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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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Archive for the ‘St. Louis’ Category

Saturday, January 1, 2011 @ 08:01 AM

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Well it’s officially 2011 and I want to wish you all a very Happy New Years!  I hope everyone had a fabulous time celebrating with friends and family and that everyone stayed safe on one of the craziest nights of the year.  2010 was a very momentous and crazy year for Adam and I, and it brought lots of great memories.  PCC is coming up on a year old and really has become something we cherish as a journal of all our wonderful travels.  It’s amazing the wonderful adventures we’ve had and all the new cuisine we’ve tried in the name of Winking smile research.  Hopefully, the coming year will be another year of good changes and we are looking forward to whatever those might be, as well as finding new ways to branch out with Pop Culture Cuisine.

New Years is one of those holidays that typically has a lot of hype and lots of parties & events all in the name of celebration; and everyone who knows me knows I’m a person who loves a good excuse to celebrate.  And what better way to celebrate with others than with a festive drink?…of which we’ve encountered quite a few of along our travels, some famous, others just a part of the experience.  Still, I wanted to share a glimpse of some of the gems we have discovered and the places we found them at throughout this past year.  So with festive cheer and no further adieu, I give you the Year in Drinks for PCC…Cheers!

 

Pat O’Brien’s – Orlando, FL and New Orleans, LA

Drink: The Hurricane

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Created during WWII with a bunch of fruit juice and rum, this drink has been their most popular drink and a favorite place for many to hit up at any of their locations.  We have visited 2 locations and every time we are near one we have to stop in for at least 1 hurricane…and usually many more! Smile  These babies are potent, but delicious, and can be enjoyed on their beautiful patios during the day or hopping piano bars at night!

 

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Mariano’s – Dallas, TX

Drink: “The Frozen Margarita”

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You may remember Mariano’s from our review earlier this year, but being the originator of the frozen margarita, it’s hard to not include them again in this drinks feature.  Sweet and tangy like any good margarita should be, this one definitely was tasty and stood out in our minds as one of the better ones we have ever had.  We are now glad to say we’ve tried the first ever created (more than once) and can from now on compare it to our hometown Hacienda margaritas.

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The Pump Room – Chicago, IL

Drink: Cosmopolitan, Chocolate Martini, and White Russian

We lucked out on on my birthday trip a couple weeks ago that our hotel was attached to the famous Pump Room.  Popularized by many celebrities of yester-year like Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack friends, this spot still has the old time feel of a great crooner bar.  We were glad we could enjoy a couple of cocktails their throughout the weekend.  Great atmosphere and really well made drinks.

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Tujague’s – New Orleans, LA

Drink: Shock Top, Abita Brand Beers

One of the oldest bars in the whole USA, this New Orleans’ landmark in the French Quarter is a must stop if you are into history, old bars, or just want to take a break and cool off.  On both of our trips to N’awlins we have enjoyed grabbing a beer and hearing some of the fun stories the bartender (who has been there all most as long as the bar and has become a New Orleans standard) has to tell.  Although I am sure you can get any New Orleans staple drink you want, we opted for a nice cold beer on a nice hot day, and it was a welcome withdraw.

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Cheers – Boston, MA

Drink: Blue Moon

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I am pretty sure everyone out there is familiar with good ol’ Cheers….yes, that sitcom bar from the 80’s with Sam Malone and NORM!  And if you didn’t know that the show was based off a bar in Boston, you must have been living under a rock or you are REALLY young. Smile  Nonetheless, I was lucky enough this past May to be able to pay a visit to the original location in Beacon Hill with my best friend Emily.  I probably could have been adventurous and tried a real Bostonian beer, but already knowing I don’t like Sam Adams, I stuck to something I know and love…Blue Moon!  It was fun to be in the atmosphere, although now pretty touristy, but still fun to look around and see all the old memorabilia.  However, be forewarned, this place is nothing like the “Hollywood” set bar that we all know from the TV show….it’s MUCH smaller.  So you may be in for a shock.

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Epcot Food and Wine Festival – Orlando, FL

Drink: Leffe

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This next spot I will go into way more depth in a future post, but since drink was one of the components of the whole event, I wanted to touch on in briefly.  Each year, Epcot and Vanity Fair put on an International Food and Wine festival throughout the park where culinary dishes and drinks from around the world are matched and can be purchased.  Although we opted not to drink at most of the stops, when we saw an old favorite being featured in Belgium, we knew a small taste was in order.  It was deliciously refreshing on that hot day.

 

Jasper’s – Plano, TX

Drink: Jasper’s Triple Chocolate Martini

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Jasper’s is another restaurant we have already given our glowing review too, but this martini was so OUTSANDING I still compare every chocolate martini to it and often dream about it. Ok…not literally about the dreaming part, but ladies (and gentlemen too I suppose Winking smile) this drink is purely sinful!  Not only is it chocolately, it is also creamy and extremely rich.  They are sweet and probably a million calories, but who cares…this is what a sweet martini should taste like!

 

The Walnut Room – Chicago, IL

Drink: Poinsettia

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We had the pleasure of dining at the the famous Walnut Room inside Macy’s during my birthday weekend.  The food and experience are another whole post in and of themselves, but again with drinks being the theme, I must share my beautiful festive poinsettia that I REALLY enjoyed.  The perfect blend of champagne and cranberry juice, it is a drink I am certainly going to be making in years to come, and it was a perfect cap to a perfect birthday weekend.

Anheuser Busch Brewery – St. Louis, MO

Drink: Shock Top, Michelob Brands

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Growing up in St. Louis I was unfortunately never of an age where I could enjoy touring a landmark that was so close to home.  I was glad Adam and I were able to visit the brewery on a trip a few years back and really see the whole process at work.  He and I are Bud people in preference, but it was this trip where I first got to try a Shock Top for the first time and it has quickly become one of my favorite beers.  In fact, since that time, I’ve been seeing it in bars more and more.  We had a great time learning about the history, the beer making process, and most of all enjoying some brews.

 

The Silver Palm – Chicago, IL

Drink: Silver Palm Cabernet Sauvignon

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Although the wine brand and restaurant name are just a happy accident, the wine was every bit as enjoyable as the meal itself.  We gave our rave reviews of the restaurant this year and one of the great features was the great atmosphere, especially where we enjoyed a few drinks after our meal.  I highly recommend this bar (and the tiny Matchbox next door) for a sort of a little unknown jewel for a night out in Chicago.

 

Hula Hut – Austin, TX

Drink: Pink Lemonade

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Unfortunately I can’t remember or find the name of this drink I ordered at the Hula Hut, but suffice it to say, it was their version of a pink lemonade with a kick.  It was very sweet and refreshing from what I remember, but also tasted too much like juice so it went down way to easy. Smile

 

Louie’s – Dallas, TX

Drink: Lindeman’s Framboise

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This was a spot in Dallas that we were so happy to stumble upon when we lived there.  Louie’s not only had great food, but their ambiance truly made us feel at home as former Chicagoans.  Because it was Valentine’s Day that weekend, I was looking for a little something special to drink so I was very happy to discover they have one of my all time favorite items on their menu…Lindemans’ Framboise.  Although they are super sweet, I love the berry flavor and how they a just a fun change up from a typical beer.

 

Well, I hope you have enjoyed our brief recap of some of the wonderful beverages we enjoyed in 2010.  I’m sure there were others along the way, but these were certainly the most tasty, most famous, or most memorable.  I am going to forgo a traditional review of each, but know this…each of these drinks stood out to me or Adam either because of the drink themselves, the experience that went along with them, or both.  We truly love every minute of our culinary adventures and the life journal that Pop Culture Cuisine has become for us.  I hope you all continue to follow our crazy foodie adventures each week…and hey…maybe tell a friend or two. Winking smile  So “For Auld Lang Syne”…HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

Thursday, July 15, 2010 @ 11:07 AM

375 I don’t know about you, but summer would not be complete without taking in a baseball game or two (or more if you know my husband).  Of course I love to go cheer on my hometown St. Louis Cardinals (GO CARDS!), but I am more than willing to go to any game we can, minor league included.  I just enjoy being at the stadium, listening to the crowd, eating a hot dog, throwing peanut shells on the ground, and enjoying a beer or two…or a few. 😉  Doesn’t that just scream summertime? Well, it does to me; and two years ago when we had the opportunity to go see our beloved Cardinals at their newly built home stadium, we decided to make a whole weekend out of it.  At the time we had just moved to Texas, and between Adam looking for a new job and me starting at a new school, it was a great weekend get-away for both of us to shed some stress.  Also, now I was finally able to show Adam where I grew up and visit all my favorite dining locations, including a place that both of us were really excited for (and I was never old enough to visit when I lived there)… the Anheuser-Busch Brewery.

We decided to head there directly from the airport and hopefully grab a tour. Although I grew up there, I was not very familiar with the brewery’s location and didn’t know any information about it. Well, let’s just say that it is hard to miss…seriously. Although it’s one of the largest breweries in the world and the buildings are massive, it’s amazingly well hidden. The buildings are sort of just tucked back in the midst of these old historic neighborhoods, and it’s not until you’re right on top of it that you see it.

Well, we found it with a little help from our GPS; and as soon as we parked, the smell of the beer making process (yeast and barley and hops…oh my!) hits you, and I thought between that and the sight of this massive old world glorious structure, Adam might combust from pure excitement (yep…he’s a total nerd when it comes to seeing things like this). 🙂

374 344I mean come on, how does that cute “little boy” face of joy not make you smile? 🙂  So with a little hop in our steps, we made our way inside and found out that they run the tours every 30 minutes and best of all….wait for it…..THEY’RE FREE!…score! We had to wait about the whole 30 for the next tour, but there was no shortage of things to read or look at.  Being a company that has been in business since 1860, there are a ton of history, memorabilia and fun facts displayed all over the lobby area.  A fun fact I learned while we were there is that Budweiser actually now owns or bottles a ton of other small brewing companies both here and abroad. So often times all that variety you see in the stores is actually only a few large markets being showcased…who knew.  Also, a lot of the other displays show their old marketing campaigns, delivery trucks, and how their logo and bottles have changed over the years, including products they made during prohibition…everything from ice cream and ginger ale to refrigerated cabinets and bus bodies.

346 347Needless to say that with so much stuff to look at, the time we had to wait for our tour flew by and we were ready to go see a piece of American history.  What makes this tour so cool is how they really give you a full insight of everything…and I mean EVERYTHING!  We have been on some other brewery tours that simply show you a video and a few displays and send you on your way; but, not here. We got a ton of information on the company and the history of the brewery and saw the entire brewing process from start to finish, down to seemingly the smallest detail.

The tour begins in the central courtyard where you can really see each of the massive brewing buildings. It was there that our tour guide gave us a brief history of the beginnings of the company.

364So you can get a little of what we got, here is some brief history of this beer mogul’s humble beginnings courtesy of the Anheuser-Busch website:

“In 1857, Adolphus Busch, the second youngest of 22 children, immigrated to the United States from Germany, began working as a clerk on the riverfront in St. Louis and later formed a successful brewery supply company.

Eberhard Anheuser purchased a struggling St. Louis brewery in 1860 and renamed it E. Anheuser and Co. He soon met Adolphus and introduced him to his daughter, Lilly. A year later, Adolphus Busch married Lilly Anheuser and in 1864 joined his father-in-law’s brewery as a salesman, later becoming a partner and finally president of the company. In 1869, he purchased half ownership in the brewery.

In 1876, he and his friend, Carl Conrad, created Budweiser—using time-consuming, traditional methods and only the finest barley malt, hops, and rice. Budweiser was a lager beer that succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations. The company was renamed Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association in 1879, and Adolphus became president the following year. He continued as president for 33 years and is considered to be the founder of our company.”

source: http://www.budweisertours.com/brewingProcess.htm

From the courtyard, our next spot before we got to see the brewing process was getting to stop in the stables and see the famous Budweiser Clydesdales…yay!  Now I’ll admit, this was the part of the tour I was most looking forward to.  Having grown up in St. Louis and often seeing them at Cardinals games or at Grant’s Farm, I figured there had to be some on the premises. Lucky for me, they, and their new Dalmatian friends were part of the tour.  They are amazing creatures, not only beautiful and extremely well cared for, but they are enormous and very strong! Prior to modern technology, they were able to carry large loads of product for the company. So, to this day they are extremely revered by the company for helping to support them…literally. 😉

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Next stops on the tour included rooms and buildings devoted to each step of the brewing process and let me tell you it is quite a process.  These fellas did not just set out one day to make beer and beer was born.  Rather it is multiple steps, some of which take a month or more, in the process to get one batch of beer.  And as time has gone on the process may have become more technologically advanced, but the same steps are maintained and honored because of the impeccable product they are able to produce.  Now I won’t go into major detail about each, you can follow this link if you want to read about each of them specifically, but the steps involved from start to finish are as follows:

  • Brewing
  • Mashing
  • Brew Kettle
  • Fermentation & Lagering
  • Finishing
  • Packaging

354 357 358 359Just from the rooms we were able to get pictures of (a small fraction of the entire complex), you can see it is quite the process and one they don’t take lightly.  Everyone who works there is extremely proud of their product and want to ensure that they are only producing the best for their customers.  They even go so far as to print a “born on” date on each and every bottle or can so that a customer will know just how long ago their beer was produced, ensuring the best flavor and reflection of the product.  I found this to be one of the most impressive facts, largely because they are bottling millions each day and they are ensuring that each batch reaches their final destination within a certain amount of time for the company to deem it a fresh and worthy for us to drink.

And now for the best part….at the conclusion of the guided tour, we were walked back to the “tasting room” where each person got two free glasses of their beer choice. I mean…what a deal. First, a free tour…then free beer! Does it get any better than that?  We decided we would try some of their newer or lesser known products, which I am happy to report is where I first learned of Shock Top, originally a seasonal-only beer which is now a favorite of mine.

360365If you can’t tell by reading this post, we had a wonderful time on our tour. What made it even better was just how thorough and informative it was as well as the grounds themselves, which are beautiful.  They clearly take pride in what they do and it shows in the appearance of everything at the brewery (extremely clean) and the passion their employees show for the product they are producing.  Adam and I have done a fair amount of tours of breweries and others alike, and this one stands well above the rest…the one we measure all other by.  Also, you can’t beat the price! 😉

Note: I know this isn’t a restaurant, but we still felt given its notoriety in popular culture it, along with many other spots like it, are part of pop culture cuisine.  As such, the review will still get a category rating, just with a bit of a different look at the categories. :).

SIGNATURE DISH: Beer is what’s for dinner in this case. 🙂  Unless you have lived under a rock your whole life, I am sure you were well aware that a beer-venture was where we were headed on this one. So if good-old fashioned suds are not Anheuser-Busch’s signature dish, I don’t know whose it is. 😉

TASTE: As I mentioned, we each sampled some of the newer beers to us; and although I can’t remember the name of the first one I tried, I remember that it was light and delicious.  The second one I went with was a recommendation from the bar tender…the Shock Top…and boy what a recommendation it was, because it now a favorite of mine. Adam went with some old Michelob beers, which were right up his ally.

AMBIANCE: The Anheuser-Busch Brewery is beautiful and amazing! The grounds and buildings were both spotless and magnificent in look.  These buildings are old and hold a lot of history, but they have done a fantastic job of maintaining and allowing them to age beautifully.  Everything was very neat, orderly and presentable, without being stuffy…something which I enjoy immensely.  We felt very comfortable and welcome the entire time, which on tour can be difficult. Overall, a very inviting place.

PRICE: FREE…and what is better than that!

SERVICE: Our tour guide was excellent, and although she was only working for the company as a summer job, she was well informed and was able to provide us with excellent information and answer or explain any question she was presented with. Also, everyone we encountered was extremely helpful and informative along the way.  Finally, the people working in the tasting room were equally helpful and knowledgeable about all of their beers and prompt in their service. Like I said, you can tell there is a lot of pride amongst the employees and they really like working there, which really helped make us feel like we were in a fun atmosphere.

If you can’t tell 🙂 Adam and I truly enjoyed our experience at Anheuser-Busch and highly recommend it to beer lovers and history buffs alike.  For someone like me who is not as interested in history, I still fully enjoyed myself and would go again in a minute.  So, if you are traveling through St. Louis and have the opportunity to stop, you won’t regret it!

I give the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour 5 ‘Little Piggies’!

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Thursday, April 15, 2010 @ 09:04 AM

Ted DrewesSpring has shown its pretty face; and when that happens, I began to crave certain items more than usual.  I know I’ve mentioned that it’s typically foods of the fresh variety that beckon me, but who are we kidding…warmer weather also makes me crave those frozen treats; and growing up in St. Louis, I was spoiled with a local frozen custard stand that just happens to be one of the most famous sweet tooth landmarks in the country…Ted Drewes

Located on the South Side of St. Louis, Ted Drewes has been serving its patrons fabulous frozen custard and Christmas trees for over 75 years.  Yes that’s right, I said custard AND Christmas trees!  First…the custard, which ain’t no regular ol’ soft serve.  For those of you who have not had the extreme pleasure, frozen custard is NOT ice cream.  Whereas ice cream is made from milk, custard is made with butterfat, and trust me…that fat makes all the rich, delicious difference.  It’s so good that I even will use a tiny spoon just so I can savor every last bite for as long as possible. :) 

As for the Christmas trees…they open up for the months around the winter holidays to provide a fun festive experience for their patrons…as well as the tree in case you need one.  In fact, I remember one year when my family actually purchased our tree from there.  We had a great time picking out the “perfect” tree and enjoying some custard.  What a Christmas combo! 

So, I figure that it’s no surprise that I hold Ted Drewes near and dear to my heart.  I have so many memories from my high school days of heading there to enjoy some custard and just hang out (we thought we were so cool).;)  It’s just one of those places that nostalgically hits home; and to this day my dad holds a very special place in his heart for their custard.  Definitely one of our favorites; and since moving away from The Lou (that’s what us natives call it ;), it has excited me when I would see Ted Drewes featured on TV.  I always get a bit giddy when it’s on a show, because I feel like they’re talking about one of my family members, or I’m this big insider on something that has been deemed “cool”…pun intended :)  Most recently, Ted’s was dubbed number 37 on Travel Channel’s “Chowdown Countdown.”  Additionally, it’s been featured on several programs on The Food Network (“Street Eats”) and The Travel Channel (briefly highlighted by Adam Richman on “Man vs. Food”).  Let’s just say…this place is famous! 

Ok…so enough about my nostalgia, and let’s get down to the yummy stuff.  If you’ve read the ‘About Me’ section of PCC, you’ve learned that I LOVE blizzards or the like.  Well, Ted Drewes has their own special concoction that puts them all to shame…the CONCRETE!  With a name like that, you know they must mean business; and what makes it so good is not just that they offer every topping imaginable, or the fact that it is perfectly blended, or even that you can choose chocolate or vanilla.  Rather, it is that when they hand it to you, they turn it upside down to show you just how thick it truly is…thick as concrete!

Concretepicture source: http://beinspireddaily.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/teddrews.jpg

 

That is some thick custard!  And, the name alone always made me laugh and I love how they tip it before they give it to you :)  What also makes the whole experience so fun is that Ted Drewes is literally just an outdoor ice cream (or custard) stand that you walk up to and order.  In other words…it’s old school.  So be prepared, once it start getting warm outside, people will line up at every window at least 20 or so deep.  That’s just how much people clamor for their custard, but it is always worth the wait. 

Now all this being said, I may have talked up Ted’s a bit too much for Adam.  2 years ago we had the chance to take a quick weekend trip to my beloved hometown.  In addition to some other famous St. Louis hot spots, I had told him Ted Drewes was a must stop.  Although excited to finally get the chance to try it, he was a bit skeptical, having had frozen custard before and was not sure that it would be anything that out of the ordinary (and he felt there was no way it would be better than his favorite home town “Flavor Freeze” ice cream stand…SHOUT OUT to all our Elkhart, IN peeps!).  However, willing to appease my wishes, and wanting to try another famous spot he had seen, we ventured there while we were in town.

417 Aww…doesn’t he look so cute!  We both ordered concretes, Adam got the Oreo and I got the “Special” which was pretzel bits, peanut butter and banana.  I must admit now I should have stuck with one of my standard flavors (like Oreo), because any time I try to be different or try something new I never like it as much.  In fact, I ended up switching with Adam cause I like his so much more, and it just so happened that he liked mine. :)  

Concrete 2picture source: http://www.roadfood.com/photos/7794.jpg

 

Well the verdict was this…Adam enjoyed it as a dessert, but was not overly impressed (it did not, in fact, measure up to his beloved “Flavor Freeze”).  As for me…do you even need to ask?  Still, as I mentioned, I was not particularly impressed with my order this time around; and although I enjoyed the Ted Drewes frozen custard experience, I must admit that after having it again after all these years, it was only just as good as other custard I’ve had since.  However, I chalk our less than stellar experience up to two things.  One, I had talked up Ted Drewes WAY too much.  I don’t think that it could have ever come close to meeting the lofty reputation I had set for it.  Two, I changed up my order and therefore it did not taste as good as I had remembered it.  I think the bottom line is that although this one time I did not enjoy it as much, it will always hold a special place in my heart; and as a “True Blue Girl from The Lou” ;), you will never hear me bad mouth it.  For me, it will always reign supreme! 

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Therefore, although completely biased from the nostalgia of my youth and memories with friends and family…I give Ted Drewes 5 Little Piggies!  (Although Adam says 3 is more accurate :().

Katiepig-icon pig-iconpig-iconpig-iconpig-icon                        Adampig-iconpig-iconpig-icon