When fall rolls around everyone starts thinking about the holidays and spending time with family. There is a sense of cheer in the air that just puts an extra pep in your step. Then, in a blink of an eye, Thanksgiving has passed and you're nearing Christmas and New Years. All of a sudden, your big holiday parties have come to an end and the weather turns cold. In a few weeks the winter blues have crept in and put a damper on everything warm and cheery you felt not too long ago. You find yourself not having the motivation to go to the gym, so you just crawl to couch after driving the 20 minutes home in the pitch dark. The one thing you have to look forward to is the pint of Ben and Jerry's in your freezer that has been taunting you since lunch. We notice this happen year after year, yet we still allow the gloomy state of mind to take over and send us into a sleepy daze until we start to see the light of spring.
Sometimes having something to look forward to at the end of the week is all you need to avoid the winter blues. That is just what Food Club is for! 8 friends have decided to get together at least once per month to try different restaurants around the St. Louis area.
Since the first rule of Food Club has already been broken, let's start fresh.
1. No chains - If there is more than one restaurant outside of St. Louis, it is not allowed.
2. A different couple is in charge of choosing and setting the next date while at that month's restaurant.
3. Couples are allowed to elect to make dinner at their home for the Food Club.
4. It does not matter if the restaurant is a fine dining establishment or a hole in the wall where you eat off of paper plates.
5. Alcohol must be served
6. NO WHINING! (Sorry, I broke that one on the first outing.)
The Food Club's first outing was more a preliminary process to explore how we were going to make this possible with 8 people. To begin our journey through a St. Louis area dining extravaganza, we chose Mariscos El Gato on Gravois Avenue.
As we walked into a crowded corridor, the smell of Mexican Seafood filled our noses and our mouths began to salivate. We looked around at different tables to see huge plates of shrimp and crab steaming with goodness. Since it was crowded we decided to have a seat at the bar. While going over the menu together, we looked around at the bar. A sense of the unknown came over us, as we searched for beer bottles and a rail of booze. They were no where to be seen. Morgan quickly broke the silence with "Where's the margs!". Unfortunately we quickly found out that the restaurant would not have their liquor license for another two weeks. The Food Club decided to leave the restaurant, with the intent to return for next month's outing. As we all piled in the truck, we began looking for a different place to go. One that serves alcohol, of course. This is where rule number 6 is broken by Michele.
Not paying attention to the group's conversation about a new place to go, Michele was in the back seat still drooling over the giant plate of crab legs that had passed in front of her face just moments before. Suddenly, she looks up to see that the Food Club had found a second Mariscos location. Now, I know what you're thinking. They just broke rule number 1...again! Mariscos had recently had an altercation between the owners and they split up. While the food is the same, we made it happen on a technicality that the owners are different.
We finally sit down and we knew we made the right move. Margaritas were buy one get one free! God had answered Morgan's prayer! After getting our drinks, the waiter Enrique, recommended a plate that was $140. The name escapes me, so we will call it Megladon. Yes, this sounds crazy, but it feeds up to six people. Since the menu was mostly in Spanish, we decided to go for it. IT WAS HEAVEN! of course we all got our phones out to take a picture of this masterpiece in front of us taking up the entire table. Topping the dish, two whole fried red snapper, surrounded by crab leg clusters, mounds of shrimp, muscles, and scallops. Our eyes had never seen anything like this. It made any seafood dinner look a fool. Mariscos El Gato did not disappoint. It was a great first outing for the Food club.
Mariscos on Gravois Ave. will have their liquor license after the first of the year. While it is a small place, it was nice and the employees seemed very friendly.
The location on Cherokee St. was about the same size. We were seated immediately and the service was fantastic. We even found out that they have live Latin music on Sundays. The Food Club highly recommends this place to any seafood lover!
Thanks for reading and be sure to check back in January for our next Food Club outing
Big Foodie Judy