Sunday, December 31, 2023


 I couldn't wait. We literally went the third night Madrina was open, totally breaking my internal rule about waiting for a new restaurant to get its bearings before trying it out.

I had promised Alisha Blackwell-Calvert that I would visit while she worked at Cider House, but it's not the easiest restaurant to just drop in at so I totally failed at keeping my promise. Madrina is now just minutes away in one of my favorite areas, downtown Webster.

Once you step inside, past the hostess stand, you'll forget all about the CJ Muggs that used to be there. This is now old school Italian.

Alisha's service quality did not disappoint and was the highlight of the evening. 

Alisha Blackwell-Calvert

Just explain what you'll be eating, what you like to drink, and she'll quickly have the perfect wine to pair. If only I could bottle it and take her with me everywhere.

While the logistics weren't totally in place yet, the recipes are definitely ready to go. I'm just going to let the dishes speak for themselves from here on out. 

They own the recipe to the Mayfair salad dressing so you know that was my starter. Comes with a little shaved prosciutto on top.

Mayfair salad

We also shared the Whipped Ricotta appetizer with bread service. Our server was kind enough to keep bringing us more bread!

Bread service

Whipped Ricotta

Our friend Jacqui wanted to share her dish, Beef Carpaccio. There was plenty to share!

Beef Carpaccio

The main courses were just beautiful...Spaghetti Chitarra Carbonara, Seared Scallops, and I ordered the Egg Raviollo.

Spaghetti Chitarra Carbonara

Seared Scallops


What's INSIDE the Raviolo you ask?? Check it out...

Egg oozing from the Raviollo

And you can't forget about dessert! Cannoli of course!


You're going to want to add this to your date night, special occasion, and meet up for drink list!


Madrina =

Photos by Patience Scanlon

City Winery

While City Winery is actually a wine bar / restaurant, we headed down there for our first time as a concert venue. A friend got me into Dar Williams and so I try to see her every time she comes through.

Dar Williams

I understand there is a membership to give those folks the right to buy tickets before anyone else, however, I would recommend trying it out before making that kind of commitment. I admit that for level of talent, you can pretty much wait until tickets go on sale.

Unfortunately, all the tables run long ways down the room so you have to turn awkwardly to the side to watch the performance. Also, the tables are fairly small so you also have to keep track of your feet as well. The servers are squeezing by so you can't leave them in the aisles either.

View from the back

I highly recommend getting to the show as close to doors opening as possible to give yourself time to study the menu and order, as well as finish your dinner before the lights go down.

We each ordered a (fairly pricey) glass of wine and shared some appetizers: Lobster Risotto and Truffle Fries

Lobster Risotto

Truffle Fries

Great for a date night, but I'd probably only go for the right performer, since the place is a little pricey over all.


City Winery =

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Friday, November 24, 2023

Brick River Cider

I had been wanting to try this Cidery / restaurant ever since it opened and we finally got the chance once Patience's friend came in town to visit! 

The building is small, as it was a former firehouse converted into the cidery, so there aren't a lot of tables.

Not only are there quite a few ciders to choose from, ranging from sweet to dry, the menu is extensive.

Featured below is the Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese, Portabella Grill Sandwich, Deviled Eggs, Spinach and Mushroom Flatbread, Brick River Salad, and Cider Brined Wings - something for everyone!

Variety of dishes from Brick River Cider


Brick River Cider =

Bistro La Floraison

As I mentioned earlier this year in my post about Bar Moro, it is my goal to visit all the former Zoe Robinson restaurants under their new owners and concepts.

I FINALLY got my chance to visit Bistro La Floraison thanks to Beth and Matt Sorrell, who is a bartender there a few nights a week. Beth was looking for a date to sit with her at the bar and I jumped at the chance, especially since she was able to guide me through the courses.

THE Matt Sorrell

I highly recommend their cocktails, probably because I know a bartender there, as they have clever names and some classics.

Beth was kind enough to split all the dishes with me, which helped to make the evening a little more affordable as well.

We started with a few items from the "L'apero" section. More of a small bite than an Hors d'Oeuvre. 

French Onion Financiers, which were almost too pretty to eat, and the Golden Kaluga Caviar were Beth's favorites.

French Onion Financiers

Golden Kaluga Caviar on potato waffles

I picked the Gougeres since they are made with a gruyere mousse!


For the main course, Beth let me pick the Ricotta Gnudi since I'm such a fan. There were quite a lot braised beans as well. An incredibly flavorful dish for something so simple!

Ricotta Gnudi

And Beth made sure we got dessert, so you should be sure to make room as well. The Hazelnut Pot De Creme was so light and creamy, although you know I was wishing there had been a little more chocolate involved.

Hazelnut Pot de Creme

Your meal will always be a winner here, so save up for that special occasion!

Menu from September 2023


Bistro La Floraison =

Thursday, October 19, 2023


It was my turn to pick for "Ladies Dinner" and having a friend who lives out west inspired me to finally try a restaurant out in Chesterfield. I haven't heard too much about Veritas in the news, so that made me even more curious.

I feel like Veritas is a hidden gem for those in the surrounding neighborhood. They don't have a large menu, but I feel like there is something for everyone. Very relaxed, calm environment, and when the weather is nice, there is a patio out front as well. Also, there is a small bar area, but a large event space in the back.

A couple of friends started with a salad...Tomato & Burrata and a Kale Salad.

Tomato & Burrata Salad

Kale Salad with Fingerling Potatoes

Of course Patience had to have a side of Brussels Sprouts...eyeroll...

Brussels Sprouts

And we each picked a difference entrée!

I ordered the Halibut since I prefer anyone else to cook fish for me. Loved the bright vegetables underneath too.

Halibut on top of vegetables

Patience ordered the Spaghetti alla Chitarra, no surprise there.

Spaghetti alla Chitarra

Then my friends ordered the Braised Pork (maybe a little too well done on the outside, but the dish was very tender) and Amish Chicken Breast.

Braised Pork

Amish Chicken Breast

We could all see a giant carrot cake (think sheet cake) from where we were sitting, so we all shared a piece at the end. Check out this three-layer decadence with nuts on top and caramel sauce on the bottom!

Carrot Cake

If you're looking for someplace new, a little hidden, it might be worth checking out!


Veritas =

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Monday, September 11, 2023

Pan Pa'ti

After a couple of friends were inducted into Les Dames d'Escoffier International, I noticed that they offered a few fundraising events open to the public. I usually jump at all the opportunities to learn about small businesses who are bringing new food and drink concepts to the St. Louis area.

I did not know anything about Venezuelan bread, but quickly learned from a young couple who created a company called Pan Pa'ti. 

They make sweet treats...

Bread with fruit filling and coconut on the outside

And savory breads...

Small, hand pocket - almost too pretty to eat

Savory ham and cheese inside!

But they are best known for their cachitos! Look how beautiful this is! Hand rolled with smoked ham or turkey, cheese, raisins, and olives. 


For now, you can find them every Saturday morning (from April through October) at the Lake St. Louis Farmer's market and you better get there early before they sell out.


Pan pa'ti =

Lake St. Louis Farmer's Market =

Les Dames d'Escoffier International =

Wednesday, July 19, 2023


My friends had raved about Nippon Tei for years, but since the restaurant was out of our typical driving zone, we just never had the desire to make it there. 

Then when I heard that the restaurant was moving to the city, I had hoped that I'd get my chance, but strangely, it didn't last long. 

So when everyone started raving about this NEW restaurant, Sado, I knew I had better not snooze for a third time. 

For my pick for "date night", I knew exactly where I wanted to go. Normally, this would be a special occasion kind of place, and looking at the final bill would agree with me, but I'm glad we didn't wait and miss out either.

From what I had read online, it appears that Sado is the place to order nigiri, but the "Cold Starters" list was lengthy and I didn't want to miss out on those either. There were several items I wanted to choose, but I knew I had to save room for the nigiri. 

I ordered the Seaweed Salad, since it's one of my favorite Japanese dishes, and Patience picked out the Pork Belly Steam Bun, which was also delicious. I wouldn't have minded one of my own honestly.

Seaweed Salad

Pork Belly Steam Bun

To add to the difficultly of ordering, there were daily specials tucked into the front of the menu. I figured we should order some of those as they were limited in availability.

Daily Specials hidden in the front pocket of the menu

The list of nigiri and sashimi on the specials menu was also lengthy as they were on the main menu, so I thought we could pick one from there. (These were a bit pricier than what was listed on the regular menu.) We ended up ordering two servings of the Hamachi Tataki, seared yellowtail belly, since it was so good.

Hamachi Tataki

From the regular menu, Patience picked the best nigiri by far, Daiba Hotate, which is dayboat hokkaido scallops. Again, we ordered a second set of these.

Daiba Hotate

My selection was a salmon nigiri since that's one of my favorite fish and it melted in my mouth.

Salmon nigiri

We did ball out once as Patience wanted to try one of the "high end" nigiri called "Ito" from the Specials Menu, which is Wagyu beef. Again ,melted like butter!

Wagyu nigiri

I figured we should at least order one roll each to cover the last area of the menu, and the Shibo Maki had to be one of the best rolls I have ever had.

Shibo Maki

Patience's Old Yokai Maki was just as beautiful.

Old Yokai Maki

We still ordered a couple more nigiri since we had a little bit more room. Although I lost tracked of which nigiri was which at this point. They're all so beautiful, but boy did our bill get out of hand quickly! LOL

Wild Caught Yellowtail Nigiri

Hirame Nigiri

The staff is highly attentive and it was nice that any of them could deliver an order as soon as it was ready so we could keep the stream of courses coming.

We also opted for the cocktails, since we relied on the restaurant to create drinks that would pair with the courses. I picked a winner, as my drink was very smooth. The cocktail list was more manageable when compared to the rest of the menus and I still tried something new! This is the Seoulful, a soju-based cocktail. 


Definitely put this restaurant on your special night out list!


Sado =

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Deli Devine

I went opening day to the new Jewish deli because I couldn't wait. I was that excited. Ever since Pumpernickel's closed, the addition of a new Jewish deli became even more critical to my world.

Now, I was not expecting to actually order food that day, but I at least wanted to see where it was and how it worked. That first day was quite chaotic, so even though I feel like I am one of the last to actually try it out, things were a lot more calm the second time around. This time, on a Wednesday afternoon several months later.

Deli Devine is actually a small restaurant inside the larger Delmar Devine building, tucked on the side. There is not much parking in front of the deli, so I just immediately drive past the building and park on Belt Ave down the street. I do feel for those homes who now will probably have cars constantly parked out front. (I'm still not sure why people put up buildings without considering the parking since this IS St. Louis.)

Anyway, just head to the doors under the beautiful neon lit sign...

Shalom! (Photo by Amy Burdge)

Even though it's an "order from the register", the service was incredible from a one-man-band host that was working the floor. As soon as I walked in, he gave me the tour of the menus (there are for sandwiches and one for bagels) as well as where to order. While I sat and studied the menus, he promptly arrived with a cold glass of ice water, perfect on a overly hot day. 

It was a very tough pick, but since I was there for lunch, I was going sandwich with sides! There are cold and hot sandwiches, and I always prefer hot. Turkey Reuben on Rye AND pickle spear.

Turkey Reuben on Rye

I HAD to order a knish since you don't come across them too often. This one is potato. Ditto for noodle kugel...although it'll never be as good as Mom used to make.

Noodle Kugel (top) and Potato Knish (with gravy at bottom)

But if you want a bagel or bagel sandwich, you do like Amy, and order from the register on the left as opposed to the main register in front (right).

Even the Matzah Ball soup was the proper density! (SINKER ALL THE WAY!)

Matzah Ball Soup and more pickle spears

Then the wonderful floor host collected our trash from the table.

The highlight of our visit was seeing Maxine Clark eating her lunch in the corner that day and visiting with other guests. She pointed out the pictures of her family that help decorate the walls, and you could see how much it meant to her. 

If you want to hear more about Maxine Clark's genius idea, you can listen to her story here:

I hope this is the start of more good things to come for the city of St. Louis.

Sandwich Menu

Bagel Menu


Deli Devine =