Death in the Afternoon – St. Louis, MO – Power Lunch

“So far, about morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.” – Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

I’m a long time member of Blood and Sand and one of my greatest struggles is the distance between my home, my work, and that restaurant.  That same issue kept me from trying Death in the Afternoon, until I scheduled a PTO day for indulgence.

View of Death in the Afternoon from City Garden

View of Death in the Afternoon from City Garden

Death in the Afternoon is located in one of my favorite treasures of St. Louis, City Garden.  I was ecstatic when the owners of Blood and Sand took took over that location.  They are a lunch and brunch spot that takes full advantage of their view.  Their menu is ever changing but there are items for most palates.  I enjoy the nod given to some of my favorite Asian fare like the steamed buns and ramen.

Death in the Afternoon is located in one of my favorite treasures of St. Louis, City Garden.  I was ecstatic when the owners of Blood and Sand took over that location.  They are a lunch and brunch spot that takes full advantage of their view.  Their menu is ever changing but there are items to satisfy palates.  I appreciate the twist on some of my favorite Asian fair, such as steamed buns and ramen.

First up was the hummus.  With the addition of the roasted vegetables, this was definitely not your plain Jane hummus. Where was this idea of using zucchini on top while my family’s garden was exploding with extra produce???  As far as hummus goes, this version is a very solid offering.

hummus

Next up is one of my guilty pleasures:  Japanese steamed buns.  Remember my gushing over the pork belly buns that I devoured at Booker and Dax in NY?  Although these do not replace those in my heart, they have a lot to offer.  I went with two each of the pork belly and mushroom steamed buns.  They are served with a side of pickles and daikon carrot slaw.  I loved experimenting with the different flavor and texture combinations.  While I would order these again, they are on the pricey side at $5.50 a bun.

steamed buns

My last dish was the Cubano sandwich.  Who doesn’t like a sandwich that has multiple types of pork!?  Personally, I know that I have been craving one since I recently (finally) saw the movie Chef.  I know this isn’t a movie blog, but it’s a great watch if you love food.  Anyway, this sandwich didn’t disappoint.  The bread was crunchy, and you still have the prerequisite yellow mustard and pickles.

cubano

Death in the Afternoon is a great lunch spot with a view.  If you are lucky enough to work in the area, it’s a must.  I can’t wait to try the brunch and their Bloody Mary.  I would love to see what they could do with a banh mi as well.  Hint hint.

DITA 2

Dive 2 Five Scale:  4.  I think all the power suits and business lunches made me go with a 4 on this.  It has a trendy vibe in a great location.  It’s a little more than your typical lunch but as they say, you get what you pay for.

Blood and Sand – An Inside Look in a Members Only Restaurant

I finally found time to make it downtown to Blood and Sand.   I have been excited about trying this members only restaurant for a long time.
The experience started by driving down St. Charles street in downtown not sure where I was going.  For those that aren’t familiar with the road, it was basically an alleyway.  The GPS told me I had arrived and I saw “1500” on a building above a revolving door.  Since it was a Thursday, it was time to find some street parking.  They only do valet on Friday and Saturday.
The outside of the building is simple, nothing that would hint of what lies inside.  Once inside I was greeted by a receptionist that had my membership card ready and waiting.  Currently they only have limited memberships for Monday through Thursday for $10 a month.  When full memberships are available, they are $15 a month.  The inside is very modern. It’s night and day from what you experience outside.
Blood and Sand is starting to make waves for not only their food, but some of their creative cocktails.  The staff is very knowledgeable about both and will help with recommendations on both food and drinks.
One thing that came highly recommended from friends and the staff was the tater tots.

Unlike anything tots you have ever tried

After the first bite, you know why.  The outside is perfectly crisp.  The inside is what really surprises you.  It has the consistency of pureed potatoes.  The different textures and the perfect amount of salt made this a perfect way to start.  If this is what they can do with tater tots, I realize I am in for a treat.
After that exciting teaser, on to the first starter.  I had a tough time narrowing it down, but I usually try to pick out something more unique when available.  The clear choice was the  veal sweetbreads.

Veal sweetbreads. Watch out for that mustard.

Sweetbreads are the thymus glands.  I wish I had taken a different angle for the picture, but I couldn’t wait to dig in.  In the back right, you can see the mustard that had a horseradish like finish.   There were caramelized pearl onions on the left.   The best part about it was this was the first time that my wife enjoyed sweetbreads.  That’s a huge thumbs up!
For my entrée, I chose the grilled quail.  The main reason I wanted to try it was for the bacon fat tamale.
The quail was tender.  Quail meat on its’ own is very delicate so the mole sauce was a great complement.  The bacon fat tamale was rich.  The best way to describe it is a soft cornbread.  I loved it.  The only downside to this entrée was the pickled pear.  I’m not a fan of pears.  The pickled pear added a twinge to the dish that I tried combining with the meat, tamale, etc.  I liked the other flavors too much to mix with the pear.
Since I am trying this for my blog readers, I did order dessert.  Ok….maybe I used that as an excuse.  🙂  I am a self-proclaimed chocoholic, so the chocolate mousse was an easy choice.
 
This was served with shortbread cookies with hazelnut butter.  The chocolate mousse was off the chart.  There was tons of luxurious chocolate flavor in such a small package.  This mousse was on the creamy and thick side which I prefer.  The shortbread cookie sandwich was there to give you a break with a less decadent sidekick.
From beginning to end, the meal and every detail was amazing.  The staff was well-trained, helpful, and knew the menu well.  The menu had a great amount of imagination combined with precise execution.  The experience is well worth the membership fee.  This is the perfect place to take someone to surprise them with an experience that is truly one-of-a-kind.
Dive 2 Five Scale – Although the dress code is “smart casual” and valet is only for the weekend, the members only mystique paired with the experience scores this as a 5.  You don’t need a tux, but any place that has rules gets a bump up by 1 point on my scale.

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