Back to the Blog

Haven’t posted anything here in a couple of years.

From July 2016 thru August 2018 we spent most of our time in Birmingham. My dad passed away and we worked on the family home, cleaning things out and getting it ready to sell.

Now we are back in St. Louis. I am retired. Not that I’ll never work for money again but I haven’t for a while now. Since I am no longer doing a radio show and catering to advertisers nor am I currently doing PR, social and other marketing work for any food and beverage clients, I can be a bit more candid with my comments on this site.

Like, for instance, I can mention that the St. Louis magazine A-List party last week was a mess. The food was good and sometimes great. It was wonderful to see some folks I hadn’t seen in a long time. But the timing and the logistics were awful. The Sheldon was a bad venue for this event.

We arrived just before 6:00 p.m. and were told that the food would not be served until 6:45 p.m. because of an awards ceremony. We had not purchased tickets to attend an awards ceremony. We wanted to sample the food offerings. At about 6:20 a woman who was an event official told some of us who were waiting in a long line for drinks that she was going to close the bar so people would go to this awards ceremony. As she surveyed the long lines of thirsty people, she wisely reconsidered.

The food was served on three different levels at the Sheldon. Inconvenient but not something we couldn’t handle. Until we got to the third level. A band was playing. They were good. But they were too loud for that smallish room. It made conversation impossible.

The list of restaurants at the A-List party was impressive. Many of the best new joints in St. Louis. Most of the places offered good representations of their cuisine. A few phoned it in but I won’t name names. We got plenty to eat. And I had a couple of Goose Island beers that were tasty.

I understand that events like this party generate good revenue and visibility for the magazine. In my radio and PR work I have helped plan and execute events. My wife and I chaired a few school trivia nights with hundreds of attendees. So I know that events are not easy to pull off. Still, this one was a mess. (I used a less polite term on Facebook. A term that begins with “cluster.”) Let’s hope next year’s party will be better.

More to come.

—David Craig

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Taste Of Maplewood 2017

The list of participants offering food and/or drink at Saturday’s Taste of Maplewood Street Festival is stunning!

Maplewood street #1

Here’s a sampling:

Maya Cafe

Bolyard’s Meats and Provisions

Strange Donuts

Vom Fass

Foundation Grounds

The Blue Duck

The Muddled Pig

Reed’s American Table

Boogaloo

Mauhaus

Mauhaus Cat Cafe

Kakao

Tapped

Gus’s Fried Chicken

The Post Sports Bar

Boardwalk Waffles and Ice Cream

Saratoga Lanes

Prioritized Pastries

Larder and Cupboard

Among others. The event begins at noon on Saturday, May 20 and runs til 9:00 p.m. There is musical entertainment throughout the day.

Everything happens on Sutton, south of Manchester in Maplewood.

How about some candied bacon on a stick?

Bacon stick

Empanada?

empanada

Click HERE for more info including where to park.

I am honored to be a judge for the competition among vendors for best sweet tooth item, best savory dish, best cocktail and best overall item. Also judging are Mike Arnold who posts on Instagram and Twitter as @GusGusFunBus and Pat McGonigle, personable newsguy for Newschannel 5 (KSDK).

This is a fun event and it’s not just for people in the Maplewood/Mid-County area. Everybody is welcome.

Maplewood street #2

 

 

 

 

 

If You’re Gonna Sell Beer…

Various beers

If yours is a dining establishment that offers beer, make sure your servers know what the story is.

That means they should know what beers you have, which ones are on draft and which ones are in bottles. Even if your waiter/waitress is underage and another employee has to physically deliver the beer to your table, the server should have the proper info.

If your list is longer than just a handful, print it out. If it changes frequently, have your servers write it down. Also, if you’re out of a particular beer, your server should not have to go to the bar then come back to the table to tell a diner, “We’re out of….”

Even if your servers personally detest beer, they should have some idea of the nature of various beers. And with brewers offering multiple brews, they should have some familiarity with the styles and names.

I recently went to a restaurant which offers 7 or 8 beers on draft. Bud, Bud Light and a few craft beers. I checked at the bar before I sat down at a booth and knew which one I wanted. When I told the waitress the brew I desired, she asked, “Large or small?” I inquired, “What sizes are those?” She replied, “I don’t know. I just know the large is a dollar more.” Sigh.

Even if your restaurant is known for wine and/or cocktails, some of us may prefer a beer. If you’re going to sell beer to diners, please care enough to get it right. Thanks!

Newsy Notes from STL

The Dark Room is closing—temporarily!—as it moves to its new location. Final service at the current location on Grand will be Sunday (1/29).

The new location inside Grandel Theatre debuts on Wednesday, February 22 with a few changes. More details later.

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Valentine’s Day is on Tuesday, February 14. Cantina Laredo in Clayton is offering a Valentine’s Especialidad on February 11-14. Cost is 35/person for this 3-course meal (soup/salad, entrée, dessert).

Entrée choices include:

Camarones con Pasilla Mango Molé — Sautéed shrimp with spicy mango molé sauce.

Pollo Asada Tropical — A grilled chicken breast topped with Monterey Jack cheese and mango-avocado pico, served over two Monterey Jack cheese enchiladas with tomatillo sauce.

Filet Negro Peppercorn — Seven ounce Certified Angus Beef filet mignon topped with black peppercorn dijon sauce.

Cantina Laredo is located at 771o Forsyth. For reservations call 314-725-2447.

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The Ritz-Carlton St. Louis Grill restaurant has a 4-course (plus chocolate covered strawberries!) Valentine’s menu, available February 10, 11 and 14. Cost is 99/person.

Entrée choices at the Ritz Grill are Rack of Lamb with Grilled Asparagus, and a duo of Grilled Beef Tenderloin and Lemon/Fennel-Glazed Halibut.

Call the Ritz at (314-719-1433) for dining requests, or (800) 241-3333 for overnight packages.

BTW, the Ritz is also serving up a Valentine’s Chocolate Martini throughout February in its Lobby Lounge.

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The Biergarten at the A-B brewery is having a Food and Beer Pairing Dinner on Friday, February 10 at 6:30 p.m. Cost is 75/person. Click HERE for ticket info.

 

 

 

 

Freeze-Que At The Roadhouse

Most barbecue competitions occur in spring, summer and fall. How about one in the middle of winter?

Bill Kunz and company are hosting the 7th annual Freeze-Que this weekend at Highway 61 Roadhouse in Webster Groves. Hours are noon-5:00 p.m. on Saturday (1/28) and noon-4:00 p.m. on Sunday (1/29).

ribs-lightly-sauced

The Freeze-Que offers a good opportunity for you to spend some time outdoors in the winter cold, enjoying delicious ribs from nearly 50 competitive teams! Full bar service will be available. And there will be live music both afternoons on the Roadhouse lot.

If you get too cold, you can always take refuge inside the Roadhouse. Weekend highs will struggle to hit 40 degrees, according to forecasts. Not frigid, but cool enough to appreciate winter. (The photo below is from a springtime event at the Roadhouse.)

roadhouse-owner-bill-kunz

Proceeds from the Freeze-Que benefit the Carney’s Kids Foundation which provides funds to several worthy children’s organizations.

Highway 61 Roadhouse is located at 34 South Old Orchard Avenue in Webster Groves (63119).

 

 

 

 

 

Clementine Hooks Up with Piccione!

Piccione Pastry’s in the Delmar Loop has partnered with Clementine’s Creamery to offer Clementine’s gelato and sorbet. Are you ready for Piccione’s cannoli stuffed with Clementine’s gelato? Delizioso!

Piccione owner Richard Nix Jr. says, “An Italian pastry shop isn’t complete without authentic gelato and sorbet, and Tamara Keefe and the Clementine’s team create the perfect flavors.” That’s Clementine’s owner Tamara Keefe in the pic with Ricky Nix III.

piccione-pastry-clementines-creamery

Piccione Pastry shop opened in spring 2013 at Skinker and Delmar, just west of the Pageant and features late night hours. Open until 9:00 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and until 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery is located at 1637 S. 18th Street in the Lafayette Square neighborhood and also features late evening hours. Clementine’s is open until 10:00 p.m. Sunday thru Thursday and until 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

More info on their websites! Click HERE for Piccione Pastries. And HERE for Clementines.

And go HERE for an amazing pic of Piccione’s cannoli.

Landmark Hits Milestone

Pat’s in Dogtown has been there… forever. Well, longer than you can remember.

Actually, 75 years. The joint opened in 1942.

pats-tavern

Famous for being the starting point (or very near it) of the annual Dogtown St. Patrick’s Day parade, Pat’s, at Tamm and Oakland was founded by a real Irishman. Pat Connolly, native son of County Galway, called his establishment the Pat Connolly Tavern.

Following ownership changes over the decades and a period when the bar was known as McDermott’s, Pat’s is back in the family. And the official name is once again the Pat Connolly Tavern.

pat-connolly

The current owner is Joe Jovanovich, grandson of Pat Connolly. (That’s Pat in the photo.) In partnership with his mom, Jovanovich has updated things. The decor. And the menu.

However, you have to honor a classic: As it was in the beginning, so it is today that fried chicken is a menu staple. Along with a large selection of bar/grill food favorites, the beverage menu goes well beyond Bud and Bud Light. Along with Irish beers, the PCT offers classic cocktails.

If you haven’t been by in, oh, a decade or two, maybe it’s time to revisit a St. Louis landmark as the Pat Connolly Tavern celebrates its 75th anniversary. Check out their website by clicking HERE.

pct