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

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Salvage Yard Pizza

Since it is Joey's last few weeks before he goes off to college, we hurried up and had a family pizza night again. I had heard about Salvage Yard Pizza from NextDoor.com as it recently took over for Louie's, really close to my bank!

What's so special about Salvage Yard...CHICAGO STYLE!! 

Meat Deluxe Pizza with sausage, ham, pepperoni, and bacon

Fortunately or unfortunately, I ordered three pizzas at the largest size, which was way too many!!!

Three Chicago Style pizzas

Since it's Chicago-style... it's more like 1-2 pieces per person and we ended up with almost 2 pizzas leftover since we also had large salads (half sizes are available!) and wings (bone in or boneless) available as well!

I ordered an Italian salad although my friends said the Caeser dressing was the best.

Italian salad

Not that anyone was still hungry, but we still tried the "Dessert Cup Flight" of baby mousses in small, plastic cups. (While they didn't have all the flavors, you know the chocolate was the best!)

Dessert Cups

Boy did I really enjoy having so many pizza leftovers!!

Note: They do offer St. Louis-style pizza, but why bother. They also have burgers and sandwiches, so maybe I'll have to check those out another time?

Resources:

Salvage Yard Bar and Grill = https://salvageyardbarandgrill.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Monday, August 2, 2021

Take Out July 2021

I was hoping there would be less emphasis on "Take Out Fridays", but I don't think we'll be rushing out to TOO many restaurants just yet. 

We've actually been doing a lot of take out and other food adventures as we at least are meeting up with friends outside more.

So I wanted to at least give a shout out to the places we've been to in July...

July 2nd = Actually a Saturday since we had wine club on Friday night, but I made a whole post about J. Smugs Gastropit here.

July 9th = Can you tell it was Patience's pick? It's Asian again! We mixed it up and ordered from Nami Ramen.

Shrimp Ramen

July 16th = I had been trying to get the deli sandwiches from a certain high end place in Clayton, but they sold out before I could order. (Lesson learned.) So I had to come up with a deli place on the quick! Luckily, I had Bubba's Deli on my list and they are super close in our neighborhood. So easy to order online too!

Bubba's Deli Sammich and spicy chips

July 23rd = One of the more popular Thai restaurants in the STL is the King and I. Even though Patience had ordered from them before, I wanted to try the Pad Thai with scallops! Pai's fried rice dinner was the prettier picture though.

Fried Rice and veggies

July 25th = Ordering on a Sunday! Gasp! I had good reason since it was our annual celebration of BETHFEST! (Beth's birthday.)  I owed her another visit to her front porch, so I brought her dinner from Nomad. While Beth and I got the burgers (messy good fun!), Patience ordered the Pastrami Poutine for the second time.

Pastrami Poutine

July 30th = My turn to pick again and of course I ordered local again with a new BBQ joint called Smoke N Bones BBQ. Easy to order online! 

Ribs, sausage, potato salad, green beans, and garlic bread

August 1st = Even though this was technically in August, Patience and I took advantage of the food trucks in the monthly Lindenwood Park event. We both ordered the special, a Reuben from New York Tom's Foodtruck!

Reuben Sammich with homade chips

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Nathaniel Reid Bakery

I'm not sure when we were talking about it...perhaps it was one of those discussions where we were listing all the things we want to do when the pandemic was over, but on my bucket list was visiting Nathaniel Reid's Bakery. It seems like a fun thing to do on a birthday and dive into a lot of treats at once, but I really don't feel like going out much in January cold.

Julia had the brilliant idea of saving the date for my half birthday, as I'm much more willing and pumped to go out in the middle of summer!

Visiting the bakery was everything I thought it would be as I wanted one of EVERYTHING! 

When we arrived late morning, there was a line out the door, but that gave us time to review the menu from our phones. Even if there wasn't a restriction on the number of people in the door, I felt it was better this way to give more space to view the cases while in line. This also led to more organization to go through the display cases one by one.

There were chocolate bars on the side, and then four cases full of goodies.

Cases full of goodies!

I want to say that Nathaniel Reid's is best known for their macaroons, but you should plan on getting some no matter what. To ensure there would be peace in my home, I opted for the box of 12 so that Patience and I would have an equal of our own without having to share. While you may think you can share these, why would you want to?

Macaroon case


Macaroons

Next up was the pastry case and they are all so beautiful. I restricted myself to one chocolate item for me and then a couple more decadent beauties. Almost too pretty to eat!

Pastry case


Chocolate dessert


Raspberry dessert


Caramel dessert

Next up were cookies and croissants...

Croissants and cookies case

I picked an Oatmeal Raisin cookie out for Patience and a Chocolate Almond croissant for us to share since they were the size of my head! I'm sure you know the Double Chocolate Brownie was just for me. No sharing there either. HA!

Oatmeal Raisin cookie


Chocolate Almond Croisssant and Double Chocolate Brownie

Since we got up "early", I still wanted something for breakfast as they have a few savory items too. I felt it was most appropriate to order the Egg and Cheese quiche from a French bakery! The egg was so light and fluffy!

Egg and Cheese quiche

It really is such a treat to have a bakery of this caliber in our town, not to mention in a strip mall in Kirkwood. Be sure to make it a stop at least once a year for that special someone...especially yourself!

Resources:

Nathaniel Reid Bakery = https://www.nrbakery.com/