Saturday, February 14, 2009

It was like I died and went to heaven... a heaven full of my favorite foods

Yesterday I did something that I should have done a long time ago... I went to Sweetie Pie's on Manchester. This restaurant has been taunting me for some time. In 2008 they were voted best soul food in St. Louis by the RFT as well as having their signature mac n cheese featured on the foodnetwork. If this wasn't enough motivation to go to the restaurant it is also conveniently located only five minutes away from SLU, nestled in the up-incoming area appropriately deemed "The Grove." So when I was trying to think of something cute and fun to do with my girlfriends for Valentine's day the idea of going to "Sweetie Pie's with my sweetie pies" was a no brainer. I have to say I was not disappointed. 
All the reviews of the establishment led me to think that it was sit-down service style, but upon arrival I was taken aback by the cafeteria line that was splayed out in-front of me. Sweetie's is open from 6:30AM to 8:00PM Monday thru Saturday and gathering from what I saw if you wanna get fed you come early. The line got pretty long around 6:00PM. Once you get in line you have a choice of one of the 5 specials of the day and then you can pick 2 or 3 of the "vegetables." It was Friday so fish was on the line twice and there were also 2 chicken options and then they had Spaghetti for the undecided. Making my way through that line was mighty hard. I wanted to try it all, but alas I stuck with baked chicken, mashed potatoes, mac n cheese, cornbread and a sweet tea. At the end of the line you pay (whole meal with drink was $12 and they say that credit/debit can only be used with purchase of $10 or more) and then your waiter graciously takes your food and seats you. Once we sat down the real treat began.
There just isn't enough praise I can give these people. Sweetie Pie's serves up hot delicious food and makes it look so easy. Surprisingly my guests and I were not that impressed by the mac n cheese, which we all thought would be the real winner. It was a good dish and perhaps my prejudice arose from the fact that I got the last helping out of a large chafing dish that should have been taken off the line before I was served. Nonetheless the composition and the mixtures of the cheeses were good. I could spot an obvious cheddar and the presence of sour cream. The topping on the mac was unexpected, it wasn't simply a crust of cheese it was more complex and delicious. I also had the baked chicken, which was delectable and moist. The seasoning rub under the skin was great. I also tried some of their fried wings and I wasn't that impressed. Again I think I have a bias when it comes to fried chicken. I like mine juicy and breaded with spice. This was more of a dry batter that didn't allow for the chicken to retain a lot of moisture, but it was still decent. I loved their cornbread. I think I managed to eat mine and almost everyone else at the tables. You can tell the recipe has been perfected over the years because more often than not making cornbread in a large quantities can turn out disastrous (or at least it has for me). I also have to comment on how great the sweet tea and lemonade were. My friends couldn't stop raving, well they did stop once they drank vast amounts and realized they were drinking pure sugar. We did manage to make one amazing Arnold Palmer out of both of them though. 
Overall I thought that Sweetie Pie's was good. The staff and people were friendly and helpful (especially when they realized we had no idea how to work the line) and our waiter Clark was on point all night.  I definitely will have to give this place another try. There were just too many side dishes that I wasn't able to enjoy (the corn, okra, and greens looked and smelled amazing). I will definitely shelve the mac n cheese next time and spread the love around. I recommend if you are in the area and gotta a taste for something mighty rich you hit up Sweetie Pie's and you should probably take your sweetie pie with you.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

It may not be Oktober... but who cares?

This weekend I was driving on South Grand and came across 2 eating establishments that really got me excited! They both serve German cuisine and are located only 15 mins away from SLU. The first one is the Feasting Fox which is located on the corner of Meramec and Grand. The establishment has been around since 1914. It was built by August Busch, which weaves it into the deep Anheuser Busch tradition in St. Louis.  
The second eating establishment is also regarded as one of the most recognizable St. Louis sights next to the Arch and the AB brewery. The Bevo Mill is a giant windmill on Gravois, however don't let the exterior fool you. Despite the very industrious appearance this windmill is filled with tasty delights. The Mill first opened it's doors to the public in 1917. This restaurant is also linked to the AB legacy. August built the mill in 1915.
These two historic spots are places on my short list of restaurants I want to try. The only problem is what to order? It all sounds so GOOD! I definitely will have to keep thinking.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Things to be thankful for...

Today is Thanksgiving, which truly is a food-lovers holiday. So I will take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy holiday! Also I wanted to share some of my favorite holiday food offerings. 
1. Turkey
2. Pumpkin Pie
3. Stuffing
4. Chocolate Pies
5. Noodles
I don't have time to blog about these things at present. This is due to my current food coma, but I will share my insights on these things later. I hope everyone is having a great day with their family and friends!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Land of Lincoln's Signature Dish

Momma Dishing Up a Home-made Horseshoe

I can't believe that I have never blogged about the horseshoe before. Between all the time I try explaining them and the rest of the time I spend yearning for one. I should have found the time to blog about it. It really is an experience and to everyone who doesn't know I will explain the concept. 
The horseshoe originated in my hometown of Springfield, IL. The exact origin is unknown, but this doesn't keep people from staking claims on the idea. The actual recipe though is pretty basic, but everyone has their different adaptations. The base for the horseshoe is toast, either Texas style or really any bread of your choosing. Then you layer on the meat portion. This is where people get creative. I have seen everything from the very traditional hamburger patty to chicken, turkey, pastrami, roast beef, chorizo and tofu. I really enjoy the chicken patty at Bernie and Betty's, but everywhere else I try and stick to hamburger just so I can adjust to the nuances of the different styles. After you have the meat decision taken care of next comes the fries. For some people styles of fries are very important. I personally just enjoy fries with good seasoning. No plain-jane salt for me please, but others go off the styles like crinkle, steak, or any other distinction you can surmise. After the fries are piled on then it is time to add the CHEESE. To me personally this is what makes or breaks a horseshoe. Everything can be so-so about the horseshoe, but when you add a great cheese sauce it all just falls into place. Personally I prefer an yellow cheddar. This blasphemy to those who love the white cheddar sauce of D'arcy's Pint. D'arcy's has been featured on the FoodNetwork for their famous shoes. Don't get me wrong the white cheddar is tasty there is just something about that yellow cheese that gets me. 
Anyways the horseshoe is a Springfield delicacy. Other places may have something similar or try and imitate, but there is only one original. I suggest you either make your way up I-55 to get one(God knows it's the only reason I go home), or you head out to Schnuck's and gather up the ingredients to make your own unique horseshoe. 

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cupcakery Cult

One of the best places by far in St. Louis is the Cupcakery. I can't help but swoon anytime I hear the words. Unfortunately for myself I haven't made the trip down to 28 South Maryland Plaza to enjoy one of their delectable desserts. Just the sound of the words gold rush or tuxedo instantly make my mouth water. If you haven't tried one yet, YOU HAVE TO. It will not disappoint. In fact I might just have to make the trip right now.