Taste Of Maplewood 2017

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

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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

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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

Give STL Coffee This Christmas

For a few decades now, folks on the coasts have frequently referred (in a snarky manner) to the middle of the U.S. as “flyover country.” Following the recent election, many of those coastal dwellers (media types and others) have decided to pay closer attention to those of us in the Midwest. They would do well to take note of our area’s coffee roasters.

St. Louis’s Flyover Coffee offers subscriptions to monthly mailings of freshly roasted beans from some of the area’s top coffee companies. Memberships start at $19/month.

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Participating roasters include Blueprint, Stringbean, Kuva, La Cosecha, Art House, Kaldi’s, Shortwave, Parengo, Riley’s, Northwest, Oddly Correct and Community Coffee.

Got friends and family in New York, Boston, L.A., San Francisco or, yes, even Seattle, who love great coffee? You can send ’em one, two or three bags per month of St. Louis’s best via Flyover Coffee. (Of course, you can send Flyover Coffee to other locales, including elsewhere here in flyover land.)

Click HERE to get the full scoop and send some St. Louis love in the form of fresh coffee this Christmas.

 

Coffee: The World In Your Cup and St. Louis In Your Cup

If coffee is a big part of your life, you will want to visit Missouri History Museum and check out their new coffee exhibit.

Coffee entry

St. Louis’s early settlers were of French descent and the French were among Europe’s biggest coffee consumers. Back in the 250-years-ago day, folks had to roast, grind and brew their own beans, meaning the product in one’s cup could be inconsistent.

(Way more inconsistent than my too-strong or too-weak morning coffee made via our Cuisinart Grind and Brew drip coffee maker.)

Old pots

Shown above are some vintage coffee pots featured in the exhibit.

As a media person, I enjoyed the mid-20th century vintage TV spots for Old Judge Coffee. It was “irradiated for a flavor boost.”

Old Judge magician

Old judge can

Dana Brown and his Safari Coffee are featured.

Coffee Dana

There are video presentations featuring newer local coffee roasters like Stringbean Coffee (Pete Cohen is pictured below) and Blueprint Coffee.

Coffee pete

coffee blueprint

I like the personal part of the exhibit where visitors are encouraged to write down their own coffee memories on a coffee filter. Here are three of them I snapped at random:

Coffee memory 1

coffee memory 2

coffee memory 3

The St. Louis skyline mural, made entirely of coffee beans, is impressive. It really needs to be seen up close and personal so you can fully appreciate it.

Coffee mural

There’s much more to Coffee: The World In Your Cup and St. Louis In Your Cup than I am able to share here.

The coffee exhibit with the long name at Missouri History Museum continues through January 3, 2016. Admission to the exhibit is free.

Missouri History Museum is located on the north side of Forest Park, just off Lindell Boulevard at DeBaliviere. Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., except Tuesdays when open until 8:00 p.m. Click HERE for more info on the coffee exhibit.

Tipping? Yes? No?

The endless debate over tipping and its attendant issues got a new wrinkle this week when New York restaurant owner Danny Meyer announced that he will transition to a no-tipping policy at his NYC restaurants.

HERE is the story as reported by eater.com.

Also this week, a restaurant owner in San Francisco who instituted a no-tipping policy ten months ago changed his mind and is going back to allowing customers to tip his wait staff. HERE is that story as reported by Michael Bauer in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Today’s Post-Dispatch has Ian Froeb’s front page article with several local restaurant owners chiming in on tipping. HERE is that story.

Here are a few thoughts on the matter…

Who benefits from a no-tipping policy?

The staff? Yes, sort of. The cooks will get more money. The servers, probably a bit less. The “hospitality included” upcharge prevents an unhappy diner from stiffing the service team. (An hourly wage means a server would get the same amount for a slow Tuesday night in January as for a bustling Saturday night in May. Although, if it’s really slow on that Tuesday night, he may be sent home early.)

The diner? Sure, he/she pays a higher menu price but now there’s no need to worry about doing the math to figure out 15%, 18% or 20% of the bill. Will service be just as good when the server knows he/she is being paid for simply doing the job, NOT because of how well or poorly he/she does it? That’s the big IF.

The restaurant owner? Certainly the bookkeeper will have an easier time reporting wages and deducting tax payments. The restaurant owner may be able to pay kitchen staff better. It may be a challenge to keep the wait staff happy, as the SF restaurant owner learned.

Could ANY restaurant, anywhere make this work in 2015?

Well, Danny Meyer’s places can. They’re in New York City which has a large dining population. Plus, his restaurants are established places with regular customers.

Certain upscale restaurants in towns like St. Louis might be able to make it fly. But older diners who prefer that changes come slowly may not be on board with such a radical switch.

Restaurants that cater to a budget crowd should avoid climbing aboard the no-tipping wave in its early stages. I can’t imagine that most Red Lobster customers would prefer a 20% price increase over choosing the amount of tip to leave.

Some other things to consider…

Is it so wrong that servers earn considerably more than cooks? The cooks endure burns, cuts and other hazards. But the argument could be made that the wait staff is more creative. They’re the ones who creatively upsell a table a 150 dollar bottle of wine. While the chef may be a creative genius, a line cook is charged with making most dishes the same way every time. (At some of the radio stations I worked at, the jocks—including me—drove older subcompacts while the sales men and women earned more and drove new luxury vehicles. Was this unfair? Maybe, but that’s just the way it was.)

Of course, the success of the servers is a direct result of the job being done in the kitchen. If food comes out slow, it’s often the server who gets the blame. If the meal is perfect because of the kitchen crew, the server may get the love in the the form of a bigger tip.

A older couple earning 300K/year pays the same for a dish at a tipping-banned restaurant as a young couple earning 46K/year. In a tipping-permitted situation, you might expect the higher earners to leave a significantly bigger gratuity. (Although most servers can tell you that’s not always the case. The rich can be cheapskates and the not-rich can be generous.)

What about the diner who wants to reward a special effort by a tip-free server? Does he surreptitiously slip the man or woman some cash? (My daughter works at a Starbucks where tips are pooled. She has received special personal gifts from regulars including cash, gift cards, toys for her cat and, from a shoe salesman, a pair of boots.)

Many servers like this aspect of the gig: you take money home every night! In a non-tipping Danny Meyer world, servers would presumably only take money home on payday and EVERY CENT would be reported income.

There will be bumps in the road to be sure. And we will continue to debate the pros and cons of tipping. But Danny Meyer’s move may be the first shot in what could become a revolution. Will it work? As they often say at the end of TV news reports, only time will tell.

More Oktoberfesting

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If you can handle a 34-ounce stein full of beer, head over to the Budweiser Brew House (Haus?) Saturday, October 3, noon-10:00 p.m. for Oktoberfest. (That’s at Ballpark Village in downtown St. Louis.)

This is a FREE event with activities inside the Beer Hall and outside in the Beer Garden. The Bolzen Beer Band will play festive music!

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Come thirsty, of course. Come hungry, too. Among the menu items being offered Saturday (and all through the month of October) are:

  • German style salted pretzels with signature beer mustards.
  • Drunken Rib Eye—Budweiser marinated 16-ounce bone-in rib eye served with sauerkraut mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus.
  • Sausage platter including bratwurst, knockwurst and Hungarian sausages served with sauerkraut mashed potatoes, braised red cabbage, accompanied with Amber Bock mustard and Budweiser beer mustard.
  • Jaegerschnitzel—Breaded pork loin ladled with demi-glace and served with braised red cabbage, and sauerkraut mashed potatoes.

A 34-ounce glass Spaten beer stein will be available for purchase for $15 with $10 refills. Prost!

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A-B Oktoberfest September 25-26-27

German beer will flow at Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis when Oktoberfest happens September 25, 26 and 27!

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The event kicks off Friday evening with a ceremonial tapping of the first keg of Spaten, a traditional Oktoberfest brew, by Mayor Francis Slay. Actually, the keg tap follows a wedding—a nice touch, since the Munich Oktoberfest grew from a wedding celebration in 1810. (Beer was introduced in 1818 and the event has grown over the last two centuries to a 17-day annual event that draws six million visitors each autumn.)

The A-B Oktoberfest will feature German-style beers and food (bratwursts, pretzels, gingerbread cookies, etc.). Authentic German music and entertainment will be offered all weekend.

default-heroHours for the Oktoberfest are Friday, September 25, 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Saturday, September 26, 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Sunday, September 27, noon to 5:00 p.m.

home-heroAdult tickets are available for 30/person and may be purchased by clicking HERE. Your ticket gets you a commemorative Oktoberfest beer stein, two beers and one food item. Additional beer, food and soft drinks will be available for purchase. (This is an all-ages event. Tickets for ages 4-20 are 10/person. That admission includes a soft drink and one food item.)

There is free parking in and around the A-B Biergarten located at 12th and Lynch in St. Louis.

Lederhosen optional, FYI.