Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Saucy's Pizzeria


10859 Old 21
Hillsboro, Mo.

On the Web.
On Facebook.

Latitude: 38; 13; 28
Longitude 90; 34; 23
Altitude 204
(Yeah I've been playing with the 'location' settings on my smartphone)

Happy Holidays everyone!
Around the house, as we do most Christmas Eves, we visited  a friendly KFC and grabbed a big bucket and a pile of sides. We do the all-out food feast on Thanksgiving and usually have not quite recovered from that. Plus, no dishes to wash.
By Monday afternoon, we were down to one piece of chicken, the one that had been passed over all weekend. I'm not even sure which part it was, it didn't look anatomically accurate for a chicken.
We had options, we do keep food and ingredients in the house, but I had an idea.
"That new pizza place is open."
Angel quickly agreed. Neither of us wanted to fuss over the stove anyhow, we have the rest of our lives for that.
I'd discovered this place on social media, because I have an eye on the community through that lens. Whenever a new place announces there I like the page so I'll know when it is open. As it happened Saucy's opened up on the Thursday before Christmas. It would still have that new pizza place smell.
The Place:
This is the third eatery I've reviewed at this address. First it was Bobby Munzerts, then Pizza Junction, then a place that was only open for a month or two (a lease issue of some kind) that I never got around to going to. You may recall Pizza Junction, Adam worked there for about a year. It was okay, at first, but in my opinion declined in quality and service after a management change and just never won me back. I liked Munzert's as well, a pretty darn good steak, close to home.
It's near the intersection of Old Highway 21, the main drag in Hillsboro, and Highway B, across B from the Hillsboro Mall (Dollar General). The location abuts a U-Haul rental store, so just look for those trailers.
I had a couple of things to do, including a stop at the mall (Dollar General). Just before I went in to the store I called in my order. Angel had chosen the pizza and a side from the online menu.
They said it would take twenty minutes, that was just about right.
I finished my shopping and checked the clock, fifteen minutes had passed, good enough.
I made the short jump to the pizzeria with time to spare.
I went in and noticed that the place had barely changed at all from the Pizza Junction days. There were arcade games in the entrance and I believe, the same bar, tables and chairs. Which wasn't a bad thing, they were all very functional and not at all shoddy.There was hardly anyone else there, but it was only four thirty. Also, they offer delivery and that's a pretty good chunk of any decent pizza place's business.
There were three or four young ladies behind the bar, at least a couple of them welcomed me. They seemed friendly and not frightened by my appearance.  I told them my name.They brought out a generic pizza box and a plastic bag containing a Styrofoam take-out box. I handed them my magical money card, they started to run it, but there seemed to be some confusion. They asked for my name again.
It turns out that someone had paid the wrong $27 tab. Mine, in essence was technically paid for. It took some time to straighten that out, I did indeed pay my fair share. This did not bother me too much. The place had only been open for a few days and those POS (point of sale) systems take some getting used to.
The Food:
One 14 inch deluxe pizza (pepperoni, pork sausage, onions, green peppers, mushrooms) and a side of
wings. I was forced to make a choice of chicken sauces. This worried me since I don't usually partake of the wings. The young lady rattled off a short list, including an option referred to as 'dragons breath'. Angel called me that once and not while she was cooing with pleasure. So I went with the only one that I thought to be digestible, garlic parmesan.
I made the short trek home. I whipped up some fresh ice tea, Angel tore into the boxes immediately. She was pretty hungry. Unlike me, she had actually burned some calories working that day. She's a dog trainer and boarder and dogs don't let you take days off.
I'd picked up some potato chips at the mall. I like having something crunchy to go with pizza. I don't know why, but I do.
Opening the box we were both pleased with the appearance of the big pie. The topping chunks were
big and plentiful. The crust and cheese had been cooked to golden, caramelized crispiness. It was somewhat irregularly sliced, which I don't mind. Angel was already halfway into a wing by the time my tea was done. She recognized the garlic parmesan coating and was quite pleased with it, I think she even cooed with pleasure. "The wings are large." she pointed out. She was right, they didn't look like the scrawny wings you find at most places, these were from some more curvy chickens.
The pizza stood up to its claims. Pretty darn decent. The cooking time and temp were spot on, the distribution of the toppings, excellent. The fresh-made original sauce recipe was not too over-thought or complicated. It carried well without overpowering or drowning the other flavors. The pizza even held up well being reheated for breakfast and lunch the next day.
Followers will recall that we currently favor Pizza Hut for take-out pizza. We gave up on Domino's and never cared at all for Imo's.  From our location, when we just want to run out and get a reliably good pizza, the big PH has been the default. I can honestly say now, that may have just changed. This pizza and the wings were at least just as good, probably better, than we usually get from the big franchise. And Saucy's has the distinct advantage of being half the distance. By far the best pizza in Hillsboro.
I wish Tom and Shannon the best with their expansion into our humble community. I hope it finds success and continues to be an option for the entire area.
Well worth the trip!

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