Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I say, I say there's a new rooster in town.

Who is the best, number 1 rooster in all of the world?  This guy:

What is the best, number 1 rooster in all of America?  Well, this place:

Let me start off by saying this: Foghorn Leghorn is my most favorite cartoon character of all time.  I can't tell if it is his attitude or his swagger but he has always made me laugh and always stays with me.  This restaurant, named Rooster, and owned by the same people as Bailey's Range, is right up there on the same level as Foghorn.  This restaurant is awesome.

I took my wife and kids here and we all ordered something different.  The wait staff was great with kids and there wasn't this air of stuffiness like so many great restaurants.  What makes coming with kids good, is that the kids get a sheet of paper and crayons.  While that may sound lame, at first, if the kids do a good drawing of a rooster, they will hang it on the wall.  

Rooster is great because unlike other places, it only does breakfast or brunch.  It isn't open late at night or even in the late afternoon so it takes care of that wonderful first or second meal of the day.  I ordered the eggs over the potatoes and andouille sausage.  The potatoes were cooked perfectly with a light crisp crunch on the outside and soft on the inside with proper seasoning.  The sausage with great with a good bite to them.  There was a hint of heat but not enough to scare anyone away from them.  The eggs tasted delicious and were cooked wonderfully.  I ordered a side of bacon and I received what could have been the best bacon in the ST. Louis area.  It wasn't too salty or smokey and just had the right balance of flavors.  My order was an easy 4 out of 5 stars.

One of my sons ordered the pizza crepe and completely demolished it.  He told me that he had to destroy it because it was so good.  It was a crepe filled with cheese and tomatoes.  It really did taste like a pizza.  I'd give it a 3 out of 5.

My wife ordered the smoked salmon and capers and even though it was delicious, she felt that the crepe was missing a few more ounces of salmon. She guessed at maybe only having 2-3 ounces of salmon which at other places, is far less than what they would like.  Perhaps if this crepe had about 5-6 ounces of salmon, she would have liked it better.  A 3 out of 5.

The thing is, besides the savory dishes, the fried apple dessert, in the crepe, was very tasty and had everyone at the table reaching over to eat it.  I can't say now that anything that this owner has is bad as everything that I have tried at any of the restaurants has turned out good.  So, I would suggest checking them out, easy parking across the street, in a non-busy part of downtown, definitely go to Rooster.

1104 Locust St, St Louis, MO 63101
(314) 241-8118

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Awesome fresh Asian food

Nestled away from the main drag, hidden between a salon and some retail space, down Tesson Ferry, is the Liu Shun Wok.  First off, let me say this: I have purchased food there, 4 weeks in a row, and have tried as many as 10 dishes: nothing has been bad.  The food is amazing and while I don't want to insult them by trying to guess their ethnicity or country of origin, I will say that it seems very much like Americanized Asian food. However, there are a few differences between other food like this that you can find in St. Louis: this is really good and fresh.

On Thursday, I spoke with the owners, who appear to be a husband and wife team: she takes the orders and he cooks everything fast in a wok.  She was telling me that they make everything fresh, the vegetables and all ingredients are purchased that morning, from the Dierburgs, just a 1/4 of a mile away.  You can taste it in the quality of the meats, seafood and vegetables. No artificial flavors, no fake colors and I don't think, there is an MSG.

They have a huge menu, with very reasonable prices (almost too cheap for the amount of food you get).  My advice for you, is that if you like this kind of food, you should go there and at least give it a try.  I give their food a great 3 and 1/2 stars out of 5, as the food is good, nothing fancy or unusual and it is worth coming back for.  They have a facebook page here and please check them out:


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My rant against portions

While having no evidence to back up my claim, I remembered being young and choosing to eat Raisin Bran because the cartoon sun told me it had two large scoops of raisins in every box.  As a kid who loves raisins and the texture of something slightly gummy, umami-like, while the bran flakes became almost soggy and soft in the milk, I thought it was awesome.  Since those years, I have always had the expectation that when a cereal says it has something else, like a treat, the non-healthy part of the cereal, I expect there to be a lot.

Have you opened a box of Lucky Charms lately?  It would appear that there are more marshmallows than cereal.  I told my kids one day that I remember a time when they had just introduced purple horseshoes via a cartoon commercial.  I felt like I had won the lottery.  It was awesome and I remembered that my brothers and I would open that new box, with new marshmallows and down the whole box in a Saturday morning, in front of the television.  Now, I think there are 20 different marshmallows and I would say that about 60% of the contents of that cereal mix, are in fact marshmallows.

While in Target, I picked up this:
I know that pictures lie, but it looks like that with every spoon of cereal, you will get these dark chocolate chunks.  Here is the funny thing: I poured my first bowl of this cereal, and after seeing about 10 chocolate chunks, thought it was cool and looked forward to eating my next bowl.  My wife came over, saw the cereal, thought it looked good and poured a bowl for her.  She had 2 pieces of chocolate in her bowl.  She complained and I looked through the box, and saw that it was out of chocolate pieces.  How could a box, which is from a fictional "Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory" and be called "Chocolatey Almond" have so few chocolate chunks in it?  It was good, but where are my loads of chocolate?

Friday, November 15, 2013

So, I can't eat it all....

Ever since Halloween was invented, I am sure that the parents of those occult children were wondering what to do with the abundance of candy and treats.  Well, even though candy has enough sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and chemical agents in it, it really doesn't last forever.  So, what do you do with the candy you have left over or the candy you don't let your kids eat? (I admit it, my kids already have several thousands of dollars of work that has been put into their teeth and for them to eat a tootsie roll only to have their filling come out or to loosen their crown is enough for me.)

What I did, was take those candies that I don't give to my kids, like all fruit flavors of taffy and Starburst.  I placed them in a pot, unwrapped of course, and threw in about a stick of butter.  As soon as I turned on the stove, I was now slowly edging into candy-making territory.  The thing with candy making and sugar, is that if you don't watch the temperature, it will turn into something different than what you had wanted.  If the temperature gets too high, it will become brittle and crack.  If it is too low, it will still be runny and soft.  I wanted mine to be runny and soft so I got it just to a boil and then removed it from the heat.

I mixed my Blondie brownie recipe and then slowly mixed in my sugary mixture.  I stuck it in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  When it came out, I checked it with a chop stick (instead of a tooth pick) and then set it aside to cool.  It had taken on the color of the melted taffies and chewies.  What it did also, was turn itself into a thick and chewy brownie; resembling a dump cake.  (A dump cake is a recipe where you mix a packet of cake mix, 2 sticks of butter and a can of pie filling together and bake it.  It creates a chewy, moist and flavorful cake.)

(If you want this recipe, let me know)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A crazy good Irish place, in Maryland.

I have learned, ever since returning from Ireland, that if you can find an Irish pub and restaurant that serves food that makes you think it came from Ireland, then mark that place down and keep it.  There are a few places like that in St. Louis, but this is a place in Timonium, Maryland.  This is An Poitin Stil.  What you have here, is an Irish restaurant decorated in such a way, that not only does it look like several different buildings stuck together from the outside, but several different castle and Medieval motifs put together on the inside. You have everything from black powder guns to swords, lining the walls and candles on the tables with chandeliers from the ceiling.

So, let me explain, that one of my favorite dishes, that I actually ate at a pub, in Ireland, was a dish called Sheppard's Pie.  This pie is a traditional pie you may have seen at other places that mixes vegetables and meat together in a broth and then smooths a layer of mashed potatoes on top and cooks it.  The one I had in Ireland, tasted just like this one, from An Poitin Stil.

This one, is just like I had, the big chunks of vegetables, the broth, the potato 'crust' on top and even the large chunks of lamb.  It all tasted so good that it truly reminded me of Ireland.  The vegetables were each tender and juicy.  The lamb was not gamy and moist and tender as well.  Everything worked so well together it was as if the cook had been making this dish for decades.  This dish alone got a 4 out of 5 from me.

My sons ordered the fish and chips and needless to say, they were not covered in some beer batter like everyone else claims that fish n chips are.  These were simply battered and in such a way that there wasn't a space between the fish and the fried on batter.  It was one.  It was perfect, a 4 out of 5 for me. (And kid approved.)

Now what this place delivers in traditional tasting fares, it has a choice of new items as well.  Take this one: a twist on corn beef and cabbage.  They call these "Blarney Spring Rolls".  They are corned beef, cabbage and potatoes wrapped up in a wrapper and deep fried, like a traditional Chinese spring roll. Each bite has all of the tastes together and while I thought these were excellent there, they were just as good the next day.  A 4 out of 5 stars for me.

I have to say that even though I didn't order the Salmon, my wife said it was quite good and looked perfect. She gave it a 3 out of 5 stars.

So, if you are in this town, right outside of Baltimore, I highly suggest going here.  Not to mention the large assortment of beers and spirits.

2323 York Road
Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland 21093


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bobby's Burger Palace

Yep, that isn't a play on words.  The real name of the restaurant is Bobby's Burger Palace.  The palace looks like a fancy restaurant, with very casual diner aspects about it.  There is an open kitchen seen on a wall made of reflective mosaic tiles and bricks.  There are large community tables setup to resemble picnic tables.  By the kitchen, is a counter that looks like it is made of one very long and winding and curving piece of wood.  

In what is supposed to be a palace of burgers, every main menu item is a burger.  This just isn't normal burgers either, some are turkey, some are beef and all of them have different toppings.  I picked out a burger called the L.A. Burger.

This burger, was cooked medium well, was seasoned well and then had this mound of guacamole on it.  It was spicy: spicy guacamole.  But it was good too.  Everything went in harmony and to quote my favorite judge from the original Iron Chef "the flavors dance within my mouth."  I'd give a 4 out of 5.

What was a real killer though, was the dark chocolate milk shake.  It comes out in a regular 16 ounce glass and I think to myself that it likely just tastes as good as a Steak n Shake shake.  Oh, but I was wrong.  This shake comes out with so much chocolate flavor that it tastes like someone had melted down a Hershey's chocolate bar and I was sipping it through a straw, without the acidity.  The shake came with a large straw as well, about twice the thickness of a regular straw, so you could enjoy it quickly, or work your way to a brain freeze faster.  It was awesome.

So, my review?  I suggest that if you are in the Hanover/Baltimore area and you are looking for a nice quiet bite and you want something simple, like a burger, fries and a shake, then go to Bobby's Burger Palace.

7002 Arundel Mills Circle
Hanover, MD 21076