Tasty Tuesday–Llywelyn’s Pub

It occurred to me recently that even though we’ve eaten at two different Llywelyn’s Pub locations (St. Charles and Webster Groves), on several different occasions, I never actually wrote a restaurant review. So even though I haven’t been there lately, here’s a look at one of our favorite St. Louis area pubs!

There are nine Llywelyn’s locations, and like I said, we’ve only been to two of them. I can’t imagine any of them having a better atmosphere than the St. Charles location, though! Not only is it located right on historic Main Street, it is in a former bank building, and if you’re really lucky, you can even eat in the old vault!

Let’s start with the important stuff…their pub chips are AMAZING. The burgers are good, too. They don’t quite measure up to my gold standard (Seamus McDaniel’s), but they’re close:

I’m not sure that the colcannon pictured with the burgers is on the menu anymore, but it was so good. They definitely know what they’re doing with the traditional pub fare…they also have other favorites, like shepherd’s pie and fish and chips on the menu, and everything we have tried over the years has been excellent. And don’t let the word “pub” scare you off…it’s a very family friendly restaurant, with a full kids’ menu. The Fab Five love eating there, too (especially the one time we were seated in the vault!).

This is a great local spot, and it really has that neighborhood pub feel. The Soulard location even offers a trolley that runs to Cardinals and Blues home games, which is just another great reason to stop by Llywelyn’s for a bite to eat and a beer!

The IKEA Swedish Julbord

We had so much fun learning about Santa Lucia Day and Christmas in Sweden last week that I didn’t want it to end. Lucky for me, IKEA hosts a Swedish Julbord in their restaurant every year, and even luckier, we managed to get tickets even though we got there less than 30 minutes before the event began!

As soon as I saw Santa Lucia, the Lucia brides, and the lovely decorations, I knew it was going to be a special event.

And the food! There were so many options…thick-cut ham, Swedish meatballs, lingonberry sauce, gravlax with mustard sauce, pickled herring with a sour cream sauce, deviled eggs topped with shrimp, poached salmon under cucumbers, Swedish cucumber salad, red beet salad, sautéed red cabbage with apples, boiled potatoes, Swedish potato salad, Jansson’s Temptation, Swedish cheeses, fresh fruit, bread (including crisp, thin, and soft), hot Glögg, and lots of desserts, including apple cake and spiced ginger cookies.

I tried as many new-to-me foods as possible, and it was all good. Some things I loved, and some I enjoyed even if I wouldn’t seek them out intentionally on their own, but it was all quite tasty.

I don’t know if this is something we’ll try to make a part of our annual Christmas traditions, or if it was something fun to do just once, but I’m really glad we got to go, try some new foods, and celebrate Christmas in a fun and different way!

Tasty Tuesday–Chris’ Pancake and Dining

I don’t think I’ve ever done a restaurant review focused on breakfast before, but there’s a first time for everything!

When you want to find the best breakfast in St. Louis, Chris’ Pancake and Dining routinely tops the list. The fact that both the Lions and Kiwanis Clubs meet there weekly is an immediate indicator of what a great local place Chris’ is!

I love when restaurants have cool glass:

We went on a Sunday morning. The parking situation was a bit tenuous, and when you see the crowds, both seated at tables and waiting for one, you may wonder if you’ll ever be seated (especially if you’re a group of nine, like we were!). But they’re really good about keeping things moving, and our wait wasn’t long at all!

The sight of these items on the table is familiar and comforting! It reminds me of my favorite childhood pancake house (of blessed memory) in suburban Chicago.

On to the food. I had the corned beef hash, which was amazing. Ryan had the Top of the Hill, which is Chris’ version of a local specialty, the slinger. Ryan liked it, so I’ll leave it at that, because slingers are not my thing. And the kids’ meals, which included pancakes, eggs, and a choice of bacon or sausage, were a huge hit! I was also impressed by their commitment to getting the meals right. Turkey had ordered his eggs sunny side up, and they were concerned that they had cooked them too hard, so they redid it, and quickly, too!

We first went to Chris’ about 15 years ago, but it’s been about 14 years since last we were there. Living in Belleville doesn’t make it very accessible most mornings! But it was just as good as I remembered, and I wouldn’t mind finding a reason to go back!

Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: Beer-Braised Pork Tacos

I think it’s obvious that I’m a fan of Beast Craft BBQ’s beer-braised pork…the carnitas are one of the best things I’ve eaten! They also put that delicious pork on tacos, and I had the chance to try them for the first time on Sunday (I have tried the pulled rib tacos in the past).

Not that I’m surprised, but these are SO GOOD. The flavor is reminiscent of the carnitas, and yet it’s its own thing. Three of the fabulous Beast tortillas (I seriously love these tortillas, whether they’re served plain or fried!), are filled with pork, cotija cheese, and a red cabbage slaw, and topped with both BBQ and fry sauce. They also added a few slices of lime on the side, and a little squeeze of juice adds a lot of flavor! The tacos are just the right amount of spicy, with the right amount of crunch, and the pork is just as good in tacos as it is as carnitas. I wonder if they can find anything else to do with it? If they do, you can be certain I’ll try it!

Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: The Brisket Mac Attack!

About two weeks ago, Beast Craft BBQ debuted a new “sammich” on their menu, and it had been a long time since I tried one of their sammiches! So on the way home from the grocery store, we stopped and I got the “Brisket Mac Attack”–Texas chainsaw brisket, smoky bacon mac ‘n’ cheese, shredded cheese, and grilled onions on Texas toast. I also got a side order of the mac ‘n’ cheese, because I don’t think I’ve tried it since they landed on their current recipe.

This sammich is not for the faint of heart…the sauce packs some major heat. But it was the perfect combination, because the mac ‘n’ cheese and shredded cheese helped cool it down some, the onions added a nice flavor, and the bread was toasted perfectly…well, the top piece, anyway. The bottom piece had completely disappeared under the meat and sauce, but I assume it was just as good!

Beast has had some other new menu items recently, as well, including pork taquitos which are AMAZING, and grilled peaches topped with blackberry butter and mint, the perfect summer side dish!

I will warn you, if you want to carry out food, especially on a Sunday in our experience, you need to be prepared to wait. Ryan was in the restaurant for almost half an hour waiting for my sammich and his turkey to be prepared, even though it wasn’t overwhelmingly busy, and he was a little frustrated by the time he made it back to the car. Calling ahead definitely alleviates some of that, but I think that on the weekends, you just need to expect that you’re going to have to wait it out.

Tasty Tuesday–Three Kings Public House

I have been wanting to go to any of the Three Kings Public House St. Louis area locations for so long. But their prices are high enough that it just wasn’t feasible for our whole family of seven to enjoy a meal there. But when The Bigs were at Kantorei Kamp last week, I realized that Chickadee and I could enjoy a meal out together, without breaking the bank!

We went to the location on Manchester in Des Peres. The interior is just what I was expecting…very pub-like.

The one thing that surprised me, however, was the portrayal of the “Three Kings.” I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t the combination of Elvis, Henry VIII, and King Kong!

As I did before we went to Muldoon’s in Wheaton, I studied the menu, so I knew exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to try the house made chips (to compare them with the ones Seamus McDaniel’s makes), along with the Irish cheddar rarebit. They were delicious. For my entrée, I had to try a burger, of course, so I went with the Pogue Mahone, which was topped with a fried egg, carmelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, and cheddar and Swiss cheeses, all on a pretzel bun. Of course it wasn’t a Seamus burger (what is?), but it was really good. I ordered it rare, and it was almost as rare as I prefer, and the combination of toppings was excellent, if not very messy!

Chickadee and I walked around a bit after we were done eating…the whole restaurant is charming!

There is quite a bar, as well:

I would definitely like to go back to Three Kings. I’ll have to take another look at the menu, though, and see what I would like to order next time!

Tasty Tuesday–Muldoon’s

We just got back from a long weekend in Chicagoland. One of the things I really wanted to do while we were there (if there was time), was eat at Muldoon’s in Wheaton. I’m very happy we found time!

When I was a little girl, this building housed the Wheaton Restaurant, a place where we occasionally went for breakfast after church, because church was just a few blocks away. We were sad when the Wheaton Restaurant closed, but it reopened as Cafe Wheaton, a place we frequented often for dinner when I was in high school/college. It retained the charm of the original restaurant, with an all-new menu (including one of my all-time favorite dishes, Chicken Thomas), and Wheaton history spread throughout the restaurant. There was the story of Wheaton on the menu, a photo gallery of former mayors, autographs from famous Wheaton residents, and photos from throughout Wheaton’s history everywhere you looked. I was even sadder when I heard Cafe Wheaton had closed, but intrigued when I heard it was reopening again as an Irish pub, with yet another new menu, but with the photographic history of Wheaton still on the walls. Ever since I heard about Muldoon’s, I wanted to see it for myself, and I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed. Even though the menu is completely new, there was much of the restaurant that was familiar, starting with the glass fleurs-de-lis in the entrance!

The menus, like the cloth napkins on the tables, felt fancy, but a look inside let you know that you were really in an Irish pub:

We started with an order of “Harp Strings,” which are onion strings with honey mustard sauce. They were delicious…I think I could have eaten the whole order myself! For our meal, I ordered the Dagda’s Harp burger (which had the delicious Harp Strings on it!), with a side of homemade chips. I also enjoyed a drink called the “Dublin Donkey,” which is a twist on the more famous “American Mule.” Ryan had the pretzel bacon melt and Turkey ordered his favorite kind of burger (not pictured), one with a fried egg and bacon on it. Bunny tried something completely different, and had a black and bleu salad. The rest of the children ordered off of the children’s menu, and they enjoyed their dinners, too. Everything was delicious! Turkey said his burger was the second best one he’s ever had (of course, the Seamus burger is number one), and Ryan and I agreed with him…our burgers were excellent. The homemade chips were just as good as the ones Seamus serves, too. And Bunny’s salad was amazing…I think everyone but Turkey and Moose tried it and enjoyed it. The menu was quite extensive beyond these options, including classic pub fare like shepherd’s pie and fish & chips, many kinds of mac-n-cheese, American favorites like meatloaf and chicken, and even taco platters!

I’m so glad we decided to give Muldoon’s a try. I have to admit, I was a little nervous going in, partly because I knew it wouldn’t be Cafe Wheaton, and partly because I knew that there was no way it could be as awesome as Seamus. While it wasn’t quite as good as Seamus (nothing ever will be!), it’s definitely a close second, and even though it’s not Cafe Wheaton, it was still familiar, and brought a flood of memories back. It was a great dinner out on vacation!