Rotisserie Chicken from Snarf’s

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I’ve been neglecting my fooducation. I know. My Y.P.A. (yum point average duh…) has dropped dramatically. It’s a shame and I’m sorry. I’ve been running on eight hours minus five hours of sleep for three nights in a row  because launched this morning!!!

Farmers are actually listing products and restaurants are actually placing orders through our website. That calls for a celebration. And a gigantic sandwich. A gigantic sandwich can only come from one place: Snarf’s.

Snarf’s is fantastic (and should really think about sourcing their ingredients from local farmers on…. see how good I’m getting at the not-subtle-at-all sales pitch). Their sandwiches arrive warm. Perfectly crunchy baguettes cradle the flavorful sandwich fillings.

The rotisserie chicken was moist (might’ve been even moister if it was locally sourced…) and the provolone was rich but it’s the host of toppings that Snarf’s adds (don’t you dare skip any of them) that make sandwiches from Snarf’s so delicious.

The mayo adds creaminess while the mustard brings the sharpness to the table. Onions add a small kick but they’re cooked first so they aren’t overwhelming. The tomatoes add a hint of sweetness while the hot peppers (which I think have been sitting in vinegar) add a slightly acidity and slightly spiciness. Finally, the pickles. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of pickles but Snarf’s make them work. The pickles add crunch and some serious acidity, which elevates all of the other flavors.

I have yet to enjoy a sandwich from any other restaurant St. Louis as much as any sandwich I’ve had at Snarf’s. Please, please, please tell me if you have!

Egg Salad Sandwich from Companion

photo (15)Something about the name “egg salad” seems to gross people out. It belongs on the list of sandwich toppings that kids get bullied for eating (…like tuna and bologna). But I’m an egg salad lover and sticks and stones can break my bones but your taunting words about my love for egg salad sandwiches (and really good bolonga) can never ever ever ever hurt me so HA.

I especially love my mom’s egg salad. And Companion’s menu promised me “egg salad made just like mom’s.”

I have to say, although it wasn’t as deliciously sharp as my mom’s egg salad (p.s. mama… it’s been a while since you made me an egg salad sandwich…), Companion did serve me an awesome egg salad sandwich. The egg salad was fresh and smooth. Large chunks of egg white were held together by creamy yolk and mayonnaise.

While my rule is that I stick to the menu, I made an exception and replaced the rye bread with ciabatta because I hate rye bread. Companion’s ciabatta was perfect. The crust was crunchy and inside was fluffy and holey. That being said, I think a baguette would’ve been a better call because the ciabatta was huge.

In my opinion, the egg salad could’ve used a little more mustard (and that’s why my mom still wins) but it was unequivocally the best dish I’ve eaten at Companion thus far.

Tacos, Tacos, Tacos at Mission Taco Joint on the Delmar Loop

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Tacos on tacos on tacos. I want to live on top of a mountain of never-ending tacos. So I’ve been looking forward to Mission Taco Joint’s opening for weeks. Quality tacos on the Loop is my dream come true.

Mission is the sister restaurant of Milagro Modern Mexican and Tortillaria but Misssion is less Mexican than they are (sister from another mister?). Its named after the Mission District in San Francisco and the tacos are clearly Californian (a.k.a. skinny, pretty, and fresh).

Milagro and Tortillaria might eventually get kind of jealous. But for now, they’re still the favorites in the family.

My tacos arrived cold. They came plated on really cool, long metal strips that had taco-holding slots. But my tacos ended up on the metal strip with Nate’s tacos, who was sitting on the other side of the table. It took us a while to figure that out because neither our waitress nor the busboy could identify the different tacos for us.

Once we’d sorted it all out, I took a bite of the Yucatan chicken taco. The chicken was a bit dry but the flavors were on point. The acid from the pickled onions with the smokiness of the achiote rocked. I had to cram a few tortilla chips into my mouth because the arbol salsa was so wonderfully spicy.

The Nopales taco didn’t maintain the same level of balance. Large chunks of goat cheese mixed with the thick poblano sauce. My first bite was enjoyable but the taco’s overwhelming heaviness hit me on the second bite. And the roasted cactus was limp and a bit slimy.

Luckily, I saved the roasted duck taco for last. The shredded chile roasted duck was moist and packed with flavor. Pieces of really crispy pork belly added crunchy, salty goodness that helped the creamy avocado and spicy serrano mitigate the gaminess of the duck. It was rich but, unlike the Nopales, not too heavy. I’ll eat duck tacos on duck tacos on duck tacos any day.

We finished the meal with churros with chocolate sauce. I loved the combination of the warm, rich chocolate sauce and the cinnamon.  I enjoyed the warm, freshly fried dough but the thicker part of the churro was still raw.

To be fair, Mission has been open for less than a week. Official food reviewers give a new restaurant 30 days before they write anything. I am far from being an official food reviewer and I was too excited to wait so I decided to ignore that rule. But I do totally plan on going back (even if only for those duck tacos) when Mission has had some more time to fine tune the details.

Highlands Sandwich and Broccoli Cheddar Soup from Kayak’s

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I am a decisive person. Give me my options and I can easily tell you which one I want. Except when it comes to food. Menus make me anxious. I read each the descriptions of each dish with admiration and then stare blankly at the choices, crippled by my desire to eat everything. I have to tell myself  “you can’t eat everything. It’s okay. You will come back some other time.” Despite the pep talk, ordering is often still an emotional struggle.*

That is why I love Kayak’s for letting me order halves of different dishes. I got half a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup and half of a Highlands sandwich.

Broccoli cheddar sounds slightly unappealing but it was delicious. The soup was creamy and heavy. It contained carrots and onions, which added some sweetness that worked well with the sharp cheddar. It warmed up the coldest corners of my stomach.

The Highlands sandwich was also delicious. They’d toasted the rustic white bread to perfection. The prosciutto was cooked so it was warm, slightly crunchy, and not chewy. The saltiness of the prosciutto combined with the sharpness of the cheddar and the brown mustard to make a very strong, very in-your-face-in-a-good-way sandwich.

*I appreciate the support of my friends and family. They’ve worked to understand my problem and will often agree to split multiple dishes with me. If you struggle when ordering, please feel free to contact me. Fooducated is a safe, judgement-free space (unless you’re food).

The Soulard Coffee Garden and Cafe

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Starting your day with a friend, a cup of coffee, and a well made meal sets you up for success. Especially if that well made meal requires little personal effort. That’s why venturing out to different STL breakfast spots is my favorite thing to do on weekends.

The Soulard Coffee Garden is a little bit more of a trek than I’m usually down for. But it’s right by the Soulard Farmer’s Market (more on that tomorrow). Soulard Coffee Garden’s walls aren’t as Instagram-able as the walls are at Half & Half and Winslow’s. But it is charming in a familial way instead of in a hipster way.

And their buttermilk cornmeal blueberry pancakes are delicious. The tang from the buttermilk comes through wonderfully. I was afraid the pancake would be like corn bread (which I hate) but they mixed in just enough cornmeal to give the pancake a pleasantly grainy texture. It was hearty without being heavy.

The biscuits with sausage gravy, on the other hand, were hearty and heavy.

photo (5)Too heavy. I’m not Southern enough (I’m not Southern at all) to enjoy the intensity of the creamy gravy and the spicy sausage.

I wish I was Southern enough because the sausage was packed with delicious, meaty flavor, the cream was wonderfully smooth, and the biscuits were perfectly flaky. I also which I was Southern enough because Southern people are badass.

If you are more Southern than I am, I highly recommend checking out Soulard Coffee Garden. Please let me know how their dish stacks up to the mounds of biscuits with sausage gravy that you probably eat while riding horses and listening to Carrie Underwood and shooting shotguns when you’re at home.

If that’s not your thing, I still recommend going for their pancakes.


Fish Tacos at Tortillaria Mexican Kitchen (Take Two)

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Nobody’s perfect. I gotta work it. Again and again ’till I get it right.*

That’s why I’ve been dying to go back to Tortillaria since I reviewed them about a month ago. I had a good feeling about Tortillaria but when my tacos arrived, the fish was totally overcooked.

Not last night. Last night, Tortillaria rocked it out.

The beer battered fish on the Original Taco had a wonderfully crispy crust that surrounded totally moist, not-overcooked-at-all fish. Because I wasn’t distracted by dryness, I could truly appreciate the flavors.

The smoky and slightly spicy chipotle sauce complemented the ale while the sweet tomatoes and sharp onions cut through the heaviness of the fried fish. It was all held together by a robust corn tortilla that added a lot of texture. I didn’t appreciate corn tortillas until last night.

But I have to give most of my heart to the Baja taco. It’s the Original Taco’s skinnier, more elegant cousin.

Instead of being deep fried, the fish was grilled. Grilled to perfection. It came covered in the same chipotle sauce but the absence of the ale made the sauce taste bright instead of heavy. The Baja taco also came with a vibrant slice of avocado, which added richness that replaced the robustness of beer battered crust.

Yesterday was my 20th birthday. To celebrate, my friend (and after this cake, best friend) Brandon ordered their Tres Leches cake

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It accomplished a perfect balance of wet milk to dry sponge cake and contained just the right amount of sweetness.

I’m so happy I went back to Tortillaria. I’m also so happy that I’ll never be a teenager again.

*Didn’t think I’d ever quote Hannah Montana on Fooducated but I’ve done stupider things.

Milagro Modern Mexican

Restaurants that use the word “modern” scare me. Why fix tradition if it’s not broken? Mexican food is definitely not broken.

Mexican decor on the other hand… don’t get me wrong, I love sombreros. I love restaurants made with beautiful Mexican tiles and rustic colors. But a lot of Mexican spots look like the Fiesta section of Party City exploded into their dining room. Mexican decor is sometimes broken.

Milagro does avoid that fate. Sections of the ceiling are covered in intricate Aztec-esque symbols and Milagro’s lights are beautiful 3D stars. It’s not wonderfully elegant but it is welcoming.

We ordered the Pollo de Mole Poblano.

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The chayote squash was a refreshing substitute for classic beans. I love beans but the chayote added a pleasant brightness to every bite. The chicken was perfectly moist. The mole poblano sauce was…. okay.

I don’t consider myself a Mexican food expert. Actually, I don’t consider myself an expert in anything really. But I have eaten excellent, authentic mole and Milagro’s mole poblano doesn’t come close. I think Milagro’s was screwed from the get go. Mole poblano is made by Mexican grandmothers who slave over hot stoves for hours. Mole poblano shouldn’t be modernized.

The fundamental bitterness and depth added by the chocolate was completely missing. It tasted more like a complex tomato sauce than true mole poblano.

But no worries. The Enchiladas “Divorciadas” saved the night.

photo (6)The beans were packed with smoky bacon goodness (a.k.a.: the way I want everything I eat to be). The darker enchilada was stuffed with pork, covered in a tomatillo sauce, and topped with pickled onions. It was a solidly good enchilada. The pork was a bit dry but the tart sweetness of the sauce made up for it.

Nothing made up for the chicken enchilada. It was too good. The spicy and totally amazing chile ancho and guajillo sauce rocked my taste buds while the Mexican crema calmed everything down.

I don’t know what made it “modern” but I do know that the dish was delish.