Monday, June 28, 2010

Top of the Riverfront

Top of the Riverfront
200 South 4th Street
St. Louis, MO  63102-1804

This was written in 2007, and I did not revise it.  I just copied and pasted.

We decided to celebrate our first anniversary by going to the Millenium Hotel and eating at The Top of the Riverfront. If you haven't heard of this restaurant it is located on the top floor of the Millenium, 28 stories above the ground. It is one of the most unique restaurants in St. Louis as it is the only one that rotates which gives the patrons a 360 degree view of downtown St. Louis, the Arch, the Mississippi River and Busch Stadium.

I called about a week ahead of our anniversary date and made the reservation (men are not required to wear a jacket and tie) When we stepped out of the elevator we were a little surprised to see a couple of guests in jeans and sweatshirts; however, once we stepped farther into the restaurant we were met by a courteous hostess who took our name and reservation time. She pointed us in the direction of the waiting area and while waiting we were entertained by the piano player.

To actually get to your table you have to step onto a rotating floor. The view is absolutely amazing and the fact that there are only two rows of tables on this rotating floor allows for every seat in the restaurant to have a perfect vantage point. When we were seated at our table we were directly over Busch Stadium. We could see all of the downtown area and it was very mesmerizing. I will caution you that it does take a few minutes to get adjusted to the fact that you are moving. I sat in the seat closest to the window and when I looked down I could see the stationary floor of the hotel and the track of restaurant floor, which was moving, and it did make me a little queasy so I just tried to avoid looking down for the rest of the dinner.

We were greeted by our server and decided upon a bottle of wine (we chose an Australian shiraz priced at $30). I ordered the filet with the peppercorn sauce while Scott had the filet with the gorgonzola butter sauce. The dish came with a green bean and carrot medley and a cheesy potato side dish, which reminded me of scalloped potatoes (the filet was priced at $32 including both sides). I ordered the ceasar salad which came with an Australian imported white anchovy and Scott ordered the white bean chili (both the salad and chili were priced at $7). However, when our food came out the waitress actually brought out two salads instead of Scott's chili. Instead of sending it back, he told her that he would go ahead and try the ceasar salad. Since he typically doesn't like anchovy-based ceasar dressings, he was not impressed with this course. Without us asking, our waitress did take the salad off of our bill since this was not what he had originally ordered.

The filets were both tender but both were slightly over-cooked. We each ordered them medium and they were closer to medium-well.

For dessert, we ordered a peanut butter cup pie. It tasted very much like a Reese's peanut butter cup but it was extremely rich (the dessert was priced at $7)

My overall impression of this restaurant is that you definitely pay for the view. While we did enjoy the taste and tenderness of the filets and side dishes, I would not say that they made a lasting impression on us. The service was adequate but at times we felt as if our waitress was too busy to give us adequate attention. While we were not surprised by the total of our bill (especially since we had the bottle of win), we both felt that the price did not reflect the quality of food but that the view made up for this deficiency.

I would definitely go back to Top of the Riverfront for a special occasion. However, there are so many other restaurants in St. Louis to try that I would not put this back on my re-visit list anytime soon. Out of 5 stars, I would give Top of the Riverfront 3 3/4 stars.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas

4510 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89169-7111
(702) 853-2337

I was so excited to go to the Hofbrauhaus.  Located off Strip, down by the Hard Rock Cafe, theHofbrauhaus offers a taste of Munich during Oktoberfest.  They feature a house band, from Germany, that rotates every 3-4 months and they encourge participation from the patrons.

We ordered the Jumbo Complete, a large pretzel, as an appetizer.  It came with 3 type of dipping sauces--"Obatzer" cheese, sweet mustard and onion mustard.  The pretzel was much harder than what we are used to in the US but it had a lot of salt on it and the onion mustard was really, really tasty.  

For dinner, I ordered the chicken bratwurst (around $13.95) that comes sitting on top of some wonderful mashed potatoes and sauerkraut.  The sausages were great with a hint of spice to them and the mashed potatoes were so good.  The sauerkraut is a traditional kraut in that it is a little sweeter than what I am used to but when I combined the kraut, sausage and potato in one bite--it was fantastic.

If you go online and sign up for the Hofbrauhaus newsletter, you can print off a coupon for 1 beer.  It is a small beer (around 10oz) but, hey, it was FREE!  After getting our free beer, we could not leave without drinking out of one of those huge steins.

Our waitress, Michelle, was great.  She was cute, personable and she was from Germany.  She had great recommendations and told us about different German traditions.

One of the traditions is when you do a shot, you get paddled 3 times.  They bring the shot out on a paddle board and they do not hold back when giving you your swats.

What I loved most about the Hofbrauhaus was just the energy.  The polka band, the people, the service.  There were two separate tables of people from Germany visiting Vegas and they were eating at Hofbrauhau.  One gentleman, Peter, said he had been coming there for 25 years.  Each time he comes to Vegas he eats there everyday because it tastes like home--now that is an endorsement!

Prost! (Cheers in German)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Blues City Cafe

Blues City Cafe
138 Beale Street
Memphis, TN  38103
Phone # 901-526-3637

My senior year of college and the couple years after graduation, my friends and I used to spend a lot of time in Memphis on the weekends.  We had so much fun on Beale Street just dancing, listening to music and being silly.  On one of my very first trips to Memphis, probably around 1997, we ate at the Blues City Cafe and I discovered what has become an obsession . . . their Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms ($6.95).

These little caps of joy are so sweet, delicious, buttery, fatty and yummy that I kid you not when I joined the Army in 1999, I would literally dream about Blues City Cafe's Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms.  They are so delicious.  They are cooked in and come out in an 8-inch iron skillet full of melting, hot butter and they are just divine.

Last year Scott had business in Memphis and, of course, I wanted to go.  We had our meals planned for the entire weekend but I made him take me to Blues City Cafe right before we left so I could have my mushrooms.  Scott didn't even eat that day, he just sat there and watched me having a blissful heart attack with my butter-cooked Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms.

Let me know if any of you have been or if you go in the future.  I'd like to hear what other people think about the places that I love.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mesa Grill

Mesa Grill, Las Vegas
Ceasar's Palace
3570 Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109-8924
Phone Number:  (702) 731-7731

I was so excited to eat at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill.  Being a Food Network addict and impressed that Bobby Flay is an Iron Chef I was thrilled to eat here.

I can't really say a whole lot about the decor, atmosphere, etc at the Mesa Grill.  I can't really say that anything stands out about it.  To me, it just looked like any other restaurant.

Scott and I ordered the Smoked Chicken and Black Bean Quesadilla ($14.00) as an appetizer and Scott also bought a "special" margarita ($10.00).  I was so excited for the quesadillas because I always heard these chefs talking about creme fraiche and I felt a little hoity-toity to finally know what it is that they were talking about it.  Creme fraiche is just buttermilk and whipping cream that is concocted together (this does not sound as nearly impressive) but it has a slightly sour flavor to it and buttery at the same time.  The margarita was terrible.  I mean absolutely awful.  It tasted like they had poured some tequila in a glass, topped it off with some lime juice and forgot the sweet and sour.  AWFUL.

I ordered a 16 spice-rubbed filet (around $30) but when I went and looked on the menu it doesn't show it.  I'm wondering if it is one of those seasonal or rotational things?  Anyway, the 16 spice filet was very interesting.  It reminded me so much of a pot roast.  The outside was crusty, seared and carmelized but the inside of the filet pulled apart like a really tender, moist pot roast does.  You know, fork tender.  I have never had a steak like that before or since. 

I kind of remember that it came with a side or maybe we split a side but apparently it wasn't very memorable.

I remember being somewhat disappointed after eating at the Mesa Grill.  I thought it was good but not that good.  The pot-roast like filet, creme fraiche and the crappy margarita are what I remember about it the most.  I guess I was expecting to be blown away since it is Bobby Flay's restaurant but I really wasn't.

Let me know if any of you have been or if you go in the future. I'd like to hear what other people think about the places that I love.


Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab
3500 Las Vegas Blvd S
Forum Shops at Caesars Palace
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: 702-792-9222

Joe's was recommended to me by a friend who lives in Las Vegas.  Located on the bottom floor of the Forum Shops at Ceasar's Palace, Joe's reminded me of an old Italian restaurant with the dark wood and white linens.  There is a indoor patio area, a bar area and then a larger dining room.

We were led into the bar area for drinks until our table was ready and then moved to our table.  Let me start off by saying that the service was superb.  We had our waiter and at least 2 other "helpers" assigned to our table to literally be at our beck and call.  Anything and everything we wanted or thought about wanting was immediately taken care of.

There were 5 people in my party and we started off with Stone Crab Appetizer ($19.95) which was definitely not a large order but Scott and I were able to split it.  After the appetizer, everyone at the table was given the warm towels to wash up and then the rest of our meal came out.

Now, here is where I made my mistake, I ordered the filet mignon ($35.95) and Scott and I split the Jennie's Mashed Potatoes ($7.95).  I say that I made a mistake because when the name of the joint is called Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab you should probably order either Seafood, Prime Rib or Stone Crab--duh!  My filet was fine but it was definitely not the best steak that I have ever had and it wasn't really even memorable.

Let's move on to the good stuff . . . Scott ordered the Jumbo Alaskan King Crab legs ($59.95).  These crab legs were unlike ANY I have ever had before.  From the presentation until the last morsel, they were fantastic.  They rolled the crab legs out on a white linen draped cart and a special server was there with his scissors to cut open each leg and to make the meat extremely easy to get to.  Once they put them in front of Scott, I looked down at my $40 steak and I was jealous, if you can imagine that.

These crab legs were as thick and round as two of my fingers put together.  They were the moistest, juiciest, sweetest crab legs that I have ever tasted.  They were so huge and he got so many that he couldn't finish them.  Of course, when he was paying $60 for one entree, you better believe we finished them all.  They were absolutely fantastic.  I just cannot say enough about them.

One of the people in our party ordered the Lyonnaise potatoes ($7.95) and they put my Jennie's Mashed Potatoes to shame.  They reminded me of old-fashioned German potatoes made with onions and they were crispy and yummy.

If you are looking for a nice, but pricey, place to eat in Vegas, I'd give this place a try.  We had a concert at the Coliseum the night of our dinner at Joe's and it was so convenient to just eat and then walk through the Forum Shops to get to the show.

Let me know if any of you have been or if you go in the future. I'd like to hear what other people think about the places that I love.


Mon Ami Gabi

Mon Ami Gabi
Paris Resort and Casino
3655 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone #:  702.944.4224

Mon Ami Gabi is one of my favorite restaurants that I've gone to in Vegas.  It isn't necessarily the food, although it is really good, but it is more for the atmosphere.  Mon Ami Gabi is located in the Paris Hotel and Casino at the base of the Eiffel Tower.  It is also right across the street from the Bellagio so while there you can sit and watch the fountains go off about every 20-30 minutes.

I am a filet girl so when I do go eat at Mon Ami Gabi, I always order the Filet Mignon ($31.95).  I also usually share the Garlic Spinach ($6.95) and the Mon Ami Ceasar Salad ($8.95) with Scott.  The steak is always prepared to perfection (medium) and very moist and juicy.

I like this place because if you didn't want to spend that much money for a lunch or dinner, you could still go on a sunny afternoon for appetizers and drinks and watch the fountains and do some great people watching.  I just can't say enough about this location.

Let me know if any of you have been or if you go in the future.  I'd like to hear what other people think about the places that I love.


Another Blog?

Well, here I go, starting another blog.  Actually, I'm not using this so much to get followers and make money (although both would be fantastic) but more of a way for me to write about the different places that I enjoy eating.

Let's me start off by saying that I am not a food critic.  I am not a chef.  I am not even a very good cook but I love food and I love visiting new  restaurants.  I'm one of those people, though, that if I find something that I love at a particular restuarant then that is usually what I always order so don't be offended if I've listed a restaurant that you like but not the item that you order.

I will probably be writing about my overall experience at the restaurant which will include those little things that set a place apart like decor, price, variety on menu, etc but this will not a professional review by any means and, for the most part, will solely be my opinion.

Hope you enjoy reading!