Crush Red Opens In Creve Coeur

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They call it an “Urban Bake and Chop Shop.” I call it a pizza joint with great salads. In either case, Crushed Red has opened its newest location in Creve Coeur at 11635 Olive Boulevard.

Crushed Red has locations in Clayton and Kirkwood. Coming soon to O’Fallon (Missouri), as well as Columbia and Kansas City. Crushed Red is going national with six stores planned for Denver—the first opens August 17. (They also have Michigan locations on their horizon.)

Crushed Red pizzas begin with their special crusts, shown below.

crustsYou can choose from a list of pizzas whose toppings combinations are preset.

Or you can craft your own pizza. Your sauce choice, a cheese selection and a couple of vegetable toppings are included in the 6.25 cost. Meat and fish toppings are mostly priced at 1.50 or 2.00 extra.

Your pizza then goes into one of their special ovens (shown below) and is cooked in—no kidding—90 seconds!

ovensAnd here are the delicious results:

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My pizzaNow, about the salads. (The Chop Shop part of the story.) Again, you can choose from salads on the menu or you can craft your own with a huge number of items to include (as well as ten different dressings to choose from).

The Crushed Red crew chops the salads with a double-handled mezzaluna knife.The goal is to include a bit of everything that’s in your salad in every bite.

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Crushed Red also has three different soups each day as well as hummus, warm artichoke spread and warm herbed goat cheese. Beer and wine are available.

At an event Wednesday (July 15) evening at the new Creve Coeur location, I spoke to Chris Larocca who is one of the owners and the creative force behind Crushed Red about the concept and upcoming growth. He said that Crushed Red has made very few refinements since opening their first location over three years ago. (Audio runs 4:16.)

For more information about Crushed Red, click HERE to go to their website.

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Throw Back (A Cocktail or Two) Thursdays at The Ritz

Beginning July 16, on Thursday nights from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis, The Lobby Lounge will step back into the days of Prohibition for Barrels, Bourbon and the Bee’s Knees.

For fans of classic cocktails and nostalgia, here’s your fun! There’s no cover, no reservation required.

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For each week’s event, The Lobby Lounge lighting will dim to replicate historic Edison light bulb levels, and vintage cocktails will be created throwback-style. Beverage offerings will include the Bees Knees — influenced by the honey, lemon and orange initially used to mask the taste of Prohibition’s “bathtub gin,” as well as the Mary Pickford, the Champagne-based French 75, and the Ward 8, shaken with rye.

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The signature drink for the Ritz’s Prohibition nights will be a classic Manhattan, prepared in 1930s style using beakers and pipettes, and featuring Missouri’s own Defiance Rye Bourbon along with sweet vermouth, house-crafted orange-infused bitters, bourbon-marinated cherries and lemon juice.

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Defiance

Prohibition nights will continue each Thursday evening at the Ritz through August. The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis is located at 100 Carondolet Plaza in Clayton.

Bud And Burgers Championship July 11

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You have seen the TV spots that tout Budweiser as the beer to enjoy with a great burger. Now you have a chance to taste the top burgers in the U.S. and enjoy them with a Bud!

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Budweiser has been conducting a nationwide contest to pick the best burger to go with your Bud. The champion will be chosen Saturday, July 11 at the A-B brewery in St. Louis. The event will feature an appearance by celebrity chef David Chang (pictured below) who will serve as one of the judges.

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Tickets for the Bud And Burgers Championship are on sale now for $20/person ($25 on day of event). To order click HERE. You can sample burgers from all ten semifinalists. You can enjoy Budweiser Signature Draught samples at a frosty 32 degrees. And you can take a selfie with the Clydesdales. The event begins at 5:00 p.m. 

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The Esquire Network will be filming at the brewery as part of the new show, “The Next Great Burger.” The winner of the Bud & Burgers Championship Finale will also be featured on the show.

Live music will be provided by Matt Stillwell.

Soused—Vodka and BBQ! Coming July 8

Isn’t it about time that one of the hottest categories in food (BBQ) comes together with one of the hottest categories in drink (vodka)? Yes, it is.

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Capitalist Pig, located at the Mad Art Gallery, 2727 South 12th Street, just north of the A-B brewery, has a big event set for Wednesday, July 8, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Sowsed (get it?), a vodka-themed barbecue dinner featuring Cardinal Sin vodka from St. Louis Distillery, will infuse vodka into every aspect of the meal, from smoking to sauces.

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Among the menu items  for Sowsed from Capitalist Pig chef Ron Buechele:

  • Barrel-smoked pork and pear with lemon vodka compote. (Smoked over wood from the vodka aging barrels.)
  • Vodka braised smoked brisket with with roasted grapes, carrots and garlic and more (pictured below).

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  • Black bean salad with corn, hominy, red peppers and avocado in a vodka-lime cilantro vinaigrette.
  • Stuffed conchiglie with pork belly bacon and vodka arribiata sauce.
  • Drunken summer vegetables.
  • And… a vodka-infused dessert!

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Of course, the meal will be accompanied by a flight of Cardinal Sin vodka cocktails.

Hot jazz/swing band Miss Jubilee will provide live music.

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But wait, there’s more! Each diner age 21 and over will take home a 375mL bottle of Cardinal Sin Starka.

Cost of the dinner is 49/person and tickets may be purchased from BrownPaperTickets.com or by clicking HERE.

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One more thing: If you’ve never been to the Mad Art Gallery and Capitalist Pig, you should know that the building has a big sign out front that reads “Police.” It’s there for a reason. The building is the former Third District St. Louis Police Station.

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BPV Crawfish Fest Saturday (June 20)

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St. Louis’s Ballpark Village will host its 2nd annual Crawfish Fest on Saturday, June 20, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Budweiser Brew House. Two packages are available.

For $25, you get unlimited crawfish, jumbo shrimp, red potatoes, corn on the cob and smoked sausages plus $3 draft Abita Beer specials. (Abita is brewed about 30 miles north of New Orleans.)

For $50, you get all that PLUS early admission at 4:00 p.m, a commemorative Crawfish Fest t-shirt and glass and reserved seating in the Budweiser Brew House Garden.

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BPV will have a thousand pounds of crawfish to boil Saturday, so don’t be timid about going back for seconds.

The very cool North of the Quarter band will provide live music during the event.

For more info, go to stlballparkvillage.com.

Tequila Dinner at Cantina Laredo!

Cantina Laredo, the new Mexican restaurant in Clayton, is hosting a Tequila Dinner on Wednesday, June 17, 7:00 p.m.

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(RFT pic)

The three-course meal will feature three different Milagro brand tequilas, selected by Cantina Laredo chef Sean Scott to complement each course.

Milagro tequila

Here’s the menu:

1st course: Choice of Ensalada de Mango or Sope de Brisket 

2nd course: Choice of Filet Pasilla served with potato confit and sautéed green beans or Sea Bass Oscar served with a chili lime sauce and asparagus.

3rd course (dessert): A special Dia y Noche flan (a “day and night” chocolate flan).

Cost for the dinner is 49.99. Advance reservations recommended. Call 314-725-2447.

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Cantina Laredo is located at 7710 Forsyth Boulevard in Clayton in the Centene complex.

Cantina Laredo will offer its tequila dinners four times each year: one per season and will feature a different tequila brand at each dinner.

Tequila!

Pedal Pub Attacked In Minneapolis

In 2009, my family and I visited the Twin Cities and had fish and chips at Brit’s Pub on Nicollet Mall. That’s not far from where Mary Tyler Moore famously threw her hat into the air in the opening of her 70s TV show.

Sidewalk dining on the downtown Minneapolis mall is nice because the only vehicles allowed thru the mall are busses. And the Pedal Pub, a cool way for a group to go bar-hopping. The folks who rode past us that evening all appeared to be having a fun time. Here are a couple of photos I took.

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This past Saturday, there were attacks on Pedal Pubs in Minneapolis by folks with water balloons and water guns. And one group of Pedal Pubs riders was made up of off-duty cops who confronted the attackers. Here’s video:

Why would people want to mess with folks who are just out for a fun time on a Pedal Pub bike? An article posted yesterday by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune points out: When there’s a Facebook page called “I Hate the Pedal Pub,” with more than 4,000 “likes,” it can embolden people to act in ways they never might have before. Read the full article by clicking HERE.

A Pedal Pub partner was quoted in today’s Wall Street Journal saying: “This would’ve probably flown under the radar forever” if there hadn’t been police on the bikes. Read the WSJ article by clicking HERE.

Here in STL, we have the St. Louis Bar Cycle which runs pub crawl rides around the Soulard neighborhood. Click HERE for their website and HERE for their Facebook page.

One would think that there would be a market for more such vehicles around metro St. Louis in neighborhoods that have a concentration of eating/drinking establishments. The Loop? Maplewood? CWE? South Grand?

Sounds like big fun to me. Just keep an eye out for guys with Super Soakers and water balloons.