This year, in this category, the Schlafly Tap Room kicked its own ass. Seriously: We were all set to write about Schlafly's Oyster & Stout Festival, the late-March fete that allows the landlocked to eat bivalves till we're stupid. Then July rolled around, and with it came Mussel Mania. Pshaw
, we thought crankily. Takes a lot more than a plate o' mussels to inspire mania
. But we showed up at the Tap Room anyhow. A friend put a beer in our hand. Then we approached the mussels table and went freakin' nuts
. Mussels in a velvety sauce of spinach, bacon and smoked gouda. Heat-packin' Southwestern-style mussels accompanied by plump chunks of tomato. A classic preparation of mussels in a butter-white wine-parsley reduction. No, we aren't just listing what was available; we're saying we ate all of that
. Plus warm French bread, perfect for sopping up each delicious sauce. The strong Belgian beersGrand Cru, Tripel, Dubbelplayed delightfully off the meaty mollusks. As we finished our feast, hep local band Scott Kay & the Continentals kicked into a new set, and swing dancers took to the floor. The night was perfectand we didn't even get a chance to try the homemade Belgian waffles. Maybe next year.