Bella Vino

  • Blogs

    October 17, 2014

    #61: Pumpkin Maple Latte at Kaldi's Coffee

    This time of year, pumpkin spice lattes are about as ubiquitous as falling leaves and decorative gourds. There's something about that first chill in the air that whips folks into a squash-guzzling frenzy -- and everyone from beer brewers to dog-biscuit manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon. Se ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 10, 2014

    #62: Casconcelli at Giovanni's Kitchen

    "Luxurious" is the word that kept coming to mind as I savored bite after bite of the casconcelli at Giovanni's Kitchen (8831 Ladue Road, Ladue; 314-721-4100). Chef Alessandro Bozzatto's hand-made half-moon shaped pasta is like edible silk -- good enough to be enjoyed on its own, but positively decad ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 12, 2014

    #66: Home Wine Kitchen's Shortbread Sea-Salt Biscuits

    Narrowing down a favorite brunch item at Home Wine Kitchen (7322 Manchester Road, Maplewood; 314-802-7676) is like choosing a favorite child. Red wine braised pork belly versus crab-covered poached eggs? It's just not fair. See Also: Cassy Vires, RFT's Best Chef Winner, on Foam, Fried Chicken and H ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 5, 2014

    #67: Death in the Afternoon's Grilled Mahi Mahi Sandwich

    The grilled mahi mahi sandwich at Death in the Afternoon (808 Chestnut Street; 314-621-3236) is so beautiful it could grace the pages of a glossy food magazine. Its sesame-studded, perfectly round bun glistens with a buttery sheen, and the grill marks on the gossamer piece of fish look as if they we ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 29, 2014

    #68: The Brisket Burger at Three Flags Tavern

    "You know," the bartender said as she leaned in a little closer. "The servers from O'Connell's [Pub] come in here for our burger." It's no wonder she had such a hushed tone. O'Connell's Pub has legendary burgers. That some of the employees have been spotted bellying up to the bar at Three Flags Ta ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 12, 2014

    #70: Urban Chestnut's "Strammer Max"

    Urban Chestnut's (4465 Manchester Avenue; 314-222-0143) chef Andy Fair says that people come to the Grove Brewery and Bierhall, first and foremost, for the beer. This may be true, but his creative twist on classic German food gives the suds a run for their money. See Also: Review: Urban Chestnut Gr ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 1, 2014

    #72: Broasted Chicken at Frank & Helen's Pizzeria

    Frank & Helen's Pizzeria (8111 Olive Boulevard, University City; 314-997-0666) is a St. Louis institution. The University City eatery has been serving diners its signature thin crust pizza, "charcoal steaks" (you have to love that sign out front) and Italian specialties since opening in 1956. On any ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 25, 2014

    #73: Parmesan Chicken Broth at Bocci Wine Bar

    My partner is picky. Though he refuses to admit it, his decade-plus career in the kitchen has made him blasé about going out to dinner. It's rare that anything wows him, so when he tasted Bocci's (16 North Central Avenue, Clayton; 314-932-1040) Parmesan chicken broth and proclaimed it "the best dis ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 18, 2014

    #74: "Burger" at Small Batch Whiskey & Fare

    Sometimes, I just have to have a big, greasy burger -- one that covered in gooey cheese, tangy sauce and served on a soft buttery bun with crispy lettuce, red onions and some juicy tomatoes. I never expected I'd find one to satisfy this craving at a vegetarian restaurant. See Also: Dave Bailey A ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 11, 2014

    #75: Smoked Salami Sandwich from Adam's Smokehouse

    The secret to the smoked salami at Adam's Smokehouse (2819 Watson Road; 314-875-9890) is the 70/30 blend of pork and beef. Or is it the fruitwood smoke that permeates the meat? Then again, it could be the generous flecks of black pepper and blend of spices the pit-masters keep as closely guarded as ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 7, 2014

    #76: Gryo on Pita at Olympia Kebob House & Taverna

    Please indulge this recently repatriated St. Louisan who just returned from the hinterlands. It's not exactly breaking news that Olympia Kebob House & Taverna's (1543 McCausland Avenue, Richmond Heights; 314-781-1299) gyro is the best in town. Like most, I've been going to Olympia for years, taking ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 27, 2014

    #77: The Johnny Cake at Tree House

    I used to feel bad for vegetarians. While I got to dine out and stuff my face with prosciutto and ribs, their menu choices were typically more limited ("Um, we can do a veggie pasta?"). Thankfully, meatless options have gotten much better over the past few years, and vegetarian restaurants like Tree ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 13, 2014

    #79: Skordalia at the Purple Martin

    This is not just my usual weekly selection. It's a plea to Brooke Roseberry and Tony Lagouranis, owners of the Purple Martin (2800 Shenandoah Avenue; 314-898-0011). See, just recently they announced that they're revamping the menu at their delightful Fox Park eatery. Guys, I'm begging you: Keep the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 6, 2014

    #80: Beef Brisket Birria Taco at Mission Taco Joint

    It's difficult to decide between beef and pork for the ideal taco filling. A well-prepared carne asada gives such a meaty richness, but the sweet pork flavor of something like carnitas is hard to beat. When I go to Mission Taco Joint (6235 Delmar Boulevard; 314-932-5430), I don't have to choose. I s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 30, 2014

    #81: Cappuccino from Sump Coffee

    Thank goodness former patent attorney Scott Carey had the courage to follow a dream. Since opening Sump Coffee (3700 South Jefferson Avenue; 917-412-5670) in 2011, this soft-spoken craftsman has elevated the St, Louis coffee scene to new heights, serving house-roasted seasonal selections from his so ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 23, 2014

    #82: Salted Caramel Croissant at Pint Size Bakery

    When it comes to her salted caramel croissants, Pint Size Bakery (3825 Watson Road; 314-645-7142) owner Christy Augustin lays down the law. "They come out at 10 a.m., there's only two per transaction, and when they're gone, they're gone," she says. Just because there are rules doesn't mean everyo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 16, 2014

    #83: Gnocchi at the Good Pie

    One could be forgiven for assuming that the must-eat dish at the Good Pie (6665 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-899-9221) would be the pizza. Without a doubt, it's fantastic, but the delicious pies run the danger of obscuring the best dish on the menu -- the housemade gnocchi. Diners may be t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 9, 2014

    #84: Truffled Tater Tots at Blood & Sand

    When my erudite acquaintance insisted with boyish earnestness that I try the tater tots at Blood & Sand (1500 St. Charles Street; 314-241-7263), I raised an eyebrow. Then, this otherwise serious man referred to them as "little clouds of happiness," and I knew that I had to pay attention. See also: ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 1, 2014

    #85: Marinated Feta Cheese at Evangeline's Bistro and Music House

    The bar at Evangeline's Bistro and Music House (512 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-3644) is the kind of place that makes you feel like you're on vacation. It could be the Dixieland music -- or maybe it's the hurricanes. A drink like this, at once strong and sip-able, requires some serious bar snacks t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 11, 2014

    #88: WildSmoke's Smoked Chicken Wings

    Choosing a favorite chicken wing is like selecting a favorite song: With so many different styles, it's an impossible task. Sometimes, the tangy, Louisiana-style heat of the Buffalo wing dipped in funky blue cheese is the only thing that satisfies. Other occasions call for some thick, molasses barbe ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 4, 2014

    #89: The Duck Proscuitto Flatbread at Bella Vino

    If the bed-and-breakfast-style charm of Bella Vino (325 South Main Street, St. Charles; 636-724-3434) isn't enough of a reason to make the trek across the river, then the duck prosciutto flatbread should be. See Also: Bella Vino, in historic St. Charles, is a meal worth driving for

  • Blogs

    March 3, 2014

    For Chefs Austin Hamblin and Michelle Allender, Two Minds Are Better Than One

    Jackie Miller and Ashley Morrison weren't looking for a package deal when they set out to fill the executive chef position at Bella Vino Wine Bar & Tapas (325 South Main Street, St. Charles; 636-724-3434) But when a former co-worker introduced them to Austin Hamblin and Michelle Allender, they decid ... More >>

  • Dining

    February 20, 2014
  • Blogs

    February 20, 2014

    Critic's Notebook: Bella Vino Wine Bar & Tapas

    As a veteran server, I was a party to more conversations about opening a restaurant than I can count. They would usually take place at the end of a particularly arduous shift while folding linens or doing a checkout report and typically involved complaining about one's current employer. Whether thes ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 18, 2014

    Review Preview: Bella Vino

    This week's review invites my compatriots on this side of the Missouri to make the jaunt across the Blanchette Bridge to old town St. Charles' Bella Vino Wine Bar & Tapas (325 South Main Street, St. Charles; 636-724-3434). See Also: Green, But Sustainable? Prasino has eco-friendly dining down. Con ... More >>