Monthly Archives: February 2014

Centennial Beer Dinner

Looking for a way to make your average dinner just a bit more exciting? How about a beer dinner where each course of you meal is created to complement a specific beer. I have gotten the chance to attend two of these dinners and I would recommend them to anyone who has even the slightest interest in beer. The first dinner I attended was hosted by PW pizza and featured beers by Deschutes Brewery. Each beer course was paired with a different pizza creation and served family style to tables of eight. One of the best things about these dinners is that guests can be seated with people they know or at random. At both dinners, this has made for really interesting conversation with people I would have not otherwise met.

Last week I got to check out the Centennial Beer Festival Brewmaster’s Dinner held in the space typically used by Moulin Events. It is a part of the Centennial Malt House building which is home to several spaces you may have heard of such as Vin de Set and Moulin Events. Little did we know, this building used to be the Schneider Brewery back in the late 19th century. The dinner was the kickoff event to an entire weekend of beer tasting bliss. Each of the five courses was paired with a delicious beer from 4 Hands Brewing Co. Chef Ryan Luke created a delicious meal and was even generous enough to make me my own vegetarian version of a few dishes that had meat. The evening was hosted by two brewers from 4 Hands, Martin Toft and Andy Burgio, who told stories about the brewery and gave us insight to the beers we tasted. We were lucky enough to be seated at a table with Martin and Andy which made the night even more interesting.

Below are the courses we got to sample at the Centennial Beer Dinner

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For more reviews, follow me on Twitter.

Advertisements

Corner 17 in the Delmar Loop

Looking for something new? Ever heard of hand-pulled noodles or fluffy ice? Two concepts that are hugely popular in other parts of the world have finally made their way to St. Louis and Corner 17 is the place to discover them. Located in the heart of the Delmar Loop, this new hotspot serves up several noodle and rice dishes as well as your traditional and not so traditional bubble tea.

We managed to snag the last table available when we arrived on a Tuesday night around 6:30 p.m. and the restaurant remained 100% full the entire time we were there. The diners at this restaurant represented the Loop demographic perfectly and included families with children, international students, and couples. There were only 2 servers working the whole restaurant but they moved at warp speed and we were served right away.

The origin of hand-pulled noodles can be traced back to China where dough is repeatedly pulled, stretched, and folded onto itself. Once the dough is the proper consistency it is stretched to arm’s length and folded into a loop at which point the process is repeated until multiple strands are created. It is then separated and placed in a pot to finish cooking. What makes Corner 17 special is that this is done at the back of the restaurant behind a glass wall so you can watch the whole process.
The origin of hand-pulled noodles can be traced back to China where dough is repeatedly pulled, stretched, and folded onto itself. Once the dough is the proper consistency, it is stretched to arm’s length and folded into a loop at which point the process is repeated until multiple strands are created. It is then separated and placed in a pot to finish cooking. What makes Corner 17 special is that this is done at the back of the restaurant behind a glass wall so you can watch the whole process.

We started with bubble tea and we immediately noticed that unlike most bubble tea that is served in plastic cups with a sealed plastic lid on top, the tea at this restaurant is served in nice glassware. I chose to try a flavor new to me, red bean milk tea. You already have to be okay with odd textures to handle the boba (tapioca balls) that is in bubble tea but you really have to be ready for the red bean tea as it has actual pieces of beans mixed in to the drink which I happened to love. Based on the recommendation of the server, my husband chose lychee milk tea. We decided that this must be an acquired taste as it tasted similar to what I would imagine floral perfume would taste like. However, the server happily exchanged it for a taro milk tea which was 100% more palatable.

Our food arrived shortly thereafter and I was served spicy tofu with steamed rice. This was a very healthy portion of food which lasted me another two meals. When they say spicy, they mean spicy, but the flavor was delicious and although they could have gone a little lighter on the oil, I would happily order it again. My husband chose beef noodle soup. The huge bowl was filled with the hand-pulled noodles they are so well known for as well as big pieces of beef. This is not something I would order on a first date because the noodles can be a little cumbersome to eat but they are so fresh and have such a perfect texture that you would be doing yourself a disservice if you skipped out on trying them. The beef was just a little bit fatty but my husband thought the flavor was just right.

We thought we were finished with our meal until we saw another table with the most intriguing looking dessert. We decided to order it and we were served a giant plate of mango fluffy ice topped with mango sauce and fresh fruit. This was the lightest, most refreshing dessert I have ever eaten and I would return just for that!

Overall we really enjoyed this meal and loved the quick, friendly service. The price is right and it is great for a quick bite to eat if you are looking for a cuisine that is a little out of the ordinary.

Corner 17 can be found at 6623 Delmar Blvd St. Louis, MO 63130

Corner 17 on Urbanspoon

Katie’s Pizza and Pasta

As I chose my next restaurant, I set my sights on the predecessor of a restaurant that I have always loved, Katie’s Pizza. I was hopeful that their new venture, Katie’s Pizza and Pasta, would come with the same character and delicious food as its sister restaurant. Upon arriving, I immediately noticed that they did a really nice job creating a warm, cozy feeling inside with exciting elements such as walls covered by plants, an eclectic variety of mismatched chairs and tables, and unique low hanging lights.

We arrived at 6:30 on a Tuesday evening and we were greeted by a 45 minute wait (unbeknownst to us, they do take reservations). We passed the time with a drink at the bar and happened to set up a Twitter account while we waited (followkaties pizza and pasta 13 me at @myweeklybite). They serve up a moderate beer selection along with crafted cocktails and have a decent happy hour if you can make it by 6 p.m.

We were seated at a high top table right next to the kitchen which was open to the whole restaurant. We decided to start with Katie’s famous fried artichokes with a balsamic reduction. We were served a very healthy portion of artichokes which were just crisp but not heavily fried. They were topped with shaved Parmesan and drizzled with balsamic which was not overpowering as it sometimes can be.

Then, just as I was happily settling into my meal, my ULTIMATE pet peeve occurred. We had taken about four bites of our appetizer when our pizza appeared. Now I was forced to choose between finishing my appetizer and letting my pizza get cold. My husband and I happened to be splitting a pizza and pasta so we finished our first course and moved on to our second. However, our pasta did not arrive until we were well finished with our pizza. Had we not been sharing, this would have left one person watching the other eat.

We chose to split the Kup’s Egg pizza topped with EVOO, mushrooms, sausage (only over half, of course), fontina, farm egg, thyme, and truffle. The crust was very light and had that perfect, wood-fire oven crunch and taste to it. One pizza would not have been enough to split between two people so we were glad we opted for pasta as well.

We were then served Black Spaghetti made with squid ink pasta, clams, mussels, shrimp, caviar, and chili flakes. This dish was seasoned just right but my issues lied with the pasta and caviar. The homemade spaghetti noodles clumped together in such a way that I ended up cutting the pasta with a knife and spearing it with a fork to eat it rather than being able to twirl it as I normally would. The large pieces of caviar were served on top of the dish and were hot when we went eat them. I am a huge lover of caviar but I hope to never eat hot caviar again!

While the ambiance and flavors of the dishes at Katie’s Pizza and Pasta were just right, given the price and flaws with our meal, I would not rush back to this location. However, I have heard great things about this restaurant from other people and I am always open to having my mind changed so if you have had a different experience, I would love to hear about it.

Katie’s Pizza and Pasta is located at 9568 Manchester Rd. Rock Hill, Missouri 63119

Corner 17 on Urbanspoon

The Mud House

This morning, my husband and I went in search of a new weekend brunch spot and happened to come across The Mud House located on Cherokee Street. I had not yet been to this part of town that is known for its antique shops, art galleries, and cafes. I have been hearing a lot of talk about St. Louis’s up and coming coffee scene and this was one of the names that has been mentioned. However, I had no idea about their creative breakfast and lunch menu that are both served throughout the day.

Rosemary latte
Rosemary latte

We arrived around 11a.m. and since it was getting crowded, I stood in line to order at the counter while my husband found a table. Little did he know, he was about to be the recipient of a lavender mocha that was recommended by the barista. While I was a little nervous about choosing this for him, we were both pleasantly surprised. In fact it was so delicious, he uncharacteristically ordered a second drink for the road. I took a chance by ordering a rosemary latte which was also unexpectedly good. You could smell a hint of rosemary as soon as you brought the mug to your mouth but the taste was very subtle.

While waiting for our order, we had a chance to take in the restaurant. The décor complemented the artsy feel of the neighborhood in that everything was so mismatched, that it matched perfectly. The floors were a rustic wood, menus were written on chalk boards and rolls of paper towels, and the walls were covered in vintage shop finds. The restaurant was filled families having breakfast, students studying on their laptops, and groups of friends having coffee. It had such warm, cozy feel that I wanted to love it the minute I stepped in the door.

After about 15 minutes, the food arrived at our table. While there are a la cart menu items, this is not a place that you go for your typical eggs, bacon, and hash browns. I chose to go with The Breslin made with curried lentils, two sunny-side up eggs, cilantro, plain Greek yogurt, and two pieces of grilled bread. The portions and presentation were perfect and the combination of eggs and lentils was something that I have never seen before. However, the Greek yogurt didn’t add much to the dish and I probably could have done without it. My husband went for the Mud Slinger made with two sunny-side up eggs over black bean chili, roasted potatoes, red onion, and toast. We both loved this dish but thought that the eggs could have used another minute on the skillet.

After finishing our breakfast, we stayed just a bit longer before deciding to check out some of the shops next door. We made it a few blocks before deciding that a cold Sunday with snow packed sidewalks was not making for the best shopping and settled on coming back when it is warmer out. For anyone looking for a new brunch or coffee spot, I would definitely recommend The Mud House.

For more info check out themudhousestl.com

The Mud House on Urbanspoon

Sweet Tooth Tour

This past weekend I got to spend the day with my amazing friends walking the streets of Maplewood sampling sweet treats as part of the first ever Sweet Tooth tour. This self-guided tour took us to 9 different shops over a period of several hours. For $15, we were given a ticket to show at each shop and in return, we received a beverage or sweet treat.

Stop one was a chocolate shop called Kakao Chocolate. This shop offers delicious, all-natural sweets that are made right in front of you. Each person on the tour was served an Irish Rocky made with layered pecans, caramel, dark chocolate, vanilla bean marshmallow, and Schafly coffee stout chocolate cake. This was, hands down, my favorite treat of the day.

Foundation groundsNext, we stopped by Foundation Grounds, a green, eco-friendly coffee house and cafe. This coffee shop had far more flair than your average chain store and we couldn’t stop talking about the paintings on the wall. We were served a no bake Goo Ball made with butter, oats, espresso, cocoa powder, and dried coconut. This rich dessert was a little much for me but I will definitely be back for brunch sometime soon.

The third stop was Vom Fass, a chain of stores specializing in specialty oils, vinegars, and spirits. Everything in the store is available to sample and I happily left with garlic oil and pumpkin seed oil. We were served our choice of sweet wine or an original liqueur creation along with an oil infused lemon cookie.

Stops four and five shared one building. At the front of the store is La Cosecha, a fair trade coffee shop that roasts coffee to order. They were offering mini espresso floats with Serendipity ice cream and a Calley’s truffle. The second half of the store, occupied by Great Harvest Bread Co., served oatmeal cookies. They were also handing out samples of their delicious fresh bread.

Number six was traveling Tea where we were served samples of Chai tea and candied tea leaves which I am still not sure I quite understand. However, the Chai was perfect for a cold, rainy day.

Strange Donuts was stop seven. This was the only shop I had been to and I will have a separate post devoted to them.

The eighth stop in our tour was Pie Oh My. We were served mini chocolate cream pies which, if I had not been to seven stops already, would have been a the perfect dessert. However, I had to surrender after one bite.

Finally we went to Encore baking company where we were given a raspberry-filled white almond cupcake. I enjoyed this cupcake at home and it was still perfectly fresh the next day.

Although it was cold and raining, each of us had a great time and we all agreed that we got to see a side of Maplewood that we did not even know was there. Check out Maplewood’s website, http://www.cityofmaplewood.com, for links to all of the shops listed here and for a calendar of all of their upcoming foodie events!