More Oktoberfesting

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If you can handle a 34-ounce stein full of beer, head over to the Budweiser Brew House (Haus?) Saturday, October 3, noon-10:00 p.m. for Oktoberfest. (That’s at Ballpark Village in downtown St. Louis.)

This is a FREE event with activities inside the Beer Hall and outside in the Beer Garden. The Bolzen Beer Band will play festive music!


Come thirsty, of course. Come hungry, too. Among the menu items being offered Saturday (and all through the month of October) are:

  • German style salted pretzels with signature beer mustards.
  • Drunken Rib Eye—Budweiser marinated 16-ounce bone-in rib eye served with sauerkraut mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus.
  • Sausage platter including bratwurst, knockwurst and Hungarian sausages served with sauerkraut mashed potatoes, braised red cabbage, accompanied with Amber Bock mustard and Budweiser beer mustard.
  • Jaegerschnitzel—Breaded pork loin ladled with demi-glace and served with braised red cabbage, and sauerkraut mashed potatoes.

A 34-ounce glass Spaten beer stein will be available for purchase for $15 with $10 refills. Prost!


A Bad Review Can Be A Good Thing

Earlier this month both the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Riverfront Times reviewed a recently opened suburban restaurant/bar. Each review, posted within a couple of days of each other, was generally negative. But there are upsides to these reviews!

  1. Readers are now aware that a new restaurant/bar is open in a space where another restaurant had been located for many years. The descriptions of what’s happening now in the space may attract new diners.
  2. Photos accompanying reviews often present a more positive example of the restaurant that the words do.
  3. The simple fact that the professional reviewers felt they should share their opinions with readers indicates that the restaurant is worth a full review.
  4. Each reviewer found a few things to like about the food, the drinks, the décor and the staff.
  5. Constructive criticism can be useful to a restaurant owner/manager. He/she can evaluate what was written, determine if it is valid and, if appropriate, remedy the shortcomings.
  6. Negative online postings on media websites can elicit comments from friends and partisans of the restaurant who may share their own positive thoughts about the place.
  7. If the restaurant had been a complete and total mess, the publications would likely have not run reviews. In such a case, the presumption is the place will not survive long, so why bother? (Remember: these media outlets exist to sell advertising. If they trash a restaurant mercilessly, the industry may avoid placing ads with the outlet.)
  8. Not all who read these reviews accept them at face value. Some folks put more stock in user reviews on Yelp, OpenTable, etc.
  9. A relationship has been established with the media outlet. When the restaurant has a new menu, special event, major new hire, etc., the outlet may be more likely to give notice to the news.
  10. If handled correctly, these reviews can be used to motivate staff to deliver better performance and to create a better team spirit.

I’m not always a “silver linings” guy, but I encourage everyone in the local food and beverage scene to work to make the “less than positive” feedback you receive into something useful.

Art At The Table—Distilled Dinners at Panorama

Cool event Friday night, September 25, at Panorama at the St. Louis Art Museum!

Panorama pic

It begins with a tour of the galleries at 7:00 p.m. followed by dinner at 7:30 p.m prepared by executive chef Ivy Magruder (pictured below) and his Panorama team.

Ivy on TV

Specialty cocktails from Pinckney Bend Distillery will be featured.

home_slider_cask_ginCost is 65/person plus tax and tip. Garage parking included. To make a reservation, call 314-655-5490.

Here’s the food and beverage menu:

Course 1
Soup and Salad
Mesclun Salad, with local goat cheese, maple-glazed pecans,
honeycrisp apples, and maple-Dijon vinaigrette

Chilled Corn Bisque

Keith’s Spiked Cider,
American Corn Whiskey

Course 2
Salt Cod Fritters with assorted aiolis
Smoked Three-Grain Vodka

Course 3
Rabbit Cacciatore with cracked black pepper pappardelle
Rested American Whiskey

Course 4
Gin and Tonic Cake
The Perfect Gin and Tonic

Saint Louis

A-B Oktoberfest September 25-26-27

German beer will flow at Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis when Oktoberfest happens September 25, 26 and 27!


The event kicks off Friday evening with a ceremonial tapping of the first keg of Spaten, a traditional Oktoberfest brew, by Mayor Francis Slay. Actually, the keg tap follows a wedding—a nice touch, since the Munich Oktoberfest grew from a wedding celebration in 1810. (Beer was introduced in 1818 and the event has grown over the last two centuries to a 17-day annual event that draws six million visitors each autumn.)

The A-B Oktoberfest will feature German-style beers and food (bratwursts, pretzels, gingerbread cookies, etc.). Authentic German music and entertainment will be offered all weekend.

default-heroHours for the Oktoberfest are Friday, September 25, 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Saturday, September 26, 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Sunday, September 27, noon to 5:00 p.m.

home-heroAdult tickets are available for 30/person and may be purchased by clicking HERE. Your ticket gets you a commemorative Oktoberfest beer stein, two beers and one food item. Additional beer, food and soft drinks will be available for purchase. (This is an all-ages event. Tickets for ages 4-20 are 10/person. That admission includes a soft drink and one food item.)

There is free parking in and around the A-B Biergarten located at 12th and Lynch in St. Louis.

Lederhosen optional, FYI.

Sammy Hagar Won’t Be There, But…

Cantina Laredo, the new Mexican restaurant in Clayton, is hosting a Tequila Dinner on Wednesday, September 16, 7:00 p.m. The dinner will feature four Cabo Wabo tequilas paired with a multi-course off-the-menu lineup of dishes created by executive chef Sean Scott. Cost is 49.99 per person.

Cabo tequila

Here’s what’s being served:

  • Chicharron de queso chalupa featuring crisp cheese, avocado with salsa mortajada as the first course.

  • A watermelon salad made featuring jicama, watermelon, strawberries, and lime as the next course.

  • The third course will be the guestschoice of:

    Filet Tampiqueno a 7 oz. filet with crimini mushrooms, as well as roasted garlic potatoes with queso fresco

    Banana leaf wrapped halibut with artichokes, grape tomatoes and cilantro rice

  • A flavorful coconut pecan ice cream with cajeta (sweet) sauce will be the final course

A Cabo Wabo representative will be on hand to talk about the tequilas, but, alas, it will not be Sammy Hagar. Although the Red Rocker is closely associated with the Cabo Wabo brand, he sold off his ownership in the company a few years back.

Also, Hagar will be in New York that day, promoting his “lifestyle cookbook” Are We Having Any Fun Yet? He is scheduled to be on ABC-TV’s The View Wednesday. He is scheduled to sign his book at Left Bank Books in the CWE this Friday, September 18, at 4:00 p.m.

Cantina LaredoCantina Laredo, which opened back in winter, is located at 7710 Forsyth in Clayton. To reserve your spot at this Tequila Dinner, call 314-725-2447. Click HERE to go to Cantina Laredo’s website.

The Vortex in Atlanta

My younger son visited Atlanta for Dragoncon this past weekend and enjoyed a burger at The Vortex on Peachtree Street in midtown Atlanta.

No, he did not have the Triple Coronary Bypass, but he did show me that item on the menu.

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That’s right, it uses grilled-cheese sandwiches for buns!

Triple bypass

My son had a more modest burger. He also showed me his receipt which had an interesting message at the bottom:


I’ve seen restaurants do the math for you, so you can determine the tip amount you might like to leave. But I’ve never seen the words “Tip or DIE” on a receipt.

By the way, my son loveed his burger.

Click HERE to visit The Vortex’s website. (Click on Vortex Radio to listen to their weekly podcast!)

Nora Ephron on Desserts and Dessert Spoons

I was rereading Nora Ephron’s book I Remember Nothing and came across this nugget based on her perception that modern restaurants serve desserts with bigger spoons:

“Here’s the thing about dessert—you want it to last. You want to savor it. Dessert is so delicious. It’s so sweet. It’s so bad for you so much of the time. And, as with all bad things, you want it to last as long as possible. But you can’t make it last if they give you a great big spoon to eat it with. You’ll gobble up your dessert in two big gulps. Then it will be gone. And the meal will be over.

Why don’t they get this? It’s so obvious.

It’s so obvious.”

To read her full essay on dining as it appeared in the New York Times in September 2006, click HERE.