Kimchi is my gateway drug

Asian markets will ultimately be the death of me.  Not because they will cause a financial strain on my wallet but because of the fact that they make it damn near impossible to decide on what to make for dinner.  That and I don’t know any other language other then English so figuring out what I’m buying is somewhat of an adventure.  All the time. But I still go weekly to my neighborhood international market to see what sort of new and interesting thing can I buy to cook with or taste because I’ve seen it on a cooking show.  I’ve enjoyed banana blossoms in soup and have braved the intimidating durian fruit.  I’ve had pork belly, beef shank, vegetarian ham and 100 year old eggs.  I’ve adventured more in the aisles of Jay’s International Market then I have across this rock we call Earth.  And as much as I enjoy wandering each aisle, getting lost in the mystery of the little silver foiled packages, last night’s trip had a purpose.  And that purpose?  Obtain the kimchi.

I don’t know exactly when I started to develop a love for the spicy fermented cabbage, but it more then likely had to do with my obsession of watching cooking shows.  Some people watch Gilmore Girls, I enjoy watching Chopped.  Give me a basket of mystery ingredients and I will do my damnedest to whip up an appetizer that isn’t a frisee salad in less then 20 minutes. One episode had kimchi as a mystery item.  Okay, it is by far one of the least intimidating ingredients but it peaked my curiosity about the delicacy.  So like most people who show an interest in something I went out and bought a random jar of kimchi at my grocery store. It was love at first bite and ever since I try to find ways of incorporating it into my weekly diet.

This week provided the perfect platform in which to enjoy kimchi but not masked in something as innocuous as fried rice or on a pizza.  Why?  This week was pouch week.  A mental as well as physical reset of my dietary habits to help me purge from my system any and all unnecessary carbs to make the most of my bariatric sleeve procedure I had three years ago.  Liquids for 2 days, transition to soft meats like tuna and fish on day 3, ground chicken and turkey on day 4 and finally normal food day 5.  All the while maintaining appropriate portion sizes which for me should only be roughly 8 ounces.  One of the things I have experienced however is a nasty 4 day migraine as a result of purging myself of carbohydrates.  A side effect, but ultimately the end results are worth it.  At the advise of a friend it was recommended that I eat something a little higher in salt then I normally would and recommended kimchi.  And as a way of incorporating protein into said kimchi dish while maintaining something that would not be hard on my system why not pork belly. It becomes extremely tender when braised or stewed for long periods of time.

After many a google search I settled (and believe me it’s not necessarily settling because if I could, in all honesty, I’d make all the dishes.  ALL THE KIMCHI!!!!!) on a kimchi jjigae primarily because it was low carb, featured kimchi as the star and well it’s a soup and I love all things soups and stews in winter.  So why not.

Now one of the things that I’ve been told is a nice change of pace from my blog is the fact that I don’t inundate my readers with picture after picture of what I’m doing.  Personally I find that rather intrusive especially if you’re doing something like making grilled cheese.  I don’t need a picture by picture play by play of everything you’re doing.  Just get to the recipe and tell me what I need to do.  And then possibly toss in a few pictures for fun and to break it up.

image000006 I’ll make sure to post the link to the website that I got my recipe from at the bottom of the page but will give you a rather reader’s digest version of how to prepare this dish.  The ingredients are rather basic and should be found in your kitchen pantry or cupboard and I’m sure if something is not relatively common in your area you can substitute it out like fresh ginger.  If you cant get it fresh then by all means use ground just make sure you google the exchange rate of raw to powder as to not inadvertently obliterate your taste buds.  I’ve done it.  It’s not fun.

The first step in this dish is prepping the pork belly.  I’m very lucky to have about five Asian style grocery stores near and around my neighborhood which have fresh butchered pork belly (both on the rib bone and off).  For this recipe you’ll want off the rib bone if you can find it.  You’ll want to make sure toremove the skin because we are stewing it and the skin will become tough and rubbery; however if you are feeling a little saucy and want to make chicarrons (pork skins) just toss them in a freezer bag and put them in the freezer for later use.  Once you’ve handled the task of scalping your poor little pig (I’m really really sorry but you deserved it) you can get to the task at hand.  Making the jjigae. Making jjiwha?  Jjigae!!!  Jjigae is a Korean dish similar to a Western stew.  There are many different varieties but it is typically made with meat (vague huh) seafood or vegetables in a broth seasoned with gochujang, doenjang, ganjana or saeujeor (uh..wtf?) and is best served up communal style and boiling hot..Like melt your face hot.  Deadpool after Francis pushed his last nerve Ryan Reynolds hot (hehe I like Deadpool…A little….dawwww he’s so cute!!!!!)…..oh..yeah recipe..sorry..got side tracked ^.^d406645f914286670fe808b3e332a576

Okay, so yeah jjigae, it’s pretty much a stew which can feature anything you want and this one features kimchi and pork belly.  After you’ve skinned your pork belly you’re going to take a sharp and I cannot stress this enough a SHAAAAAAAAARP (like Deadpool’s wit and katanas) knife and slice thin pieces of pork belly.  The reason is for the sharp knife is pork belly is essentially thick layers of fat with thin layers of actual muscle meat.  It is after all where bacon comes from and fat makes everything better.  The sharp knife also helps ensure that you don’t end up smashing it thus taking a lovely 2 inch pork belly and making it 2 centimeters.  Also freezing it for about 20 minutes will also help with easier handling but if you’re like most people and you ain’t got time for that, a nicely sharpened chef knife will do just fine. The recipe of course can’t have normal measurements by Americans standards so when it called for 150 grams translates roughly to 5 ounces.  Instead of busting out my scale and setting it up i just sliced up the entire thing.  Psssh never heard anyone complaining about something having too much pork and if they did they are obviously communists (I apologize to any Communists I may have offended.  I love you.  I love you hardcore!!! ^.^).  Toss delicately into a non reactive bowl (preferably glass) and then get to work scraping and grating your ginger and garlic.  Add a little bit of Gukganjang (soy sauce for soup…yes apparently there are 2 kinds of soy sauce and if you want to cook authentic Korean food don’t be a baddy.  Own both!) and then a little soju (vodka like rice liquor).  If you can’t find Soju apparently you can substitute out vodka, sake, maybe even mirin but do try to locate it if you’re a stickler for authenticity.  Allow all these lovelies to get a little kinky and nasty together in a bowl while you look away in shame at your food voyeurism and prepare the other steps of this dish.

The next step is preparing the stir fry aspect of this dish.  Take a white or yellow onion (I really dont recommend using a red onion for this at all), cutting it in half and making thin slices.  If you’re like me and you have a somewhat sloppy knife slice then by all means use a mandolin if you have it.  Work smarter not harder as Scrooge McDuck would say.  If you don’t have a mandolin I’m sorry you’re going to have to suffer..And try not to slice off your fingers.  Take your kimchi of choice and measure out 1 firmly packed cup (you can use more but don’t go crazy folks!).  Grab a towel you have no emotional attachment too and no not the towel your husband calls Wubby because um, yeah that’s a whole different therapy session right there and over a bowl squeeze out as much of the kimchi juice as you possibly can.  We want this dry so it can absorb the rendered fat of the pork belly. Set the juice aside for later use in the recipe. Don’t
throw it away.  Don’t..I’m serious >.< (<~~serious face!).  image000003

 

 

 

 

In a heavy bottom stock pot heat on a medium heat until hot.  The directions did not indicate as to whether or not to add oil but since the point of the hot pan is to start the rendering process on the pork belly I chose to omit any additional oil to stave off getting an Exxon Valdez oil slick in my finished product.  Add your pork belly giving it a quick stir to help bring up any bits of garlic and ginger that can burn from the hot bottom allow it to sit and render away to its heart content.  Probably roughly about 5-6 minutes depending on the thickness of your pork belly slices.  Once light browning has occurred add your dry kimchi and sliced onion and allow to saute “till fragrant”.  Okay when I think of kimchi the word “fragrant” doesn’t really come to mind.  More like “aromatic” but not the kind of aromatic that makes you go “mmmmmm” more “oh my god wtf!?”.  While your pork belly, onion, kimchi mixture becomes “fragrant” you want to complete the last step of the preparation.  The soup base.

Now at Jays the hardest thing for me to find were the pastes needed for this soup base.  With such names as gochujang and doenjang it had me scratching my head as to what exactly I was looking for.  With the assistance of one of the stockers I was quickly ushered to the refrigerated section where he handed me a container of soybean paste (doenjang) similiar to that of miso and then in the Korean dry item section a container of fermented red pepper paste (gochujang).  Okay let’s make it a little harder next time shall we?  I quickly whipped up my soup base adding the reserved kimchi juice, filtered tap water, both the soybean as well as the red pepper paste and some Korean chili flakes) and added it to my “fragrant” non liquid items.  Brought the soup up to boil and then reduced to a simmer and left it for about 40 minutes to do it’s thang and for me to face the mess that was my kitchen.  Sorry…I try to clean as I go but let’s face it.  I am a Jackson Pollack in the kitchen.  It’s not art unless I’m wiping splatters off of my cabinets, counter tops, the cat…Don’t ask..its always better NOT to ask.

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Paula Dean would be so proud!

After the timer went off and the kimchi was to the texture I wanted I added the final ingredient.  Butter.  As if this wasn’t going to be epic enough let’s just add a little more fat.  The butter actually is quite necessary to help bring a creamy texture and consistency as well as help mute some of the heat should you have added to much chili flakes so please dont skip this step to be “more health conscious”..Sliced up a few green onions stems to whites an viola.  Soup’s done and ready to be eaten.  I was quite pleased with the finished product, of course whether or not it tasted legit was beyond me as I’ve never had jjigae before but it did the trick.  The headache from the carb withdrawals went away and I was left with a content feeling of joy as I saw curled up on my couch with my chopsticks in hand.  A quick text to Kyle to show him what I made plus a plethora of pics on Facebook/Instragram and the knowledge of knowing that tomorrow’s lunch would be something truly unique came with every savory mouthful.  The pork deliciously tender and almost melted in your mouth.  The kimchi still maintaining its structural integrity and a bit of a crunch.  But what got me was the broth.  I can’t even describe it.  It was spicy yet had a velvet texture that coated your throat and warmed you all the way down to the belly. It was both exotic yet hinted of something familiar.  It was just good eats.  Definitely a keeper that’s for sure.  I hope you try it!


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잘 먹고 (Eat Well!)

 

Recipe:

INGREDIENTS

  • Marinate
  • 150 grams Pork belly – skinless (sliced thinly)
  • 15 grams Garlic (3 large cloves grated)
  • 7 grams Ginger – fresh (grated)
  • 1 tablespoon Gukganjang (Korean soup soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon Soju

 

Stir Fry

  • 110 grams Onion (1/2 small onion sliced thin)
  • 200 grams Kimchi (~1 cup tightly packed)

 

Soup

  • 1/2 Kimchi juice (squeezed from kimchi)
  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 2 teaspoons Gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 2 teaspoons Doenjang (Korean bean paste)
  • 2 tablespoons Gochugaru (Korean chili flakes to taste)
  • 225 grams Tofu – soft (cut into large cubes) Optional!!!

 

Finish

  • 2 Scallions (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon Butter – unsalted

 

Steps

  • Marinate the pork belly with the garlic, ginger, gukganjang and soju
  • Heat a heavy bottomed pot until hot and then add the pork belly. Allow some of the fat to render out of the pork belly, then add the onions and kimchi. Sauté until the mixture is very fragrant (bwaha fragrant!)
  • Add the kimchi juice, water, gochujang, and doengjang, stirring everything together to combine.
  • Bring to a boil and taste for spiciness, adjust with gochugaru to increase the heat to where you want it. Add tofu (if desired) and reduce heat and simmer for 10-20 minutes (or longer depending on how thick your pork belly is sliced)
  • When you’re ready to serve the kimchi jjigae, add the green onions and butter and give it a quick stir to incorporate.  I added my green onion at the end to give another texture profile to it as well as a bit of a raw element.  Place in communal bowl and either eat alone or serve up on top of rice!!!

Recipe can be found at Kimchi jjigae!

 

 

I’ve got the luck of the Irish at the foot of Canal Street

Sorry I’ve not blogged in a hot minute.  With wedding planning, working overtime and the inevitable bout of stomach flu hitting multiple members of my household I’ve been a little busy.  But with both Kyle and myself on the mend we decided to go out and enjoy some of what St Louis has to offer which is no easy feat for us as our tastes vary about as much as our styles in tattoos.  Asking each other what they want for dinner can vary based on the day, the time, the placement of the sun, if the moon is in retrograde or whether or not we are wearing matching socks (which thankfully we don’t….ever…that’s just weird!) but we are always in agreement that it be somewhere that has an interesting menu and can offer up a variety of different fares.

For the past few weeks I’ve been having a real hankering for authentic Irish cuisine.  After the debacle that was O’Connells Pub (which was neither pub nor Irish food) I’ve had a longing for a good hearty Guinness stew or a substantial plate of bangers and mash.  I practically kicked myself for even contemplating going somewhere else other then Soulard’s own Irish rose…McGurks Irish Pub and Garden.

Located in the heart of St Louis’s French Quarter Soulard sits John D. McGurks Irish Pub and Garden.  Mcgurk’s first opened their doors in 1978 as a one room pub house, and over the years has risen among the ranks to the head of the class among the Irish Pubs in St. Louis leaving such favorites and much loved Llywelyn’s Pub being the runner up.

To say that the food there is good is an understatement.  It’s authentic Irish cuisine that has the ability to transport you to the emerald isle where you can wander the Moores amidst the fields of heather in hopes of catching a glimpse of the fabled phantom island of Brasil off in the distance.  It’s seriously that wonderful.  As we walked in we were immediately greeted by a little sprite of a hostess who excitedly chatted with us about the upcoming Mardi Gras celebration that was to happen in a few days.  Her exuberance immediately brought a smile to my face as she told us of how it was her first one in St Louis and that she heard it was always a busy day.  I playfully told her that I apologize for all the tourists who will trash the outside of the restaurant and told her to wear sensible shoes and to carry a Xanax as a just in case.   The restaurant was not crowded by any sense of the word which to me is the ideal time to enjoy a meal.  The kitchen staff is anxious to get food out the door and the quality always seems to be more spot on when there’s a relaxed atmosphere without the stress of the row of tickets.  Our waitress quickly came and took our drink orders as we browsed the extensive menu.  Such favorites as fish and chips, bangers and mash, Guinness and lamb stew immediately caught my eye as did not so traditional local favorites like grilled tilapia, the John D McGurk’s burger and the grilled three cheese sandwich.  All the food looked so good but I was on a mission.  And that mission was good ole traditional Irish food and personally nothing says traditional like corned beef and cabbage.

What is corned beef?  Is it beef made with corn?  Tell me!?!?!  No..corned beef is pretty much beef that has been cured in a salt brine…for a wee bit of time.  Some recipes say to brine it up for at least 10 days..and anything beef can be corned.  The most popular at the inexpensive tough ole piece of beef like tongue and brisket which as they get more tender the longer they are brined and can withstand the low and slow cooking method of the crockpot, sous vi style or by good ole dutch oven on the stove methods.  Want to try your hand at making homemade corned beef from scratch here’s a link for you:

Corned Beef: How to Cure your own

We started our meal very simple with their Galway Bay crab cakes.  Two lovely crab cakes topped with double smoked bacon, sweet corn and a spicy remoulade sauce drizzled over the tops.  Now lets face it, St Louis isnt exactly known for their crab cakes so the idea of getting something that might be reminiscent of the Chesapeake Bay area is hit and miss. While it was not that of a Chesapeake Bay crab cake where the crab is the start it did have a nice mouth feel and wasn’t overly processed.  The pleasant crispness of the cold sweet corn combined with the spicy remoulade left a pleasant burn that lingered away after a minute it was an opener that left us eager for our entree.

20160204_190016Kyle had never been to McGurk’s to eat before so this was a rare treat indeed for my St. Patty’s day husband.  After looking back and forth on the menu and being torn between the ribeye, the corned beef and cabbage and the bangers and mash he decided on an Irish classic, the bangers and mash.  In house made sausages steamed and seared, served over Yukon gold potatoes topped with a decadent gravy which featured the famous Irish beer Guinness with a side of sauteed carrots and green beans.  One of the things I’ve come to learn about Kyle is if he enjoys his food he doesn’t make a peep.  He eagerly dug in to his meal making little noises of contentment with each bite. I couldn’t help but smile over my plate of corned beef and cabbage at him, his happiness making the dinner even more enjoyable.  I soon had to face my meal which was sitting in front of me cooling. 20160204_185954 My corned beef and cabbage.  I wish photography did the food justice. The plate consisted of a bed of steamed red potatoes and carrots with a rather healthy wedge of cooked cabbage. Two soda bread rolls accompanied the dish as did a little dish of horseradish and honeyed butter.  The corned beef cooked with the expertise that only your grandmother would master was neither bland nor over boiled.  That’s a normal issue I have with corned beef.  It’s boiled to utter death and you don’t get that pickled taste.  It’s just a complete rubbery piece of dead cow.  This however was a vibrant pink from the curing process with little to no fat (only slight traces of marbling).  I was not disappointed in my choice of entry.  Only in the fact that my tiny surgically altered stomach could only take so much before telling me it was done for the evening but hey perk to tiny tummy is delicious leftovers which i did enjoy..repeatedly 😀

I’ve always loved eating at McGurk’s and while my last experience has been nearly a decade ago I was not disappointed.  The wait staff was fantastic,  the creative masterminds in the kitchen were rocking Ireland hardcore that night and John D Mcgurk is well entitled to boast such esteemed acknowledgements as one of the best bars in America and #3 best Irish Pub in the U.S.A

If you are craving some authentic Irish fare or just a really laid back atmosphere where you can enjoy a pint or 4 with your friends over some music I strongly recommend hitting this place up.  If you find yourself in the city go to

1200 RUSSELL BLVD
ST. LOUIS, MO 63104

 

and if you find yourself out in O’Fallon, MO visit McGurk’s Public House located at

108 S MAIN ST.
O’FALLON, MO 63366

 

Now as you can probably guess by the title of this blog McGurk’s wasn’t the only culinary joy Kyle and I got to experience.  As many people may know this weekend was Mardi Gras weekend and I being a former resident of the Soulard area could think of nothing better then being as FAR away from the commotion of the weekend festivities.  So I decided to toss in a few hours of overtime at my job.  Around noon I started to feel the pangs of hunger and instead of surfing the vending machines located in my office I opted to end my day early and see if the spouse wanted to go grab lunch before he went off to work.  The plan of attack?  The Kitchen Sink located in the CWE (Central West End).  Family owned and operated it’s name implies that everything is on the menu “except the kitchen sink”.  Taking their flavors and food styles from the heart of creole country the menu is very remniscent of New Orleans having mild spice levels but big bold flavors and is a good place for the NOLA newbie to get their shoes wet.

Located right off of Union Avenue by the famed Forest Park, The Kitchen Sink finds itself home in CWE Apartment building.  You can find limited off street parking but your best luck is to park street side and walk the block to the diner.  Yes I said diner.  This offbeat diner is open seven days a week from 11 am to 10 pm Monday thru Friday and from 10 am to 10 pm Saturday and Sunday.  Immediately upon entering you feel as if you’re in a diner that would be found on Canal Street in New Orleans.  Floor to ceiling multi panel windows allow in large amounts of natural light which bounce and reflect off the white walls and counters without causing a glare on the myriad of photographs that plaster the wall with quaint quotes such as:

To the World you are One person, yet to One person you are the World

and

I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity – Edgar Allan Poe

We came on a busy day.  Hello?  CWE on a beautiful Saturday afternoon?  I’m shocked we didn’t have a queue to get a table.  As I hoisted my short frame up onto my seat I immediately was drawn into the artwork which decorated the walls.  Above us was a blown up photograph of the funeral procession of John F Kennedy featuring the iconic salute of his son standing next to his grieving mother.  As we glance around at the potential goodies the other patrons were eating our server brings us two glasses of water in what my father refers to as “texas china”.  i.e Ball canning jars with handles.  Right away I smile with amusement because I find places who serve their beverages in fancy glasses to be a bit to pretentious.  Yes..something is too pretentious for me? Possibly the most food pretentious person on the planet (okay maybe that’s an exaggeration.  probably most food pretentious in my circle of friends).  We are handed our menus and start to look over the options.  Some of the options have very unappealing descriptions of what the food is.  For example.  S.O.S…Now being a military kid I know S.O.S to stand for “shit on a shingle”.  It sounds disgusting but is amazing because essentially its a chipped beef that is served on toast.  It looks like shit but tastes amazing and is quite possibly the best hangover food this side of the Mississippi.  Now of course The Kitchen Sink’s description was

(Shit on a Stick) Different marinated meats charbroiled & served on a skewer

*insert crickets*..Wait..different marinated meats…What type of meats?  It didn’t say so it was like okay what the hell are we gonna get.  So being the culinary risk takers that we are Kyle and I opted for that as our appetizer.  Now to the bigger task at hand.  The entree.  With a selection ranging from chicken and waffles to jambalaya and quite literally everything in between we were having a difficult time in narrowing down what we wanted our first experience to be.  And then we saw it.  Nestled at the bottom of the entree selection 3 little letters.  I.D.K.  What in the hell?  The description read that of a game of tummy roulette

“You don’t know what you want?  Neither do we but we’ll try..No Refund”  What the hell was that supposed to mean?  We’ll try.  Were the chefs going to randomly select something off of the menu?  What if it had pork in it or black olives, or worse?  What if it was a mixture of two things that totally don’t go together like biscuits and gravy with peanut butter and jelly?!  I wanted it.  I wanted it bad.  So I take the plunge into the hands of chefs I don’t know and order it, my only stipulation was it could not contain ANY black olives.  Allergic reaction was not on my menu for today’s lunch.  Kyle ordered the same and our server showing her obvious excitement stating “We don’t know what it is and the chefs dont until they get the order but everyone loves it”..That’s both promising and terrifying but hey what’s life without a few risks.   And then..the waiting game.

Being a person of industry I totally understand what it’s like to be both a patron in a busy restaurant as well as an employee working the busy lunch shift.  People get ansty, annoyed causing a ripple effect amongst the staff.  Our server checked on us periodically ensuring our order was being handled and that it would be out as soon as possible.  We politely say no rush we understand and our minds set to work at what possibly is waiting for us.  We see tray after tray of food coming out, each more delicious looking then the last.  Belgium waffles cooked to a golden brown served up with crispy fried chicken, art deco style bowls filled with gumbo and jambalaya and etouffee.  Salads that make my stomach wiggle with excitement, but I could not help but wonder what my lunch was going to be and what were the meats going to be in our S.O.S.  The answer to the second question was quickly answered as long awaited appetizer was laid in front of us.

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Laid out in a little row were three pieces of charcoal grilled pieces of skewered meat next to what looked like an etouffee.  On the first piece of “meat” was a bleu cheese type cream sauce, the second was naked and the third was topped with a cheese over slightly warmed diced tomatoes.  Okay still not sure what it was so I cut into the first piece and am given the identify of my protein selection, chicken.  Breathing a very audible sigh of relief I try the “etouffee” and confirm what my eyes had told me.  Only it was missing the crayfish and the chicken and the shrimp.  Essentially it was vegetarian.  Kyle cut into the tomato cheese covered skewer and woo 2 for 2.  Chicken.  That only left the naked skewer which was shocker, chicken.  And then…the main event…The I.D.K

Served up in two vibrant orange art deco style bowls were two completely separate dishes.  Can you imagine being the server who had to decide who got what?  I’d be a nervous wreck if I had to be the one to do that.  I can barely decide on what type of socks to wear on a daily basis.  By means of the playground rules she did the “eeny meeny miney mo” method and handed me the bowl in her right hand and presented Kyle the bowl in her left, although in hindsight whatever she presented both of us would have been happy with.

gumbo

I wish the photograph did my bowl justice however I was ravenous and while I normally want to get just the perfect picture, my stomach had other ideas which primarily focused around instant gastro-satisfaction.  Hunkered down in a bowl of rich flavorful gumbo were little fried hidden treasures of shrimp, catfish, tilapia and crayfish.  The gumbo itself was a veritable trove of tasty meats featuring chorizo, andouille, crab, crawfish and shrimp. The breading slightly spicy with that definitive southern style technique using seemed like cornmeal.  It wasn’t heavy, it was crispy without that aftertaste of oil and it didn’t lose its crunchy texture in the gravy of the gumbo.  Each bite offered more and more flavor as I dug through the the bowl like a kid playing in a sandbox that has buried treasure in it.  I was so wrapped up in my own lunch that I completely spaced about Kyle and what he had in front of him.

We are still attempting to figure out what exactly Kyle had because it had a very prevalent feel of being Asian in style yet with it being a creole/cajun diner we were curious if it was a play on a teriyaki stir fry but using bourbon in the sauce.  bourbon shrimp His also was presented in an art deco style bowl served over a bed of white short grain rice and showcased expertly seared shrimp with a lovely saute of zucchini and yellow squash.  The “sauce” had a lovely smokey quality which hinted to the possibility of bourbon with a sweetness that reminded us of a simple rustic teriyaki.  I wish I could get more descriptive with Kyle’s but he was not in the mood to share and made quick work of his lunch, being ever so quiet as he savored every succulent bite of shrimp.  It smelled amazing and I wish I had the opportunity to try his but I was enthralled in my own lunch and while I offered up some for him to try I was very happy when he turned me down.  I didn’t want to share it.

As we paid our bill which was roughly $46.00 for the two of us we looked at our to-go containers and experienced a brief moment of sadness over the fact that the I.D.K we had today may never be the I.D.K we will order in the future.  I failed to ask our server how many times the chef team repeats an order but since its a crew of 9 young chefs eager to stretch their culinary legs and make a name for themselves then I doubt there is much redundancy.  Knowing that made my lunch experience all the better.  The possibility that my lunch was unique just to me and that no one else would get to experience the same dish in quite the same way.  Yeah…I’m good with that.

So all in all both of these restaurants offered up unique experiences which did not take from the other.  McGurk’s with its rustic old world Irish pub feel, amazing homestyle Irish food and friendly wait staff started my week out amazingly and The Kitchen Sink brought it all home to mama.  These are two spots in St. Louis I strongly recommend you going to be it the first time or the seventh time.  Good places are hard to find but once you get there oh the joy you experience.

If you want to plan your next outing around these two fine St Louis establishments please take in the other sites that their location has to offer.  McGurk’s is located on the edge of Soulard which is home to a pretty awesome farmers market and provides an eclectic environment to wander and casually stroll about the streets.  The Kitchen Sink is located a block away from Forest Park where you might want to go after you eat to work of the sleepies that come with eating rich food.  Either way you can’t really lose…Unless you go on a day when they are closed.

Enjoy and let your food experience be amazing.  I’ve provided the websites for you to look at and as a FYI for the Kitchen Sink online menu?  The I.D.K does not appear.  It’s on the menu inside the restaurant.

The Kitchen Sink: The Name Speaks for itself

 

John D McGurk’s Irish Pub