ALIVE Lifestyle Lounge

Fun time Friday night at The Thaxton on Olive in downtown St. Louis! It was the ALIVE Influencer Network’s Lifestyle Lounge with many cool people and things.

Food and drink were provided by Snarf’s Sandwiches, Billy Goat Chips, Eckert Farms, Strange Donuts, Bissinger’s, The Dark Room, Old Bakery Beer and Barrister’s (among others).

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The Dark Room in Grand Center brought chef Samantha Pretto’s Chicken Florentine Meatballs. They were spicy and delicious.

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Old Bakery Beer from Alton, Illinois served up a couple of their brews including the Golden Oat which I loved. (Went back for seconds.) (That’s Ryan Myers grabbing a brew from Patrick Shaw of OBB.)

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Eckert’s Farms of Belleville shared Strawberry Shortcake made with freshly-harvested strawberries.

Sam and Kristie Boctor of Barrister’s in Clayton brought food and drink. Nice folks! BTW, they offer brunch on Saturdays and Sundays at their place on Forsyth.

Attendees at the event included a couple of folks who were guests on my Food Talk STL radio show back in 2012. On left in the photo below is Stefani Pollack with her 15.8K Instagram followers at @cupcakeproject. On the right, with his 111K (!) Instagram followers at @grillinfools is Scott Thomas. (Stefani’s husband, ace photog Jonathan Pollack, is in the middle.)

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Some other folks I enjoyed visiting with at the event: Lindsay Van Quaethem from Downtown St. Louis and  Jen Porto of Jenporto.com.

Also… reps from Opera Theatre of St. Louis (opening night is May 21), St. Louis Premium Outlets, Firecracker Press, Snapdragon Studio, My Coconut Kitchen, Living Collective and Fair Acres Quality Goods.

Thanks to Linday Pattan of ALIVE Influencer Network and Mad Dog of the Thaxton for the hospitality!

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Newsy Notes

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Happy Springtime!

 

  • If anybody can make the Bevo Mill a successful food/drink venue, Paul and Wendy Hamilton can. Here’s hoping their bid for redevelopment and operation of the Gravois landmark is the one chosen by the LCRA. Click HERE for the stltoday.com story.
  • My wife wanted pancakes so we went to Cracker Barrel. Was surprised when we visited to see a poster for R & B singer Anthony Hamilton’s latest album. The chain usually does such promotions only with country artists. Click HERE for the media release re the Hamilton deal. (BTW, she liked her pancakes.)
  • On my first night in St. Louis for my new job in 1988 I went to Hacienda on Manchester in Rock Hill for a brew and a bite. Since then, Hacienda has thrived as a major party venue (especially after they expanded their patio). They’ll be hosting a huge Cinco de Mayo event next Thursday. Lunch begins at 11:00 a.m. A DJ begins spinning at 1:00 p.m, then live performers Perry Woods (2:30 p.m.) and Dirty Mugs (5:00 p.m.) take over. NO COVER CHARGE! Click HERE for full info, including details about remote parking/shuttle bus service.
  • Among the many spots offering Mother’s Day buffets (Sunday, May 8) are the Four Seasons Hotel, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (79/person); the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (89/person); the A-B Biergarten, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (25/person); Moulin, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (32.99/person); Riverbend, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (order from menu.) For this busy dining day, it’s best to make advance reservations.
  • Editorial comment: If your barbecue (pulled pork, especially) is superior, it’s not necessary to drench it with sauce. If it’s not quite up to par, then slather away and drown the meat.
  • The first Sauce Magazine Food Truck Friday of 2016 happens on Friday, May 13 at Tower Grove Park. Details HERE.
  • The 4th Annual St. Louis Cigar Box Guitar Festival (an event I am helping promote) is set for Saturday, June 4, noon to 6:00 p.m. at Highway 61 Roadhouse in Webster Groves. Click HERE for the CBG Fest’s Facebook page.
  • Below is a photo of the scallops appetizer my wife enjoyed at Pearl’s Oyster Bar at Ameristar Casino in St. Charles. One of many tasty items on their menu.ScallopsAmeristar

 

 

 

Crestwood Plaza Goodbye Event

On Saturday, April 16, beginning at 11:00 a.m., 26 food trucks will assemble outside Crestwood Court on Watson Road. Later in the day there will be live music.

Click HERE for event details.

At some time soon, all the connected buildings will be demolished and a new development will arise on the site. Unfortunately, a number of things caused the demise of Crestwood Plaza. Among its shortcomings (which it managed to overcome for decades) was its lack of close proximity to an interstate highway.

I was thinking last night about all the time and money my family spent at Crestwood Plaza.

Lots of meals at Chevy’s (fish tacos and a couple of Negra Modelos was my usual order) and Pasta House Company (pasta con broccoli). A few muffins and such at the Breadco up at the Famous-Barr end of the mall. And the occasional snacks from the food court.

Birthday parties at Exhilarama. MDA telethons. Radio station events in the Dillard’s court. Lemony Snicket books at B. Dalton. Toys galore from KayBee. Goofy items from Everything’s A Dollar. My first reading glasses from Sears Optical.

Many clothing and shoe purchases throughout the mall. Our first flip phones from the Sprint kiosk. And while the AMC theater was not my favorite I saw several films there. My Big Fat Greek Wedding was the last one I recall seeing at Crestwood.

To all the folks who shopped or worked at Crestwood Plaza, Saturday offers one more time to reminisce.

 

 

 

Prohibition Repeal Party at A-B Biergarten

Prohibition was a weird time in our nation’s history. Sitting here in 2016, nearly a century after Prohibition began, I don’t think a single state would ratify such an amendment.

When Prohibition ended in April 1933, Anheuser-Busch made it an event with Clydesdale-drawn beer wagons heading out the brewery gates, down Pestalozzi Street.

This Saturday, April 9, 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., the A-B Biergarten in St. Louis is hosting a Prohibition Repeal Party. Since the booze ban ended in 1933, cost for the event is $33.

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Your admission price gets you a commemorative glass and Budweiser, Michelob and Faust beers. Plus live music by the Big St. Louis Band. You are encouraged to dress in 1930’s era garb. (Spats optional.) Food and additional beer will be available for purchase.

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For complete information about the Prohibition Repeal Party, click HERE.

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Cheers!

Movie Review: City Of Gold

You’ve tasted Korean, Thai and Mexican food. You may have tasted Burmese, Ethiopian and Iranian food. You know that Los Angeles is a city with a diverse population. In City of Gold, you learn that Jonathan Gold often begins his reviews with writing in the second person. Hence, my opening paragraph.

Food critic Jonathan Gold wraps his arms around Los Angeles and its diversity. He loves L.A., his hometown, and its wide assortment of cuisines and flavors. City of Gold explores the food of Los Angeles and the people who cook and serve it. The film also provides insight into Gold and his writing.

Gold says, “You’re not going to find food like this anywhere but L.A.” I’d argue that many cities in the U.S., including St. Louis, offer a wide range of ethnic cuisines prepared with skill and passion.

But this film is about Los Angeles. The sheer enormity of the L.A. metro area and its population from across the world make it possible for Gold to experience meal after excellent meal at favorite dining spots. Gold revels in the smaller establishments, often in the less celebrated corners of town. (He once wrote a series of articles about every block of Pico Boulevard, which runs from downtown L.A. to the ocean at Santa Monica.)

Among the spots I like best in the film are the taco stand King Taco, which also has a taco truck permanently parked outside, and downtown’s Grand Central Market.

City of Gold features appearances from food personalities Andrew Zimmern, David Chang, Ruth Reichl and Calvin Trillin talking with or about Gold. (He and Reichl commiserate over fried grasshoppers.) Gold’s wife Laura Ochoa, who also works for the Los Angeles Times, adds her takes about her husband and his work.

Gold, the first food critic to win the Pulitzer Prize (2007), writes colorfully. Of a spicy dish, he compares it to “a mysteriously pleasurable punch in the mouth.” In an Op-Ed regarding preservation of over-harvested sea animals for food, he writes of the “bitter taste of extinction.”

Jonathan Gold has a wide cultural range. He is a cello player who grew up listening to classical music but later wrote about Gangsta rap. He doesn’t seem like a truck guy, but he proudly drives a Dodge pickup.

Laura Gabbert directed City of Gold. Her shots of Los Angeles at the end of the day give the city an appealing look that contrast with the gritty look of much of her street level filming.

City of Gold provides a glimpse of the vastness of the food choices L.A. brings to the table. Gold is a man who loves his work as much as he loves his city. His passion is obvious. You will enjoy meeting him and, especially, checking out the food he eats.

 

 

 

Hungry Girl in STL on April 20

Lisa Lillien AKA Hungry Girl returns to St. Louis on Wednesday, April 20, 7:00 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center. It’s a FREE appearance, but you need to obtain an advance ticket.

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Lisa will be in town for a Jewish Book Festival event and will be promoting her newest book Clean & Hungry. Important note: “Snacks will be served.”

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Here is my interview with Lisa recorded in fall of 2012 for the Food Talk STL radio show, just ahead of an appearance at a Dierberg’s store.

 

In the interview, Lisa mentions throwing out a first pitch at a Cardinals game. (Hmmm. There’s a day game against the Cubs at Busch Stadium on her appearance date. Maybe she could enjoy a repeat performance?)

For (free) tickets to see Lisa on 4/20 at the J, you can call 314-442-3299 OR you can send an email to mjkambal@jccstl.org OR you can stop by the box office at the JCC Arts and Education building. Location is 2 Millstone Campus Drive, St. Louis 63146.

For more info about Lisa at her Hungry Girl website, click HERE.

 

 

 

 

New Foodie Movie: City Of Gold

City of Gold opens in St. Louis on Friday, March 25. Look for my review of the film in this space a few days before opening day.

This is a documentary featuring Los Angeles food critic Jonathon Gold who reveals the diversity of foods available in the L.A. area. Gold, a Pulitzer Prize winner, is “a culinary geographer taking us where no critic has gone before,” according to press notes.

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3/10 Fundraiser for Soccer Park

The A-B Biergarten is hosting a fundraiser Thursday, March 10, 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., to support restoration efforts for World Wide Technology Soccer Park, following recent flood damage.

Tickets for the event are 50 dollars. Guests will enjoy a variety of food and beverages plus live music. Attendees can bid on a number of attractive items in the silent auction. To purchase tickets, click HERE.

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During the event, checks will be presented by officials from Anheuser-Busch and Grey Eagle Distributors to help support the cause.

The popular soccer venue’s convenient location, off I-44 just west of I-270, is close to the Meramec River whose high waters caused extensive damage to much of the facility. The photo below from stltoday.com shows the extent of recent flooding.

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Thursday’s event offers a perfect opportunity for the STL soccer community to provide needed help. The soccer park, which opened in 1982, has hosted soccer matches at all levels of play, as well as numerous other events. Almost everyone involved in the St. Louis soccer scene has played or attended games there.

For more information about World Wide Technology Soccer Park, click HERE.

The Anheuser-Busch Biergarten is located at 1200 Lynch Street, adjacent to the brewery.

 

Cards Spring Games on BPV TV

Ballpark Village has one humongous TV screen. It’s not only ginormous, it also has a bright, clear picture.

BPV screen

For many of the Cardinals spring training games from Florida, four of Ballpark Village’s venues will be offering a $10 Burger + Beer special.

You can enjoy this deal at Budweiser Brew House, Cardinal Nation, Drunken Fish and Fox Sports Midwest Live! (FSML! is the area with the big TV.) For ten bucks, you get any menu burger plus a pint of domestic beer. (For Drunken Fish, you can substitute a bowl for a burger.)

Burger + Bud

Also—tickets to regular season Cardinals games will be given away each day the special deal is offered!

Here is the schedule for the Burger and Beer $10 special (with Cardinals baseball on TV). All games begin at noon, except the March 30 game which begins at 11:00 a.m.

Sunday, March 6 vs Nationals

Monday, March 7 vs Mets

Wednesday, March 9 vs Marlins

Friday, March 11 vs Braves

Monday, March 14 vs Twins

Friday, March 18 vs Tigers

Sunday, March 20 vs Marlins

Monday, March 21 vs Redsox

Wednesday, March 23 vs Marlins

Saturday, March 26 vs Nationals

Sunday, March 27 (Easter Sunday) vs Marlins

Monday, March 28 vs Mets

Tuesday, March 29 vs Nationals

Wednesday, March 30 vs Marlins.

For info about the Ballpark Village Spring Training Special, click HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Potbelly Sandwich Shop in O’Fallon (MO)

The St. Louis area now has its third Potbelly Sandwich Shop. The newest Potbelly is open in O’Fallon, MO, at 2025 Highway K. (That’s 1.6 miles south of I-70.)

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The shop features “toasty” warm sandwiches, salads, soups, chili, and shakes and smoothies. And a friendly crew!

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Crew 1

I sampled the Potbelly sandwich called “A Wreck” which comes with salami, roast beef, turkey, ham and Swiss cheese. Take a look…

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I got mine with lettuce, tomato, pickle and mayo. There’s a lot of good stuff on that sandwich. Very filling! (Took the other half back to share with a co-worker who loved it.)

The Sriracha Black Bean Soup was just spicy enough to enhance its deliciousness. I want more!

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If you’re a milk shake fan, try the coffee flavored shake. Or maybe get chocolate and coffee mixed for a mocha shake.

Potbelly shake

And would you believe that a sandwich shop has live entertainment? Yep. Everyday between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., there are live music performers! Nice touch.

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The manager at the O’Fallon Potbelly is Mike Wright. Owners are Todd and Angie Stimson. They also have Potbelly Sandwich shops in Creve Coeur (on Olive in the old Provisions location) and in Clayton (on Bemiston in the old Fatted Calf location). Their next Potbelly is set to open in late summer in St. Charles near Lindenwood University.

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By the way, the name comes from the potbelly stove that was in the original Potbelly Sandwich Shop in Chicago. It was an antique store that began serving lunch to their shoppers and, before long, they were better known for their food than for their antiques.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop in O’Fallon is open at 11:00 a.m. each day. It closes at 9:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and at 8:00 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, click HERE.

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