Off the Eaten Path

Exploring St. Louis, one meal at a time…

How sweet it is…

Have you ever visited a place that makes you so excited that part of you wants to tell everyone about it, yet at the same time, you want it remain your own little secret?

Well, that’s how I feel about Sweet Art. It’s a cute little bakeshop & art studio in the Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis, MO.

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I’ve been here before, but this is my first time blogging about it! Thanks to an awesome Groupon, I was able to eat lots of yummy food for next to nothing – and tell you all about it! Double win!

Before I get to the food, let’s talk about atmosphere. This little neighborhood shop is SO cute and inviting. It just feels like home, in a way. I snapped a few photos, but not nearly as many as I wanted to. I just started to feel weird after a while! One thing about food blogging – people tend to think you’re a little crazy when you start snapping photos willy-nilly!

 

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One little thing – I forgot to mention that Sweet Art is a vegetarian/vegan restaurant! As a former vegetarian, this didn’t bother me in the least; I may be a meat-eater now, but I’m not afraid of fake meat products! Food is food, right?

Honestly, though…Sweet Art does such a good job of preparing their food that you don’t even think about the fact that they’re meat free. Everything is THAT tasty!

Okay, enough of the blabber…let’s get on to the food, shall we?

I started with the ‘39th’. (Sweet Art names most of their sandwiches after St. Louis street names…cool, huh?) It is their BLT w/smart bacon (soy), organic mixed greens, tomatoes, and vegan house spread. I added avocado for an extra buck. It came with the choice of chips or organic fruit. Want to guess which one I went with?

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Mmm mmm MMM! The sandwich was delicious and HUGE! The ‘bacon’ was deliciously chewy, the organic greens were fresh, and the creamy avocado mixed with the vegan spread made my mouth SO happy. This was very tasty, and super filling – I could only eat half! Well, okay… maybe I was saving room for this…

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Why, hello there, yummy red velvet cupcake! You sure are looking mighty tasty there…

This was GOOD. I will say it once: Sweet Art has THE BEST cupcakes in St. Louis. Period. The cake was moist and light. The cream cheese frosting was rich and creamy. Red velvet is my fave cupcake flavor, and this one certainly didn’t let me down! Oh, it was so good!

Of course I couldn’t just stop there, now could I? I was stuffed, but I ordered a few goodies to go; a girl’s gotta eat dinner, right?

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The name of this spectacular wrap escapes me. I checked Sweet Art’s website, and it wasn’t on there, either! All I know is that is contains organic mixed greens, a wonderfully delicious spread, and faux chicken. Maybe a few more goodies. I don’t know. I’m useless! This was DELICIOUS, though!

And now, for the grand poobah of the event. The most exquisite, fantastic, rich, gooey, chocolate-y thing that will ever cross your lips…

 

*drumroll*

 

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Three words. Homemade. Vegan. BROWNIE. You can stick a fork in me, because I’m done, folks! How they managed to make this decadent brownie with no eggs, milk, or traditional chocolate will forever be a mystery to me. Dare I say that this is better than any brownie that I’ve ever tasted in my life?!!? Yep, I just went there. And for the naysayers, honestly, this tastes JUST like the real thing. It will blow your mind!

Okay, so now that I’m done waxing poetic about this wonderfulness that is Sweet Art (and I PROMISE you, the owners didn’t pay me to write this glowing review!) I can give you guys some scores (just in case you’re still confused about how I feel about this place).

Food: 5 stars (out of five)

Ambiance: 5 stars

Service: 5 stars

Value: 5 stars

Yep, this received the nearly impossible-to-get straight 5 stars from me! If you’re in St. Louis and you haven’t been to Sweet Art yet, what are you waiting for!?!? Hightail it here, NOW (and take me with you, please!). You can thank me later.

August 29, 2010 Posted by | food | , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Shaved Duck

So Andy and I went to The Shaved Duck the other day…and yes, that’s actually the name of the restaurant! It located in the Tower Grove neighborhood in St. Louis, MO.

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As you may (or may not) imagine, The Shaved Duck is mostly a BBQ joint, but on the upscale side? That’s not to say that anything was expensive – actually, it was quite reasonable! But the atmosphere is a lot different than what you might be used to at a barbecue place. It was nice, chic, warm, and inviting.

When we arrived, our server was SO nice! Sweet and bubbly, but not annoyingly so. It was very refreshing. She quickly went over the specials of the day: two orders of chicken wings for the price of one, $3 draft beers, and half off smothered fries.

She had me with ‘smothered fries’. It sounded like a pretty good appetizer – pulled rib meat over crispy, hand cut fries, smothered in cheese sauce. MMM!

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The fries were just as good as they looked. The rib meat was juicy and tender, the fries were hot and crispy, and the sauce was rich and creamy! I’m drooling just thinking about it.

After we snapped out of our post-french fry food coma, it was time to order our entrees. I went with the duck and blue cheese flatbread. House made flatbread topped with tomato, spinach, a sweet bourbon drizzle, and duck (of course!).

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It. Was. Perfect.

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The flatbread was thin, buttery, and crispy. The duck meat was tender and flavorful. The bleu cheese was creamy and light. And the sweet bourbon drizzle was PERFECT! It brought everything together in the most wonderful way. I inhaled every single piece.

Andy ordered the beef brisket sandwich with a side of macaroni and cheese. I was too busy enjoying my flatbread to take a picture of his food, but I really wish I would have! I’m not a huge brisket fan, but this was AMAAAAZING. Tender and juicy (that seems to be the theme of the night here!) meat hugged by the softest croissant roll EVER. Topped with sweet and smoky BBQ sauce, this absolutely knocked my SOCKS off.

The mac and cheese he ordered as a side was good, too. Thick gooey cheese wrapped around little shells of HEAVEN. Yes, I’m being overly dramatic, but this was SO. GOOD. Why didn’t I take pictures?!?! I’m kicking myself now.

After our meal, we were so stuffed that we could have rolled home. But when the waitress mentioned that bread pudding was on the dessert menu, I HAD to order some! And I’m so glad I did…

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There’s no description of the dessert on the site’s menu, so I’m going from memory here. I think it was an almond brioche bread pudding with an amaretto sauce. It tasted a little like a cinnamon roll and a LOT like heaven. Oh, it just melted in my mouth, it was so good.

Time for scores!

Food: 5 stars (out of five)

Ambiance: 4 stars

Service: 5 stars

Value: 5 stars

Needless to say, I’ll definitely make a return visit to the Duck. I want to explore more of their menu! Please, if you’re in St. Louis, don’t pass up this little gem. It’s absolutely AMAZING!

August 24, 2010 Posted by | food | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The science of CHEESE!

So ever since Cheese-ology opened up in the Delmar Loop (in St. Louis, MO…of course!) I’ve been DYING to try it. A restaurant entirely devoted to macaroni and cheese?!?! Count me in!

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Me and my boyfriend stopped by around 8:30pm on a Saturday night. It wasn’t too crowded, but there was a nice amount of people in there.

I heard a few things about flights (3 smaller portions) from some people, so we asked the cashier if we could order a flight. Sadly, they no longer offer that option — they said it wasn’t cost effective on their end and led to a lot of waste.

Oh well — on to the food!

I ordered the ‘Bacon, Bacon’ — according to the menu, it contained "Mozzarella and Gruyere cheeses, and a generous amount of thick cut Bacon."

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Wow. This was by far my favorite. The salty chewy bacon complimented the gooey creamy cheese PERFECTLY.

Andy had the ‘Shrimp Scampi’ – "a mixture of Mozzarella, Provolone and Parmesan cheeses, paired with strong flavors of lemon and garlic".

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This one was just okay. It was decent, but not my favorite. Nothing about it really stood out to me. It looks pretty though, right? 🙂

We were enchanted by the menu, and being the mac and cheese fiends we are, we really just had to have more, so we ordered two flavors to go: ‘Black and Bleu’ and ‘Buffalo Chicken’ (the special of the day).

The next day we tore into the leftovers!

The Black and Bleu had American and Bleu cheeses, Steak, and cajun spices. This was tasty, but it reminded me of hamburger helper. Really tasty hamburger helper, but still….hamburger helper.

The Buffalo Chicken was much better. It was spicy, creamy, cheesy…it was just an explosion of flavors in my mouth! SO. GOOD. If they have this one on special, ORDER IT.

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It was nice to know that even the leftovers held up really well. They were just as delicious as the stuff we had in the restaurant!

Even though the food was fantastic, the atmosphere of Cheese-ology left a lot to be desired. I feel like they could have put a lot more care into the place. It really looked thrown together — concrete floors, white walls, hard uncomfortable chairs — get this place a designer, stat!
But I didn’t come to be wowed by the decor. I came for the food — and Cheese-ology definitely delivered on that!

Time for scores!

Food: 5 stars (out of five)

Ambiance: 2 stars

Service: 3 stars

Value: 3 stars

I can’t wait to come back and try more of the menu! This place gets two (cheese-stained) thumbs up!

August 18, 2010 Posted by | food | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Are you in or are you out?

Well, the In Spot Dessert Lounge is…oh wait. You have to read to the end to find out!

I went with my mom and sister for our monthly girls night out event. This time around, it was my turn to pick the place, and I remembered a while ago when Natalie @ The Sweets Life recommended the In Spot! So I thought I’d give it a try.

The place itself was very chic and intimate. Totally lounge-y. Ready for picture overload?

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Nice place, right? Okay, now that you’ve seen the digs, let’s get down to business!

None of us were especially hungry, so we decided to split an appetizer, drink, and dessert between the three of us. This falls right in with my new healthier eating initiative, so I was game!

We started with the Brown Sugar Chicken Wings:

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I wasn’t a fan – at all. The flavor was decent (not very brown sugary, though!), but the chicken itself was terrible. The texture was just sickening. Very fatty and not at all appetizing. I could only take one bite of the chicken before I called it quits.

Next was the drink! The sweet pineapple martini caught my mom’s eye, and my sister and I agreed that it sounded tasty. We ordered it with high hopes.

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This was okay. The pineapple taste was definitely there, but the drink itself was just too strong for me. I feel this way about ALL martinis though, regardless of location…so perhaps I’m just not a martini fan. If you love martinis, though, you’d probably love this! I could only down a few sips.

Finally was dessert. I thought the fried cheesecake sounded good, so we rolled with that.

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Look at that strawberry drizzle! Delish. This was my favorite part of the meal. I don’t think my mom or sister cared for it too much (they didn’t think it was sweet enough), but I really enjoyed it – and I ate the entire thing! Oink. The dough was flaky and buttery, and the warm cheesecake filling with creamy and rich. MMM. The strawberry drizzle was perfect for this treat.

How was the service? Well, our waitress was nice, but seemed overwhelmed. Why is there only ONE waitress (but FOUR bartenders) at this place? Weird. When we asked her about a particular wine (and requested to see the bottle), she snapped that she was ‘too busy’ to show us. She eventually did show us the bottle of wine, but her curtness was a HUGE turnoff. Hmm. Maybe she wasn’t nice after all!

There was a band playing, and they were good (very smooth and jazzy), but WAY too loud. If they would have turned it down a couple notches, I could have stayed here all night to listen to them. But by the end of dessert, my head was ringing so badly that I just wanted to LEAVE.

On top of being not so tasty, the food was sort of expensive! 7 bucks for 5 mini chicken wings, 7 bucks for 2 bites of cheesecake?!? It was like tapas. Stephanie is not a huge fan of small plates!

Score time!

Food: 2 stars (out of five)

Ambiance: 5 stars

Service: 2 stars

Value: 3 stars

Part of me really wants this little place to succeed. It definitely has potential. But it’s not there yet.

August 6, 2010 Posted by | food | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment