Greetings, friends. Do you miss us? Us FBM girls are a busy lot. But, do not dismay… we are still on the interwebz… just not in this particular space very much. So where are we? Here’s a quick recap of what each of us has been up to… because we know there is an emptiness in your heart in the shape of our silhouettes… ;)
Annie is a very very busy girl these days, moments away from moving from downtown STL to her and her husband Simon’s farm. Oh. And she is one of the 2 FBM members that is pregnant!!! Squeeee! I can’t wait for this baby. See Annie’s birth announcement here. As far as the farm goes, Sauce Magazine recently did a feature on Annie and Simon and “The Farm,” and they will also be running a monthly update by the couple online… the first of which is here. We are very excited for farm parties… the food will be spectacular, the conversation engaging and funny, and the babies adorable.
Babies? Plural? Why yes. Kelli is also “In the Family Way.” See her announcement here. Besides getting knocked up, Kelli started a food podcast with local foochebags Andrew Mark Veety, Bill Burge and Mike Sweeney. Basically a bunch of funny people sitting around, getting drunk (except for Kelli, obv) and talking food with some of the most influential people in the St. Louis food scene. It’s called Stewed STL, and you need to check it out. Hilarious and interesting.
Oh, and Kelli is also starting a school. NBD. (is this chick amazing or what?!)
Apparently I can’t get enough blog writing in my life. My best friend from college recently started a travel blog. She’s an amazing writer and has so much traveling wisdom to share. She asked me to do some guest posts, so I wrote 3 posts about eating in St. Louis: St. Louis eating challenges, Italy via St. Louis and St. Louis: As Seen On TV.
That’s what we’re up to! Hopefully this is enough to get your FBM fix! We’ll try not to be strangers
I love browsing Etsy. And my new favorite thing is curating treasuries. Treasuries are collections of your favorite Etsy finds, usually themed. I did a Ham themed one for Skank Ham last week, and I thought I’d share some of my favorite food-related finds here!
Garlic Treasury! I have a garlic tattoo… I obviously love the stuff. Etsy loves it too! The stationary made of garlic skin is especially ingenious!
Radishes are Rad Treasury! My current obsession. A root vegetable that’s in the running for my next food tatt.
Ever since I moved to Alton in 2001, I’ve driven past this sign in Wood River:
And I’ve always wondered about it. Home of THE ham sandwich? Like, did they invent the ham sandwich? For ten years now, I’ve been dying to find out what this ham sandwich is all about. But, I was a bit…well…scared to venture into this bar by myself. Wouldn’t you be?
So, when Jesse, one of my co-workers who is from Wood River, offered to take me to Bojacs for lunch on Friday, I jumped at the chance. It was after all, THE ham sandwich. And, luckily, the official FBM photographer Corey Woodruff agreed to meet us there to document our ham sandwich experience. He is, I’ve learned, easily lured by the prospect of free pork in exchange for free pics (see also my wedding reception & our visit to Salume Beddu).
The inside of this tiny sports bar was not exactly what I expected. It was brightly-lit & covered in Cardinals memorabilia. But, like most little, local bars in Illinois, it was also covered in a yellowing layer of cigarette smoke that lingers long after the state’s smoking ban.
I did some research on Bojacs in the past, or–at least–I tried to. In an attempt to find out what this apparently infamous sandwich was all about, I came up with nothing. Their website (which I can’t seem to find anymore) included a menu, but there was no real description of THE ham sandwich. It simply said: “Hand sliced, piled HIGH, served cold or hot on your choice of bread.”
So, I knew what I was going to order when I walked in. I was tempted to try a sampling of other food items but was distracted by the number of apostrophe errors on the menu (you don’t need one in plural nouns, people!). Still, can’t you see the excitement & anticipation on my face?
What I pictured THE ham sandwich to be was a ton of ham served on plain ol’ white bread. And, that’s exactly what it was.
The thickly cut ham was served on white sandwich bread (no choice was given) with iceberg lettuce & slices of raw white onion. If you order it hot, the ham is seared.
I have to admit; this was a mighty tasty sandwich. The ham was thick, juicy, & fresh…just like I like my meat.
And, THE ham sandwich went really well with the lunchboxes (beer & orange juice with a shot of amaretto) that Jesse ordered for us afterwards…you know, as a digestive.
If you’d like to experience THE ham sandwich for yourself, you can find Bojacs Sports Corner at 18 South 6th Street in Wood River, Illinois. Be sure to take some cash, though, because they don’t accept credit cards.
A month ago I told you my favorite foods to buy at Mexican Grocery stores. Now I will start to cover my favorite Eastern foodstuffs. I seem to really be drawn to Asian cooking and cuisine for some reason, so going to an Asian grocery store is like going to a culinary playground for me. If I listed everything I wanted to in one post it would be WAY too much, so I’m breaking it down by country. This post will concentrate on Japanese goodies. I will take y’all to China, Korea, Vietnam & Thailand in subsequent posts. Now, I hate to play favorites, but I might be described as a Japanophile… something about that place (to which I’ve never been) and it’s culture really appeal to me… movies, toys, art, design, traditions… all of it. Oh, and the food, of course. Here are some of my regular buys…
Inarizushi skins. These are little pockets made of fried tofu and brined in a sweet liquid. For a fast snack or appetizer, you simply fill them with warm rice and eat! See this iron stef post for more details.
So many apps, so little time. Whenever I joke “there’s and app for that,” it usually turns out there actually is. A few weeks ago I posted some fun beer phone apps. Here are a few useful and/or fun recipe applications.
Epicurious – This has a nice list of categories including “I Can Barely Cook” and “I Cook Like A Pro,” along with the usual “appetizers” “main dishes” etc. The shopping list is a nice touch, too.
Jerad and I spent this past weekend on a Michigan road trip. As a beer nerd and food snob, we planned our entire trip around drinking & eating…of course!
Our first stop was at New Holland Brewing Company in Holland, MI. Of all the places we ended up visiting, this remains my favorite. I liked their beer the best…particularly the new Saison Cacao, which is brewed with spices, chocolate, & cacao nibs. I also tried their pineapple & strawberry infused, house-distilled vodka. Yummy. This was the best pub food we ate all weekend as well. The whiskey beer cheese (a spread made with local cheddar & Leiden cheeses from Grassfield’s farm, Pilgrim’s Dole, & New Holland’s own Zeppelin Bend whiskey) & house-cured corned beef were both spectacular.
After arriving to Grand Rapids on Thursday afternoon, we stopped into Hop Cat. This place has been named the 3rd Best Beer Bar in the World by Beer Advocate. The current beer list features lots of local Michigan beers. I tried one of their seven house brews, a honey/sage pale ale called Sage Against the Machine. For dinner, we had the Buffalo Rolls (crispy wontons filled with roasted chicken, hot sauce, & bleu cheese), Cheese Ale Soup, and “Crack Fries” (peppery beer battered fries). Overall, their menu includes elevated pub food. Everything was good.
Founders Brewing Company was so crowded that evening that we couldn’t find a seat, so we each had one beer & called it a day. I tried their newest brew, Apricot Swarm. It was more sour than fruity or sweet, not my cup 0f tea. Jerad liked it, though. It referred to it as an “apricot version of Cherise.” We went to Founders two more times that weekend, but it was packed every time. We ended up getting sandwiches (Jerad swears by the “Bad Habit”) & growlers to-go before heading home on Saturday.
After breakfast at Sundance Grill in downtown Grand Rapids (chorizo & egg nachos!), we headed out to Kalamazoo to visit Bell’s Brewery. I ordered 6 sampler pours that included several beers which are only available at the brewpub: Red Nose ESB, Smoked Vienna Lager, Wedding Ale (a honey lager), & Mead. I also had the Sparkling Ale (a triple ale) & Oracle (imperial IPA). My favorite was the Mead, which was light, refreshing, not too sweet, and 10.4% alcohol.
Trying to decide on places to eat in a town you’ve never been to before is difficult. Online reviews at places like Yelp and Urbanspoon aren’t very reliable. But, after much searching, I decided to make reservations at Six One Six for dinner Friday night. The main reason that I chose this restaurant is that they use many local ingredients. I was nervous about it…until I tried that first bite of house-smoked salmon sushi. Amazing. The smokey, tender salmon was perched on a bed of pickled ginger rice and garnished with yuzu cream, finely-diced red onion, chives, & shaved egg yolk. The Berkshire pork duo (loin roulade & braised belly) and the duck (confit leg with smoked breast hash) were both delicious.
I was looking forward to eating breakfast at either Real Food Cafe or Wolfgang’s on Saturday, but we slept in instead. I was also unsuccessful at talking Jerad into stopping at Arcadia Brewing on the way home. I guess we’ll put those places on our list for next time!