Boiled Peanut Hummus at Saw’s

My family always parched peanuts at our house. When I moved back to the South in the mid-80′s, I became aware of boiled peanuts.

Near my radio station on Jacksonville, Florida’s west side was a tacky-looking roadside stand that sold boiled peanuts. When we vacationed in the Smoky Mountains we saw boiled peanut stands in several spots in North Carolina.

I finally tried them and did not like ‘em. Why would someone boil peanuts and make ‘em mushy? I always liked my peanuts crunchy.

Boiled Peanut Hummus

Last weekend, on Easter eve, a friend and I stopped at Saw’s Juke Joint in Birmingham where they offered Boiled Peanut Hummus (pictured above). It was delicious! (Yes, those are bacon bits on top of the hummus.)

The peanut flavor was perfect and went great with both stout and saison craft brews. (It might’ve been a better idea to have offered pita bread or toast points—something less flavorful and salty than potato chips—on which to spread the hummus.)

We also enjoyed Saw’s Sweet Potato Fries which were among the best I’ve ever had. They are big.

Sweet Potato Fries

Of course, this is a BBQ joint, so on my next visit, I’ll be tasting some of their ‘cue. Maybe the Chicken Stuffed Tater (a baked potato with green onions, bacon, chicken and BBQ sauce). The guy sitting next to us at the bar was digging into one and it was huge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kaldi’s Coffee Dinner at the Ritz

Many restaurants have spectacular wine dinners. Some offer intriguing beer dinners. We’ve even seen the occasional whiskey dinner recently. Now, here comes a Spring Coffee Dinner at the Ritz-Carlton on Saturday, May 17.

Ritz

The meal will feature Kaldi’s coffees in each course. Menu items include coffee-glazed pork belly, coffee-rubbed beef tenderloin, halibut sauced with coffee beurre blanc and coffee créme brulée. Click HERE for the complete menu.

Kaldi

Paired coffee cocktails and Urban Chestnut beers will accompany the meal.

Cost is $150/person plus tax and tip. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will go to the Ronald McDonald House. For reservations, call the Ritz at 314-719-1433.

The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis is located at 100 Carondelet Plaza in Clayton.

Even MORE BBQ for St. Louis

Restaurant owners Dave Bailey and Tom Schmidt engaged in a clever Twitter chat yesterday afternoon that revealed their respective new BBQ plans.

At 5:50 p.m. @BaileysinSTL tweeted to @FrancoSTL: “Hey, Tom, a little bird told me that you were opening a BBQ restaurant.”

bbq

In the next few minutes, beans were spilled via Twitter that Schmidt’s Nico (in the Loop next to the Chuck Berry statue) would be retooled into Salt + Smoke and would open in May.

Bailey shared word that his yet unnamed BBQ joint downtown at 1011 Olive would open next winter.

At 6:08 p.m. the P-D’s @ianfroeb noticed the chat and tweeted: “Dave Bailey and Tom Schmidt are either breaking news together or trolling all of us brilliantly.”

Congrats to both for using Twitter to bypass the local foodie media and take their news straight to the whole Twitterverse. Whether they plotted the exchange on their own or were guided by an unseen hand, it was nicely done.

Is there room for 2 more BBQ restaurants in town? I say yes. We may have enough Walgreen’s locations and a sufficient number of Starbucks stores to take care of our needs. But the saturation point for BBQ—while getting closer—is still a ways away, in my opinion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RFT’s Iron Fork—Loved It!

I promised myself I would not overdo it at Iron Fork this year. But there was so much good food and drink—that promise was quickly broken.

Tom at Iron Fork

My favorites tastes were the Beef and Barley Soup from Iron Barley, Bread Pudding from Cyrano’s and the Lobster Risotto from Scape. (Above is a photo of Iron Barley’s Tom Coghill in action.)

Here are a few pics of some more good-looking (and good-tasting) items at last Thursday’s (3/20/14) event:

Pork loin Dressel'sThe pork loin from Dressel’s (shown above) was served with grits and chowchow. Tasty!

Elvis Waffle

The Elvis Waffle (above) from Melt was a crowd favorite.

Scallops CTFHCentral Table Food Hall brought delicious scallops (above).

Veal meatball HWKHome Wine Kitchen served up a veal meatball with a neat blueberry sauce.

Whisk cookiesWhisk Bakery offered up a Chocolate Chip Cookie with Bacon and a Popcorn Cookie. Both very good!

Thanks to everybody who shared your food and drinks at this year’s Iron Fork event! Y’all did good!

Melting Pot Fundraiser for Autism

On Monday, April 28, The Melting Pot of Town and Country, is hosting a “fondue-raiser” for Missouri Families for Effective Autism Treatment (MO-FEAT).

For this benefit event, 100 percent of proceeds raised will go to MO-FEAT.

Karen Barnett is co-owner of the T & C Melting Pot and the parent of a child with autism.

The 4-course dinner will include a cheese fondue opener, a fresh salad, a “succulent entrée with fresh vegetables,” and a chocolate fondue dessert. Cost is $65/person and that includes your tip.

A cash bar will be available. Silent auction and raffle items will help raise more money.

First seating on 4/28 will be at 5:00 p.m. Make reservations by calling 636-207-6358. For more info, click HERE.

 

 

 

 

Tasting Event Strategies

If you attend events like this week’s Iron Fork at Union Station or June’s Saucy Soiree at the Four Seasons or St. Louis magazine’s A-List party in July in the CWE, you need strategies.

What do you want to sample? I enjoy trying things that are new and unfamiliar. Tasting longtime favorites is enjoyable, but a unique offering from a newer purveyor is more likely to produce a lasting memory.

How much do you want to eat and drink? I try to avoid getting quickly stuffed. Bread and beer are filling. If you get, say, a piece of brisket on a bun, toss the bun and enjoy the meat. Should you pick up a food sample that is less than delightful, you don’t have to eat it all.

If you choose to booze… there will be wonderful beers available. But I try to limit beer consumption at tasting events because, for me, it is more filling than wine.

How do you know which of the longer lines are worth the wait? Ask people. Almost all attendees love to talk about the foods they’ve enjoyed most.

Is it okay to get seconds? Generally, yes, although I don’t recommend it—for two reasons: (1) Each restaurant has a finite supply of food. (2) When you’re waiting in line for another taste of something you liked, you’re missing out on trying something different.

How do you avoid being overwhelmed by it all? Take notes. A quick memo to yourself on your phone’s notes app can help you recall highlights. Taking pics of the best-looking offerings also helps aid your recall. Many participants will have business cards or menus for you to pick up.

Remember that while these are food and drink events, they are also people events. Offer compliments to the folks whose food and beverages make you happy. Take a moment to greet old friends you encounter as you rush to the next food station. Honor the preferences of the person(s) you’re attending with.

Should you run into the people who have organized your tasting event, be sure to offer thanks for all their efforts. It’s a big job!

For full details of Thursday night’s Iron Fork tasting event, click HERE.

Ed Imo Rookie Card

Ed Imos Rookie Card Front Final

Imo’s Pizza is marking its 50th anniversary this year. They have printed up some cool Ed Imo baseball cards for the occasion. You may have looked at this card and thought, “I want one!” Not that easy.

Each Imo’s store throughout Missouri and Illinois will receive 1,000 Ed Imo rookie cards for distribution in March and another 1,000 in April.

Each week, 250 customers at each location will be chosen at random to receive a card with their purchase via delivery, carry-out or in-store dining. When a customer receives his or her card they need to register it online at http://www.imospizza.com. This will then qualify them as eligible to win one of several nice prizes, including sports trips and tickets.

Congrats to Ed and Marge Imo on this big milestone!

A Taste of Fiction

A Taste of Fiction is a fundraiser for St. Louis Public Library featuring pastry items from several St. Louis area chefs. The chefs have been asked to “interpret literary works in pastry.” Adult beverages will be served.

postcard

The event on Friday night at St. Louis Public Library is SOLD OUT. But you can check out the creative creations on Saturday (3/8/14). You can also meet and greet Robbie Montgomery of Sweetie Pie’s on Saturday afternoon. Click HERE for details.

Among the many fine sponsors of the event are Hendrick’s Gin and Monkey Shoulder Whiskey. Here are a couple of cool cocktail recipes that were passed our way, FYI:

The King Kong
1oz.  Monkey Shoulder
1/2 oz.  Tuaca
1/4 oz. Orange Curacao
2 oz.  Orange Juice
garnish with fresh thyme sprig

The Lemony Snicket
2 oz. Hendricks
4 oz. Lemonade