple and four pockets worth of cheese. (A little on the greasy side with nothing to soak it up, unfortunately.) The Guayabera Citra Pale Ale was another winning beer for me since the beer was actually not too hoppy.

Four Pocket Pizza
I love the name, Jai Alai, for the next beer (an IPA) since I remember my parents used to go and watch the game and gamble on the players many years ago. (I won't say how many!) While my tablemates raved about how mild the flavor was, I got nothing but hops. This was the best pairing since the large amounts of BBQ pork matched the flavor well.

Pilota Pizza
I was not too thrilled that a Double IPA, the Florida Man, was saved for the dessert course. At least the hoppiness cut through the sweetness, but I'd rather have the sweetness any day. Florida Man definitely had the most fun label.

Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding
Yet, the best beer for Patience, an imperial stout, served as the bonus beer down in the 21st street bar. So at least she got to drink a pint of it, and I would definitely recommend it if you love those big beers.

Menu
Here's hoping someday we can go and visit this brewery in person!

Resources:


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

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Layla Revisited

I know I had been to Layla in the Grove, but that was quite a few years ago, and with previous owners of the restaurant. You can check that out here: https://www.stlcheesegirl.com/2012/07/layla.html

The old version used to serve Mediterrean, but the new version is a strange combination of gourmet burgers and shawarma!

Still, things didn't go quite as planned as I was hoping to use my birthday as an excuse to pick out a burger and a shawarma and split both. Both are filling by themselves so sadly, you can really only pick one.

Since Patience picked a burger, I went ahead and ordered the shawarma so that I could at least get a bite of burger. There are quite a variety of burgers with clever names, although I personally would only prefer a couple of them. Patience ordered the "Clarice", the lamb burger. (Hopefully, you get that.)

Clarice burger with sweet potato waffle fries
I assume there is a kid's menu with burgers on it because we went early to make it to the movies and almost every table was a family with kids. We were outnumbered!

I had the Traditional Shawarma, which was lamb as well. I figure if you order the Greek version, it really is a gyro at that point. hehe

To keep the theme going, I ordered quinoa tabbouleh on the side instead of fries, although hummus and pita was available too.

Traditional Shawarma with a side of quinoa tabbouleh
I was impressed at how many options there were to have your burger or shawarma become vegetarian or vegan, as well as gluten free. It literally is for everyone!

I really do hope to make it back to try MY pick of burger next time! (And may go later in the evening.) With a decent sized cocktail and draft beer list and a full bar, I'm thinking there must be more adults after 7pm.

Note: There was a charity cocktail called "Fund the Pain Away" where $2 of every drink goes to a local charity and I was more than happy to do my part!

Resources:

Layla = http://laylastl.com/

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.