Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Are you afraid of the Monster?

If you have more common sense than a rock, you should be fine.  Monster and some other energy drinks are getting a bad rap lately because of the people who abuse them.  What is happening, is that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is doing an investigation into Monster and the energy drinks they have.  The FDA puts a cap on how much caffeine a soft drink can have but does not have a cap on caffeine in energy drinks.  Monster has taken full advantage of this.  Sure, I hate Monster ever since I found something in my can and when I reported it to Monster they wouldn't tell me what it was but gave me 5 free Monster drinks, but I need to defend them a bit on this.

There are warning labels on video games, suggesting that people who are prone to epileptic seizures from overexposure to lights and colors, could have a seizure while playing video games.  I've never heard of these people, but the warning is there for a reason.  It is there so they can cover their ass, in case someone plays a game from them and has a seizure. Now, as much as it may suck, people who are prone to this condition, don't play video games.  So, why wouldn't someone who has a medical condition that is stimulated by caffeine, stay off of things with caffeine?

The first American produced energy drink actually dates back to 1949 when someone wanted to make a nutritional soft drink with vitamins instead of the sugar.  Since then they have gained ground and market share in America.  They also promote and advertise to a younger age group, with 66% of their drinkers being between age 13 and 35 years old.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_drink)

This brings me to the latest news story from last December, where a 14 year old girl had died from drinking two 24oz. Monster energy drinks within a 24 hour period.  Her parents are attempting to sue Monster, even though research shows that this girl had a pre-existing heart condition. I should feel bad that a 14 year old girl died from drinking energy drinks, but she drank two 24oz energy drinks within 24 hours.  Since she most likely didn't stay up all 24 hours, you could be save and say that she likely slept for at least 8 of those hours.  So, 480mg of caffeine in 16 hours.  That seems a bit much for a 14 year old girl, and even too much for me! 

Now, what is difficult to find is, more information on this girl.  My wife and I started to think about it.  But why would you need or feel the urge to drink 2 energy drinks, unless you needed a lot of energy for something.  The report says that the girl was at the mall.  So, she went someplace, in the mall and purchased these two large energy drinks.  Here is the thing, pictures of her show her to be average weight.  Let's say that this may place her from 85 to 90 pounds.  So, even on the high side, this 90 pound girl is walking in the mall and has 480 mg of caffeine.  Let's not forget that she has a heart issue already.  So, how dumb was she?  I know, the hate mail will start coming in, but let's be honest here, did anyone in her family tell her that she had a medical condition?  Did her parents tell her to lay off or ease up on the soft drinks, coffee or energy drinks?  Did they tell her that if she has too much caffeine or sugar she could die?  If not, why not?  Clearly if you have a medical condition where one of your heart valves doesn't work properly all of the time, and could be triggered by caffeine, you would lay off of the caffeine right?  What was going through this girl's mind??  Even if she wanted to rebel against her parents, she could drink one of these drinks, but two?  It wasn't over 24 hours, because no malls are open 24 hours.  This was likely over 4-6 hours and even then, that is a 90 pound girl, drinking 380mg of caffeine in 6 hours. 

So, what do we do?  Well, the FDA is looking into this and while I think that making all energy drinks need an ID check before you purchase and make them 18 or over, it would not stop parents from giving them to their kids.  Or, even worse, having kids or anyone with knowledge about how these drinks could harm them, using them.  It could just be me, but I don't think there has ever been a case where a person has used chewing tobacco, and then sued the company, even though there is a warning that it could cause cancer.  Do people sue the cigarette companies for giving them cancer?  Yes.  Does it work? No, because they have a warning label saying that it can cause cancer.  If you have a medical condition or are sensitive to anything, please refrain from items and activities that would complicate things.

****Update*** as of the legal papers, of the lawsuit on October 24th, the information is that this girl went to the mall, purchased a Monster energy drink and then purchased the second one, the next day, at the same mall.  It was within a 24 hour period, but it was two days at the mall.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Why haven't I been there before?

Last weekend, my family and I spent some time in a bar/grill in Kirkwood called Bar Louie.  Apparently this place is the bomb and I just have been centered on so many other places to notice.  Whether it is a big name or a small name, most restaurants and the like go under my radar.  Maybe it has to do with how I work 40+ hours a week and don't have the time to eat out during weekdays.  Maybe it has to do with my two young children and how it is a gamble finding a child-friendly place to eat.  Or maybe I just don't think that most bars can have good food as well.  Whatever the reason, all of that changed when I ate at Bar Louie.

The inside of this bar was inviting and nice, it was decorated with the dark, stained hard woods and still had enough lights and colors that it seemed like a good fusion of a pub and sports bar.  Blah, blah, blah, the waiter was nice and they had full view of the kitchen.  I know that most places now hide the kitchen and some like Bar Louie, let you see it all so you don't get an excuse why your food is taking time or is taking longer; you can see why.

So, what did we order?

The chips and dips and salsa were good.  You could tell that the chips were hand fried there and the salsa and queso dip went over well with my kids.  I say a 3 out of 5 for chips and dip.

I ordered a sandwich which was a BLT with a fried egg and it was awesome.  Everything was right about the sandwich and I'd order it again.  I gave the sandwich a 4 out of 5.

There was a plate of popcorn.  What made this different, was how it had butter and truffle oil all over it.  It was still light enough that it wasn't too strong or rich and still light and fluffy.  A nice starter so you can sit there, have a few drinks and popcorn.  A simple 3 out of 5 for me.

There was the shrimp salad, which had perfectly cooked shrimp on skewers.  You could tell that the shrimp was fresh, because most frozen shrimp can become rubbery when cooked and this was not.  A simple 3 out of 5 stars.

Even the quesodillas were good and even better for kids to eat.  Everything worked out well and this was a good 3 out of 5 as well.

Call me what you will, but I've never been to a Bar Louie's much less this one and having been there once, and experienced it, I think it would be a great place for parties and the like.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A new billboard...

But it still says the same thing!

I wrote a bit about this before and was driving through South County when I saw a new billboard off of Lindbergh and saw the same thing.  What I am of course complaining about is the newest exercise location in St. Louis: Xist.

While perusing Facebook this past weekend, my wife pointed something out to me:

We live in a day and age when it is somehow accepted for people to write as if they were a small child, completely ignorant of proper spelling and grammar and syntax.  Really, do we really need to spell words like this: "L33T" or "gr8" or even "ax"?  There is a large assortment of people who even send off emails written so badly that even my 4 year old could spell some of these words better.  So, does this bother you?  Well, guess where this leads to....

I have an idea, let us come up with a gym, the most coolest place in St. Louis for cool guys and hot girls to come and work out.  And since the current trend is to start all of your words, names and phrases with an "X", let us use an X in front of the name.  Let us think of something catchy....maybe we can appeal to everyone's human nature and their questions relating to their very existence and what their purpose in life is?  I know, let's called the gym: Existence.  Even better, let us call it "Xist".

The above is probably one of the most stupid things anyone in this area came up with.  I'm sure you have seen the below name, somewhere, on any billboard in St. Louis, but there is a problem.

The above word, is not pronounced "exist".  I'm sorry but for anyone who thinks this, you obviously do not have English as your first language.  They wanted this word to be pronounced as "X-ist".  This is how it should have looked everywhere.  The way that this is shown, is pronounced "S-ist".  So, you want to know something comical?  Do you know how you pronounce that word?  It is Xist, as in "Cyst" or "Sist".  It is not "ex-ist" as the makers wanted it to be.  Think of other words that follow this example: Xloid, Xenophobic or even Xeme.  When an "X" is the first letter of these words, it takes on the sounds of a "Z".  It is not an "ex" sound and then the rest of the word.  Check this out:  http://www.howjsay.com/index.php?word=xist&submit=Submit

That above link does the correct pronunciation for words and in this case, just as I mentioned, the name of this fitness area is "sist".  I don't think that the company thought of their gym as being named after a medical item, that isn't a pleasant one.  Or maybe the owners of this gym didn't bother to think.  Here is the thing: if they wanted it to be pronounced like "exist" then they would have had entered a hyphen between the "X" and the rest of the word.  Then it would have been "X-ist" and pronounced that way not like "sist".  This just proves that you don't need a college degree to do the marketing or run a business.  I love driving by this billboard on the road and seeing the rest of the sign: Don't just exist; Xist.  Don't just exist, become a cyst?  Really?

Let me think of other great examples:  um....when someone asks what time it is, do you answer them by saying that it is "nine oclock" or "nine o'clock"?  I would guess that one is actually pronounced as "o-clok" and the other is pronounced as "ah-clok".  I know it may not seem that much now, but wait till your boss tells you that he will give you a raise at "nine oclock" and you can't understand what an "aclok" is.

To the marketing people who are have failed 1st grade spelling and reading, change the name or stick a hyphen in there.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

More from the Ozarks...

I went to the Ozarks, last weekend from Friday-Monday and while there, I ate at a different restaurant for lunch and dinner each day, except for Friday where I ate on the road and Monday when we left before dinner.  But, with too many good places and too much to review and place into individually concise and simple articles, I have a bunch listed here.

Dog Days Bar & Grill is a nice place.  It has ports so people can pull their boats up and get served.  We took my kids there and the place is very kid friendly.  The food is simple bar food, in first appearance but I was told that the same owners of this bar, also own a Cajun style restaurant so there are some things on the menu here that sound like Cajun inspired.  I ordered their basic burger with a side of black beans and rice.  The burger was juicy and cooked as ordered.  The beans and rice were flavorful, albeit I had a few grains of uncooked rice.  I'd give this place a 3 out of 5.

Kay's is an all you can eat, home cooking restaurant.  It is very "traditional" in that not only does it have good food, but it also has a small selection of wares which you can purchase in the front of the restaurant.  The way that they do the all-you-can-eat way, is to make it so that all of the food is by order.  For instance, I wanted to start with some eggs and some biscuits and gravy.  Instead of going to a food line and plating this myself, I order it and a waitress comes out and delivers this to my person.  So, this seems to be a great idea because you can have all of the food you want, but the restaurant doesn't have to deal with food loss by having food sitting out on a hot line all day long.

The biscuits were light and fluffy and buttery.  The gravy was heavy and peppery.  The eggs were tasty and in this plate, I was happy.  I ate everything so I could move forwards to the next plate.  Off of the menu, besides the plate above you, I also tried the pancakes and bacon and sausage and grits and everything was delicious.  This would be like having an all you can eat meal at one of the last remaining IHOP's.  I would give Kay's a 4 out of 5.

El Jimador, is awesome.  In St. Louis, there is a fair amount of Authentic Mexican restaurants which have the innate ability to cause GI issues or just taste really bad.  Real Mexican food isn't smothered in cheese, canned salsa or bad salty chips.  Real Mexican food cannot be hidden or should not be hidden with your choice of a dozen Margaritas.  El Jimador looks like a stereotypical Mexican restaurant on the inside, with roofing tiles over the booths to make it look like you are outside.  Yeah, it looks lame, but when the food comes, it is awesome.  I ordered something that was called "Tacos al Pastor" (I think, I can't find it on the menu now when I look online.)  It was awesome:

These tacos were filled with super tender pork and grilled pineapple.  I know, it sounds a bit Hawaiian, but this was great.  That dip/salsa, was made from Chipotle chilies and was so flavorful and not spicy.  Everything tasted good.  I went here with 4 other adults and two kids and I tried every one's food.  I didn't have an issue with any of them.  My in-laws ordered the soup: Caldo de Pollo, which is an awesome soup with chicken and rice.  They were told, the first time they went there, that no one ever orders the soup, which is quite sad because the soup was so good.  The only disappointing thing at the restaurant, was the bathroom.  I have seen cleaner bathrooms, on a hillside, in Southern Lebanon, than I did at this restaurant.  Still though, I'd give the food a 4 out of 5.

The final place that I have here, is called JJ Twigs.  This restaurant is huge and you can see it from any angle off of US 54.  It has a large sign on it saying that it is a great place for Pizza, but I am sorry to say that if their pizza is the best in the Ozarks, then I think all of the other pizza places should be razed.  I'm sorry, but this place is bad.  This restaurant is set-up like a rectangle, with a bar sectioned off on the two shorter ends.  It is decorated like a log cabin on the inside and there is a large fire place in the central seating area.  There is a very large amount of stuffed animals all throughout including a jackalope and a wooly salmon.  What is sad here is what is listed on the menu is not the same as what you get.  I want to be clear on three things, which myself and my group ordered.  First of all, I ordered the 16 layer lasagna.  Now, while this sounds like a huge item to plated and shown off, what I had received was this:
Now, I hate to be a stickler, but after I removed those two slices of bread, I counted and there was only 12 layers, not 16.  This wouldn't be a big deal by anyone else, but for those who see that being told that they have a piece  of lasagna that has 16 layers, is a huge selling point, then finding out that it doesn't ruins the joy behind it.  What did it taste like?  Not very good.  It was pretty bland, like the sauce had two flavors: tomato sauce and oregano.

My son ordered the pizza, since this is a famous pizza place.  This is what was delivered to us:

If you notice the cardboard, then you are with me on this.  No restaurant, anywhere, serves pizza in-house, on cardboard: especially white cardboard in the same and measurements of the pizza.  Now, I can't say whether the pizza was frozen and store bought and then heated badly or if this was made in house, prepped and placed on this cardboard and then not cooked thoroughly.  The pizza had a soggy crust towards the center and the sauce was the same flavorless sauce that was on my lasagna.  I would guess that if people think the pizza is awesome, they are most likely drinking as well and are too drunk to realized how bad the pizza actually is.

The last thing I wish to point out is when a salad says that it has "field greens", that does not mean "iceburg lettuce."  I just want to throw that out there.  Whichever the case, this JJ Twigs should not be confused with the one in St. Louis:  http://www.jjtwigsstl.com/beginnings.htm  .  I know that the pictures of the food look great at this website, but it could be the same restaurant but not the same food.  I'm sorry but if this restaurant is owned by the same people as the ones in St. Louis, which it is, I don't want to even waste my money at the St. Louis locations after a disaster like this one.  JJ Twigs, maybe gets a 1 out of 5.

So, besides the great BBQ spot, Fired UP!, this is what we did and what we thought.  If you don't believe me on any of these places, see for yourself.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The best in a chef?

What I have here is a story that every chef should read and understand and agree to.  Two weeks ago, on October 4th, I was asked to a private tasting of the food for the Capitalist Pig, which was a BBQ take-out restaurant located in the Mad Art Gallery.  The grand opening was supposed to be on the 10th of this month also and foodies and writers and bloggers were given early access to taste what Ron Buechele had in mind.  Now, I went with my wife, dressed up nicely, had beer, talked to some people and the went up for what looked like an all-you-can-eat BBQ buffet.

There was all sorts of creations and while my first instinct here is to show you picture after picture of what each item was and how it tasted let me stop you right there:  I will not.

What happened that night was something so magical and so incredible and so "unlike St. Louis" that it makes me thrilled just thinking about it.  That event, this singularity of awesomeness gives me hope that there is something or can be something great in St. Louis that will draw people from around the world.  What this event was, was the head chef and owner, Ron , discovering that the food was coming out as good as he thought it would be.  That's correct, you read it right.  The food was not as good as we, the people and even the chef thought it would be.  So, while I wouldn't mind telling you that the sauces were good, or the smoked pork belly was like heaven, I don't want to get into how the chicken was flavorless and had a rubbery skin on it, because it will most likely be fixed.  There is no reason to get into any of the issues and problems I had with the tasting, because Ron already knew it.  What was so magnificent was that a chef or restaurant owner decided to put off the opening of his restaurant to fix everything.


It may not sound like anything important to you, but there are so many restaurants in St. Louis that suck.  They are really awful and I wouldn't eat at them if you paid me to do so.  But, those restaurants, like many of those shown on shows like Restaurant Impossible, are filled with staff who believe that their food is the best and flawless.  They are so blinded by the truth for one reason or another that they do not wish to change, much less take any comments or critisezm.  What you have is a chef or owner volunteering to not open his restaurant at the specified time and date and instead make sure everything is perfect.  I was so worried because so many people have their heart in the right place and want to bring business to St. Louis and want to open up restaurants.  But, their food or service sucks.  Then they close down in a matter of years and act like it is a bigger mystery than Atlantis as  to why no one would come to their place.  It take a real chef, much less a real St. Louis citizen, to see that it is better to not open on time and do it right than to open early and ruin it.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fired Up for BBQ

This past weekend, I had a relaxing vacation in the Ozarks.  I went with my family and my in-laws to work on their condo and enjoy some of the great food in the Ozarks.  When I was in High School, 3 of my friends and I went on a road trip, each summer for 3 years, down to the Ozarks where we spent a few days relaxing and taking in the sights.  I do not remember that much, in ways of good food.  It is amazing how so much can change in 15 years!  (Yeah, I admit, that is a long time, but I didn't even recognize the place.)

Fired up is a BBQ joint which also has a bar section, an arcade and a dance floor.  While it may seem like any other BBQ destination, the wonderful views out of the large windows near your dining table, fool you into thinking that you are on some mountain paradise.  While the view may sound like a gimmick, to draw you in, the food is anything but fake and you should come in for it directly. Using locally grown ingredients and even potatoes grown in their own garden, Fired Up is a new place which has grabbed the "sustainable" feel for using local and farm to table ideals, whether they tried to or not.

The restaurant is simple, clean, quiet, and has no obnoxious music playing on loud speakers.  Of course with anything, the food is the real reason why I was there.  Fired Up makes their own sauces.  They had an "Original Sauce" which was like your basic St. Louis style sauce with a bit more of a mustard flavor, a "Bourbon Sauce" which had that tang and sweetness of Bourbon, a "Hot & Spicy" which was almost too hot for me to handle and finally a "Citrus Chipolte" which gave both a smokey chili flavor and a lemon citrus flavor.  I know that some of the infamous BBQ restaurants in St. Louis have their own sauce, but none of them have created four of their own.

So, I thought that if I was looking for a taste of everything, I would choose a 3 meat selection.  My plate, came with BBQ pulled pork, which melted in my mouth, some smokey turkey breast, which reminded me of a mix of Thanksgiving and a BBQ pit and finally I had a few thick slices of beef brisket.  As I just said, I took a bite of the turkey first and it was juicy and tender and smokey.  The beef was cut thick, but was so tender that it fell apart in my mouth.  And the pulled pork, literally melted in mouth.  It was so juicy and so flavorful that my 4 and 5 year old children were gobbling it up.  This plate is an easy 4 out of 5 for me.

We ordered a plate of the "Pulled Pork Sliders" off of the appetizer menu, and we expected two sliders.  What we had delivered to us was a plate of 6 (six) sliders on some sweet buns.  The same pulled pork, the exact same super juicy and tender pork which I had, was on these sliders.  My kids, my 4 and 5 year old boys, loved these sliders.  A good way of checking to see if the meat is tender or not, is to give it to a child and my 5 year old had 1 and 1/2 of these sliders.  This was also a 4 and 1/2 out of 5 for me.

Couple this with the large basket of a whole rack of ribs, which were so tender and juicy that it was impossible not to love them, you would start to get a full stomach.  When my father-in-law, reached for a rib to taste it, he pulled the bone up as the meat fell off.  It wasn't a bad thing, but a great thing.  The meat was juicy, flavorful, smokey and of course tender.  The ribs were about as tender as the super tender pulled pork. I'd give the ribs about a 4 and 1/2 out of 5 for the pure fact that they were so good that if I wouldn't feel bad about it, I would have tried to wrestle my father-in-law for portion of the ribs.

While some places in St. Louis get you on the good food, Fired Up also gets you on the great taste of their sides. We tried the "baby bakers" and they were tiny home grown potatoes, baked to perfection (not too mushy and not too hard), sprinkled with kosher salt and sitting in a cup of melted butter.  The image of melted butter in the bottom of the cup is a winner.  The potato salad is a red potato salad with a creamy sauce and a dill seasoning; tasty. The cole slaw is a great and simple creamy slaw.  Not too much pepper and not too rich and even a tad sweet.  The baked beans were very sweet, almost a dessert, with the taste of brown sugar and big chunks of that famous pulled pork in it.  This was a great cup of beans.  The big thing at Fired Up, which we all noticed, was the cornbread.  The cornbread was a sweet, moist and delicious cake.  It was very tasty that people at my table with me whom normally do not eat cornbread, were eating it.  I wish they sold the cornbread in hotel sheet pan sizes. Also, as a fan of cornbread, let me further explain that this isn't like other BBQ places and their cornbread.  With other places, every bite of cornbread has to be accompanied by a drink or a sip of a drink, because theirs are too dry.  Fire Up, has very moist cornbread in which no drink is necessary.  The sides were good enough that I'd give them all a 4 out of 5.

I want to stress and point out a couple of things:  First of all, if you like any of their sauces, they will sell a portion size to you.  What they sold to us was a large 32oz cup, for about $4!  That is a huge amount of BBQ sauce for a little price.  Secondly, I don't want you to look at my ratings and think "he only gave them a 4 out of 5!  Let's go somewhere else!"  The fact is, if you don't know it, I don't give a dish or anything a 5 out of 5, unless it blows me away in some new cooking method or something I've never seen or tasted before.  This doesn't mean that the food isn't good, in fact it means that the food was near perfect and I highly recommend it.  Thirdly, the only reason I stopped by on this time was because my in-laws had already been there and had a great time.  This means that on two separate occasions, the food and service was fantastic.          

Are there other BBQ places in the Ozarks?  Definitely.  But, I seriously doubt or even dare them to be as good as Fired Up.  Frankly, I would dare say that Fired Up has better BBQ than some of the famous St. Louis locations like Phil's or even Pappy's.  If you go to the Ozarks and don't go for BBQ at Fired Up, un-friend me on Facebook.  I can't be friends with anyone who doesn't appreciate good taste. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Candy that is so unreal.

A visit to Walgreens showed me something new and interesting, it is about time that a company makes candy that isn't full of junk.  After all, candy is made with some pretty simple ingredients but thanks to The Corn Growers of America and other mafia-type organizations, things like High Fructose Corn Syrup and other corn derivatives and making their way into our candy.  I love how people complain and think that there must be some secret ingredient "X" that people are eating that is making Americans fat and obese and no one bothers to think at the facts.  The number one fact being that before HFCS was introduced into our food the obesity percentage was low and now after all these years it is high.  I wonder why???

Anyway, while always looking for something new and fun, I came across a candy company doing something odd: they have candy made with no artificial anything, no hydrogenated anything, no corn syrups, no preservatives and no GMO's.  What we have here, if sold in a little confectionary shop in New York City, would be some expensive candy.  But, distributed and sold at Walgreens, you have a great tasting candy in a catchy package.

The first one I tried was a candy bar called "Unreal 8".  What I love about this company, is that they don't give crazy names to their bar.  It is not a Milky Way or a Mars.  What we have here is called an "Unreal 8", and then under the name, it has some descriptors listed; "chocolate, caramel, peanut, and nougat bar".  Then it has the brand name: "Unkunked."  This is great because what they did do, is make candy that wasn't full of junk.  The bar tastes like a Snickers bar with dark chocolate and is less sweet than the big name one.  This one I like better.

What this company has also done, is by not using anything artificial, that means that when it made its "M&M's" copy, it uses natural colors.  Their candy coated chocolate pieces are called "Unreal 41" and they are colored with such insane items like beetroot juice and turmeric root extract.  Think of how insane that is! Someone using natural dyes from natural edible items to color candy.  No crazy people here!  No yellow #50 or red #4, this is all natural and gives the candies a nice shade of colors.

All four candy types are tasty.  Nothing is too sweet and while it may still add inches to your waist if you are not careful, at least it will not lead to other complications like artificial dyes, chemicals and fake sugars do.  So, I like these and it makes me feel as though, compared to what is out there, these Unjunked candies are healthy.  I like them and as a former candy junkie, I think they taste great.  I want to say that if you are eating healthy, don't waste it by eating something with 30 artificial ingredients.  Try one of these instead.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Capitalist Pig

One of the perks of being a food blogger, is that just recently, people have been taking notice.  Last week, I received a special invitation in my email.  This invite, was for a private tasting for a new soon-to-open restaurant.  The restaurant will offer carry-out BBQ, but not any BBQ: sustainable BBQ.  Okay, so what is sustainable BBQ, you may ask?  Sustainable means that the food comes from a farm or is produced with the environment in mind.  Such factors as climate change, pollution, local versus not local, seasonal versus not, fair trade, organic and unprocessed.  So, how can a plate of BBQ be sustainable?

Well, using old fashioned methods for smoking and curing and cooking would help.  Using meat from small, local and sustainable farms.  Also, use meat from animals that are free from hormones, antibiotics and have not been fed anything related to GMO's.  Imagine eating BBQ that came from a local farm, which was raised on organic foods, cooked in simple and ancient methods.  Then imagine that food being served from a restaurant that is trying to reduce their own carbon footprint, a company that practices recycling, composting and is truly farm to table.

This is what the Capitalist Pig strives to be.

Ron Buechele, is trying to bring the sustainable BBQ to life in St. Louis.  This is the first Sustainable BBQ restaurant in St. Louis and most likely one of the first in America.  This new restaurant, opens for all to see and enjoy on October 10th, but as a perk, as I mentioned above, I have been invited to see and taste some of these specialties.  According to the press release, the "Capitalist Pig, will open Wednesday, October 10, 2012. Capitalist Pig will serve carry out artisan barbecue each weekday from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.  Capitalist Pig is located at 1201 Lynch Street which is the south side of Mad Art Gallery."-Lesley Rottsolk

So, am I looking forward to this?  Very much so.  I can't wait to taste the difference in how this BBQ will taste compared to other spots in St. Louis.  While BBQ is a big thing here, so is the idea of farm-to-table, considering the amount of farms within a radius of St. Louis.  Probably St. Louis is best fitted for sustainable foods and farm-to-table because of the pure proximity of foods and farms, locally.

While I wish nothing more to share my experience and pictures of this private tasting, and to let you know what you can expect there, I cannot do so today.  The tasting is tonight, which means that you will have to wait until next Thursday for the best I have.

Stay tuned....


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Racism in Saint Louis?

Have you ever been in a restaurant of an ethnicity or culture other than your own and had to wait 10-15 even 20 minutes until a server comes to you?  What about go into a restaurant where you are told that there are no available seats for you but when you look around the room you see many empty tables?  Or what about when you are told after you enter the restaurant that it is in fact closed, even though there are people around eating?  This is racism and is alive and well in Saint Louis.

About two Saturdays ago, my wife and were invited to a family dinner at a new-ish Korean restaurant.  This one was called Korean whatever.....   So, we had a big group of people, about 16, and we sat at a long table which they had already set up for us.  Now, 14 out of the 16 of us were there, waiting for the last two people and we waited, and waited and waited.  After our last two people came and sat down, we waited again.  I watched as people came in the door, sat down and within 1 minute (1 MINUTE!) they had food in front of them and drinks.  I looked around the room, looking for servers and there were 4 working in this very small restaurant.  But each one just walked past our table.  I wouldn't think anything of this, except that this was a Korean restaurant.

It stinks because I like Korean food.  But, Koreans in St. Louis are racist and tend to make Korean restaurants only for the Korean people, not other people.  It is the strangest thing because money is money.  If I had a place,  I'd open it for anyone with any kind of money.  But, it seemed that the Korean staff didn't want to deal with non Koreans.  (And yes, everyone else there was Asian-looking.  I don't mean to be rude, but it is the truth.)  I have another Korean racism story:

We went to another Korean restaurant on Olive.  We have been going to this location for about 6 or 7 times in just this year, so far.  We are not regulars but the owner does know us and recognize us.  So, one day, my wife and kids and I get there for a family meal, before the rest of our party.  There was going to be 12 people in total and we were only four at the time.  So, we walk in, seconds behind a young Asian couple.  A waitress immediately comes up to the young couple, asks something and then they say "two" and the two of the them are quickly whisked away to a seat.  The waitress then turns to my wife and I and asks how many.  We tell her that there will be 12 of us all together.  She looks around her, at empty tables and then back at us and tells us, directly to our face, "no room, sorry".  She smiles and walks away.  My wife and I look at each other, puzzled.  Yes, this waitress is deliberately turning us down, turning down 12 paying customers because she didn't want to seat us at the open tables!  As we wait longer, calling the rest of our party, we watch a small Asian family come in: mother, father and little girl.  They get seated immediately, and we still wait around.  We were really starting to bug the waitress to the point that she comes to me and says "sorry, no room" again and smiles.

My wife and I turn around and walk away.

What made this time fun, or funny, was that as we walked away, the owner saw us leaving and she ran out of from behind the kitchen door and ran after us, assuring us that they had room for all of our party.  As we came back into the restaurant, we told her that the waitress said that there was no room left and then she got yelled at, in what I assume was Korean.  The racist waitress ran over and started to get tables together for our party and it is there that as this waitress looked at me, glared at me, I smiled back.

While I will suggest that there are plenty of places around St. Louis that could be racist towards the customers, these are the only tow instances which I can remember in this past year.  I've actually walked into all sorts of restaurants in St. Louis and not had this type of racism towards me, but in Korean restaurants, it is the norm, it appears.

Have you ever had a similar instance in a restaurant in St. Louis?