Tuesday, December 26, 2017

We had a great Christmas with family and friends and Kevin also had the honor of being the Emcee for a Christmas party at the Missouri Veteran's Home.

Frank, who is 91 years old, and was part of the invasion of Iwo Jima, showed us why he and his friends are known as "The Greatest Generation". Please click on the link below to see why.


Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 8, 2017

If you are a musician or just love music, here are two videos from The Gibson Guitar factory in Memphis, TN and a tour of the Gibson Tour Bus. It's easy to see why Gibson guitars are some of the best in the world as they are all hand made. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

A Great St. Louis Bistro

I recently got an e-mail from the Quincy Street Bistro inviting me to check out their Lobster Festival event. After looking at their website I found a familiar face; Chef Birk.
I remembered Chef Birk from many lunches at Cousin Hugo's on Hanley Rd.

Chef Birk, Matt Birkenmeier, got his start at Cousin Hugo's and considers Tommy Bahn as his mentor. From there he has worked for the Millennium Hotels, Wolfgang Puck’s, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Ritz Carlton Resorts-Montego Bay Jamaica, Owner of Biggs BBQ-Montego Bay Jamaica, currently Executive Chef at Quincy Street Bistro; bringing his flare for Southern American Classics and Midwestern BBQ back to South St. Louis.

Mike and Sue Enright are the owners of Quincy Street Bistro . They have been married 28 years and call St. Louis Hills home. Both grew up in South St. Louis; Mike actually grew up on Quincy St.. They look at Quincy Street Bistro as an extension there family and home. The atmosphere they hope to provide is as if they are welcoming each guest into their home with a comfortable atmosphere, courteous service, and great food.

The building, formally a bar known as Jimmy’s Saloon, is 110 years old. The upstairs was four separate apartments with bathrooms down the hall. It is now, all open seating for approximately 100 for large parties etc.

The Lobster Fest offered a wide variety of the tasty crustaceans from appetizers, to soup, to entrees.

The appetizers included butter poached lobster salad, lobster cakes, lobster bruchetta, and a classic lobster bisque.

The entrees included tempura fried, or fire grilled,lobster tail, open lobster ravioli, and a lobster roll.

The menu also offered a cast iron chicken dish with a mushroom and artichoke mornay sauce, a Chef's cut tenderloin with caramelized onions, and a blackened salmon entree.

I ordered the lobster bisque, fire grilled lobster tail with roasted potatoes and brussel sprouts with lardons and homemade bread pudding for dessert. Each item was perfection. Chef Birk has come a long way from flipping burgers at Cousin Hugo's!

There were plenty of local craft beers as well as National brands, a good wine list and some house special cocktails. To be specific, the in house, barrel-aged Manhattan was amazing! Other offerings included a barrel-aged Sazerac, Old Fashion and a Manhattan De Sarona. They definitely have a well stocked bar.
I found it very refreshing to enjoy gourmet food in the setting of a neighborhood bar. It was truly a great experience! They also have table seating. The service was great, the staff was friendly and I think the Quincy Street Bistro has become one of my favorite places in St. Louis.

The Quincy Street Bistro offers special event menu's on a regular basis so check out their website, www.quincystreetbistro.com to see a schedule of upcoming events. You will also see some great photos of Chef Birk's culinary skills.

I am also tempted to try their private Chef Tasting for 2 to 10 people which includes wine, beer, scotch, bourbon, paired dinner of 3 to 6 courses priced from $100 to a market price per person depending upon the meal and number of people.

Reservations are accepted but you can also eat at the bar. The Quincy St. Bistro is closed on Sundays. They ar located at 6931 Gravois Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63116
For information or to make a reservation call (314) 353-1588

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

BB King Day Recognition

We have another trophy!

After video taping the 3rd annual BB King Day symposium in Indianola, MS, we were acknowledged for helping promote the event etc.

It was a group of long time, famous, blues musicians, many of whom actually played with BB King, discussing the "Chittlin' Circuit" and its affects on American music.

The event was followed by a jam session at the legendary Club Ebony. WOW!! It was incredible!!
We will be there again next year as well!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Boombozz Pizza, Louisville, KY

We ate dinner tonight at Boombozz Pizza on Hurstborne and left with mixed emotions.

This is a typical pizza and beer joint in the outer lot of a shopping center. The interior is typical industrial style with loud music, so loud that we asked to move to another table that was not under the speaker!

We started with soft pretzels and beer cheese queso dipping sauce. This was a very tasty appetizer! Next was a thin crust NONNA pizza. Once again, very tasty! I had a Blue Stallion Hefe Weitzen beer which was a true European style light beer. It was also good, but served too cold. I let it warm up a bit to get the great taste of the this beer.

We finished the night with an order of Nutella biegnets with a vanilla cream sauce. Caution, be careful when biting into these. They are filled with molten Nutella and you may easily end up wearing it on the front of your shirt or blouse. It did wash out easily with a napkin and water) Again, very tasty.

I would give this restaurant a somewhat high rating were it not for their staff. The hostess NEVER smiled the entire time we were there. This is certainly not the way to greet and seat your customers. The rest of the staff's appearance included what appeared to be members of the local skin-head club, and rejects from a tattoo class with a couple of man buns and saggy pants thrown in. None of this group added anything to my dining experience. The entire staff could certainly improve their appearance!

Overall, the food was good, but as they would text; "I prolly wont go back"

Friday, July 28, 2017

The "Street Rod" is a true American art form and thousands of them are coming to Louisville, KY on August 3rd - 6th. Swap meets, women's programs and more are all part of the party. Bring you cameras and we will see you there!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

B B King Day 2017

The third annual B B King day will be Sept 7th, 2017.

The symposium will be at Mississippi Valley State University all day Thursday, the 7th. During this event you see dozens of legendary Blues musicians from Chicago, Memphis and the Delta region participate in panel discussions. This year's subject is "The Chittlin' Circuit and it's effect on American Music". You will have the opportunity to join in the discussion as well. The sessions are separated by live music performances.

Thursday night there will be a live "JamSession" at B.B. King's historic Club Ebony in Indianola, MS. You will never have the opportunity to see these musicians playing together anywhere else! The Club Ebony is part of the B.B. King Museum and Interpretive Center and you should definitely plan to arrive early and tour that facility. It is an amazing collection of memorabilia and displays of B.B King's life story.

The best part of this event is the fact that it is all FREE!

If you plan to go, you should make hotel reservations ASAP as they are selling out fast. We will see you there!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Kevin Is In The Kitchen

Kevin's In The Kitchen

My Sister and her husband recently built a new kitchen in their home. They designed it themselves with the help of Lowe's, where they bought their materials.

They took a few pictures and soon found out they had won a national contest for kitchen design. Their kitchen was featured in the local newspaper and Lowe's employee magazine!

I immediately said “I wish I had a kitchen like that to cook in”. Their response was “Why don't you fix us one of your fancy meals”? So the gauntlet was set! They invited a couple and we did the same, and it was dinner for eight.

I went for a five course feast with items from five different nationalities.

As our guests gathered, we had a buffet of double crème Brie, salami, and an Italian cheese and meat roll served with pretzel bread. The center piece was a pretzel bread with miniature flags from the five nations. I also printed a menu for the evening complete with the flags of the various nations. Each course was preceded with traditional folk music from the various countries and I include food quotes from famous people throughout the evening.

The first course was a Svekla Po Gruzinski, a Russian beet spread with walnuts, garlic and mayonnaise
served with pumpernickel black bread and a shot of chilled vodka.

The second course was an American butternut squash soup seasoned with curry, chives and cream sherry. This was served with a chilled Rose' wine.

Up next our culinary tour of the world took us to Italy with a recipe of my own. I did an form of lasagna with a base of fresh spinach and shredded Asiago cheese, Heirloom tomatoes from our garden with a bit of pizza seasoning, a slab of Norwegian salmon, and finally, a layer of shredded Parmesan cheese. Each serving was sprinkled with fresh dill, capers and a lemon slice. I served this with a sauvignon blanc wine.

Our next destination was France with a Salad Nicoise. Gordon Ramsey described this salad as “:possibly the best summer salad”.

For me, when I lived in Paris, a long night on the town was not complete without a salad Nicoise and a bowl of French onion soup at the Peid du Cochon resturant in the Les Halles market at 2 or 3 in the morning. Along side French Society in the tuxedos, and Butchers in their bloody aprons,, it was the perfect way to end the evening!

The salad Nicoise is a perfect example of French cuisine. Home grown, red leaf lettuce, with a vinaigrette dressing laced with fresh tarragon and parsley, accompanied by boiled fingerling potatoes, green beans, shallots, tuna, hard boiled eggs and anchovies. In larger portions, this could be a meal in itself. This was served with fresh baked baguettes, sweet cream butter and a classic Cote Du Rhone red wine.

At this point it was time to clear the pallet with an intermezzo of a small serving of raspberry sorbet.

Our next culinary destination was Germany. A standard fare in a local Gasthof, or restaurant, is Schwein Medallions mit Phefferligne (wild mushrooms) in a cognac cream sauce, buttered spaetzle noodles with fresh cut chives and green beans with specke, also known as bacon. This was served with a choice of Hefe Weitzen beer and/or a Pinot Noir wine.

Finally, I relinquished the kitchen to my wife Sue. I had worked in an Army kitchen, for a month or so, baking 500 pies, 300 sheet cakes. And a 1000 cookies per night! I don't care to bake anymore!

Sue did her famous Margarita Cheese Cake complete with tequila, triple sec, fresh sliced limes and whipped cream! Trust me, this is true perfection! This was served with Kahlua and coffee.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the evening and I had the experience of cooking in the kitchen of my dreams! I send a special thank you to all who joined us for my attempt at a special culinary experience.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Gasthof Lowen, German Dining and Hospitality at its Best

Fine European Dining With Family Prices

On our recent trip to Europe we visited with family and friends in Tuttlingen, Germany. Tuttlingen is in the South West corner of Germany, near the Rhine river.

We stayed at the Gasthof Lowen in the suburb known as Tuttlingen-Mohringen. The village is a post card perfect southern German village with gabled buildings, lots of fountains and statues. There are flower boxes everywhere. The gasthof is a quintessential, family owned, “old school” gasthof with lots of modern amenities.

The reasonably priced rooms are clean and comfortable with heated towel racks in the bathroom, free internet and flat screen TV's.

The best part of our stay was the food and hospitality of the gasthof restaurant. The hard wood paneled walls, with hand carved cukoo clocks, lace curtained windows and fresh flowers on every table is truly “Echte Deutsch” or truly German. They even had the traditional “stamptische”, a table reserved for regulars who will usually be found playing cards, discussing politics and drinking beer. It is an amazing experience to be asked to join in this wonderful German ritual!

The Gasthof Lowen has been owned and operated by the Rothweiler family for decades. Johanness Rothweiler is the current proprietor and chef.

Chef Rothweiler's skills have not gone unnoticed. Gasthof Lowen has been Michelin Guide rated for the past four years. I must say that I totally concur with this assessment.

Dinner for six included, salads, cream of garlic soup, schnitzel, pork medallions in a cream sauce with Chantrelle mushrooms, a vegetarian dish, fresh asparagus, and a schwein kotlette with delicious French fries. Needless to say, more than a few Hefe Wietzen beers, which is an unfiltered wheat beer that is considered a light beer in Germany. It is a refreshing beer with a great taste.

The ten page menu at Gasthof Lowen literally has something for everyone's dining pleasure and tastes. Like any German restaurant, The desserts are incredible, so try to save some room for them.

The service was pleasant and unpretentious. The Food was excellent and the ambiance was exceptional. Everything about this dining experience was exactly as it should be.

Like most European hotels, breakfast was included. It was served in another dining area decorated with a working, antique radio, fresh flowers, oak side boards and more. Frühstück, or Breakfast consisted of cold cuts, cheeses, cereals, fresh baked breads, jelly and jams, fruit and steaming hot coffee. It is a perfect way to start your day and usually precludes the need for a lunch as you are sight seeing.

Things to see and do in the the area include the Rhine Falls, a beautiful set of water falls on the Rhine river, The Tuttlingen City Hall / museum and a small mountain range similar to the Ozarks that was formed by ancient volcanoes.

If you are lucky enough to plan your trip around FasFest, or Canival, you will be treated to a great festival of costumed parades and party's.

Now comes the best part. I booked our stay through Booking.com for $102.00 per night. The value of the US Dollar is the highest it has been in years and we found our entire trip was very reasonably priced. The cost of our dinner and drinks for six people; $128.00 including the tip! This meal in St. Louis would easily have cost over $300.00 and would have been well worth it.

If you have ever considered a trip to Europe, now is the time to go. Round trip airfare can be had for under $500.00 and a car rental, hotels and food are equally good bargains.

While a visit to the Tuttlingen area may not be considered a “tourist” destination, it is a place to experience the real Germany of today while being able to visit many historical areas as well. Enjoy!

Please check out their website: www.loewen-moehringen.de

Gasthof Lowen, proprietor Johannes Rothweiler
Mittlere Gasse 4
78532 Tuttlingen-Möhringen
Tel.: 07462/6277
Fax: 07462/7050

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Chandler Hill, A Great Missouri Winery

We went to Chandler Hill Vineyards in Defiance, MO yesterday with fellow travel writer Mark Bradley for a perfect day with great weather, friendship and good wine.

Chandler Hill is named after a freed slave who came up the Mississippi river after the Civil War. He lived in a small cabin next to the Daniel Boone home in the Osage valley and died here at the age of 92.

The owners found many artifacts while building the winery including a shotgun, rifle,tools china and more.These items are now on display in the winery.

The winery and deck are a great place to relax and enjoy the view, good food and live music along with award winning wines.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Big Bus Tour of Washington DC

Here is a link to our recent Big Bus Tour of Washington DC. It is a great way to see any city!


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Rookies in St. Charles, MO

Rookies, A Family Restaurant & Sports Bar

As my birthday approaches each year, I receive a packet of discount coupons. Most of the coupons are for local area restaurants.

We decided to try Rookies near 3-70 and New Town in St. Charles, MO. Rookies is in a strip mall on the north west side of 3-70 on New Town Blvd. The interior is typical sports bar furnishings, High top tables with stools, and a bar along one wall, ten flat screen TVs and plenty of regular tables and chairs. The TV's were showing hockey, soccer, baseball and more, but the volume was turned down and closed captioning made it very comfortable for us old folks!

In fact, most of the clientele were over forty along with a few younger couples with children. Rookies really is a very family friendly place. It is a no smoking restaurant with an outdoor patio complete with more TV's where clients may smoke if they chose. It is enclosed with heaters in the winter.

The menu is typical pub grub with lots of sandwiches, burgers, appetizers, wraps, wings etc. The menu also includes lunch and dinner items such as steaks, chicken, pasta and more. You will definitely find something to your liking and tastes. And there are kids items as well.

We started with an order of Skinny Dippers, golden fried potato shells stuffed with bacon, cheese & chives. Served with sour cream. One order was enough for two as an appetizer, or they could be a main dish for one person. I also ordered a cup of homemade Chili topped with cheddar cheese and onions. It was a good bowl of “Red” with just enough kick to get your attention, it was very good!
Sue ordered the daily special of hand battered cod fillets and asked for cold slaw rather than french fries. It came with four big pieces of fish and it looked really good. She let me have a taste and it was very good.
As a kid, I always liked a pork tenderloin sandwich, so that is what I ordered. This thing was huge! It was served on a hoagie bun and it hung out over the sides by at least three inches all the way around. It was so big the french fries were actually falling off the plate! The pork tenderloin had a panko coating and was delicious. I was unable to finish all of my fries, it wast just too much food!
The menu offers a large selection of items, so there is something for every ones taste. The service was very good and the prices are very reasonable.
I'm sure most of you know I am not a sports bar person, but just like O B Clark's, Rookies is a great place to visit. We will definitely be going back to Rookies.
Rookies Bar & Grill
3721 New Town Blvd, Saint Charles, MO 63301
(636) 724-3737

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Her is a video from our recent visit to the Netherlands. The Keukenhof Gardens Tulip Festival and the Blumen Corso Flower Parade are a great way to welcome Spring! Just click on the link!

Friday, May 12, 2017

The World Burger Tour

You don't need a passport to travel through the world of burgers if you go to your local Hard Rock Cafe.

During May and June of this year Hard Rock Cafe's are featuring their versions of their Legendary Burgers with an international flavor. May's burgers include a Colombian Plantain Burger topped with caramelized onions, bacon, and Monterrey Jack cheese, molasses and fried plantains.

Another choice is the English Breakfast Burger topped with ham, a sausage patty, a fried egg, a portobella mushroom, arugula and garlic aiola served with a side of baked beans. The only thing missing was a grilled tomato!

The Louisiana Jambalaya Burger features spiced Angus Beef, Cajun mayo, pickles, andouille sausage, pepper jack cheese and a jambalaya rice cake.

Also available in May is the South Korean Kimchi Burger topped with Sriracha seasoned kimchi, bulgogi sauce, tomato, lettuce and Sriracha mayo.

June's burgers include the Spanish Ole' Burger with red peppered Romesco sauce, roasted veggies, goat cheese crumbles and arugula.

Next in line is the Argentinian Tango Salsa Burger with andouille sausage, salsa criolla, garlic aioli, Monterrey Jack cheese, arugula and a fried egg.

The Vietnamese Banh Mi Burger is coated with a tangy Vietnamese glaze and topped with sliced cucumbers and pickled vegetables, cilantro and green onions.

The Tennessee BBQ Burger features a BBQ dry rub, pickles, slaw, pulled pork, pig sauce, crispy onions and cheddar cheese.

You have a choice of various flavored fries including the new garlic fries with garlic aioli and spiced curry fries with tandoori mayonnaise.

The crafting of these burgers is a great example of the Hard Rock Cafe's world wide presence. It is also a great way to taste the flavors of the world on a great Angus Beef burger.

As a part of the World Burger Tour Hard Rock Cafes are also offering world famous cocktails such as the Southern Rock; Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, Chambord and Smirnoff Vodka a sweet/sour mix and topped with Sierra Mist. This is good stuff!

The Electric Blues is Smirnoff Vodka, Bacardi Rum, Beefeater Gin, DeKuyper Blue Caracao, sweet/sour mix and topped with Sierra Mist.

Other drinks include a Mojito, a Hurricane and a “Lovely Rita” margarita.

I did order a Mojito and unlike its description of muddled mint, it came to the table filled with mint leaves. I took a few minutes to try to crush  with a straw. Perhaps the bartender should read the description.

We have stayed at Hard Rock Hotels and eaten at Hard Rock Cafes around the world and have always appreciated the service and quality associated with the Hard Rock brand. We sampled these items at a media tasting at the St. Louis, MO Hard Rock Cafe at Union Station.

I feel that I must say that I was not impressed with this Hard Rock Cafe. Starting with our arrival, there was no one at the entrance desk to tell us where the media event was being held. There was also a strange, acrid smell in the lobby area, but not in the other areas.

We found a group of servers standing at the kitchen door laughing and talking amongst themselves. I asked where the media event was and one of them simply pointed toward the patio area and kept right on talking with her friends.

Approximately ten members of the media were treated to the various cocktails with a glass of each cocktail on the tables. There were a pile of straws on each table and we were instructed to sample the cocktails by putting the straws in the drinks then hold our finger over the end of the straw and siphon off a dribble of the drink. Really? I know that the Hard Rock serves a Margarita Flight that features small three or four ounce glasses. I think they could have served the drinks in these glasses so we could actually get a swallow of each one.

We were served “slider” versions of the various burgers. It took a great deal of time to serve the small group of journalists and it was not because they were busy. There were four people in the restaurant and two people at the bar while we were there.

It was my opinion that the burgers we received were not freshly cooked. They were over cooked, dry and cold. I think they had been prepared much earlier in the day. Also the buns were cold and not toasted as their description had stated All of the toppings were also cold and some of the cheeses on the burgers appeared to have been put on the burgers much earlier and almost looked congealed!

We love the Hard Rock brand, but if this experience given to the media at a press event is indicative of the typical experience at the St. Louis Hard Rock Cafe, I would suggest you think twice about visiting this restaurant.