Monthly Archives: August 2014

Sugarfire Smoke House (Olivette)

Whoever says barbeque is only foIMG_2187r meat lovers has clearly never been to Sugarfire Smoke House! This restaurant has taken barbeque to another level with gourmet sides, vegetarian dishes, fish options, and desserts. Sugarfire opened its first location in Olivette but has become so popular that it quickly expanded to St. Charles and Wing Haven. The lights on the front patio caught my eye one evening when I was driving by so I decided to check it out for dinner.

The restaurant is set up cafeteria style with a fast moving line that wraps around the outside of the dining area. Large, ever changing menus are set up on two walls and can be a little overwhelming if you don’t know what you are looking for. While waiting to place my order, I first came to the soda machine featuring several Excel Bottling brands that I had never seen before and it took a few samples to find what I actually wanted. After settling on lemon-lime, I scanned over the menu featuring turkey, brisket, pulled pork, ribs, sausage, burgers, salmon, and portabella mushrooms. Most items can be ordered as a plate or sandwich and some have side dishes included. If you are hoping to eat your meal off of a plate you will have to keep wishing because meals are served on a large metal tray covered in butcher paper which I think just adds to the experience. Once you are seated, you can top off your meal with one of the many sauces that are waiting for you on the table. There is everything from sweet BBQ to white horseradish to coffee sauce.

Being a non-meat eater, I chose the salmon sandwich as my entree. The salmon had a great smoky flavor and was really tender but I found the portion to be a little small. What really made the sandwich great was the bun which was lightly buttered, grilled, and served warm. My husband ordered the Big Muddy which is a sandwich made of brisket, sausage, horseradish sauce, BBQ sauce, lettuce, and pickles. This huge sandwich is definitely not first date food but is well worth the mess.

While we both loved our main dishes, the sides were a huge disappointment. I ordered the quinoa caprese salad made with quinoa, kale, tomatoes, and mozzarella. It was swimming in dressing that filled half of dish leaving me with soggy kale and tomatoes that I ended up throwing away. My husband ordered the jambalaya and he was originally told they had run out. However, someone found one last portion sitting on the counter already in a plastic container. When he opened the lid, the top was dry, crusty, and unappetizing. Having ditched my side, I was still hungry so I went back for mac and cheese. It was fresh, creamy, and while less interesting, a much better choice. My only other complaint about my experience was the attitude of the workers. While the restaurant was busy, some of the workers acted rushed and inconvenienced. A little smile can go a long way!

Next up for this fast growing BBQ empire is dessert. Sugar Fire Pie is slated to open in October just a few doors down from their current BBQ location in Olivette and you can bet I will be in line for that one.


 

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STL Farmer’s Markets

One of my favorite things about summer is all of the fresh fruits and vegetables that are available. Why not turn your shopping trip into an experience by going to a local farmer’s market? Last weekend I chose to check out four farmer’s markets located around St. Louis. For more information about other markets in the St. Louis area, check out the Missouri Farmer’s Market Directory.

Tower Grove Farmer’s Market

IMG_1986The Tower Grove Farmer’s Market has something for everyone! Local vendors and several independently owned stores set up shop in the park making it a great way to not only pick up produce but also discover new stores located in your own backyard. Whether you want to participate in a free yoga class, enjoy breakfast from food truck while listening to live music, let your kids splash in the fountain, or walk you dog through the market, there is no way to come here and not have a good time.

When and Where: Operates Mid-April thru November on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Tower Grove Park at 4256 Magnolia Ave.

Best for: Those looking for an experience. The crowds made it tricky to quickly stop by so come down with a plan to spend the morning enjoying the whole event.

What they are selling: Produce, flowers, cheese, eggs, and meat products as well as food from locally owned restaurants, bakeries, specialty food shops, and food trucks such as Salume Bedu, Kakao, Companion Bakery, Traveling Tea, and LuLu’s.

My Finds: Fresh lemonade, peaches, and scones from Queen’s Cuisine

Midtown Farmer’s Market

 IMG_1980The Midtown Farmer’s Market, located in University City, is a hidden gem that has been around for years but has recently reinvented itself. The market operates out of several permanent stalls with additional tents set up on Saturday Mornings.

When and Where: Located in the Delmar Loop at 6655 Delmar Blvd behind Market Pub restaurant. Open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Best for: The shopper that means business. If you are looking for a variety of fresh produce without the bells and whistles, this spot is for you.

What they are selling: Produce from local farms, wood carvings, homemade skin care products, and coffee.

My Finds: Potato cucumbers grown by Elixer Farms, beautiful multi-colored Zephyr squash, and a box of cherry tomatoes that were so sweet they were eaten up before we made it to our next stop.

Soulard Farmer’s Market

IMG_2012When you think of a St. Louis farmer’s market, I would guess that Soulard Market is what comes to mind. The oldest market west of the Mississippi River has been operating for over 200 years. Soulard Market is unique because the indoor shops and large outdoor halls allow it to remain open throughout the entire year. Of all of the markets I visited, Soulard Market offered the cheapest and widest variety of products.

When and Where: Soulard Market, located at 730 Carroll Street,  is open Wednesday thru Saturday.

Best For: Tourists, people watching, and those looking for cheap or hard to find produce.

What they are selling: Produce from local farmers, meat, spices, clothing, health and beauty products, baked goods, flowers, and cocktails to be enjoyed while you shop.

My Finds: Bing cherries for $1.90/lb, Bloody Mary’s, Homemade Italian herb pasta

Who knew that they also make mini-donuts here?

 

Kirkwood Farmer’s Market

IMG_2031When I think of the words quaint and charming, Kirkwood is the first thing that pops into my head. Located in the center of this tight knit community is a walkable downtown with a train station, locally owned shops and restaurants, and a Farmer’s Market. Whether you live in the community and can walk to the market to pick up your produce or you visit only on occasion, this market’s homey vibe makes you feel like you are part of the Kirkwood community.

When and Where: The Kirkwood Farmer’s Market can be found at 150 E Argonne Drive. The market is open daily from April 4 to Sept 27. Visit the market in October for the pumpkin patch and in November and December for the Christmas market.

Best for: With easy accessibility and parking, a wide variety of items for sale, and snow cones to keep kids entertained, this market has something to offer for just about anyone.

What they are selling: Produce from local farmers as well as large companies such as Driscoll’s and Chiquita, baked goods, meats, cheeses, plants, BBQ, kettle corn, and Tropical Moose snow cones. Be warned though, produce at this stop was the most expensive out of all of the markets that I visited.

My Finds: Snow cones from Tropical Moose, blackberries, heirloom tomatoes

 

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