Off the Eaten Path

Exploring St. Louis, one meal at a time…

BBQ, Booze, and Good news…

So I’m going to be honest. I had heard some not-so-good things about Smoking Joes online, so when my mom suggested we go here for our monthly girls night get together, I wasn’t too thrilled. However, after giving the place a try on a busy Friday night, I can safely say that Smoking Joes is legit.

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Smoking Joes is located on Washington Avenue in St. Louis, MO. It’s a really hip place (gosh, I just said hip…am I getting old?) with lots of bars, clubs, lofts, and awesome eateries.

I was expecting it to be somewhat crowded with the dinner rush when we arrived at 6:30, but to my surprise, it was mostly empty. The bright side? We could sit wherever we wanted! There was a live band playing that night, so we chose a table close to the stage, naturally. More on the entertainment in a bit.

Our waitress was pretty friendly, and quickly handed us menus and drinks.

As far as food goes, we decided on the large combo platter to split between the three of us:
– 1/2 rib
– 1/2 chicken
– 1/2 pound beef brisket
-choice of 3 sides

We subbed pulled pork for the brisket and chose mac and cheese, baked beans, and sweet potato fries for our sides.
While we waited for our food, I was able to get a good look at this place. Usually, when I think about barbecue joints, I think of a down and dirty type atmosphere. Grungy, dirty, farm-like. But this place was actually REALLY nice! It was very swanky and lounge-y. I liked it!

Our food came out pretty quickly, and boy was there a LOT of it! The waitress brought out three BBQ sauces (hot, mild, and sweet) and we went to town.

I started with the pulled pork, which was definitely my favorite part of the meal. Tender, juicy meat which knocked my socks off! Adding barbecue sauce only magnified the yummyness.

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I tried the ribs next, which came off the bone very easily with a slight tug. Once again, tender and moist, albeit a little too fatty for my tastes. Nonetheless, these are the types of ribs I’m accustomed to, not the ribs at Pappy’s (review coming soon!), which are good, but remind me of beef jerky.

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Next? Chicken! This was tasty as well, although a little dry for my tastes. That’s what BBQ sauce is for, right? It was seasoned very well, and it’s hard to get BBQ chicken right, so they get a pass on this one.

On to the sides! The mac and cheese was yummy after I added a touch of salt. The baked beans were sweet and perfect. And the sweet potato fries were hot and crispy, just the way I like them!

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Smoking Joes has a pretty decent drinks menu, so I ordered the Smoking Joes sweet tea, which had jeremiah weed sweet tea vodka in it. Yumtastic! My sister ordered the ‘Brazilian Blast’, which contained Malibu, Blue Curacao, Triple Sec, Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice, and Mango Schnapps. My mom ordered something green. With a cherry on the bottom. I forgot what it was (darn!), but it was mighty tasty.

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I said I was going to get back to the entertainment, so here goes. The live band hit the stage around 8pm, and they were FABULOUS. Very smooth and jazzy. Love love LOVED it. I didn’t want to leave! The live entertainment knocked up what would have been a 4 star review to a solid 5 stars. I was snapping pictures like a fool, and this was the best one out of the bunch:

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Okay, so not the best picture, right? I kept taking picture after picture, fumbling around with the settings, and it was just a challenge! The lighting was tricky. And I’m not very proficient with my camera yet; I use the auto setting a LOT, and I’m trying to experiment with others. It’s just a huge fail. Help!

Anyway, the entertainment was FAB.

Okay, score time!

Food: 4 stars (out of five)

Ambiance: 5 stars

Service: 3 stars

Value: 4 stars

I can definitely see myself coming back here on a Friday or Saturday night when they have live music. And because the food is cheap, I’ll probably come here more often than I should!

Smoking Joes, you’ve won my heart. Congrats.

Oh, so you’re probably reading the title of my post and wondering what the good news is. Well…Off the Eaten Path is getting a (much needed) makeover VERY soon! I’m so excited I can barely contain myself. Everything will be organized by cuisine type (BBQ, Mexican, Italian, etc), and the site will look a lot cleaner and will be easier to navigate overall. I don’t have an exact date on when all of this will happen (this is just a part-time hobby, after all!), but I promise it will be soon.

One more shameless plug: if you’re on Facebook, you can keep up with Off the Eaten Path by becoming a fan (do it…pretty please!). You can also follow me on Twitter and get up-to-the-minute updates on what I’m doing, and more importantly, what I’m eating! So clickety-click away!

P.S. By the time you all see this post, it will be September 4th, so I just want to wish my mom a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Love you mommy 🙂

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September 4, 2010 Posted by | food | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mas tapas, por favor!

So I recently went to Mosaic with a group of friends. It’s a tapas restaurant in downtown St. Louis. I used to work downtown, so I would pass this place all the time; it was nice to finally be able to step foot inside and try the food!

I started with the lobster salad: lobster, guacamole, valencia oranges, and chive sour creme. It was very light and tasty. I’m normally not a big fan of chives, but it actually worked here. The presentation was neat as well. I loved how it was stacked so neatly! I didn’t want to mess it up…but of course I had to dig in.

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Next were the pot stickers: suckling pig (!!), shaved celery, thai peanut sauce. This wasn’t my favorite. The potstickers were okay, and I liked the crunchiness of the shell, but come on, Mosaic — if you’re going to be bold enough to call the filling ‘suckling pig’, you gotta back it up with some bold flavors! It was just missing something. It wasn’t BAD, it just didn’t have that wow factor. And I didn’t like the peanut sauce. It just tasted like creamy peanut butter. Ew.

One thing I love about tapas is that they’re so small, you can sample a wider variety of food! More food = happy Stephanie. Next we went with the short rib mini burgers next: maple smoked white cheddar, truffled brioche bun, smoked ketchup, potato croquettes.

Now THIS had wow factor, guys! Definitely one of the best parts of the meal. The burgers were tiny, which sucks, but I suppose they were supposed to be tiny (we are talking tapas here). It was so good. The meat was fantastic! And the smoked ketchup was amazing. I’m not a huge ketchup fan, but this was NIIIIICE.

The potato croquettes were like nothing I’ve ever tried before. They were fluffy and light and went nicely with the smoky ketchup.

Last but not least *drumroll please*….BREAD PUDDING! I’ve been on a bread pudding roll lately, and Mosaic did a really nice job with theirs. It had tequila soaked raisins (!!!), romepope anglaise, and dulce de leche ice cream. I have no idea what romepope anglaise is, but whatever it was made the bread pudding all the more delicious. I have to add this to my top 5 bread pudding experiences of all time.

The service was super friendly, and our waiter was nice and helpful and refilled our drinks promptly. He also had no problem splitting the checks for us.

Overall scores?

Food: 4 stars (out of five)

Ambiance: 5 stars

Service: 5 stars

Value: 2 stars

For me, this will be more of a special occasion place (because $55 for dinner is not cheap!), but I will definitely return. Yum!

April 9, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment