Saturday, November 21, 2015

Mellow Mushroom - Highlands of Louisville, Kentucky

By Carole and Ericah Leone

What's the next best thing when it comes to a soccer tournament besides playing and bonding with teammates?  Stopping to have lunch on the way home on a cute little street with my mom!  We picked a fun looking restaurant called Mellow Mushroom. Mom wasn't sure at first if this was an appropriate restaurant, considering the name and the fact that there were some bars and even a hookah lounge down the street, but after checking the place out and noticing that there were kids' menus, we thought it would be fine. And it was more than fine!

The decor was very unique-in a good way. The main floor looked family friendly with booths and colorful walls. Upstairs had an outdoor patio with lights hanging above that looked fun but too cold for us on that day. We chose to dine upstairs where there were 5 screens with various sporting events, appropriate for a Sunday, but we were easily able to talk and the screens were not intrusive. 

The crowd was very friendly, sitting at tables and sitting at the bar as well. This did not remind me at all of a big-chain sports restaurant because it still had very unique Pinterest-like decorations. There were Kentucky bottles hanging with lights and a hip splatter painted statue.

Since I had played 3 intense soccer games that weekend, I was starving. Immediately when I saw bruschetta on the menu I had to have it. Mom was excited! When they came out, I thought they were 5 wonderful early Christmas gifts. Not only did they have fresh basil and tomatoes, but also an amazing balsamic glaze that rolled down the golden baked pieces of bread. Once you took a bite, the whole masterpiece came to together like a dance party on your taste buds!

A short time later my Carnie Burger (as opposed to the Herb Veggie Burger) arrived at our table along with my mom’s salad. With the smell of caramelized onions along with roasted potatoes, I was hooked. Although a touch messy, you wouldn't have been able to keep me away!

My mom’s Enchanted Spinach Salad was full of fresh spinach, apples, caramelized pecans and sprinkled with feta cheese in a cool lopsided bowl.

Our waiter was an added touch of entertainment, reminding me of Shaggy from Scooby-Doo.

All in all, I am very pleased that we made this stop. And, by the way, we got 2nd place in our tournament!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Downtown St. Louis' Bailey's Range Rocks the Burger Scene

I've always been a fan of urban dining establishments and as downtown St. Louis evolves, so do the dining options.  Bailey's Range has been on the corner of Olive and 10th ever since City Grocer closed up shop in the same building.  Both were/are housed on the first and second floors of what appears to be an old retail store. Its pretty cool looking from the outside and inside.

Back when it was City Grocer

Check out their website (linked above) to view photos of both Bailey's wonderful fare and the interior ambiance.  You'll notice it is decorated with a series of odd shaped and sized windows on the left as you enter and a full bar on the right. Speaking of which, Bailey's serves a variety of craft beers on tap including several local breweries.

As for food, the focus is on burgers. In fact, the only other items on the menu are sides and three salads.  Bailey's also serves milk shakes and ice cream!

Bailey's serves beef, sirloin, bison, chicken, lamb and veggie burgers. All are served on a beer, pretzel or gluten free bun.

One recent visit we started out with Fried Pickles. Unlike most fried pickles that are cut "chip-style", these are pickles cut length-wise. 

Fried Pickles
Here's the burger rundown for four diners on my recent visit. We all had beef burgers, with all of us in agreement on each tasting fantastic!

The Whiskey BBQ - smoked Gouda, caramelized onion, whiskey BBQ sauce.  And, yeah that is sweet potato chips on the burger!!

Next up is the Basic burger with cheese.  Check out the volume of bacon!!

Although I personally didn't order this one, I found it to be the most interesting - the American. More or less it was a bacon cheeseburger but the cheese was actually fried mac n' cheese - like the size of another hamburger.  

Rounding out the burger collection was the Steak Au Poivre; a sirloin patty topped with blue cheese, bacon jam, caramelized onions and port glaze.

We shared several orders of fries, which are battered and fried. What is even more interesting are the catsups, mustards and mayos served with fries. We had the house catsup, chipotle mayo and honey mustard.  All unique in their own way. For example, the house catsup has a hint of pumpkin pie spice.

Anyway, be sure to visit Bailey's next time in downtown St. Louis!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Trip to Nashville!

A trip to Nashville from the St. Louis area is similar to a trip to Memphis in so many ways. The drive is mostly Interstates, approximately five hours and full of food and entertainment. 

The biggest difference I've noticed is the reasonable duration of the stay. Since Nashville has several areas of restaurants and entertainment, you can stay 2-3 days and have plenty of venues to visit all within walking distance of downtown.  Whereas to do the same in Memphis is little more than 1-2 days will do it. Either way, it is all good.

As the title of this blog alludes to, the focus is on a recent trip to Nashville. A good place to stay in Nashville is off Broadway, not to far from the Ryman Auditorium. If you are close enough to walk to the Ryman, then you can certainly easily get to Broadway, Second St., Printer's Alley, etc etc.

A couple of places I'd recommend next visit.

ACME Feed and Seed Co.: this place is in large warehouse on the corner of Broadway next to Cumberland River.  It features three stories and a rooftop.  The first and second floors have separate menus and full bars.  The large open area seats many. The rooftop has no food service but a small bar. No matter what floor you order your food, you can eat it on any of the floors. The third floor is reserved for private parties. Here's a few photos of the first and second floors.

And, of course the food follows!

Rule the Roost

Beer Belly Tacos
The Stillery: spirits, and in particular, moonshine comprise the majority of drink menu.  The small restaurant is located on 2nd St. and is open air, as many are in that area. 

Pictured below are drinks, chop chop salad and Siracha Deviled Eggs - that is toasted prosciutto garnish on them. The moonshine drink on the right is "The Refresher"!

For dinner one night we visited Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant. As with most restaurants in downtown, they featured live music. 

You could need a reservation here as it is small and gets busy quick.  We had the Smoked Sausage & Cheese appetizer, and I enjoyed Shrimp & Grits.  

Sausage & Cheese

Shrimp & Grits

For a fine dining experience a block or so off Broadway is The Southern. This is an upscale restaurant.  The Southern serves a wide variety of oysters - cooked and raw.  We opted to try the signature Oysters Southern - baked with hot peppered collards, corn and Andouille Cream. 

Oysters Southern

We both had steaks, The Belle - a filet mignon and The Nudie Suit.  You select your own cut and it is cooked to order; I chose a strip steak.  

The Belle

The Nudie Suit

Of course there a a number of live music venues along the above mentioned areas. Most have live acts starting in the morning and running well past midnight.  You can always find somewhere to listen to music.

And finally, I did want to mention that Jack White's studio and storefront are a quick walk from downtown Nashville. If you are  fan, then be sure to visit Third Man Records on 7th St.