Milkshakes and burgers. Beer and sausages. Whiskey and…vegetables. Classics all.
Yes, I do believe that David Bailey was having a bit of perverse fun with his latest endeavor. I get it. Push the envelope. Challenge the expected. Plus, with other whiskey joints popping up like daisies (see Gamlin Whiskey House & The Whiskey Ring), pairing vegetarian fare with an extensive whiskey list merits notice. But at the end of the day, I’m not sure I’ve been cured of a carnal craving for red meat with my bourbon.
As with other Bailey joints, the atmosphere is well-engineered. Sexy vibe for sure. Although…you may have to go on a bit of a quest to find the bathroom and you may get to watch an AA meeting from across the street–all trade-offs for the midtown alley location I suppose.
The Whiskey. I’m definitely a whiskey fan, but I’m not enough of a connoisseur to be critical of their offerings. It’s a huge list. I saw plenty of favorites. I’m guessinggg you’ll find something you’ll like. I got one of their tasting samplers–the 101 (Powers, Glennfiddich, and Elijah Craig)–and was very pleased. In fact, I think they should offer more tasting samplers. I love the chance to explore and it’s even better when you can make side-by-side comparisons. For example, the Elijah Craig 12 year: did NOT care for it. Now I know. But I still had two other tasty options to make up for it. Totally ideal.
The Food. It was fine. The two small plates I sampled were not especially savory. The gratin was a little heavy on uber sweet caramelized grapes (more shallots, goat cheese and rosemary plz). The gougeres had great texture, but the stone fruit compote was again pretty saccharine. Beyond small plates, somewhat expectedly, there is plenty of pasta on the menu. Which, if you’re not going to be soaking up whiskey with a ribeye, there better be carbs. I chose to chase my share of the starters with the pappardelle with mushroom bourguigon. Mushroom sauce was satisfying. The pasta was pretty thick and doughy though.
Ah well. The portion sizes were healthy, the price points were exceedingly reasonable, and I’m confident Small Batch will grow into its menu.
So, recently made some trips to Strange Donuts. I’ll hand it to the guys. They certainly were able to whip up a frenzy around their donut endeavor. Sauce and Feast feature articles, craft brew collaborations, …pog tournaments… The Strange Donut fellas put on a social media blitz that has had every hipster within the Greater St. Louis area salivating for fried dough. Bedeviled by setbacks and delays–one can only assume–Strange Donuts did not meet its goal opening date of National Donut Day (the first Friday of June every year). Nearly five months later, the store front on Sutton started whirring with activity with both early morning and–admittedly inspired–late night hours on the weekends.
Alright, the donuts. I’ll cut right to it. They are no Worlds Fair Donuts. I certainly was not among the faithful waiting in line at 6am on opening day. As of right now, these are not wait-in-line-at-6am-donuts. I have hopes they’ll remedy this in the next couple months; getting up off the ground is always brutal. However, when you’re open, you’re open. On the very first visit, I opted for one of the more basic cake donuts topped with chocolate icing and sprinkles. And I sampled Bart’s Revenge (left, below) and some peanut butter-creation.
The chocolate icing on these things is actually spot on. It’s that low-brow ganache type substance that is absolutely essential for donuts. The yellow cake donut was not as dense as it looked–fairly light and not too sweet, which I like. However, there was no added punch. There was no soupçon of lemon, tang of buttermilk, whiff of cinnamon–nothing that made these things particularly distinctive. I expect more from something ‘strange.’ And the chocolate cake was quite dense, quite dry, and similarly blase. And regarding whether the two donuts below are strange…as far as I can tell, they are just donuts with candy crumbled on top.
Well done identifying a niche that was otherwise unoccupied in St. Louis. And well done with some of the late night, weekend creations–most of which involve a collaboration with a local meat purveyor (ex. a Salume Beddu/jelly-esque donut or a Sugar Fire Smokehouse/fold-over donut with brisket and gravy). That’s some good stuff. But up your A.M. game. Thx.
The first time I went to the Shaved Duck, I followed it up with two return visits more or less in the same week. I loved it. And it’s still a favorite spot. If only because I can get fries covered in cheese sauce and bbq pork.
But now, if I want said smothered fries, I may or may not have to gaze upon the following:
Why dude? Why? As if this wasn’t enough, there is a Grotto de Fieri in another corner of the establishment. (I mean, I know why. They’ve gotten beaucoup business out of their appearance on his show.)
Had to resist writing a much longer screed about this. But it would have been whiny and bitter and snobby. And I haven’t the heart.
Ah well. Will just stick my face in my fries and beer.
I fully intended to post about this a while ago. This is a straight-up fabulous event for a wonderful organization. Charity trivia nights are great, but UCP’s Annual Wing Ding is a fun alternative. Dozens of STL restaurants come out to serve their iteration of buffalo wings. There’s beer (Schlafly, AB, and Ferguson). There’s music (Willie and the Poor Boys). Done.
6-9pm at Queeny Park. General admission is $25. Come get your hands grubby. More info, if you need it.
So, finally tucked into my Craft Beer Week Kakao chocolate sampler. I’m down for adding beer to pretty much anything. However, I’m just not sure I detected much beer-y essence in these dudes. Superb chocolates though. Kakao, as always, particularly shines with its caramels. It’s just some fun schtick I suppose. And Kakao certainly isn’t alone in jumping on this bandwagon.