St. Patty's Day Menu

There's only a few days left before the big day...do you have your St. Patty's Day menu planned?


Not to worry...Mr. VB and I kicked off a Dinner Club with a few friends this weekend. Since it was so close to everyone's favorite green holiday, we had to have a theme.

As usual, Pinterest was very helpful in coming up with the menu. Unfortunately, not everything made it on the list.

First up, dessert. We made Irish Car bomb Cupcakes (stout cupcakes with whiskey ganache filling & homemade Irish cream frosting). The cake recipe is from Smitten Kitchen. They turned out great...even though I left out a full stick of butter*.

*Editor's Note: I taste-tested too much of the homemade Irish cream liqueur got up really early to make these and didn't have my coffee yet.

For the homemade Bailey's, check out Semisweetie. This stuff rocks and was so much cheaper than the real stuff. And, it made a perfect gift for my guests!

Next up, Mini Reubens. From Skinny Kitchen, these were originally low cal. I got lazy and opted not to make my own thousand island dressing. Still...they were quite tasty.

For the main course, we served Irish Beef and Stout Stew from Everyday Foods.

At this point, I'm going to have to ask you to click here and immediately get this recipe. Seriously.

It was incredible. The beef melts in your mouth and the stout added such a great flavor. Mr. VB marinated the beef in stout for a few hours before we put it in the oven. What's even better is that it is so easy to make. Just toss the ingredients in a heavy pot, pop it in the oven, head to your favorite St. Patty's Day parade, and when you get home, you'll have a delicious pot of stouty stew.

We also had Bangers in a Blanket and Green St. Patty's Day martinis. Unfortunately, those photos are not suitable for Vanilla Bean I didn't get pics.

It looks like the weather will be beautiful here in St. Louis this weekend....hope it is the same in your part of the world!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Mr. VB Turns 40 & a Craft Brewery Tour

Last month, Mr. VB turned the big 4-0. Now, I know what you're thinking. "How did that old fart get such a young catch like me?" 

He's just lucky, I guess. :-)

To celebrate, I planned a craft brewery tour for the two of us. Microbreweries have been popping up all around St. Louis. Our favorite, Exit 6, is just down the road from our house. Jeff also just started brewing his own beer last year...

So, a tour of the local places we needed to visit was the perfect gift! Since I am a planner to the core, I mapped out our day, with notes on which places served food and snacks. We started out in South City and would end up at good ol' E6.

First up, Perennial Artisan Ales.They focus on using local, seasonal and organic ingredients...and had a fantastic tasting area.

It was also one of the few places that served food. Very. Tasty. Food. Entre (an underground restaurant in STL) serves a small, but mighty, menu onsite. So, along with our Southside Blonde and Saison De Lis, we had mac and cheese with gruyere and duck fat bread crumbs.

And, smoked pulled port tacos with pickled red onion pork tacos.

We didn't try the Strawberry Rhubarb...but, it sounds awesome!

Next up, Civil Life Brewing Company. I loved the sign they made out of old windows. They kept their pricing simple..$2.50 for 8 oz.  and $5 for 16 oz.  

Cute, cozy nook to enjoy a beer. Or read a book. If you like to do that type of thing at a bar.

Civil Life was one of the few on our list that distributes to other bars.

 They also had a great way of keeping track of your drinks...on a piece of slate in front of your space at the bar. Also, the bartender kindly drew out directions for us to our next stop.

They also had fun games, like Pin the Ring on the Bull Horn.

We tried to get a roadie at the drive-thru...

Next on the list, 4Hands Brewery.

This turned out to be one of my favorites on the list. They served beer in cute little mason jars.

Had DIY shelves from old corbels held their growlers and beer books.

Check out this beautiful table made from the original door on their building. Almost every place we visited had long tables for groups (and strangers) to sit at.

The largest brewery on the trip was Urban Chestnut Brewing Company, a one-year-old brewery located in a 1920's garage. You can find their beers in bars throughout the area.

While most of the places we visited made just 5 or 6 beers, UCBC had a long list...

I have to admit, while I did get to taste a lot of great beers during the day, the bonus for me was all of the decorating ideas. I took something away from each place we visited. Like these industrial shelves.

At the end of a long day, we were "home" at Exit 6, with a Frappuccino (a mix of E6's Vanilla Cream Ale and Founders Breakfast Stout) in hand and notes on our favorite samples from the tour. Cheers!