Tasty Tuesday–C and C Food for Your Soul

I always love trying out a local restaurant. Way back before the pandemic hit (can you remember a time pre-pandemic?!?), I read about C and C Food for Your Soul in our local paper, and I knew that a restaurant that advertised fresh-made comfort food was a place I wanted to try. And then time lost all meaning, and for a while, I forgot that there were places outside of our house. But Ryan recently happened upon the restaurant’s Facebook page, and I finally remembered that I really wanted to try it out, so on Sunday, he picked up lunch. I got the mojo burger and fries and he had the meatloaf with mac & cheese and deep-fried corn on the cob (yes, you read that right).

The burger was excellent. It had the best qualities of both a smash burger and a thick burger…crispy edges, but still pink inside. It was served on Texas toast, which was different for me, and I really liked the pairing. I also enjoyed that the burger was topped with different lettuces, which was a nice change from the usual piece of iceberg (not my favorite member of the lettuce family). Ryan equally enjoyed his meal…he said the meatloaf was wonderfully BBQ-y, and the piece was big enough for two meals (helpful information when we place an order for a meal for the whole family in the future!). He also loved the sides, especially the corn on the cob. I’ve been told the staff at the restaurant is also excellent, and very friendly…I’m looking forward to going in there myself eventually!

I’m really glad that this relatively new place is hanging on through the pandemic, and I’m looking forward to trying out more items on the menu (I’m really interested in their desserts!), and seeing what other specials they have in the future!

Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: Fried Onions

It’s been a while since I tried something new at Beast Craft BBQ, but I’m back with one of my favorite items on the menu yet!

I am a sucker for fried, or tobacco, onions. Not onion rings (although I do like those, too), or the gross ones in the can, but fresh, fried onions that are thinly sliced and breaded and hot and get tangled together when you try to pull one out of the pile. Pretty much anytime I go anywhere that has good fried onions on a sandwich, I comment that I would buy a box of just those, and Beast made my dreams come true. Perfect as a starter or a side dish to share (I mean, if you can…I can’t!), their fried onions are topped with cotija cheese, cilantro, and their awesome fry sauce. They’re crunchy and salty and have just a bit of a kick from the sauce. It’s seriously the perfect side dish! (Or lunch, as the case may be.)

In case you’ve missed it, David Sandusky, the genius behind Beast Craft BBQ, has been competing on BBQ Brawl on the Food Network. Next week is the final episode, which means he’s in the final four, and I can’t wait to see what happens, and what kind of amazing dish he comes up with next!

Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Beast Craft BBQ currently has a delicious winter special on the menu…buttermilk fried chicken!

This item is a staple on the menu at Beast Southern Kitchen & BBQ, and I’m happy that they’ve temporarily brought it over to the original Belleville location. It’s not your basic fried chicken, because it’s dusted with creole spices, which give it a delicious kick. The breading was perfectly crunchy…it didn’t get soggy on its journey from the restaurant to our house. And I love that they put a piece of white bread under the chicken to catch the spices and the drippings. The plate comes with four pieces of chicken, plus two sides, and of course if you’re smart one of those should be Beast’s amazing sprouts with pork belly, but there are plenty of other options, too (we especially love the bacon mac). I love seeing the new ideas the Beast family comes up with at all of their locations (check out their sandwich pop-up in the Grove, a perfect example of how they’re rolling with the punches and thinking creatively to make the best of a rough time for restaurants!), and I can’t wait to see what hits the menu next!

Tasty Tuesday…on a Sunday–Beast Southern Kitchen & BBQ

I wouldn’t normally post a “Tasty Tuesday” on a Sunday, but today is a very special Sunday, because the newest concept from Beast Craft BBQ, Beast Southern Kitchen and BBQ, is opening in Columbia, IL today! We were fortunate enough to carry out a meal on Friday night, and their new selection of items is quite impressive.

I had the pickle-brined fried chicken sandwich and fries. They use thigh meat for their chicken sandwich, which I thought was a genius twist on the normal fried breast meat. Beast’s signature, amazing house pickles were served on the sandwich, along with a dill aioli and butter lettuce. We all know how delicious pickle-brined chicken is right? But the batter on the chicken was also excellent, and it was an outstanding sandwich!

We also tried the pimento cheese dip, which is served with fresh biscuits. The biscuits were amazing, and the dip was beyond delicious…the addition of blistered tomatoes to a familiar, comforting dish really elevated it to a whole new level!

As long as I was already splurging, I also had a piece of their bourbon pecan pie for dessert. It includes…are you ready for this?…candied bacon! It was the best piece of pecan pie I’ve ever had. I even liked the crust, and I’m notorious for hating pie crust!

Here’s a look at some of the other entrees our family tried…the cornbreaded catfish, the crispy pork belly and grits, the pimento cheeseburger, and the chicken po’ boy. (Not pictured are a couple of the extra sides we ordered, including collard greens and mashed potatoes and gravy.) I sampled a lot (but not all) of the meals, and everything was in keeping with Beast’s high standards. Everyone loved the items they picked (with five children, there’s no guarantee that all the dishes will be a home run, but they were!), and we were definitely all full by the end of dinner!

I can’t wait until the day we can actually dine in at the restaurant for the full experience!

Tasty Tuesday–Wing Runner STL

Time for a look at the newest concept from the good people over at Beast Craft BBQ/ Beast Butcher and Block…Wing Runner STL!

Who doesn’t love chicken wings, am I right? I was intrigued when Beast Butcher and Block announced a new sub-restaurant providing delivery and carryout wings running out of their St. Louis location, and I was ecstatic when I found out that it was also going to be offered right here in Belleville!

Wing Runner currently offers 10 different flavors of wings (plus a cauliflower “wing” for the non meat-eaters who darken the doorstep of a BBQ joint). Sides are very limited, and because it’s a separate business, you can’t just tack items from Beast onto your order. We went with a bulk pack of 50 wings (there are seven of us, after all, but we didn’t finish quite all of them in one sitting!)…you can get up to five flavors, but for our first visit, we chose the four we were most interested in.

First up, my choice, the roasted garlic butter wings:

Of course we had to try the traditional mild buffalo (they also have hot buffalo, but not all of our children are open to that level of spice):

The spicy BBQ mustard was another popular request:

And the char siu, featuring sesame seeds, was our “wild” choice:

Well, not as wild at the habanero jerk…we got a 5-piece order of those to try alongside the other flavors.

Have you ever seen a better-looking plate of wings?!?

OK, on to the flavors. The habanero jerk was HOT. Like, scary hot. Even Ryan, who is the biggest fan of heat in the house, couldn’t eat more than two wings. So, if you order those, just be aware that your face may melt off. They’re excellent…I know that on a culinary level. But my taste buds would not thank me if I ate them again!

The other four flavors were all a huge hit. I don’t think I could pick a favorite if I tried…they were all delicious in their own way. The char siu was especially amazing…it was such an unexpected flavor on wings, and that just made it taste better. The spicy mustard had a great kick, and I loved the actual mustard seeds on the wings. The garlic butter had just the flavor I was hoping for, with the pleasant addition of cotija cheese crumbled over them. And the mild buffalo was exactly what you want out of a traditional buffalo wing.

I’m hoping it won’t be too long before our next order. I really want to try the shishito lime wings, and the fish sauce caramel sounds just unusual enough to be delicious. I’m also pretty sure I need to try the dry rub wings, too, and any seasonal varieties they offer in the future! It’s always exciting to see what new ideas David Sandusky and Beast come up with, and they never fail to disappoint!

Tasty Tuesday–Beast Craft BBQ: #beercheesesteak

Last month when we went to the new Beast Craft BBQ location in St. Louis, Beast Butcher and Block, I was excited to see the #beercheesesteak on the menu, because it’s something I’ve been wanting to try for a long time! Aren’t I lucky that it’s something that has now shown up at both locations?

So here’s the deal. Chopped brisket (which of course, I already knew I loved), tallow, beer cheese, and onions. On that amazing bread Beast uses. And I got some of Beast’s delicious fries to go with it. Perfect dinner. Melt-in-your-mouth perfection. And I didn’t really understand how tasty tallow is before Beast. Actually, I’m not sure I’ve really ever had tallow prior to Beast!

Every time I try something new at Beast (no matter the location…I love that I can say that now!), I figure that’s it, there’s just no way they can top that. They always do, though, and I am constantly waiting to see what they come up with next! And now that they’re on both sides of the river, if you’re in the St. Louis metro, you have no excuse not to taste just what that might be for yourself!

Tasty Tuesday–Berix

I’ve mentioned that our summer school theme this year is built around Rick Steves’ Europe, and focuses on learning about the cultures of various European countries. It’s a great topic, but as you might imagine, it is a little difficult to plan field trips in the midwest that relate to the topic (although we did pretty well with exploring German culture in Frankenmuth, MI, earlier this month!).

There was one thing I knew I wanted to do for sure, that would give us as close to an immersive experience as we could get here in St. Louis. Actually, St. Louis is the best place outside of Europe for this experience, as St. Louis has the largest Bosnian population outside of The Continent. So after looking at many restaurant options in St. Louis, we went out for dinner at Berix, a Bosnian restaurant in South County.

The inside of the restaurant was just what I expected, and completely charming:

We tried a variety of Bosnian dishes, including Cevapi (small beef sausages), Doner Kebab (with the most amazing flatbread I’ve ever had!), Sarma (cabbage rolls), and a banana dessert that was delicious.

I also had Turkish coffee for the first time. I was a little shocked at the sludge of grounds in it (and thankful that the waiter explained how to prepare it!), but it was the most delicious coffee I’ve ever had!

We all really enjoyed our experience at Berix. Our waiter was amazing, and explained the food (and the slow-paced meal culture of Bosnia). The food was excellent (and the portions were quite large, which means leftovers, which I’m a huge fan of!). I’m sure we’ll go back, because there were many other delicious menu items that we’d like to try someday!

Tasty Tuesday–Beast Butcher and Block

Beast Craft BBQ has a new family member!

Last week, Beast Butcher & Block opened on Manchester in the Grove neighborhood of St. Louis. I was really looking forward to seeing the new location, so I was especially excited when we were invited to preview the restaurant at their soft opening. As soon as we walked in, I was impressed with the look of the place. Notable are the colorful chairs and cool artwork:

Beast Butcher & Block isn’t just a restaurant, though. Yes, you should go for a meal, which better include meat prepared in one of their six smokers. You can also buy uncooked meat and other items in “The Butchery” at the front of the store. But my favorite part (well, other than the food!), is The Skullery (allow that name to sink in and enjoy).

The Skullery is a private event space, which I’m sure is going to host many awesome occasions in the future. Just look at that grill!

Did I mention the food? Here’s a look at some of the items we enjoyed, including the #beercheesesteak, spare ribs, wings, and turkey.

And check out the lineup of sauces!

The exterior of the building looks just as cool as the interior!

OK, let’s be realistic. Parking in the Grove can be an issue, and the parking lot at Beast Butcher & Block is small, so I recommend you give yourself extra time to find a place for your car. I would also assume that you should be prepared to wait in line, because this restaurant is going to draw large crowds. But as is always the case with Beast, the food is worth the wait, especially if you’re on the Missouri side of the river, and don’t want a long drive into Illinois for the best BBQ in St. Louis!

Tasty Tuesday–Frankenmuth’s Bavarian Inn Restaurant

Are you ready for an epic Tasty Tuesday?

When we decided to go to Frankenmuth, we knew we’d have to try one of their famous fried chicken dinners. There are two places in town that offer such a meal, and they’re right across the street from each other! After checking out the full menus, we chose to dine at the Bavarian Inn:

It’s a beautiful (and extremely large!) building:

There are many dining rooms, each one as charming as the last:

They had both their own beer and root beer on the menu:

And they start you off with bread, both plain white bread and stollen. They also offered us fresh rhubarb jam to go with it!

We decided to try their ultimate family style Bavarian dinner (the perfect fit for our European-themed summer school this year!), which we had a coupon for, and which would allow us to sample many of their offerings, including the famous fried chicken.

We started with noodle soup and a variety of salads:

The fried chicken was just as good as promised:

We also tried the sauerbraten, bratwurst, kasseler rippchen (smoked pork loin), and schnitzel:

There were also plenty of side dishes, including buttered noodles (my favorite!), vegetables, dressing, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, and potato cheese puffs. It was seriously delicious, and we definitely did not leave hungry!

The meal included housemade ice cream for dessert, and I tried the cranberry, which was amazing…I can’t believe I’ve never had cranberry ice cream before!

We also split a piece of apple strudel:

This was a pretty expensive meal for our family, even with the coupon, but it was definitely worth it…and we even had enough leftovers for a second dinner once we got home!

Tasty Tuesday–Valle Taco Express

If you have traveled on IL 159 in Swansea recently, you may have noticed that there’s a new taco place in town. Specifically a taco truck and a taco stand…Valle Taco Express. The stand is only open when the truck doesn’t have an engagement, so you want to check their Facebook weekly page for their hours and locations.

Now, on to the food. I tried the taco plate, which included three tacos…steak, chicken, and fish, plus sides (I had a double order of the street corn), while Ryan had the steak and chicken Fuego burritos.

We both thought the steak options were a little dry, but still tasty. The sauce on my other two tacos was great…it had a nice kick to it. The meat was also cooked just right. The real star of the meal, though, was the corn. It had a nice char, and the addition of the cheese was the perfect topping.

I definitely enjoyed my meal, and I’d like to eat there again…it would also be fun to catch their truck at an event!