Guerrilla Street Food, St. Louis, MO – Do You Even Brunch?

“I was seven before I realized that you could eat breakfast with your pants on.”
Christopher Moore, Fool

Who doesn’t love brunch?  It’s this amazing meal where you can be totally lazy, sleep late, and eat either breakfast or lunch  items while drinking!  I recently experienced a great brunch called “Linggo” at Guerrilla Street Food.  This is a brunch worth putting on pants for.

This isn’t my first post about Guerrilla Street Food, I posted about their food truck back in August of 2012.  A lot has changed since then.  They have opened a storefront 1 block off Grand on Arsenal and now are offering brunch once a month.  Their brunches are always on Sunday which is where the name Linggo comes from, it’s the Tagalog word for Sunday.  Each month they will feature a different menu but it’s always a fun blend of Filipino favorites mashed up with St. Louis diner style.  One great example was the Southeast Sider.

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This dish had a base consisting of hand made Longanisa sausage and crispy fried rice hash browns.  It was topped with pork Sugo gravy and sous vide eggs.  It’s a “stick to your ribs” kind of meal.

My favorite dish I sampled was the Pandan French toast.  For those that like something more decadent, this is right up your alley.

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It featured Pandan angel food cake French toast (proof that God loves us) topped with Calamansi Curd, pickled green strawberries, and powdered sugar.  I know I said that they plan to change the menu monthly but I hope this one stays on the menu.

During my visit, Guerrilla Street Food teamed up with Cocktails Are Go!  Each of the items included a drink.  They had a Bloody Mary with Kim Chi, a version of a Hemingway daiquiri, and an excellent Hurricane.  The choices had a nice range to cover pretty much any palette.

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After one brunch visit I’m hooked.  The mixture of flavors makes it stand out above your standard brunch fare.  I look forward to see what new items are on the menu next month.  Hope to see you there!

Dive 2 Five Scale: 3.  Family friendly but you never know what music you will hear. 😀  It’s my first brunch with King Diamond but it brings back memories of the late 80’s.  It’s a small space but there are dining options both inside and outside.  Everyone is extremely friendly.  They are proud of their work and it shows.

Público – University City, MO – Tacos, Arepas, and Oysters = Happy Tummy

Mike Randolph is at it again with a new concept in University City called  Público.  It has been getting rave reviews, so I had to see what all the fuss was about.  After a quick glance at the menu, thoughts of the long gone MEDIAnoche came to mind.  MEDIAnoche was the night-time version Mike’s other restaurant:  Half and Half.  Although there were similarities, the new concept featuring an oak-burning hearth in the kitchen, definitely caught my attention.

This visit was a “go big or go home” type of night.  Most of the items are smaller and meant for sharing, so I would suggest ordering around three to five items for a couple.  Once you order, items will come out as they are available.  If you prefer, there are also entrée portioned items available as well.

First up: a cocktail to help shake off the week, and this one was a stunner.

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It was called the “Have you seen my guava?” and it was light, well-balanced, and definitely effective.

Once the food started to arrive, it came out fast and furious.  First, the raw oysters.  On this particular night they were featuring Cranberry Creek Oysters from Washington State.  They were medium on the brine and had a slight cucumber flavor on the finish.  I had never eaten oysters with lime juice, but it was a nice touch.  The flavors paired extremely well with the house red hot sauce.

Another guilty pleasure of mine is sweetbreads.

sweetbreads

This was the first dish that caught my eye from their menu.  It happens to be the most unique take on them that I have had and is probably my new all-time favorite.  They were served with a pineapple and habanero sauce, which came with just enough of a kick on the back end so you know it’s there.

Guess what?  There was a liver dish and I ordered it. I know, right?

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I had their arepa with lamb liver butter, fried sage, and maple syrup.  The lamb liver butter was light compared to most liver dishes.  The sweetness from syrup should make it more palatable, even if you aren’t a liver lover like me.

Yes, I also love tacos.  I LOVE TACOS.  Público‘s tacos come as a pair which makes them great for sharing if you can resist keeping them all for yourself.  Out of all the great options, I settled on the pork belly.

pork belly tacos

The first round of tacos was delicious: moist and packed with flavor. They were so good, in fact, I opted for a second round. Unfortunately, the difference in texture made this round a bit more dry. Either way, I would still recommend them.

Público is the latest restaurant adding more taco options to University City.  In fact, it is safe to say that U City has the upscale and diverse taco market cornered in St. Louis.  They have a menu with plenty of options in a fun setting with an upbeat vibe.  I predict a long life for this restaurant and can’t wait to try some of the entrées.

Dive 2 Five Star Scale:  3.  As I have already said, it has a very upbeat vibe.  It is also in one of the great areas to walk around in St. Louis: the Loop. I love the open concept with the large “U” shaped bar.  It was a great way to get in without a reservation before they became more busy.  The decor is fun as well.  I am a tree art fanatic so I loved the large trees on the wall.

Angel’s Envy Bourbon

For those that work in the world of supplying distilled spirits to the rest of us, there is a term that has always fascinated me:  The Angels Share.  The Angels Share refers to the quantity of alcohol that evaporates during maturation while being stored in casks.  Recently I had a chance to receive a promotional sample of Angel’s Envy Bourbon in celebration of its Missouri launch.

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After some research on the brand, it became clear that this is a labor love.  The attention to detail and care put into each batch could only be done by someone that has devoted their life to the pursuit of the perfect bourbon.  That person was Lincoln Henderson and you can read a great description of how it’s made here.

I have sampled the bourbon on two different occasions and have done a side-by-side with Eagle Rare.  Eagle Rare has been a mainstay in my liquor cabinet for a couple years now.

Smell:  It has a lot going on from the first smell which is why it took several attempts to break this down.  First, you definitely know this is a bourbon.  It has a slightly sweet  maple smell.  There was also a hint of fruit, which was likely a byproduct of the port barrel finish.

Taste:  The best way I can characterize it is ballsy.  It reminds me of all the things you like about drinking bourbon.  In my opinion this is a bourbon drinker’s bourbon.  There is a lot of depth and I liked the vanilla and caramel that I tasted.  In comparison to Eagle Rare, I would give this a nod if you really enjoy drinking bourbon.  Eagle Rare is less bold and something I have used to lure in  my non-bourbon drinking friends.

This has now earned a permanent spot in my bar at home.  It’s the perfect bourbon to sit and savor in its simplicity.  I must admit that I did mix into a Kentucky Mule and it added more punch than the Eagle Rare.  However to me this is a waste for this product when the bourbon should be the focus.  At this moment, we have a reason to feel lucky just being a mere mortal and enjoying the Angel’s Share .

Booker and Dax, New York, NY – Mixology on a Whole New Level and Pork Bun Heaven

Another successful trip to NYC.  Lots of shopping, sight-seeing, drinks, and of course GOOD FOOD!. After listening to Dave Arnold talk last year at the High Tech Happy Hour as part of the NYCWFF, a trip to Booker and Dax  was added to my “must do” list.

Booker and Dax is a small bar attached to Momofuku Ssäm.  The main attraction here are the cocktails.  I suggest you find a seat at the bar so you can enjoy the attention to detail that goes into each creation.  It is unlike anything I have experienced anywhere else.  What makes these drinks special?  They use techniques you won’t see at your standard bar.  Things like liquid nitrogen to chill the glass, clarifying juice in a centrifuge, etc, are all common place.  It’s like having a bar in a chemistry lab.

Gin and Juice on left, Corsair garnished with a Miller High Life on right

Gin and Juice on left, Corsair garnished with a Miller High Life on right

Since Booker and Dax is attached to Momofuku Ssäm, their bar snacks are also something to behold.  While enjoying my drinks I saw several recommendations for the steamed pork buns on Foursquare.  Check out this slice of heaven:

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There really isn’t much to them, but this is officially my favorite thing I have eaten.  (Note I was reaching the bottom of drink 3 when I tried them 🙂 ).  They contained nice sized pieces of pork belly, cucumbers, scallions, and hoisin.  The pork belly doesn’t have the rind, so it is extremely fatty and decadent.  It melts in your mouth!  The cucumbers add crunch and helped neutralize the fat.   They were so good I had to order a second batch.

Booker and Dax is a great place to enjoy one-of-a-kind cocktails.  They have a small snack menu, but the steamed pork buns alone are worth the trip.  If you are a science geek like me, get there early before it gets busy.  Then get the bartenders talking about their experience using the centrifuge as well as how some of the cocktail ideas evolved.  It is guaranteed to be a great evening of drinks and food.

Dive 2 Five Scale:  3.  It’s a small space that really focuses on the drinks.  The music variety was intriguing.  I heard AC DC, U2, Blondie, and even Hall and Oates Maneater all in one hour.  If you are in NYC, you should add it to your “must-do” list as well.  This will be something I hit up on all future trips.

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Dos Martinis Por Favor

Since people enjoyed the first post that featured a cocktail in it, I have created a Quick Byte post that about 2 martinis.  Both of these are easily accessible when in Lawrence, KS.  I am a sucker for a good martini.   If you don’t believe me, check out the new sign for my house:

The first was a classic vodka martini from the Bourgeois Pig.  You can’t go wrong with this mainstay served up.  I really enjoy the atmosphere of the Pig.  It’s relaxing and they take the time to make each drink correct.  Check out the art while you are there.  It features a different artist every so often.

The second was the Former Spy from 715.  This is also a vodka martini with house made limencello and lavender.  I love the contrast of the tart and sweetness from the limencello. This is an extremely smooth drink.  It is really easy to lose track of time (and count) when drinking this martini.

I hope everyone enjoyed the 2nd post with cocktails.  Any suggestions for “must try” drinks in St. Louis?

Bourgeois Pig on Urbanspoon

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Pachamama’s, Lawrence, KS – Pork Perfection!

Hopefully everyone had a great weekend and survived their Monday.  I spent the past weekend playing tour guide for a friend on my 3rd consecutive road trip to Kansas.  One of my “must-do” stops when in Lawrence, KS is Pachamama’s.

Pachamama’s is a trendy restaurant conveniently located in the downtown area.  This allows for easy access to Lawrence nightlife post a great meal.  First things first, I had to enjoy one of their cocktails.  Normally I don’t blog about the drinks that accompany my meals, but check this photo out:

The Barbados Squeeze

That was the Barbados squeeze.  It contained rum, ginger beer, lemon, and soda.  It wasn’t overly strong.  It was actually really light and refreshing and allowed me to focus on the flavor of the food.

My appetizer was the slow cooked and pulled BBQ goat.  I can’t remember the last time I had ordered goat.  It was served on a buttermilk bacon / scallion biscuit.  I really enjoyed the biscuit.  The scallion added a little bite to it.  The goat was a little bland but the sweet chow chow added nice tart kick.

Slow cook and pulled goat

My main course was the slow cooked Heritage pork shank with a bourbon brown sugar glaze.  It was served on a bed of cheddar and apple grits with a side of snap pea slaw.  OMG!  The pork was amazing.  Cooking it with the meat on the bone it adds so much flavor and texture.  There is something about having meat served this way that triggers those latent caveman instincts.  I had to remember my surroundings so I didn’t just pick it up and gnaw it right off the bone.  The glaze was sweet and enhanced the juicy pork.  The grits and slaw were both nice, but the pork was clearly the start of this dish.

So much delightful pork!

Pachamama’s is my top choice for a fine dining experience in Lawrence.  It holds a special place in my heart since I first tried duck at their original location.  I have gone there for over 10 years and that won’t change any time soon.

Dive 2 Five Scale:  4.  This is a nice restaurant for a college town.  There was live music during my visit but it was subtle and still allowed for conversation.  There was a mixture of people dressed in jeans to suits.  Don’t forget to check out the Star bar when you visit.

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