Category Archives: Food

Local Eats

Ever since we’ve moved back to St. Louis from Kansas City, Andrew and I have been compiling a list of local restaurants that we have been wanting to try. While we do a good job of checking some off the list, it seems that list is ever growing! Especially since we’ve moved and we’ve been exploring the new area we live in, we’ve been adding a ton of restaurants to that list.

I try to keep a good balance of mostly cooking and eating at home during the week – since it’s generally healthier and cheaper – and then treat ourselves out to dinner on the weekend.

This weekend we were pretty busy! We tried three restaurants, two new for me and all three new for Andrew. We started our Saturday morning by meeting my best friend, Becky, for brunch at The Shack. They have several locations, but we meet at the one in Frontenac. The first thing you notice when you walk in is the writing and graffiti everywhere! It gave the restaurant a really fun and eclectic vibe.

Andrew tried the Cap’n Crunch Shake, which is one of the Boozie Shakes they have on their menu. It comes with Rum Chata, Captain Morgan, yogurt, and loaded with Cap’n Crunch cereal. I couldn’t taste the alcohol in it much, so to me it just tasted a lot like the milk at the bottom of your cereal bowl. Then again, I’m not a big cereal person so I’m not sure I was the best judge haha. That’s why I just ordered a mimosa. Andrew liked it, though!

Cap’n Crunch Shake from The Shack

After we finished our brunch at The Shack, we headed down to Forest Park. We originally heard there was a big garage sale at the Zoo, but it ended up being really small and kind of lame. It was rainy and cold out, but we walked around the Zoo anyways to kill some time. There were a couple of new bear exhibits we hadn’t seen yet, so it was still fun.

When we got tired of the cold, we drove just up the street to the Art Museum. We actually thought we were going to the History Museum, but got our buildings mixed up and went to the wrong one! I couldn’t tell you the last time I went to the Art Museum though, so it was wonderful wandering through all the different paintings and sculptures.

One of the best things about St. Louis is all of the free things thing to do. :)

Becky had some plans in the evening, so we split ways once we finished at the Art Museum. Andrew and I both had a pretty light brunch, so even though it was only about 4:30, we were ready for dinner. We both threw out a couple of ideas when I remembered that Shake Shack just opened up a restaurant in the Central West End which was only about ten minutes away from where we currently were.

Even though Shake Shack is a chain, it’s still new to the St. Louis area so I’m counting it as a local eat. ;) When they first opened up, I had friends telling me that people were standing in line for hours, so it definitely was not a priority to visit right when it opened. Thankfully we timed it just right since we arrived before the dinner rush so it wasn’t too busy!

The Chick’n Shack and fries

I ordered the Chick’n Shack with fries and a strawberry shake, and Andrew ordered the SmokeShack with fries and a salted caramel shake. I was surprised as to how crispy and crunchy the breading on the chicken was. I really enjoyed my sandwich, and while normally crinkle cut fries aren’t my favorite type of fry, I feel like these were exactly how crinkle cut fries should be. They were really crispy without being over done, and the inside of the fries were fluffy. The strawberry shake wasn’t the best shake I’ve had in my life, but it was still really good. It was super thick, which a good milk shake should always be!

So while it’s still fast food and I wouldn’t go super out of my way for it, Shake Shack did live up to most of it’s hype!

On Sunday we kept it pretty lazy since we were so busy the day before. We rented Jumanji from Red Box since we missed it in theaters. (By the way, fully recommend! Andrew and I were both absolutely cracking up the whole movie!)

For dinner, I was craving pizza so we decided to go out to Dewey’s. Their original location is by my work, so I visit sometimes with coworkers for lunch, but Andrew hadn’t been there yet. They have a location closer to our house so we opted to dine in at the restaurant than order take out.

Dewey’s has some great specialty pizzas and my favorite so far is the Dr. Dre, which has chicken, bacon, peppers,  and red onions on an olive oil sauce. They let you customize your pizzas completely, so we did half Dr. Dre and then half Ryan’s Inferno, which is their buffalo chicken specialty. Both come with ranch drizzled over the top after it’s done baking, but we asked for the ranch on the side since we knew we would have leftovers and didn’t want it to make the pizza soggy. (Plus I looooove ranch, so I figured I would need some extra. ;) )

I liked Ryan’s Inferno, but I definitely preferred the Dr. Dre. I thought the buffalo chicken could have been spicier, so I was looking for some more heat than it offered. Andrew on the other hand liked the buffalo chicken side more, so it worked out because we both got to eat our favorites.

Of the three we tried this weekend, I think I’m most excited to return to The Shack. They had such an extensive menu, and while I’m not normally a big breakfast person, everything on their menu sounded delicious. Plus, they have some really fun mixed drinks that I want to try next time I go. It’s definitely the perfect place for brunch on the weekend!

Homemade Baked Apple Chips

A couple of months ago, I realized that Andrew and I were throwing out about half a bag of apples every other week. It’s cheaper to buy them in a bag than individually where I buy my groceries (roughly $3  a bag as opposed to $1 an apple), but I hate being wasteful. There were just too many apples for Andrew and I to eat before they went bad.

So I started to think of ways that we could use those apples instead of throwing them out. That’s when I remembered my mandolin slicer that my mother-in-law bought me for Christmas, and I started making apple chips!

The whole process takes a bit of time, but it’s so easy that it’s really not a whole lot of work. It took me a couple of tries to get the temperature and the baking time right, but once I got that down it’s almost as easy as pie. ;) All you need is a couple of baking trays, some apples, a mandolin slicer, and some cinnamon and sugar.

You can use pretty much any apple you’d like. I’ve tried making them with Gala, Granny Smith, and Pink Lady apples and they’ve all turned out just fine, they just have different flavors. I usually use Pink Lady apples, as they’re a little more tart and Andrew and I like them to not be quite as sweet.

I highly recommend using a mandolin slicer, as it cuts the apples into thin, even slices. I tried once with just a knife, but my slices were too thick to fully dry and they never got crispy. I use the 1.5 mm piece in my mandolin and found that’s the best size, at least of the sizes I have.

Start by preheating your oven to 225° F and greasing a couple of baking pans with cooking spray.

Next, start slicing your apples. You can decore your apples beforehand to get the stem and seeds out, but I just cut those middle pieces in half and cut out the stem and seeds.

Arrange the apple slices on your baking sheets. You can place them pretty close together since they will shrink as they cook and some overlapping is fine. Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top and place in the oven.

Bake for 1.5 to 2 hours. I flip the slices about halfway through cooking and sprinkle the other sides with cinnamon sugar.  Then switch the racks that each sheet was on, so that they cook evenly.

I also place an extra sheet on the bottom of the oven so that I can cook more at one time. So that they don’t burn, I switch the sheets every twenty minutes or so to get a more even baking. This isn’t necessary though if you have more racks in the oven or are only cooking two sheets at one time.

The chips should be pretty firm when they are done. They will crisp up more once they are completely cooled. If they are still really flimsy or a little damp, then they aren’t done yet. I always check on them every ten minutes or so the last half hour to make sure they don’t burn. If they’re brown, they are over done!

These are about halfway done, right before I flip them!

Let them cool and then enjoy!

I love to make these apple chips on the weekend. I can pop them in the oven while I’m watching a movie or doing housework and check on them every so often. They’re pretty easy once you figure out how long to cook them as each oven varies.

Plus, the house always smells wonderful as these cook, like apple pie!