Monday, April 27, 2015

Social Gastropub is Getting Better!!!!

Social Gastropub hit the Edwardsville dining scene sometime in 2014.  The owner first opened the original Social Gastropub in Ohio. There is some connection to this area, either he is from here or went to school in the area.

The Edwardsville location is in the old Shenanigan's.  A wall of TVs lines the bar and mostly black and white motif adorns the walls.  Although I haven't experienced it, there is outdoor patio.

The dining experience has only gotten better over the past few visits. The food has always been superior in my opinion, but the overall atmosphere needed some tweaking. The good news is they have tweaked away and the food, ambiance and dining experience rock!!

At first the lights were a little too bright and the service was too hurried.  The food was delivered too fast more or less. I wasn't shy about my thoughts and let them know about these two points. The good news is both appear to have been addressed.... the service is more relaxed and the lighting is a tad softer. 

As earlier mentioned, the food has always been spot-on.  The menu changes frequently so if you see something interesting, try it before it is gone. Here's a rundown of several items

Fried Calamari - check out the larger size pieces of calamari!

Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls - generous appetizer with lots of flavor!

Fried Bologna Sandwich - topped with a fried egg and served with Social's special fries!

Baja Fish Tacos - these are very juicy and tender

Asiago Stuffed Chicken - this entree is wrapped with bacon and stuffed with Asiago cheese over a bed of carrot-ginger risotto with a mushroom cream sauce

Fire Roasted Peppers - goat cheese risotto with Italian sausage.

Bloody Mary and  a Dirty Martini

Wood & Salt and a Strawberry Basil Mule

Friday, April 24, 2015

A Plethora of Oyster in Gulf Shores!

We recently spent a week along the coast in Gulf Shores, Alabama. As many folks do when vacationing along the coast, the focus is more on seafood than on steaks and burgers.  This time was no different.

We went to a very nice place called Mikee's Seafood, which is located very close to Beach Blvd.  A couple of us were on a big Oyster kick lately so we shared 6 orders of a half dozen oysters each.  Here's the rundown with pics!!
  • Fresh Shucked Oysters
  • Steamed Oysters
  • Bama Oysters - With Bama roasted red pepper sauce and parmesan cheese
  • Mikee’s Own Baked Oysters - Fresh shucked, spiced and topped with scallions, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese
  • EJ’s Oysters -Prepared with garlic, jalapenos, scallions, then topped with bacon and cheese
  • Parmesan Oysters - Parmesan, seasoning and butter
It was a great way to sample oysters prepared a variety of ways.  Although there are only three pictures shown below, two types of oysters are served on each plate.

Of all six types of oysters, I preferred the four that were "dressed up" so to speak. I didn't dislike the steamed and fresh oysters; they were just my least favorites of the bunch. But then again, those that know me would not be surprised as I tend to think outside the box and always up for an adventurous dining experience.

Anyway, if you make it down to Gulf Shores anytime soon and have a hankering for Oysters, I'd highly recommend Mikee's!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous Room

A visit to Memphis is not complete until you dine at the Rendezvous Room. Located near the intersection of two alleys a block or so off Beale St, you won't just stumble upon it. Expect a crowd and somewhat of a wait for a table.


The restaurant opened in 1948 and it appears the building is much older and contains quite a bit of character. Upstairs is the bar and waiting area. It is shown in the panaromic picture below.

The downstairs where the tables are located features an open kitchen, exposed brick and many rooms where the tables sit.  

Ribs at the Rendezvous Room are dry-rub with their own special seasoning.  I understand the key is to cook the rib first and once done, apply vinegar and water and then season thoroughly with the dry-rub.  Several BBQ sauce choices are available at the table. You can eat the ribs plain or dip in sauce. Either way, the ribs are fantastic.  

Also keep in mind you can purchase the rub at most grocery stores, at least those in the St. Louis metro area.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Obi Sushi in Reston Town Center

Although I'm a huge fan of Wasabi, a small chain located in St. Louis and Colorado, when I visit Reston, Virginia, I make it a point to visit Obi Sushi.

Sit at the sushi bar and get to know the two sushi chefs who work most evenings. They put together amazing plates every visit.  

Here we see one of the chefs using a small hand torch to quickly cook the eel, otherwise known as Unagi. Can't say I've ever experienced Unagi finished in the same manner as Creme Bulee!

The plate below features the spicy Hawaiin roll rolled around seaweed salad. The roll features salmon and rice topped with spicy tuna. 

Surrounding the roll are two each of Toro - fatty tuna, roe topped with quail eggs, the above-mentioned Unagi and spicy scallops.

You will also see a glass of Sake in the background. Obi has a generous selection of Sake.  

Give Obi Sushi next time you are in the Reston Town Center. Bon Appetit!