16 Thoughts For Sweet ’16

  1. Sorry, but I don’t get excited about ramen.
  2. Since many recent openings in St. Louis have been either pizza or barbecue joints, please note you can combine the two with the Pulled Piggy Pizza from PW Pizza. It is delicious. (Pictured with slaw atop the pulled pork and sauce.) Pulled piggy pizza
  3. We are blessed to have a wide choice of grocers in my neck of suburbia: Schnucks, Dierbergs, Shop’n’Save, of course. Also, Lucky’s, Fresh Thyme, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Global Foods, Sam’s Club, Costco, Walmart, Target. Still haven’t made it to Aldi.
  4. Want to be happier in 2016? Eat more avocados.
  5. I like this memorable quote from Tom Colicchio (pictured below) in last Saturday’s Wall Street Journal: “Calories are cheap. Nutrition is expensive.”Colicchio
  6. Even if you’re a Starbucks hater, you have to admit that their national presence over the past two decades has helped “raise all boats.” Almost every place that sells coffee has improved their product.
  7. Chain restaurants are not inherently bad. I can name chains in St. Louis whose quality varies from pretty good to abysmal, from location to location. In most cases, the reason is good or bad management.
  8. Is it okay for a restaurant to brag about using local vendors whenever possible… via a release from an out-of-town PR firm?
  9. Sweet and savory do not always go together well, but when the combination works, the results can be pretty amazing.
  10. I’m not a fan of the “best nine” tic-tac-toe format on Instagram. Most of the nine tiny pics are too small. (Or maybe it’s time for me to get a new phone with a bigger screen.)
  11. The crew at a local Breadco did not know what to do last month when I ordered a mocha and asked them to stamp my 90s era Cappuccino Club card.
  12. I enjoy Urban Chestnut beers but the 500 milliliter bottle size (just over 16 ounces) can be confounding. Sometimes one is not enough but two are too many.
  13. How many waiters have their own business cards? Our server at Fleming’s last week included his card in the check holder. Nice touch.
  14. If you’re thinking about going paleo or trying Whole 30, you should know that cauliflower makes a great rice substitute and sweet potatoes are wonderful.
  15. Recommended book: A Year In Provence (1989) by Peter Mayle. Among the joys he and his wife experience are numerous eating and drinking occasions. Loved the book. When I read it last spring, I laughed out loud many times.
  16. My favorite meal of 2015 was at Singleton’s Seafood Shack in Jacksonville, Florida, on the banks of the St. John’s River. Fried fish, fried dill pickles, a cold Bud Light and memories of the years we lived in the Big J.

I wish you and your family a Sweet (and Savory) ’16! Roll Tide!


Jack Daniels Whiskey Taster Lynne Tolley in STL

Lynne Tolley in STL

Lynne Tolley is in St. Louis this week to teach cooking classes at several Dierbergs School of Cooking locations. She comes from Lynchburg, Tennessee, where she works for Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey.

Lynne is a charming Southern lady with a beautiful accent. I think you’ll enjoy hearing her talk!

I visited with Lynne Wednesday morning (October 1). We talked about cooking with Jack—I mentioned pecan pie—but I began our chat by asking what it says on her business card. (Segment 1 runs 5:10)


I asked Lynne about Miss Mary Bobo’s, the restaurant in Lynchburg that my parents visited several years ago. (Segment 2 runs 3:29)


I asked her to mention a few of the items she would be cooking at Dierbergs. I also asked about a special treat for cold weather months called Winter Jack. (Segment 3 runs 4:28)


For more information about Jack Daniels Distillery and its products click HERE.

For info on Dierbergs School of Cooking, click HERE.






Francine Segan To Visit STL

Francine Segan is a food personality who will be bringing her chocolate expertise to St. Louis this week. She will be participating in a number of classes for Dierberg’s School of Cooking and popping up on local TV shows. She is the official chocolate instructor for Perugina chocolate.

Here is a photo of Francine about to eat a cannoli.


Friday night (11/15), 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., she’ll host Date Night: For Chocolate Lovers at the West Oak Dierberg’s on Olive at Craig in Creve Coeur. It’s a demonstration class for couples that features Pasta with Pork Ragu, Chocolate Cheesecake and a Chocolate Martini. Perugina chocolate, natch.

On Saturday night (11/16), 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., she’ll be at Des Peres Dierberg’s for A Chocolate Extravaganza, which includes tastings of a number of items featuring Perugina chocolate. She will also present classes on dessert making (with chocolate!) at Edwardsville (Thursday night), Bogey Hills (Saturday afternoon) and Southroads (Sunday afternoon).

Click HERE to view Dierberg’s November-December School of Cooking brochure with costs and registration information.

Francine Segan is also an expert on pasta!

Pasta Modern

Her newest book (she’s written six) Pasta Modern is available now. Click HERE for the Amazon link.

So, yes, you could have it delivered in time to get her to sign the book this weekend at a Dierberg’s event. If you opt for the download, maybe she could sign your Kindle. (Or maybe not.)

All Chicken Fingers, All The Time!

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers opened today at 12215 Manchester Road in Des Peres.

RaisingCane'sI give Raising Cane’s credit for being bold enough to open just down Manchester Road from a Chick-Fil-A that’s always busy. They’re also across from a McNugget-serving Mickey D’s. (Maybe that’s good strategy—to be near a competitor but not right next door.)

But are chicken fingers a big enough deal to format a fast-food restaurant around them? Apparently so, as Raising Cane’s opened its 150th location earlier this year. Personally, I tend to take a pass on chicken fingers. I think of chicken fingers as the ultimate kid’s menu item. My mother-in-law loves Dairy Queen’s chicken fingers and would eat ’em every day if she could.

I plan to take her by to sample the chicken fingers at Raising Cane’s soon, although not at lunchtime. That strip of Manchester just east of I-270 can get seriously congested during the noon hour. Edward Jones HQ, West County Mall, the Epic Schnuck’s and the Mondo Dierberg’s are all close by, all generating cars.


Raising Cane’s has locations in food courts in the Galleria, Mid-Rivers Mall and in Chesterfield Mall. This is their first free-standing store in metro STL.

In this era where so many fast food and quick serve places are trying to cover their competitors’ offerings and be all things to all people, I admire these folks for putting all their (hatched) eggs in one basket, so to speak. All chicken fingers, all the time!

On the web at raisingcanes.com.

Sparkling Ice

During June I have become a fan of Sparkling Ice, a zero calorie flavored drink. I discovered this product when I limped into Katy Trail Bike Rental in Defiance one Sunday morning with a painful thigh cramp and an empty water bottle. After a bottle of  Kiwi Strawberry flavored Sparkling Ice from their cooler and a brief rest, I was on my way.

I tracked down Sparkling Ice and found it at Wal-Mart and Dierbergs. I’ve tried several of their flavors but prefer the Kiwi Strawberry. Although the Pink Grapefruit flavor is a very close second!


What I like about this stuff is the flavors are sweet but not overwhelming (unlike most mainstream diet sodas). Also, the carbonation is just enough to liven up the drink but not quite enough to make you feel bloated. My only problem with Sparkling Ice is the poor design of the bottles: they are tall and slim and tend to fall over inside my refrigerator.

If you are a diet soda drinker, you might like Sparkling Ice. Dierbergs has Sparkling Ice on sale this weekend: a 17 ounce bottle for 88 cents.






FOOD TALK STL show schedule

Food Talk STL will not be heard on Saturday, September 29, as KFNS will carry the Illinois-Penn State football game.

Our show will be on the air on October 6, 13 and 20 at 11:00 a.m. each of those Saturdays.

On October 6, guests will include George Mahe of St. Louis magazine, Chuck Dressel of Mt. Pleasant Winery and Caryn Dugan, a local vegan cook and consultant. We will give away several pairs of tickets to the Soulard Chili Cookoff, which is set for October 20.

On October 13, guests will include chef Carl Hazel of 1111 Mississippi and Beth Huch of St. Louis Culinary Tours.

On October 20, we will broadcast live from the Soulard Chili Cookoff. Guests will include Dan Kopman of Schlafly Bottleworks (and representing St. Louis Originals) and Lisa Lillien, author of Hungry Girl to the Max. Lisa will be appearing on Thursday, November 1, at the new Dierberg’s in Des Peres. (We will be giving away copies of her book during the show on 10/20.)

On October 27, the Illini start early, so no show.

In the meantime, click on the “past shows” tab to hear interviews from previous shows. Click HERE to listen to our recent chat with Gerard Craft.