Monday, December 5, 2016

Concord Grill

11427 Concord Village Ave.
St. Louis, Mo.

On The Web

This was Angel's choice and she's all in on this 'no more crap' idea. If you get the hankerin' for a burger, drive past 20 or so fast food and franchise places and stop here instead.
Debbie at CG even custom made me a burger once, a Shrimp Alfredo burger, which is exactly what it sounds like. It was very good, but a bit above the price point to be on the regular menu. So make sure you ask for this when you go in. Have everyone at the table ask for one. They'll just ask you to make another choice, then you can get the one you wanted anyhow. Help me out on this.
Concord Grill offers a lot of different burgers, a LOT of burgers. The standard size is nine ounces, but for a dollar less, you can downsize to six ounces, which is what Angel and I do. Nine ounces is over a half pound (pre-cooked weight) and for lesser sized people with sloth-like metabolisms, that is a LOT of meat. Adam was able to join us for this burger run, I don't think he downsized his.
The Place:
Near Lindbergh and Baptist Church road in the southern part in St. Louis County.  Plug the address in to your car's fancy talking map machine, or you cellular telephone. They'll get you there.
It's an older building, post-war style and construction, I understand it has been a few other things before it became the Concord Grill.
It has a large deck outdoors, but on this trip it was hovering near the freezing mark all day, so no one was outside, even though the inside was all but busting at the seams. It's always crowded. Noisy, busy, crowded, yet we still go there. That should tell you a lot. I don't even like elevators with more than one other person in it. We just usually don't do noisy, busy or crowded.
We were seated right in front of the door, not a prime spot, but once again, for this place we didn't mind.
There's a nine foot flat screen on one wall, a few other human-sized ones scattered around the others. All seemed to be playing sports games of one kind or another. One I noted was a football game, Duke vs. Maine, two universities I have absolutely no interest in playing a sport I have even less interest in. Later, all three TV's that I could see were tuned to the same channel for a hometown favorite, the St. Louis Blues, which is a hockey team, I am told. Not a big hockey fan either.
Let's just get to it.
The Food:
Pimento Burger
We all got burgers.
Me: Pimento-Bacon Burger with fries.
Angel: Ultimate Shroom Burger, fries
Adam: Breakfast Burger, fries.
I had un-sweet tea, Angel had sugared-up tea, a Pepsi for Adam.
There was about a fifteen minute wait, not really long for as busy as they were.
The pimento was not on the regular 'Burger Tour' menu, it was a special. I had asked the cheery young lady that took our order about it. "Burger, bacon, topped with pimento cheese." Simple, straight forward, tasty sounding.
I grew up liking pimento cheese (the caviar of the south), all by itself on bread. As I recall we had it a lot, it might have been cheaper than real food. Which begs the question, "Just what the heck is a pimento anyhow?"
Well fans, I looked it up. It is a form of red chili pepper, in fact the word 'pimento' is derived from the Portuguese words for 'bell pepper'. BTW, there are more Portuguese speakers in Brazil than there are in Portugal. I'm not even sure Portugal even exists anymore. I'll look that up next week, maybe. Remind me.
So the red pimento slivers in pimento cheese and crawling out the pit-hole of green olives, is little more than a bell pepper cousin. It is slightly sweeter than common red bell peppers.
Breakfast Burger
There's actually a machine in olive factories that 'pits' the olive and inserts the pimento in one quick movement.
So how is pimento cheese on a burger?
Actually, it's a pretty good fit. The thing tasted just like a good burger topped with pimento cheese, which is mostly just cheese and mayo anyhow. It was a little messy, little blobs of the cheese spread fell out during the meal, but messiness is just part of the burger experience.
Adam's breakfast themed burger included hash browns, egg, bacon and American cheese. We decided that it does not really qualify as a 'breakfast' burger unless it also included Lucky Charms or Cocoa Puffs. Now you're talking!
He quietly wolfed it all down in no time.
Angel's, the Ultimate Shroom, was topped with extra mushrooms and horseradish sauce. I don't care for horseradish in any amount. Angel said her burger could have included even more. (I looked this up too, no, horseradish is not made from actual horses.)
Angel's biggest beef. . . get it? Beef? LOL. Angel's strongest comment wasn't about the flavors, she
Ultimate Shroom Burger
was quite please with the taste. It was the bun/burger size ratio.  Our miniaturized burgers contained one third less beef than the regular burger. The bun though, was the same. Thus, her burger had about a half inch of bread edge all around it. Perhaps, she mused, if they flattened the smaller ones out a little more it would have been a better fit.
We were all quite pleased with our meals. I still couldn't finish my entire plate, but that does not mean I did not thoroughly enjoy it.
I asked the family about the fries. I'd noticed that they were sprinkled with pepper. To a person, yes, that was quite a nice touch. I tend to forget to put salt on fries, I can't say it ever occurred to me to pepper them as well. I may start doing that.
This place is just plain great. Debbie and her crew are true pros. The wait staff I observed were not just professional and competent, they were not just friendly, they were actually, genuinely cheerful, as if they were enjoying themselves. Very helpful, always smiling and all over the floor taking care of this and that.
Yes it was busy, yes it was noisy, but it was a happy place. The customers were all laughing and joking with each other.
The food is exceptional. Occasionally they offer fish or fried chicken, I've heard that it is just as good as the burgers, I don't doubt it. Debbie has created a nearly magical combination of great staff, great food and fantastic, intelligent and very, very handsome patrons.
The Concord Grill deserves every one of the many, many accolades that have been heaped on it.

Concord Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


2021 Main St.

Cadiz Ky.
On Facebook

I’ve known about Ferrell’s since I was a kid. There was only one nearby at the time, in Hopkinsville, about 20 miles east of Cadiz. We ventured to Hoptown a few times per year, it had more and bigger stores, even a mall. It even had a McDonald's, which was pretty popular among the younger set. Cadiz had its own local greasy burger hut, it was okay, but it wasn’t a McDonald's.
Long before McDonald's came to Hoptown, there was Ferrell’s, (first open in Owensboro in 1929, Hopkinsville in 1936.)  I knew of it in my youth, but I don’t recall ever going there. We didn’t eat out much back then.
A few years back Ferrell’s expanded into Cadiz. I knew about it, but since most of my visits to that part of the world were to celebrate one thing or another with family, I never needed to eat out.
This time was different. I’d be alone, with an ample amount of time and no family fridge to graze out of. I posted my plan on a social media page and asked locals if it was still renowned as a great place for a burger. Even my first-born, who currently lives in Tempe ,chimed in that it was his favorite place to eat while in the area. As far as I know, I am the only Trigg Countian, current, or former, that had never had a Ferrell’s burger.
The Place:
Right along 68 (which is Main Street downtown) in an area once known as East Cadiz.
It’s small and tight. There are only stools and counters, one along the windowed wall, one in front of the griddle. It was about half occupied with locals. There seemed to be three crew members behind the counter. One obviously the chief flipper. He was yammering away with one of the customers while scraping the goo off the heavy steel cooking surface.
It was then that I had a Gestalt moment, that sudden awareness that sneaks up on you and awakens you to a different, larger perspective of time and place.
The accent. 
I probably once talked this way myself, nearly everyone in the area does, even a couple of my siblings that live nearby. It is, as one would expect, a bit southern, with a noticeably slower tempo. Not quite Larghissimo, but definitely not Vivacissimo.
It is not as sweet and song-like as say a refined Atlanta accent, but not as crude as one might find on a swampy, backwoods banjo-infested porch.
If I stay more than a week at a time, I can catch myself slipping towards it a little. For me it is soothing, comfy, invoking the feel of having yourself pulled into the ample bosom of an aunt or grandmother’s soft cotton dress.
I found a stool at the counter. No need to look at the overhead menu, it only boasted a few things anyhow, burgers and breakfast. One of the nice things about Ferrell’s, especially if you are on the long haul or frequently imbibe, is that it is open 24 hours. The only place I know of to do that in whole of Trigg County.
The Food:
Keep it simple. Double Cheeseburger, lettuce, tomato, ketchup and mustard. Add a side of fries and an unsweetened tea.
They offer a bacon cheeseburger too, but I wanted to taste the burger itself, I already know what bacon tastes like.
I fiddled with my cellular smart phone. There are many places in Trigg County where there just is no cell service, fortunately I was in the county seat. At the old house in Cerulean, on visits, we siblings would have to stand in the middle of the road and hold the phones up in the air to get a connection. If we wanted to look at an email or social media, we’d have to drive down that road about five miles, which we actually did a couple of times on one of the last visits.
It didn’t take too long, thin burgers cook fast, fries, not so much. The flat top wasn’t very large and it had only a 2 basket deep fryer on one end. This limited the output. I was in no hurry though, I had a couple of hours and only four miles to drive to get to the house I was going to visit later.
No plates, silverware, baskets or anything here. The burger and fries were handed to me wrapped in green and white checkered paper, the tea came in a Styrofoam cup. The burger looked perfect, made the way I like them best. A ball of beef, spatula flattened, wafer thin, on the flat top. Not a perfectly round uniformly pressed, robot patty. The un-smooth edges were just shy of crispy. I love burgers this way.
The fries were thick, but not too thick, the tea was forgettable. The burger was a little messy, but since it wasn’t huge, the mess was manageable. I came away with nary a condiment or grease stain on my shirt.
It didn't take long to eat either. I listened to the conversations around me, all in that comforting lilt. Good people, hard working, proud and wise people. I assume they were wise simply because they'd come in to the best burger joint in town.
I was amused by a TV mounted on the wall above the counter. It was showing ads for local businesses and on one side, permanently displayed, it said “Now accepting cards”. Yeah, they just recently started taking credit/debit cards. Whenever I talk to my younger brother, who lives near mom’s ex-house, he’ll say something about Trigg County being a little behind the times or how entering the county is like stepping back in time itself. In many respects, from this city-kid’s perspective at least, it’s true. But that’s not a bad thing. Many’s the time I wish things would just slow down a little, a tad less immediacy maybe. It’s nice to be in a place where there are few, if any jammed roads, fewer cookie-cutter chain stores and eateries. But that’s just myopic nostalgia talking, I guess.
The burger was very good and just what I expected and wanted. The fries were not bad, but they did have that chalky starchiness on the inside indicating they had been frozen. . . but that’s the only thing that I think would I would improve for this experience. I left quite satisfied. I made plans to stop in for breakfast on Saturday morning.
Highly recommended!

Ferrell's Hamburgers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Saturday, October 22, 2016


810 North New Ballas Court
Creve Coeur, MO.

On the web.

Yeah, 'Zoup!'. Sounds like. . . and that's what it is. If I had to compare it to  a place you've heard of, I'd say it has a menu similar to Panera/St. Louis Bread Company, with not as much bread.
Yes, you can get a bread  bowl for your zoup!, if that is what you are into. I didn't since it sounded like a soup sandwich and my head spun from the mental image of that.
I don't usually go to lunch with the folks at work, I've mentioned that before. My weekday lunch regimen is a bit non-conventional. Fruits and nuts. That's all, fruits and nuts and not really a lot of that.
I eat just enough in the morning to sustain me through lunchtime. Then the fruit and nuts not only kick me into a higher gear, they fill me up. This odd diet allows me to easily avoid whatever temptations might be available, cakes, bagels, leftover pizza, a vending machine full of salty and sweet snacks.
Thursday morning though, the lite breakfast wasn't doing its normal job. By ten my tummy was growling, I was actually looking forward to the chimpanzee meal around noon.
One of my co-workers, one whose name I will not reveal (OWNIWNR) stopped by my desk-kingdom and asked if I'd like to try a new place he'd found. "A little soup and sandwich place I see on my way to work." He'd never been there, neither had another co-worker, who I'll refer to, once again, as 'Tim'.
I heard my tummy gurgle again and surprised myself a little by saying "Sure."
We rode over in OWNIWNR's relatively new car, outfitted with more on-board computers and displays than could be found at NASA during the Apollo program.
I worried a little about what I might order, but decided the worst case scenario would only mean one minor, reversible, backslide for the week.
The drive to Zoup! was not long, seven or eight minutes. During the run I distracted OWNIWNR by mentioning the Cleveland Indians heading to the World Series. He likes sports, he claims his family bleeds Cardinals Red. Indeed he once showed me a paving brick at Busch Stadium with his name on it. At the time I offered to take him to the downtown bus station where, for reasons I cannot at all explain, he could see my name and phone number on a wall. (no one ever seems to call though).
I'd heard about the Indians earlier on my drive in to work. It was about the only sports news presented on NPR, between the sad and increasingly pathetic fund raising pleas on this the last day of the autumn drive.
I remembered it because I'd not heard anything about the Cleveland Indians since the movie 'Major League' came out on DVD. In fact, all I really know about that team is from that movie. "Is Charlie Sheen still pitching?" I asked him.
The Place:
Zoup! is on one side of a busy shopping center. Which one, I don't recall. I don't really explore much
around the workplace, the traffic is thick and restless in that area during the day.
We walked in timidly, like the first-timers we were. The serving line was in the back. The front had window counter seating allowing patrons (Zoupers!?) the intoxicating vistas of a shopping center parking lot. Between the window and the line were nice, but fairly standard tables and chairs.
The place seemed clean and well tended.
There was a line, but not an insurmountable one. That's a nice aspect of limited menu places. Since they only offer so many things, the line moves quickly.
We stepped up.
The menu was on the wall behind the line. Wow, lots of zoups! The place boasts a rotating zoup! menu, which means not the same choices everyday. I like that idea. I could see the big vats steaming. There were about three that I figured I could be happy with. A turkey chili, a zoup! called chicken Potpie and a 'Seafood Chowder'
I would have preferred a bit more specificity than 'Seafood'. That could mean a lot of things. I like some, shrimp, scallops, crab, lobster, but don't want anything to do with oysters or clams. (snotfish)
But no worries first-timers, they offer free samples!
Just about everyone in line was asking for a sample or two. It gave me a chance to check out the seafood. Tim was tasting the Potato Cheddar, I'd ask him about it later. This is the same guy that recommended One19 last week so I sort of trust his food judgement a little.

The Food:
The salad selection looked more than adequate, with a Cob, a house and a few other specialty salads. They also had a reasonably good sized sandwich menu, which I ignored. If I have a sandwich, any sandwich, for lunch, I'm bloat-y and snoozing by 2 P.M.
I couldn't hear what OWNIWNR ordered, it turned out to be zoup! and a sandwich.
The zoup! comes in various sizes. 'Side', cup and bowl. After evaluating a sample, I decided that the seafood chowder was the way to go.
Apparently a chunk of bread comes with the zoup! order, I declined. Just the soup and a small drink please.
The serving line was filled with perfectly friendly and helpful people. Even the checkout lady didn't yell at me.
The price knocked me back a step. Ten bucks and change for a bowl of soup and a small drink, period. Not that I can't afford that, but it did seem a bit pricey for a small lunch. Heck, my own version of lunch costs me about seventy five cents per day.
It occurred to me why I was hungrier than usual. During the week, dinner, or supper, is my largest meal of the day. Even that is not really all that big. I usually pile on the whole meal in one of the smaller plates in a set. If you eat the right things you don't need as much. Also, my job doesn't exactly burn off a lot of calories, that's why I have to limit and regulate myself so closely if I want to maintain my girlish, but strikingly handsome figure.
However the evening prior to the gurgling tummy, I'd only had a thin lunch meat sandwich and a tennis ball-sized apple. Nothing else the whole evening.
Hopefully the chowder would do the trick.
We were rung up and handed receipts, mine was #97.
It doesn't take a long time to prepare an order at a soup place, so I had barely enough time to sit down and take a sip of the surprisingly fresh tea when they screamed out my order number.
A tray, a paper bowl and a plastic spoon. Sort of Spartan, but the bowl actually looked to me like way too much.
The sample I'd had didn't seem to contain any of the detestable snotfish I'd feared. Stirring around the semi-thick, creamy and buttery chowder I spied chopped shrimp, crab and fish. If it had snotfish in it, it was ground to a pulp and was undetectable.
It was not so thick that it would hold a spoon upright, but definitely thicker than Campbell's Cream of Celery, which is my go-to soup base at home.
The tastes were fantastic. I could indeed taste the crab and the shrimp. It was not nearly as heavy as some chowders I've had, which was a good thing.
The conversation was sporadic, we'd exhausted my sports knowledge with the bit about the Indians and OWNIWNR knew that Tim and I don't really follow sports. Tim enjoys playing with science fiction action figures and reading and collecting Archie comics, if I remember correctly. He's also teaching his young twin offspring how to play vintage Dungeons and Dragons. Yeah, he's one of those, I think.
So we talked about pension plans, IRA's and limited retirement options. Had the lunch lasted longer we would surely have started swirling into talking about aging issues, diseases and surgeries and the like. It always happens when you hang for long with a few gents of a certain age range.
As a meal, it was very tasty, quite satisfying and held up nicely throughout the afternoon. I did have to take a 2 P.M. anti-snooze walk, but that's not uncommon.
A nice little place, convenient to work, quick enough to feed you with a little time to spare to get back to the cubes before managers start yelling. The staff was very pleasant, I saw no service infractions, no back-ups or mishaps. The price was a bit higher than I had assumed, but be advised, not all the zoups! are priced the same. Seafood was about the priciest on the list. OWNIWNR's two-fer, Potpie zoup! and Chicken Toscana  sandwich, ended up costing him over fourteen dollars since he'd up-sized from a 'side' zoup! to a bowl. But it was "Very good" and certainly worth going back for. He added "With a few minor tweaks it would bee a serious contender with Panera." The zoup! was, all around the table, very good. Tim's potato cheddar was according to him, "Awesome." Yeah, he talks like that.
Though higher priced than I'd expected, that would only be a real problem if I ate there frequently. But alas, I'll mostly stick to my own berries, twigs and seeds most of the time.
So if you're looking for a quick, great quality meal and you are in the general area, be sure to give it a shot!

Zoup! Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato