Thursday, April 28

the fountain on locust

For my mom's birthday lunch, we decided to give the Fountain on Locust a try.  She had been there before, but she thought it was a place I'd like.

The place itself was very kitschy and had the retro diner feel.  We took a seat in a homey booth outfitted with curtains.

My mom's favorite part of the restaurant was the retro cocktails (I believe the phrase, "I used to drink that as a kid" came up... hmmmm...?).  So I obligingly tried one: the Sloe Gin Fizz.  Sloe gin (which is actually a red,berry-ish liqueur), gin, lemon, sugar and soda water provided a surprisingly refreshing late-morning cocktail. It was a bit on the tart side, but since I did not drink these as a "kid," I have no frame of reference otherwise.  Either way, delicious. 

As an avid pickle lover (yes, I actually once attended the International Pickle Festival in NYC), the Polish Dill Pickle Soup was an obvious choice.  Much to my dismay, I (gasp!) did not like it.  It came out a beautiful mint green color, with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of dill.  The taste really can't be described as anything other than pureed pickle and cream.  For me, while I liked the idea, it just was too much.

With my soup combo, I went for the Roast Beef sandwich.  Served on a soft, floury Vienna roll, it was a solid choice.  The sandwich was smeared with a thin layer of goat cheese/herb combo, though I think it would have been enhanced with more.  Billy Goat chips (my fave!) rounded out the plate.

bottom line: nice place, more for the atmosphere than the food, but the desire to try a "champagne float" will most certainly draw me back.

The Fountain on Locust on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 21

a westport lunch

The big boss was in town, so you know what that means - free lunch. yum.

As a frequent walker-arounder of the lake near my Westport office, we noticed that Dierdorf & Hart's had recently re-opened after months of renovation. Obviously, that's where we went.

Lunch was surprisingly reasonable - most sandwiches between $7-$12 (including a side). I went with the Crabcake Reuben sandwich (minus the bread) and Napa slaw. Holy amazing. The crabcake itself was a bit on the bready side, but was moist and tender. But the star for me and my tangy-loving palate were the toppings: braised red cabbage, shallot marmalade and chili aioli. The tang meshed with sweet and meshed with the smooth and meshed with the crab. I could literally eat a popcorn bowl full of the toppings. There was also a nicely melted slice of cheese on top of the crab cake, but it was not necessary in my book (I, in fact, ended up sliding most of it right off).

The slaw was just so-so. Nice tangy dressing, but had (a bit too) large carrot slices and what seemed like iceberg lettuce.  But regardless, I walked away so excited about the new lunch place. Yum, yum, yum.

bottom line:  fantastic lunch for a fantastic value.  i will be back. soon.

Dierdorf & Hart's - Westport on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 12

quick shot: nadoz cafe

After an unsuccessful attempt to use my 30% off Ann Taylor loft coupon, an iced coffee was in order.  I popped into Nadoz Cafe in the Brentwood Boulevard area.

Cannot tell you how impressed I was.

I ended up ordering the Whole Wheat English Muffin sandwich.  With a perfectly balanced soft/crispy muffin, an egg, fresh spinach, a tomato slice and an herbed cream, it was Saturday morning bliss.  Yum, yum, yum.

The wall of a menu with crepes, paninis and sandwiches galore simply made my mouth water.  I will be back and soon.

bottom line:  awesome breath-of-fresh-air little cafe. already on the list for the next lunch spot for my mom and me.

Nadoz Euro.Bakery+Cafe on Urbanspoon

station pizzeria

Saturday night the hubs headed to the hockey game, so that left me blissfully home alone for the night.  What's a girl who has seemingly tried every eatery within a few mile radius of her house to do for dinner? Find one she hasn't.

That search landed me at Station Pizzeria on the Hill.  Called in for a takeout order of a small veggie pizza and house salad.  Upon arrival, I was relieved to see that their payment options included "debit" since cash somehow never has a comfortable home in my wallet. However, besides the fact that the "debit" machine involved me retrieving a rounded cash amount more than my total and a $1.65 fee, my bill seemed expensive (my 12inch pizza for $13 and small salad for $4 somehow ended up totaling $19.50ish).

Regardless, the piping hot box was placed in my hands and the aroma was simply wonderful. Oh boy, this will be good.  As I excitedly opened the box on my counter, the sight matched the smells.  Piled high with veggies and draped in oregano, I couldn't wait to dive in. 

.....aaaaaaaaand letdown.

Now, I wouldn't say it was bad (for the record, I have only disliked ONE pizza ever. ahem, Rigazzi's).  But the feast just didn't live up to the hype.  And by "hype" I mean the one I built up in my head driving home. The crust was a nice somewhere-in-between thickness.  Thin, but still with some muscle. However, not enough muscle to support the enormous amount of toppings.  Remember when you were little making your own pizza first time and think 'the more toppings, the better'?  And then remember how disappointed you were when the pizza came out kind of soupy and not at all crispy in the middle? (What? was it just me?).  That's what it seemed like to me. And despite the beautiful sprinklings of oregano, it tasted a bit on the dull side.  Nothing a little dose of garlic powder from my cabinet couldn't fix, but still...

I experienced a similar phenomenom with the salad.  A beautiful mesclun mix was dotted with St. Louis' own pimento-provel-housedressing 1-2-3 punch.   In theory, I loved it.  On the reality of my tounge... it just didn't work. 

However, in spite of my so-so experience, I feel drawn to go back.  Perhaps it's the cute picnic tables with the parmesan cheese and red pepper flake shakers (LOVE. IT.).  Perhaps I just want to love the local pizza place.  Regardless, I think I need another try...

bottom line: the jury's still out.

Station Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 4

quickshot: the oakville sports pub

I found myself in Oakville with my mom looking for a quick Sunday lunch.  We ended up heading to the new Sports Pub near Telegraph and Christoper.  Walking in, it was much bigger than I expected, and an overall nice looking pub.

The Pepper Jack Shotz (like mozzeralla sticks, but with pepperjack cheese and in a ball shape) were fantastic: the texture was so much creamier than regular cheese sticks PLUS the spiciness level was just perfect.  I think I would have rather had marinara to dip, but the ranch cup worked instead.

We were also surprised when our Buffalo Chicken sandwich appeared to be cooked on an outside grill.  The char mixing with the buffalo sauce was a nice combination.  The provel cheese could have been left off, and a drizzle of ranch probably would have been more appropriate (damn, I should have save the ranch from the Pepper Jack things... sigh.). But overall, I was impressed.

bottom line: nice atmosphere, solid pub food.

The Oakville Sports Pub on Urbanspoon

spaghetteria mama mia!

When a Groupon for Spaghetteria Mama Mia popped in my inbox just a few short weeks after my sis-in-law recommended it, I figured "What the heck?"

After a few awkward turns exiting from 40 eastbound, the parking lot appeared full (though the number of patrons did not seem to match).  We were seated right away, and were greeted by a wait staff that all kind of seemed to act like they hadn't really done this before.  Nevertheless, they were extremely down-to-earth and any day would I prefer that than the wait staff that acts like your several notches too far down the 'foodie' chain. 

Definite points in my book when the bread came out soft and oh-so-warm.  The salad was also a nice change of pace from the St .Louis Italian standby.  Garbanzo beans, a roasted red pepper, a rope-y mozzarella and a not-overpoweringly-sweet dressing made for a refreshing surprise (though the red onions on mine stole the show... in a bad way). 

Our entrees came out on what seemed to be the same platters my Grandma would serve the 20lb Thanksgiving turkey on. They were H-U-G-E. Like fed me for three meals huge. The strong waft of garlic exploded as soon as our dishes were served (though most could be attributed to my guest's butter-garlic-pasta side dish, both plates overall could have used a garlic intervention).  Luckily, I love garlic, so I could stomach my Spaghetti Bolognese with ease.  The flavors of the dish mixed well, and a small kick of heat really upped the dish for me.  My only complaint is that I'm pretty sure bolognese is ground meats stewed in sauce (though I am only a wannabe foodie, so you never know).  The meat in this dish seemed more like that the kitchen ran out of bolognese sauce so the improvised by giving a meatball a few rough chops and throwing it in.  Either way it was good, just not what I expected.

bottom line: nice little italian joint (with a few different kicks than your typical STL italian), if you're in the area

Spaghetteria Mamma Mia on Urbanspoon