Casa del Mar Grand Fiesta Weekend!

Casa del Mar at the St. Louis Galleria is having a Grand Fiesta this weekend. The event celebrates the restaurant’s new decor and a newly updated menu.

photo-423From Friday, August 28, through Sunday, August 30, guests can enjoy Casa del Mar’s “Limit 2” Margaritas for half price. (They’re called “Limit 2” because they are potent.)

Casa del Mar is also offering a free appetizer to diners who purchase two entrées during this weekend’s Grand Fiesta.

CDM enchinladasAmong the items I enjoyed at a tasting event this week were the Lobster and Shrimp Enchiladas, Steak Fajitas, Shrimp Quesadillas and Spinach and Mushroom Enchiladas. Casa del Mar describes their offerings as “traditional Mexican food as well as Tex-Mex fare with a twist.”

photo-424Street and Beach Taco choices include Fish, Chicken, Lobster, Beef, Shrimp and Carnitas.

CDM tacosGuacamole is prepared tableside at Casa del Mar by your server who includes a large number of ingredients. Let her/him know if you prefer your guac smooth or chunky.

CDM guacCasa del Mar is run by the same folks who’ve had a long-running success with the Canyon Cafe at Plaza Frontenac. Casa del Mar opened in November 2014 at the north end of the Galleria, next to Dillard’s. The restaurant has entrances from the mall and from the parking lot.

photo-425 photo-426Among the new visuals at Casa del Mar is the distinctive eye mural from local artist Peat Wolleager, seen above in the bar area.

To make reservations for the Grand Fiesta weekend at Casa del Mar, call 314-725-3700. Casa del Mar is open from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Except Fridays and Saturdays when they remain open until 9:30 p.m.)

To visit Casa del Mar online, click HERE. To find them on Facebook, click HERE.

Ballpark Village Brew Fest By Budweiser, A St. Louis Home Brew Celebration

That’s a long name for one event. And I even left out the words “second annual.”

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The BPV Brew Fest happens this Saturday, August 29, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Ballpark Village, with lots of love for the local home brew community. In case you don’t know, STL home brewers produce some excellent brews!

In addition to samples of Anheuser-Busch beers, the Brew Fest features a sampling of various beers from local home brew clubs. Also, there’s a single-style home brewing competition with the winning recipe being brewed at the Anheuser-Busch Research Pilot Brewery and sampled in the Budweiser Brew House. This year’s competition beer will be an ESP (Extra Special Bitter).

Various beers

Attendees will also have the chance to have your photo taken with a Clydesdale!

Tickets for the event are $25 in advance ($30 at the door).

70 VIP tickets are also available for $75, which includes general admission to the Brew Fest plus exclusive samples from Home Brew Clubs and a guided four-course lunch pairing food and beer with an Anheuser-Busch brewmaster, as well as voting for the “Best of Show” of the home brew offerings.

Tickets are available via ticketfly.com.

For more info on the BPV Brew Fest, click HERE.

Wing Ding Fun (And The Winners!)

On Thursday night, August 20, the 5th annual UCP Wing Ding at Queeny Park attracted about 1,500 chicken wing fans.

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The wings, served up by an impressive group of restaurants, ranged from very good to spectacular.

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A group of judges, mostly from the media world, some of whom are pictured below, had the difficult task of choosing the winners. All tastings were blind; we did not know who submitted which wings.

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PointguysHere is the list of the 2015 Wing Ding winners:

Traditional

  1. The Kitchen Sink
  2. Joe Buck’s
  3. Winfield’s Gathering Place

Specialty

  1. Sugarfire Smokehouse (loaded potato skin stuffed wings, wrapped in bacon)
  2. St. Louis Wing Company (bacon wrapped wing with miso glaze, wasabi and sriracha aioli, and spicy soy glaze) (pictured below)
  3. Three Kings Public House (chicken and waffles with bacon jam and maple syrup)

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Dry Rubbed

  1. Sugarfire Smokehouse
  2. Walnut Grill
  3. St. Louis Wing Company

 

Hottest

Ozzie’s at Lumiere Place

 

Judges’ Overall Favorite

Sugarfire Smokehouse Specialty Wing

 

People’s Choice

St. Louis Wing Company

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The event offered St. Louis wing lovers the opportunity to taste a wide variety of wings from a large assortment of dining places. The Wing Ding also offered participating bars and restaurants a chance to share their wares with an enthusiastic group of attendees AND to put their best wings up against all the others in a friendly competition.

Nobody went home hungry and a significant amount of money was raised for the great work United Cerebral Palsy Heartland does in the St. Louis community!

 

Yes, We’re Gonna Have a WING DING!*

If you love chicken wings, or even if you merely like chicken wings, you must attend the 2015 UCP Wing Ding on Thursday, August 20, 6:00 p.m. at Queeny Park. The event is in the Greensfelder building on the Weidman Road side of the park in west St. Louis county. (And, yes, the Cardinals are off that night.)

Wing Ding sign

Tickets are 25 dollars. That gives you the opportunity to sample wings from all 22 (at last count) participating restaurants plus 2 drink tickets. A VIP ticket is priced at 45 dollars. VIPs get unlimited drinks, reserved seating and early admission (5:30 p.m.)

Tickets at the door are 30 and (VIP) 50 dollars. Order online by Monday, August 17, to get the advance ticket price.

Click HERE to buy your tickets and to check out the full list of participating restaurants.

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Wings!

Along with wing sampling, there’s also a competition! Last year St. Louis Wing Company dominated the awards, so this year everybody else will be upping their game a bit.

Celebrity judges include radio folks Guy Phillips, Trish Gazall, Patrico, Rizzuto, Staci Static, Joe Roderick and Howard Balzer. Also: food journalists George Mahe, Joe Bonwich and Michael Renner. Gabe Hartwig, Joe Holleman and Dan Neman represent the Post-Dispatch. Social media maven Chris Reimer, STL Winegirl Angie Ortmann, Grillin’ Fool Greg Thomas, BBQ “Godfather” Terry Black, FOX-2/KPLR newsguy Patrick Clark and myself are also among the judging contingent.

I have participated the last 3 years and can assure you that this is fun event. You will get to taste a wide variety of delicious chicken wing serving styles and can enjoy the company of several hundred fun folks. Plus—there will be beer!

Click HERE to visit the Wing Ding’s Facebook page.

*(Opening lyric to Donald Fagen’s song New Frontier from his 1982 album The Nightfly.)

 

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:

tomato pizza

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.

Mezza

mezzaluna

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.

Chang

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. 

Clydesdales

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.