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!

Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant

Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant is new in West County at Town and Country Crossing. That’s the center on Clayton Road, just west of 141, that has Whole Foods.

CH entrance

Yes, it’s a winery. No, they don’t make wine in West County, but they sell it. In fact, the first thing you see when you walk in is their wine store.

CH Store

The wines Cooper’s Hawk sells in the store are made at their winery in suburban Chicago. (Grapes are sourced from all over.) But, first let’s go inside the restaurant.

CH Dining AreaDecor is modern, with wood, stone and lots of earth tones. It’s bright in the daytime, thanks to windows all around. I like the way they use the wine bottles as part of their room divider.

photo-238Cooper’s Hawk has a beautiful bar (shown below) which offers a decent selection of beer and cocktails, as well as wine.

photo-239

I enjoyed a glass of Lux Meritage Red from their wine menu.

Wine glass

From the Beef and Pork portion of the dining menu, I had the New York Strip (shown below) with Betty’s Potatoes and mixed veggies. (Sorry, but I cut off a bite of the steak before I snapped the pic. Hungry!)

CH steak

Cooper’s Hawk also has a Winemaker’s Barrel Reserve red wine that skips the bottle and goes straight from the barrel (shown below) to your glass.

CH barrel

As you leave, you pass through the store again. If you enjoyed the bottle of wine you had with lunch or dinner, you can buy a bottle or three of that very wine to take home with you—at a lower price than you paid in the restaurant.

Cooper’s Hawk in Town and County is, by my count, their 13th winery/restaurant. It’s a clever concept, in a beautiful space. And it adds to the ever growing list of better restaurants in the county. Click HERE to go to the Cooper’s Hawk website.