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Apr 24, 2017
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Budget Crunch

Budget Crunch: 9 delicious deals to devour now

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Got $10 and a friend? Then contributor Kevin Korinek has 9 tasty deals you must try now.

 

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1. The new Boardwalk Waffles & Ice Cream in Maplewood is offering a special $9 chicken and waffle deal Thursdays from 4 p.m. until sold out. And yes, it will probably sell out, so make sure you’re first in line. While Boardwalk supplies the delectable waffle, the fried chicken slingers at Byrd & Barrel supply the Chicken Nugz. Adding hot sauce gets you to Flavortown fast, but a little maple syrup goes a long way.

2. A classic Italian bistro that is always adding good times and new flavors, Mangia Italiano might just be one of the best post-work spots for a good deal. Just in time for warm weather and patio dining on South Grand, you can get half off appetizers and a well-made $3 rail cocktail every weekday. Your best bet is the Honey-Cayenne Wings – a generous $5.50 pound of mouthwatering wings in Mangia’s signature sauce. They’re crunchy, spicy and oh, so satisfying.

 

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3. Every taqueria in St. Louis claims to have the best fish tacos, but The Red Shack in Dogtown may have the best monthly deal to prove it. Fridays during Lent, the Tex-Mex haven has a killer special of two, scrumptious salmon tacos with house-made chips and salsa for a mere $5.50.

4. Of course life isn’t all about tacos. It’s also about pizza. If you find yourself near Lafayette Square during the week, run (don’t walk) to happy hour at Eleven Eleven Mississippi, where you can snag a gorgeous, Tuscan-inspired flatbread for $6 to $7 each Monday to Thursday. Try the Italian sausage for authentic Old World flavor or the poached pear and fig if you’re feeling adventurous.

 

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5. Craft beer has turned a scientific corner, and we are now seeing an explosion of flavors that would make Eberhard Anheuser and Adolphus Busch do a double take. One of the more recent highlights to hit our beloved craft scene is sour beers. Retreat Gastropub in the CWE wants you to get more acquainted at its Thursday Sour Hours. In March, select sour beers are only $5 from 4 to 7 p.m., giving you the chance to pucker-up buttercup and experience some new flavors. Rest assured, the craft beer revolution carries on – what a time to be alive.

6. Back to tacos, because tacos. If you’re eating lunch in Brentwood and looking for a quick fix, Whole Foods kitchen now has you covered. The market recently opened up a lightning fast taqueria where you can grab a made-to-order burrito or three tacos for $8. Where else can you get Mexican food and finish grocery shopping on your lunch break?

 

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7. Copper Pig in beautiful Southampton has an amazing happy hour this month. Weekdays between 4:30 to 6 p.m., appetizers are $6 bucks and most drafts are a cool $3. The deal does not include its famous winter app, bacon jam and Brie (bummer!), but I’m sure you can find something to love between the General Tso’s cauliflower or the duck confit poutine.

8. Ramen is all the rage in St. Louis these days, and Hiro Asian Kitchen aims to keep it that way by offering a Ramen Happy Hour Tuesday through Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. Sample from an assortment of ramen dishes that will make your head spin. If you miss the first window, don’t worry – the deal also happens for evening diners from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Two ramen happy hours in one day is one way to keep customers happy.

9. Again, life is nothing without damn good pizza, and Plank Road Pizza has them in spades. The Cottleville pizza den offers lunch special: an 8-inch pizza and side salad for $10. My go-to: the honey-bacon-chicken pizza. It’s a work of art – house-made crust topped with olive oil, brown sugar, roast chicken, bacon, honey, red onion and bubbling mozzarella. The lunch special is good from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and also comes with a side salad.

 

Kevin Korinek is a freelance writer and photographer with a passion for making homemade pie.

Budget Crunch: 6 delicious deals to try now

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

Got $10 and a friend? Then contributor Holly Fann has six delicious deals you need to devour this month.

 

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1. The burger at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Clayton is a glorious, meaty, satisfying sammy. Usually priced at $16, the restaurant offers its massive 10-ounce burger with seasoned house-made chips for $10 Thursdays in the bar – a perfect opportunity to indulge in some of the city’s best beef at a budget-friendly price.

2. There are still a few more days to enjoy Anheuser-Busch annual holiday lights display through Dec. 30. After you stroll through the self-guided tour, head to the Biergarten where guests 21 and older can enjoy five 5-ounce samples of A-B beers and ciders. Food stations offer hot snacks; opt for $2.50 s’mores kits ready for the nearby fire pits.

 

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3. Sriracha Granada is a glorious green, locally made hot sauce popping up all over city. With a touch more heat and slightly sweeter than the red Sriracha we are all familiar with, this sauce is delicious on anything from eggs to burgers to pho. Bottles sell for around $6 local shops including Edibles & Essentials and Fields Foods.

4. New to Laclede’s Landing, The Roaring Twenties fills you up on Tuesdays with a Two Dog Tuesday special: two of their loaded hot dogs or sausages, fries and a drink for $10. Try the heart stopping Cuckoo Dog, a beer-battered, deep-fried dog with beer-battered bacon, jack cheese sauce, caramelized onions and mustard, and pair it with the healthier Russo Dog, a veggie dog with cucumbers, tomato, red onions and basil relish.

 

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5. The complex Spiced Caramel Spread sold at the Nathaniel Reid Bakery in Kirkwood is pure velvety caramel flavor. Reid suggested pairing it with fresh fruit, on ice cream, drizzled on pies and tarts or even in savory preparations like on a roast pork or duck breast. For $8.50, you may also enjoy a spoonful of it straight from the jar.

6. The $10 khao soi at Fork & Stix is the perfect remedy for wintertime woes. A gorgeous bowl is filled with a curry broth, egg noodles, red onions, crispy noodles and addictive pickled mustard greens and is perfect to cure what ails you.

 

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Budget Crunch: 8 delicious deals to try now

Friday, October 7th, 2016

Got $10 and a friend? Then contributor Holly Fann has eight delicious deals you need to devour this month. 

 

 

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1. Throwback to your arcade days Wednesdays at Start Bar. Hump day includes happy hour specials including half-price pizzas, milkshakes and slushies from 4 to 7 p.m., and all the games are set to free play until close. Ready for endless rounds of Galaga, Mario Kart or skee-ball? Game on!

2. Celebrate the harvest of healthy, gorgeous apples by smothering them in sugary goodness Oct. 8 and Oct. 29 at Whole Foods in Town & Country. Naked apples wait to be dipped, rolled and dotted with caramel, nuts and candies for $5 each. Adults and children are welcome to make and decorate caramel apples from noon to 3 p.m.

3. After a summer of competitive cook-offs at area farmers markets, five chefs have made it to the final round of the Chefs Cook Real Challenge. The Dam’s Matt Galati, Byrd & Barrel’s Ryan McDonald, Bon Vivant Catering’s Wayne Judge, Olive & Oak’s Jesse Mendica and 1818 Chophouse’s Antoine Moussali create delectable bites with goods purchased from Midtown Farmers Market on Oct. 8. Purchase a taste of each for $5 and cast your vote before 1 p.m.

 

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4. With just a ten spot, you can make a night of it at The Silver Ballroom. Play any pinball machine for a couple quarters and have a drink in its Retox Center. Feeling peckish? Grab a substantial $5 to $6 Australian meat pie; flavors include classic beef and cheddar and specials like chicken fajita or a slinger pie.

5. Take a scenic drive the last weekend in October to Kimmswick for two days of apple butter-centered fun. The town’s annual Apple Butter Festival draws thousands of attendees each year with local food booths, crafts, free tastings and live entertainment. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 29 and 30 and makes a tasty weekend getaway.

6. Listening to new tunes and drinking craft beer is always pretty great way to spend a few hours. Music Record Shop on Washington Avenue offers just that and more with their New Music Fridays in-store events. Owners play brand new vinyl releases and serve free Urban Chestnut beer to browsing customers.

 

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7. There are plenty of places in St. Louis to get a cheap tasty burger and crispy fries, but there is nowhere quite like Carl’s Drive In. When a loaded double cheeseburger, fries and a frosty root beer add up to less than $10, Carl’s is a Budget Crunch-approved destination.

8. Doughnuts and beer collide in the ring during Wresting at 4 Hands Brewing Co., a free event on Oct. 22 from 1 to 5 p.m. Local Dynamo Pro wrestlers divide into teams representing 4 Hands and Strange Donuts and take to the mat for a throwdown. Bring a chair and claim your spot, then grab a bite from Seoul Taco, Gioia’s Deli, Slide Piece, Southern and The Fifth Wheel. Wash it down with Apricot Slam, 4 Hands City Wide made with apricots.

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

From upcoming breweries in St. Peters to a new face on familiar diner space in Grand Center, here’s what went down this weekend in the St. Louis restaurant scene, ICYMI…

 

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1. Third Wheel Brewing is rolling into St. Peters in March 2017. Co-owner Brad Wheeling said the ownership group recently signed a lease for 4008 N. Service Road.

2. Barbecue is hitting the road in Illinois. Owner Kattie Goodwin, along with husband Randy Goodwin and brother Charles Williams, will launch Good Heavens BBQ & Bakery food truck on Oct. 1.

 

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3. From matcha cocktails to East Coast IPAs, here’s what’s trending now in the St. Louis beer, wine and cocktail scene.

4. Got $10 and a friend? Then contributor Holly Fann has eight delicious deals you need to devour this month on Budget Crunch. 

 

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5. Stage Left Diner is currently in dress rehearsals at 541 N. Grand Blvd. As The Scoop reported earlier this week, the former City Diner in Grand Center underwent a concept change after owner Steve Smith bought out the former owners.

 

Budget Crunch: 8 delicious deals to devour this month

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Got $10 and a friend? Then contributor Holly Fann has eight delicious deals you need to devour this month. 

 

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{From left, Nudo House’s pork tonkotsu and chicken schmaltz ramen}

 

1. Construction is still ongoing at Nudo House, the hotly anticipated ramen restaurant from Mai Lee’s Qui Tran and Marie-Anne Velasco, but the duo hopes to reward eager patrons’ patience with a taste on Sept. 26. Tran and Velasco host their next ramen pop-up at Mai Lee in Brentwood, offering two options for $10 each: a pork tonkotsu or a chicken schmaltz version. This cash-only event takes place from noon to 9 p.m., so grab your friends and slurp to your heart’s content.

2. Whether you have little ones at home or are up for some old-fashioned hooky, skip the school bus and head to Eckert’s Millstadt Farm. Normally $12.50 on the weekends, the cost of admission drops to $6 on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Take in the pig races, a petting farm, an underground slide and a pumpkin cannon, then stroll through the orchards to pick your own apples. Tickets available onsite.

 

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{Urban Harvest STL Food Room Farm}

 

3. If your garden has gone crazy during the last weeks of summer or you couldn’t pass up the flat of ripe peaches at the farmers market, Urban Harvest STL is ready to help during its Preserving the Harvest class at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 17. Learn how best to prepare and keep the season’s bounty at the nonprofit’s Food Roof Farm. The class costs $10; sign up online.

4. While most come to slurp noodle soups at Vista Ramen, don’t neglect the cocktail list. The $9 Cafe Pseudo the perfect sip to say hello to autumn. With flavors that nod toward sweet, roasty Vietnamese coffee, the Pseudo is a combination of Fernet, cold-brew coffee, sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk and Thai basil.

 

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{Martinis at The Fountain on Locust}

 

5. It’s a madhouse at The Fountain on Locust with weeknight specials. On Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m., purchase one ice cream martini and receive a second for $1. Wednesdays bring the $2 plus Meal Madness special from 4 to 6 p.m.; purchase one meal and the next one is $2 plus the change that corresponds to the date (so on Sept. 21, your second meal price will be $2.21). Thursdays see specials on Fountain’s Classic Retro Cocktail menu from 6 to 9 p.m.; get one and the second is half price.

6. The Muddled Pig Gastropub in Maplewood now offers a custom 32-ounce growler for $10. To introduce its shiny new bottles, customers who buy a growler in September get their first fill free from any of the 16 beers on tap, including Ferguson Brewing’s Pecan Brown Ale or Modern Brewery’s Pig Island.

 
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{The Royale patio}

 

7. There’s one thing both sides of the ballot can agree on: The upcoming presidential debates will surely be entertaining. The Royale hosts a watch party on its outdoor patio Sept. 26 with a $5 Uncle Salvatore Nicholia Forte drink special: a shot of Old Charter bourbon and a 12-ounce Miller High Life. Royale proprietor Steven Fitzpatrick Smith’s Uncle Salvatore was known to hate politics, and Smith said this particular special is the best way to cope with the madness of election season.

8. Enjoy cooling autumn weather and the sweet boing of a rubber ball off your foot during a pick-up game at Kickball in The Park starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 in Sublette Park. The first 100 attendees will receive a free hot salami sandwich from the Gioia’s Deli food truck.

 

 

 

 

 

Budget Crunch: 8 delicious dishes and sweet deals to try now

Friday, August 12th, 2016

Got $10 and a friend? Then intrepid Budget Crunch reporter Holly Fann has eight foodie finds you have to try from taco Wednesdays to funky free classes.

 

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1. Oyster lovers should not miss out on Sqwires$1 oyster special Fridays from 5 to 7 p.m. A fistful of singles will buy a freshly shucked feast of rotating East Coast bivalves or peel-and-eat Gulf shrimp.

2. I’m a big fan of two-for-one deals like the one found Thursday nights at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation and Contemporary Art Museum. From 5 to 7 p.m., take in the current exhibits at both museums and enjoy two-for-one cocktail and small plate specials from the CAM Cafe. Mix and match $8 cocktails like a rum-based Cerveza Libre, $7 wine and $5 beers with small plates like tomato bruchetta or pickled vegetable crostini. While you sip and snack, explore contemporary works, all on an artist’s budget.

 

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3. Five tacos all priced at $3 each at the new 4 Hands Brewing Co. tasting room plus a menu of Mexican-inspired small plates $10 or less (most much less) would be enough to make the Budget Crunch list. Add craft beer, free arcade games and skee-ball, and you’ve got a BC-approved night out for a small handful of cash.

4. Bark at the brewery Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m. when you bring your pup down to the Anheuser-Busch Biergarten for Yappy Hour. With live music, $2 beer specials, $3 pretzel sticks and $5 orders of wings, you will be as fat and happy as your four-legged companion.

 

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5. The pride of Dutchtown, Iron Barley hosts its 12th annual Tomato Fest on Aug. 14 from noon to 6 p.m. Snack on BLTs and barbecue pizzas for $10 or less and enjoy a street party mashup of live music, food, drinks and all things tomato. The festival benefits Lift for Life Gym.

6. Taco Tuesdays are great, but Taco Wednesdays are extra delicious at Muddled Pig Gastropub when tacos al pastor will set you back a whopping 75 cents each. Wash them all down with Muddled Pig’s bourbon-inflected margarita for $5.

 

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7. Summer fruit season lasts through August at Wind Ridge Farm. You can pick your own blackberries for a ridiculous $3 a pound and peaches for less than $2 a pound (not including the ones that make it straight into your belly). Picking dates are announced via its website, social media and on the Picking Hotline: 636.828.5900.

8. Few things are as trendy (and funky) as fermenting foods. The good folks at Gateway Greening host a free Fermenting Class Aug. 17 at Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. in The Grove as part of their Pints N’ Plants series. Learn how to safely ferment and enjoy a variety of dishes over a pint of our favorite fermented beverage.

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Budget Crunch: 8 delicious dishes and sweet deals happening now

Friday, April 15th, 2016

Got $10 and a friend? Then intrepid Budget Crunch reporter Holly Fann has eight foodie finds you have to try, from sloppy hot dogs to fancy seeds.

 

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1. The free mushroom festival at Pere Marquette Lodge on April 17 is the fungus lover’s Coachella: live music, free wine tastings and vendors selling local goods and crafts. The highlight of the festival is Great Morel Hunt, which takes place on the grounds from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Seasoned experts and novice hunters alike will forage for nature’s wrinkly delicacies together with a chance to win prizes for the largest mushroom and biggest haul.

2. Clayton’s Craft Beer Cellar is a sort of nirvana for craft beer lovers, and now it’s a democracy, too. Each Wednesday, cast your vote in the Crowdsourced Happy Hour online (check CBC’s Facebook and Twitter for the link) and choose which two brews should be sipped at the evening’s half-price happy hour from 6 to 8 p.m. Winner, winner, craft beer for dinner.

 

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3. Truffles Restaurant in Clayton has a tasty little next-door neighbor – Truffles Butchery, which also serves up ready-to-eat items like sandwiches. A new menu addition, the Black and Blue Steak Sandwich is a hearty $10 pick. Enjoy a healthy serving of finest quality aged beef tenderloin marinated in bourbon and served with caramelized onions, blue cheese and lettuce and tomato stacked on brioche.

4. Black Thorn Pizza and Pub is not only a great South Grand watering hole, but also a pizza lover’s secret spot. For almost 20 years, owner Dave Difani has made pizzas, and for an easy $9, you can nosh on a 10-inch two-topping pan pizza, hot from the oven, gooey with mozzarella and a golden brown crust.

 

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5. Southwest Diner now serves up tamale on (what else?) Tamale Tuesdays. Unwrap the corn husks to reveal steamed masa stuffed with pork or vegetables and topped with red or green chili or a combo “Christmas” sauce. A ten spot will get you four generous tamales, enough to satiate even the hungriest Tex-Mex lover.

6. The horticulture nerds at SeedGeeks are ready to help you kickstart your summer garden. The SeedGeeks sell packets of untreated, non-GMO heirloom seeds to shoppers at the Tower Grover and Schlafly farmers markets. Grab a few packets of vegetable and herb seeds for a mere $1.50 to $3 each.

 

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7. Not ready to fire up your grill just yet? Get a taste of summer at Steve’s Hot Dogs with the Backyard BBQ Dog, is a sloppy mess that sees a quarter-pound smoked hot dog smothered with baked beans, potato salad, bacon and barbecue sauce. Getting a bite with each element is a mighty feat indeed.

8. Dine Out For The Birds at The Purple Martin and support local wildlife on April 21, when a portion of the restaurant’s proceeds will benefit Wild Bird Rehabilitation’s Songbird Hospital. There, ornithologists care for injured, ill and orphaned native wild songbirds and then release them back into their natural habitat once they are healthy. Take a seat at the bar or on the outdoor patio and sip a signature Purple Martin cocktail (a mix of Malibu Rum, vodka, grape soda and a lemon squeeze for $8) and feel good knowing you helped a little bird regain its song.

 

-photos by Holly Fann

 

Budget Crunch: 8 delicious dishes and sweet deals to try now

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Got $10 and a friend? Then intrepid Budget Crunch reporter Holly Fann has eight foodie finds you have to try, from Election Day treats to fancy fish fry dates.

 

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1. ArtBar Saint Louis’ Tom Halaska has a special Election Day tradition: a free toasty G&W bologna grilled cheese sammy and a cold can of beer to those donning an “I Voted” sticker. After you perform your civic duty today, grab a free bite for a price that can’t be beat.

2. When the weather can still turn wintery, a bowl of comforting chicken and dumplings at Mama Josephine’s hits the spot. A hearty helping of chicken and tender, rich dumplings take a warm soak in savory chicken stock. The meal will cost you around $9 and will satisfy the hungriest appetite.

 

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3. This Budget Crunch pick can be found at The Muddled Pig in Maplewood: the Tuesday Burger, Beer and Bourbon. Each week, a house burger, choice of 4 Hands brew and a shot of Buffalo Trace will only set you back a 10 spot.

4. The Silver Ballroom might be best known for the walls of pinball games, but owner Steve “Doc” Dachroeden has a delicious secret. He regularly slices up beef top round and creates his punk rock brand of dehydrated beef called Circle Jerky. A snack-sized bag runs $4, leaving enough quarters left for a shot, a few tunes on the jukebox and a game or two of pinball.

 

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5. For more than 60 years, Carl’s Deli has been slicing and stacking deli meats for its inch-thick sandwiches. We’ve already professed our love for its mammoth Reuben, and the hot corned beef sandwich also sets us drooling. A generous in pile of tender, rose-pink meat served on your choice of bread with classic deli condiments will cost you a mere $8.25.

6. If there is such a thing as a classy fish fry, then Holy Trinity’s Serbian Orthodox Church’s fish fry is it. Every Friday through March 25, the church serves up $10 plates of fried catfish, tilapia and shrimp with sides and home-baked desserts for those observing (or not) Lent. Flowers and candles on the table and soft elevator music add to the ambiance.

 

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7. Unlike most coffee varieties which are based on blends of different beans, Sweet Bloom roasters from Denver uses only the single Columbian variety named Pink Bourbon for its San Adolfo coffee. Enjoy a pour-over cup of this singular bean, which has notes of mixed berry, jam and nougat, at Comet Coffee for $4.

8. Italian cheeses are the focus at the free cheese and wine tasting hosted by Whole Foods Town & Country on Tuesday, March 22. From 6 to 7:30 p.m., Whole Food’s cheese expert will sample and discuss lesser known Italian cheeses. A selection of wines will also be available for tasting and pairing with your bites.

 

 

 

Budget Crunch: 10 delicious dishes and sweet deals to try now

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

It’s time for Budget Crunch, wherein intrepid reporter Holly Fann offers 10 tips on delicious menu items and sweet deals happening now. Got $10 and some change? Grab a friend and sample, split and stuff yourselves with these steals.

 

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1. Take your lunch cravings to Salume Beddu for The Beast, a beautiful mess of a sandwich featuring house-made fiama salsiccia, peporanata and grain mustard on crusty bread. Savory, rich and loaded with tender sweet peppers, this sammy will only set you back $8.50, leaving you enough cash to add a San Pellegrino to wash it all down.

2. Don’t let U City Grill’s gruff appearance keep you from ordering a primo bowl of bimbimbap. A Korean dish literally meaning “mixed rice,” it is a bowl filed with bulgogi beef, vegetables, hot sauce and topped with a fried egg. For only $6, you’ll get to enjoy some of the tastiest Korean fare in St. Louis.

 

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3. Cleveland-Heath offers its full menu at lunch and dinner, allowing you to order the Okonomiyake or Japanese Pancake whenever your heart desires. The traditional Japanese street food receives a lavish upgrade, topped with wild Gulf shrimp, bacon, cabbage, Kewpie mayo, barbecue sauce and bonito flakes for $9.

4. The gelato pops at the new fast-casual Italian eatery Porano Pasta are not the dull popsicles of your youth. These velvety pops come in flavors like mango, vanilla bean, Askinosie chocolate and salted caramel. At only $3 a pop(!), these fun treats are a steal.

 

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5. Vegetarians can feast on the Mediterranean Grain Salad at Winslow’s Home completely guilt free. The satisfying salad is chock-full of bulghur, farro, cucumber, peppers, olives, capers, feta, parsley, lemon, hummus and topped with a crispy falafel. The half size is generous and runs $7, but you can order an even heartier full order for $10.

6. At Bar Les Freres you can dine on four warm potato blinis dressed with creme fraiche and a handsome portion of caviar, all served on fine bone china for a mere $10. Surrounded by the dim glow of candles, attentive staff and overstuffed settees, you’ll feel like royalty.

 

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7. The first thing you see when you enter Royal Chinese BBQ is the open kitchen window displaying golden, crisp-skinned ducks and hunks of glistening cherry-red pork. Order the Honey Roasted Pork and a cook will go to the window, retrieve the slow-cooked and lacquered pork from the hook and slice up a portion for you. The caramelized, sticky goodness is served with steamed white rice for just $9.50 an order.

8. Sometimes over-the-top flavor and a little indulgence is exactly what you need. Fulfill both with the Pat Say Jack Burger from The Kitchen Sink. Grilled andouille, roasted pork loin, jalapeno bacon, Swiss and pepper jack cheese, fried pickles and fried banana peppers struggle to stay atop the toasty bun. Served with house chips, this mega meal will set you back an even ten spot.

 

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9. Cocktails at Water Street Cafe are intriguing combinations of liquors, spirits, fruits and sometimes, vegetables. The $10 Sweet Pea Cocktail uses green tea-infused vodka, local Lion’s Tooth dandelion liquor, lemon and muddled snap peas and mint for a refreshing, vegetal sipper.

10. For a great happy hour snack for two, try the Imam Baylidi at Olio. A Middle Eastern dish of charred eggplant, yogurt and pomegranate molasses, the creamy dip is served with slices of crusty bread. At $10, its bright, vibrant flavor will satiate and satisfy early evening munchies.

 

-photos by Holly Fann 

 

Budget Crunch: 10 delicious dishes and sweet deals to try now

Monday, December 7th, 2015

It’s time for Budget Crunch, wherein intrepid reporter Holly Fann offers 10 tips on delicious menu items and sweet deals happening now. Got $10 and some change? Grab a friend and sample, split and stuff yourselves with these steals.

 

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1. It may be getting cold outside but boozy ice cream martinis are especially called for around the holidays. The Fountain on Locust offers decadent treats like the Grand Chocolate Martini, which includes Godiva Chocolate liqueur and house-made Zanzibar chocolate ice cream for $10 or the Pomegranate Punch featuring house-made lemon and orange sherbets, pomegranate liqueur and vodka for $8.50.

2. Amighetti’s special sandwich has been the house favorite since 1979. Fresh house Italian bread is stacked high with three deli meats, cheese, a salad of fresh and pickled veggies and special house dressing. Nosh on one of the tastiest hoagies in St. Louis on The Hill or in Rock Hill with a $9 whole sandwich or a $5 half sandwich. (Just remember to remove the pepperoncini stems before devouring…)

 

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3. It’s not a taco – it’s a puffer. Chewy, crispy, spicy and quite addictive, the these deep-fried golden shells at Fort Taco are filled with your choice of chicken or beef, lettuce, tomato and chile verde or chipotle sauce. Grab a pair of puffers and a drink at the drive-thru-only operation in Brentwood or its food court location in Chesterfield Mall for $9.

4. The Gramophone in The Grove serves up a bevy of creative, tasty sammies in half or whole orders. Dig into The Frenchy, a chicken sandwich with bacon, mushroom, onion and melty Swiss cheese topped with red wine aioli and served on French bread, naturally. A half of this hearty sandwich is $5, and a full is $10.

 

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5. Ramen is sprouting up all over St. Louis, the latest offering being Robata in Maplewood. With all the ramen bowls priced starting at $9. While ramen can often be an omnivores-only menu item, Robata offers its vegetarian Yashi ramen, a bowl of umami-packed vegetable broth loaded with vibrant steamed vegetables, pickled ginger and wood ear mushrooms.

6. The $5 cha gio, or crispy egg rolls, at Mai Lee are one of those dishes you crave at all hours of the day. Served with assorted greens including green leaf lettuce, cucumber and cilantro, the two-person appetizer is fun to eat. Wrap bites of the egg roll in the lettuce, garnish with the greens and dip in the piquant fish sauce.

 

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7. With dozens of options well below the $10 mark, The Vine on South Grand could very well be a Budget Crunch regular. This month, we’re opting for the falafel wrap sandwich and a side of savory seasoned fries for a mere $7.

8. Half & Half in Clayton serves up the most important meal of the day in the form of decadent brioche French toast. Buttery, downy slices of brioche are golden brown and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Drizzle with real maple syrup and satisfy any morning sweet tooth for $9.50.

 

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9. SLU dance professor Alex Ocasio teaches Latin dancing 101 for free at Mi Caribe Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. After working up an appetite, feast on the $10 Cubano filled with pork, ham, pickles, Swiss cheese, mustard and mayo on crunchy pressed bread.

10. Combining exceptional cold press coffee and locally brewed root beer, the Bitt’s & Fitz served at Living Room in Maplewood is a curiously refreshing tonic of Bitt’s cold press coffee, Fitz’s root beer and milk. Creamy, fizzy and not too sweet, this delightful mid-day pick-me-up runs $5.

Holly Fann is a longtime food writer who currently blogs at GastrononicSTL.

-photos by Holly Fann

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