Off the Eaten Path

Exploring St. Louis, one meal at a time…

La Dolce Via!

If there’s one thing I love, it’s desserts. Nothing makes me happier than a rich dessert after a satisfying meal (or before a meal, if you roll that way!).

Anyway, it was a nice summer day and I was craving something sweet. Me and my boyfriend decided to make the trek over to La Dolce Via. It’s located in the Forest Park Southeast area of St. Louis, MO.

We walked in and looked around a bit. The guy that was working there was SO nice. He greeted us immediately, and took the time to explain every single dessert that they had (and they have a LOT!), which was a nice touch.

Everything looked SO good. They make every single dessert on site, which is pretty awesome if you ask me.

I decided to go with the Torta di Tara: Chocolate buttermilk sponges layered with amaretto and chocolate mousse, frosted with a cinnamon-amaretto buttercream. MMMM! It was so decadent, dense, and rich! I loved loved LOVED the buttercream icing. The hint of cinnamon at the end was subtle, but delicious.

I savored every bite!

I will definitely come back, because I want more dessert! And I’d like to try their lunch/dinner menu.

They also have a wide array of coffee drinks. And free wi-fi! You can’t beat that!

Score time!

Food: 4 stars (out of five)

Ambiance: 5 stars

Service: 5 stars

Value: 4 stars

Yum yum in my tum!

June 12, 2010 Posted by | food | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ice cream quickie!

What’s better on a hot St. Louis summer day than ice cream? NOTHING! I was craving something rich, sweet, and cold, so I went to Serendipity in Webster Groves, MO.

This place has yummy homemade ice cream, and LOTS of different flavors to choose from. Some of the flavors they have available: (per the website)

Coffee Almond
Bordeaux (Black) Cherry
Egg Nog
Marker’s Mint Chip Chocolate
Clark Gold Star Swirl
Chocolate Almond Swiss
Chocolate Chip
Pumpkin Pie
Caramel Apple
Strawberry Cheesecake
Cake Batter
Dulce de Leche
Cotton Candy
Sweet Cream
English Toffee
Chocolate Peanut Butter
Chocolate Orange
Gold Coast Chocolate
Butter Pecan
Banana Nut
Bailey’s® Irish Cream
Vermont Maple Walnut

Drooling yet?

I had the Gold Coast Chocolate. It was RICH and tasty!

It was just what I needed on a hot summer day.

The place itself is pretty cute. Lots of seating, so you can cram all of your friends in here for a cool treat!

Time for scores already?

Food: 5 stars (out of five)

Ambiance: 4 stars

Service: 4 stars

Value: 4 stars

Sorry for such a short review, but did you really expect me to wax poetic about ice cream for more than a few paragraphs? 🙂

June 8, 2010 Posted by | food | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Failure of epic proportions!

Okay, so if you’re from St. Louis, chances are you’re going to be offended by this post. And for that, I’m sorry (maybe!). But I have to be real with you — some things in St. Louis are just a little bit (okay, a LOT) overrated. Ted Drewes, anyone? Don’t get me wrong; some of the overrated places aren’t BAD. They just aren’t as good as people make them out to be.

However, when it comes to this place, in my opinion it’s not only overrated, it’s just downright BAD.

Enough beating around the bush. I’ll just get around to it. The place I’m talking about is…

Yep…I said it! Imo’s Pizza.

Now, if you do a little bit of digging around the web, you’ll see that there are two groups of people: people who LOVE Imo’s, and people who know what good pizza is (zing!).

What’s the big deal, you might ask? Why are there such loyal devotees to pizza place? Why are there people who absolutely LOATHE it? One word. Provel.

Yep, you read that right. Provel. Not provolone. Provel. It’s a really popular cheese in St. Louis (and not used much elsewhere). It’s a processed mix of cheddar, swiss, and provolone. It has a low melting point. It’s not stringy. And it’s what Imo’s uses to top their pizza.

I’m not a big fan of provel (if you couldn’t tell by now!). I like my pizza to be stringy. I like this:

Look at that stringy goodness. Provel doesn’t give you that! It’s a clean bite. It’s like putting American cheese on your pizza. It’s processed GARBAGE.

Now that I’ve pissed off half of St. Louis, let’s talk about my experience here. Prior to this review, I hadn’t had Imo’s in YEARS. I just dislike it that much. Fortunately, my boyfriend enjoys provel. We went to Imo’s so I could blog about it!

We ordered a 14 inch supreme pizza. I thought it would be interesting to order half with provel and the other half with mozzarella. So we did! Let’s do some experimentin’!

the top half is provel. Bottom half is mozzarella.

I tried a slice with provel. Yuck. Just as I remembered it. Clean bite; no stringy gooey cheese. In fact, you couldn’t even taste the cheese. That’s the thing about provel. It doesn’t have a distinct taste; just a gummy texture that holds all of the toppings in place. It’s like eating paste.

I tried a slice with mozzarella. It was slightly better (and definitely stringy!), but not great.

And that’s the thing about Imo’s. Their pizza is just not good. Even though we ordered the supreme pizza (with every topping imaginable on it!), it was still bland. Their vegetables are obviously frozen before they throw it on the pizza (which results in a watery mess when the pizza is baked). The meats aren’t seasoned well (if at all!). It’s just bad.


Food: 1 star (out of five)

Ambiance: 2 stars

Service: 3 stars

Value: 4 stars

Don’t believe the hype! It’s a run of the mill pizza joint that is WAY overrated, and you can find much better in St. Louis for a comparable price.

P.S. If you like my blog (and don’t hate me after this post bashing Imo’s!), please please PLEASE follow me on Twitter and subscribe to the blog! (How to subscribe? Scroll down, and you’ll see a spot to put in your email address on the right-hand side of the page! I promise you won’t get any spam!) That way you’ll be the first to know when I make new posts! Pretty please with sugar on top! 🙂

June 4, 2010 Posted by | food | , , , , | 4 Comments

Dancin’ to the beat of my own drum!

I’ve been dying to try Tam Tam African restaurant for ages now. It’s in North County, St. Louis…which happens to be pretty close to where I work! Score. It’s nestled in a pretty nondescript strip mall.

I walked in and was immediately greeted by the friendliest restaurant owner I’ve come across in quite some time! It was pretty awesome, if you ask me. He seated me and handed me a menu. I took some time to look over it, as well as check out the scenery. There was nothing fancy here; it was very simply decorated, and I’m fine with that!

I thought this mural was pretty cool!

I ordered a ginger juice to start out.

I’m not gonna lie — this was really intense! The ginger flavor was DEFINITELY there. This is not for the faint of heart! Somehow, even though it was super intense, it was still refreshing. YUM!

The super friendly waitress then brought me out some chips and salsa, West African style. I cannot describe in words how good this chips were, so I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves!

The salsa was also unique and tasty. It had a spiciness to it, but there was also a touch of sweetness. It was incredible paired with the chips.

I’m a HUGE fan of fried plantains. One of my good friends from college was from Nigeria, and her family had the BEST fried plantains I’ve had in my life! I’ve tried fried plantains at many restaurants around St. Louis, and nothing ever compared to the real thing. Until now! Tam Tam did it RIGHT. These were TO DIE FOR!

These plantains were good all by themselves, but I think a sweet dipping sauce (honey based) would have kicked this up notches unknown to mankind! Oh well.

Okay…time for the main course! Everything sounded good on the menu, but I decided to venture out and try something I’ve never had before — goat!

The menu described the goat entree as “Tender goat meat slowly grilled and spiced the African way, served
with your choice of couscous, fries, or plantain.” Ummm…yes please! I already had plantains, and fries are BORING, so I went with the couscous.

After lots of anticipation, my meal finally came out. Feast your eyes on THIS, my friends!

And the vegetable couscous…

So everything LOOKED tasty, but I’m really sad to report that the goat didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I don’t know if goat is always this way or if I just got a bad batch, but it was VERY fatty. I could only salvage a few morsels to pop into my mouth! Saaaad panda.

The couscous was good, though! Very flavorful with yummy tender veggies spread throughout. A party in my mouth for sure!

Score time!

Food: 3 stars (out of five)

Ambiance: 3 stars

Service: 5 stars

Value: 5 stars

Overall, I still had an enjoyable meal. And I’m not giving up on Tam Tam — I will surely be back! Next time I’ll just skip the goat.

May 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Milagro Modern Mexican

So ever since Milagro Modern Mexican (in Webster Groves, MO) opened a few weeks ago, I’ve been DYING to go. After all, it’s not too far from where I live! I could WALK there, for crying out loud! I was finally able to drag my boyfriend there tonight. Well, he came along pretty willingly. No dragging was necessary. 🙂

For those who haven’t been to Webster Groves, it’s a very cute little area. It’s very nice, but sort of a wasteland when it comes to really good restaurants. Until now, of course! Milagro didn’t disappoint at all. Let me tell you why…

First of all, the atmosphere was super nice! It was spacious and inviting. There was a definitely a Mexican theme, but it wasn’t in your face or overly kitschy. It was subtle.

We started out with the obligatory chips and dip. These were wonderful. The chips were nice, warm, thick, and crunchy, and the salsa was delicious! It had a bit of a kick to it. Yum!

Oh, and of course since I was at a Mexican restaurant, I had to have a margarita! This one was super yummy and refreshing!

For our appetizer, we went with the Tostadas de Pato. The menu described it as ‘pulled duck in blood orange habanero sauce piled high on crisp corn tortillas with black bean puree, lime cabbage, and a side of tomatillo avocado salsa’. Mmm mmm MMM! It was VERY good. It had a kick to it, but it was followed by a smoky sweetness that I loved. The duck was tender and juicy. It was perfection.

For the entree, I had the Enchiladas Verdes de Puerco: Pork Enchiladas. The menu described it as ‘slow roasted pork rolled in corn tortillas with jack cheese and baked in a spicy tomatillo sauce, topped with pickled onion and queso fresco’. It was good, but the tomatillo sauce was a little bit overpowering. Once I scraped most of it off, it was decent and very flavorful.

The entree came with the rice and beans; I had the charro beans (pinto beans simmered with chorizo, bacon, tomato, and chiles) and mexican rice (traditional mexican rice cooked in tomato broth). Both sides were tasty.

I should have been stuffed after all of that food (and believe me, I was!), but I can’t resist a good dessert! We ordered a chocolate crepe stuffed with rum-soaked plantains and topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce. It was BEAUTIFUL. Just amazing. It was like nothing I’ve ever had before!

Of course I had to have an after dinner martini. A chocolate espresso martini, to be exact! I’m usually not a HUGE fan of chocolate martinis, but this one hit the spot.

The service at Milagro was great. Very attentive servers, but not overbearing. The owner even came over and chatted with us for a bit! Nice touch.

Let’s see some scores…

Food: 5 stars (out of five)

Ambiance: 5 stars

Service: 5 stars

Value: 5 stars

I can’t wait to come back to Milagro! It’s so close to home that it just wouldn’t make sense NOT to come back. And the food was amazing. One of my favorite Mexican places in St. Louis for sure!

May 27, 2010 Posted by | food, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mayuri Indian Restaurant!

I’m sorry, everyone. I’ve been seriously slacking when it comes to going out to eat! Darn you, diet! I still manage to make it out every now and again, but I still struggle with finding healthy things on the menu that I want to eat. Salads just don’t appeal to me when I’m going out! Le sigh.

Anyway, moving on. Me and my friends went to Mayuri! I’m a HUUUUGE fan of Indian food, and luckily there are tons of amazing Indian restaurants in St. Louis. This was certainly no exception.

Mayuri is nestled in a strip mall in Creve Coeur, St. Louis.

There must be some correlation between strip mall eateries and REALLY good food. Hmm. A little bit of research is in order!

Anyway, the food. I went with the Chicken Vindaloo: curried chicken with potatoes. It’s one of my FAVORITE Indian dishes! I requested it to be made very spicy…because I’m a spicy kind of girl. It definitely didn’t disappoint! It was SUPER spicy, and super duper flavorful. It came with fluffy basmati rice. Delish!

don't let the neon-orange sauce fool you! This stuff is GOOOOD!

I received a LOT of food with my order (definitely enough for leftovers!) and it all came to about 12 bucks. Not bad!

The atmosphere was nice and clean, and the service was friendly and attentive.

Was this a short review? Yes. But sometimes you just have to let the food speak for itself! And after my Jeff Ruby’s megapost, I’m sure you all are sick of me. 🙂

Time for scores…

Food: 4 stars (out of five)

Ambiance: 4 stars

Service: 4 stars

Value: 4 stars

There are so many Indian restaurants in St. Louis that I’ve yet to try, so I’m not sure when I’ll be back to Mayuri. However, I highly recommend it for those who live in the area!

May 16, 2010 Posted by | food, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse

So my last post about KFC was sort of lame, right? I know, I know…but I’m making up for previous transgressions by presenting you with my experience at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse. Oh, it was EPIC.

My mom treated my sister and I to a dinner at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse the night before mother’s day (what’s wrong with this picture? Shouldn’t it have been the other way around? Oops!). I was super super pumped, especially after looking at their online menu. I studied it and knew what I was going to order weeks in advance! 🙂

Anyway, Jeff Ruby’s. It’s in the River City Casino in South County, St. Louis.

First of all, the place was absolutely beautiful. The ambiance was amazing: the lighting was dim and romantic, and there were chandeliers everywhere! My heart was racing in anticipation.

I’m not going to waste any more time. Let’s get on to the food! Are you ready for lots of pictures?

We flipped through the wine menu first and settled on a dessert wine: Moscato. Dessert wine with dinner? Sounds like a great way to start the night if you ask me! I’m not a wine connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination, so I’m not going to pretend to be. All I know is that I like sweet bubbly wines, and this one hit the spot!

guess who drank most of the bottle? *hiccup*

On to the food. We’ll start with appetizers. My mom wanted us to try a little bit of everything, so we ordered quite a few appetizers. We started with the HUGE tiger shrimp cocktail:

This picture doesn’t adequately show just how HUGE these shrimp were. They were gigantic! And the flavor was amazing. Definitely a nice start to the meal.

Oh, but we didn’t stop there. Next on the appetizer list? Pan roasted mussels. They were accompanied with a white wine, applewood smoked bacon,  taragon and lemon sauce. MMM. These were divine. The mussels had a nice, light taste. Not too bogged down with spices. Clean…just the way I like it.

I ate a few mussels before I took this picture! Oops!

Next I wanted to try an oyster on the half shell. I’ve never tried raw oysters before. What the heck…might as well try it now!

I topped it with some cocktail sauce and horseradish before I slurped it down. Not bad! I don’t know if I’d do this again, though. Not a huge fan of the texture of oysters, even though the flavor was crisp, clean, and amazing.

We also had bread. I believe it was Jewish Rye. Not too shabby. The butter was the star of the show for me! There was regular butter (BORING!), and then there was mushroom and truffle butter. Now THAT’S what I’m talking about! It was yummy. I could eat that butter with a spoon. YUM.

look at that butter! Delish. Plain butter on the right, HEAVENLY mushroom and truffle butter on the left.

We noticed that they had sushi on the menu, and as a self-proclaimed sushi snob, I knew we had to try it. We went with the Dragon roll. I don’t remember exactly what was on it, but there was eel involved. And cucumber. And I think there was some crab in there somewhere. It was not bad at all! Quite delicious, actually. It gets the sushi stamp of approval from me!

Can you believe we still had room for our entrée after all of those appetizers? Well, we did. I went with the steak and lobster. 11 ounces of cold water lobster tail paired with 9 ounces of dry aged filet mignon? YES PLEASE! I had my steak topped with crab meat and béarnaise sauce, just because I was feeling a little fancy. 🙂

you can't have lobster without butter sauce!

The food was AMAZING. The pictures just don’t do it justice. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare, and it was amazingly tender. It melted in my mouth. The crab and bearnaise sauce were decadent and rich. The lobster was tender and so so SO juicy! I promise you that I will have dreams about this meal. It was cooked to perfection.

Of course I can’t hog the spotlight; my mom and sister’s entrees were fabulous as well:

Mom ordered the U.S.D.A. Prime Dry Aged New York Strip...14 ounces of meaty perfection!

my sister also ordered the steak and lobster. She topped her steak with peppercorn shrimp scampi.

Everything at Jeff Ruby’s is a la carte, so of course we had to order some sides to go with our meal.

We had baked macaroni and cheese:

baked macaroni and cheese

Potatoes Anna:

potatoes anna

Creamed Spinach:

creamed spinach

And grilled bacon (because who DOESN’T love bacon?!?!) :

grilled bacon!

Whew! So how was everything? The baked macaroni and cheese was tasty, although I admit that it looked better than it tasted. The Potatoes Anna were delicious! Think fried potatoes, minus all of the grease that weighs you down. They were delicious, and seasoned with the perfect amount of salt and spices.

The creamed spinach was, well…creamed spinach. Didn’t knock my socks off, but it was decent.

My favorite side by far was the BACON!! Who would have thought, right? It was delicious applewood smoked bacon, and it was thick, thick, THICK! Oh, it was perfection. Chewy, flavorful, salty, spicy…it had it all.

So after stuffing my face with appetizers, entrees, and sides, how in the world did I find room for dessert? Well, my friends…Stephanie ALWAYS makes room for dessert.

I went with the flourless chocolate torte. It was topped with sliced almonds and accompanied with house-made cherry sorbet.

Twas muy delicioso! It was rich and decadent (I’ve been using that phrase a lot throughout this review, haven’t I?) The raspberry sauce that was smeared on the plate was sweet and tart at the same time. The cherry sorbet was SO good, and went perfectly with this cake. It was just delightful. Perfect way to end the meal!

Or did I really end the meal there? Can I tell you a secret? I also had a piece of gooey butter cake and some amaretto ice cream to go with it. I’m so sad I didn’t take a picture, because this was the BEST gooey butter cake I’ve had IN. MY. LIFE. It was freaking fantastic!

So thus ends the journey of a thousand plates. Needless to say, we had plenty of leftovers. I’m munching on a piece of bacon right now. Nomnomnom. So good.

Service was very good. Our waiter was very attentive and friendly. No complaints there!

Ready for some scores?

Food: 5 stars (out of five)

Ambiance: 5 stars

Service: 5 stars

Value: 4 stars

Jeff Ruby’s almost received a perfect score from me. However, one could have easily purchased an iPhone for what our meal cost us. However, good food is worth the money, so I’m giving it 4 stars for value anyway!

I can only hope to be so lucky to return to Jeff Ruby’s again someday. THANKS TO MY MOM FOR TREATING ME TO AN AMAZING MEAL!!

I will have sweet dreams tonight. And then I’ll be hitting the gym HARD tomorrow. Oy vey.

May 9, 2010 Posted by | food, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Don’t Judge Me!

It’s okay…you can go ahead and judge. I’m going to show you where I went a few weeks ago (April 12, to be exact!) and you can try to guess what I ate:

Have you guessed yet? Let me give you one more hint:

Yes…I tried the infamous Double Down. I’m hanging my head in shame right now.

So why the huge gap between my consumption of the Double Down and my blog post? Well…I wasn’t going to post about it on here, to be honest. I don’t typically eat at chain restaurants, and I DEFINITELY limit how often I eat fast food. Why waste money at McDonalds when I can go somewhere nice and have decent food?

But all of the hype surrounding the thing had me intrigued. I’m a scientist at heart (and by trade!) so let’s just call this an experiment of sorts? If I say that I did this in the name of science, will you promise not to judge me so harshly?

Anyway, I tried it. Ready for pictures? Here we go.

Caution: consumption of this product may lead to a heart attack!

What’s in this thing, you ask? Well, I think KFC describes it best, so I’ll take an excerpt straight from their website: “The new KFC Double Down sandwich is real! This one-of-a-kind sandwich features two thick and juicy boneless white meat chicken filets (Original Recipe® or Grilled), two pieces of bacon, two melted slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese and Colonel’s Sauce. This product is so meaty, there’s no room for a bun!”


The important question: how did it taste? Well…it wasn’t bad. It was exactly what you’d expect. Two pieces of fried chicken surrounding bacon and cheese. Nothing more, nothing less. I didn’t drop dead after taking a bite, but I wasn’t eager to eat more. In fact, I could only eat about half of it before I started feeling queasy. Maybe the thought of it all was finally getting to me.

The next day I felt seriously ill. I felt like a bloated whale. Perhaps it’s the 1380mgs of sodium this little bugger contains? Whew!

So there you have it, guys. I did this so no one else will have to. And trust me, you really shouldn’t. Taste-wise, it wasn’t anything to go crazy about. And the after effects were definitely not worth it.

I promise I’ll have a real blog post coming up soon. I’m going somewhere super special this Saturday…I can’t wait to share it with you all! Good food will be in GREAT abundance. Mmmm.

May 6, 2010 Posted by | food, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

CJ Mugg’s!

So my boyfriend was feeling hungry on a rainy Saturday afternoon, and I had passed by CJ Mugg’s a few times while in the area, so I thought it would be worth a visit (and blog post, of course!).

CJ Muggs has a few locations around the St. Louis area, so I suppose it would be considered a local chain? I suppose this sort of breaks my rule of not dining at chain restaurants. Oh well!

I didn’t take a picture of the entrance because I didn’t want to get my camera wet. Boo. Sorry. 😦

Anyway, on to the food!  We were seated and some nice warm bread was brought to the table. It had a really interesting butter that went with it. I’m guessing it was jalapeno butter? I could be way off, and in that case, I apologize! It was so tasty.

nice warm bread...

AMAZING butter!

For food, I had the hummus plate. It’s an appetizer, but I wasn’t very hungry, so I just had that for my entree. It’s pretty good! Lots of pita bread, a huge amount of hummus, and olive tapenade and feta cheese. YUM!

feta cheese!

delicious olive tapenade

Andy had pizza, and opted for andouille sausage and broccoli for his toppings. I had a bite,and it was pretty good. Not amazing, but decent.

Service was alright. Our waitress wasn’t super attentive, but I’m fine with that. The place was pretty empty on a Saturday afternoon, which may or may not say something about the place.

I’m not dying to come back here, but I wouldn’t be opposed to visiting again.


Food: 3 stars (out of five)

Ambiance: 2 stars

Service: 3 stars

Value: 3 stars

April 28, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Dewey’s Pizza

So you all have probably figured out by now that I’m not the healthiest eater on the planet. I keep in pretty good shape, and I’m definitely not overweight, but my eating habits are pretty bad. I’ve known for quite some time that I need to change the way I eat.  It’s just hard when there are so many good food eateries in the St. Louis area! But I’m going to try.

Don’t worry, this blog is still going to continue…just expect to see less artery-clogging stuff, and more healthy eats! Of course, I’ll still splurge from time to time…*wink*

Anyway, my boyfriend and I went to Dewey’s Pizza. While this place isn’t unique to St. Louis, it’s one of my FAVORITE pizza places.

I normally go with pizza, but since I’m on my ‘eat healthy’ kick, I went with the seasonal salad, The Harvest. According to the menu, it had “A mix of Field Greens and Romaine Lettuce, with Figs, toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Boursin Cheese and Apple Wood Smoked Bacon, tossed with our Apple Cider Honey Vinaigrette”. I had chicken added to it for a couple bucks more, just to make it a little more substantial.

One word: MMM. The apple cider honey vinaigrette? I wish I could BATHE in it! It was sweet, with just a hint of tartness, and it went perfectly with the salad. The greens were super fresh, and there was enough bacon to make me feel better about eating a salad. Oh, and the toasted pumpkin seeds! I found myself digging through the salad toward the end to make sure every last crunchy seed went into my belly. YUM!

The salad came with figs, but since I’m not a huge fan, I asked for them on the side. I nibbled on one, and they weren’t bad! They were chewy, sweet, and dense — like a savory raisin.

The service at Dewey’s is always top notch, and this visit was no exception. Our glasses were always filled, and the staff bent over backwards to ensure that our visit was pleasant.

The scores?

Food: 5 stars (out of five)

Ambiance: 4 stars

Service: 5 stars

Value: 3 stars

So if you’re on a diet, like me, don’t be wary of trying salads at pizza places…especially if that pizza place is Deweys! Their pizzas are amazing, but their salads don’t disappoint, either. Mmm.

April 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments