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It was glorious today here in St. Louis, and I was stuck inside all morning, far away from even a window. I needed–absolutely needed–to get outside, on a rare 70-degree February day, and shake off the winter that’s been just sucking out my soul for the past 3 months.

Perfect weather, then, for The Royale, home of my favorite beer garden in the city (second, maybe, to Square One Brewery and their patio in the fall).

The Royale

Photo Courtesy of Bill Streeter, via flickr.

With sun on our faces, he and I ordered the brand-spankin-new Schlafly Vanilla Milk Stout. It’s the type of beer that makes you understand why Guinness used to advertise itself as a health-drink: rich, almost thick, tonic-like mouth feel.

With the sun on my (scandalously bare) shins, I ordered my usual: the Garlic Dippy Melt, and the sole reason I’m even bothering to post tonight. Let me tell you: if you haven’t eaten this, get thyself to The Royale. I’m not usually a one-item-orderer, unless that item is sliced roast beef slathered with garlic mayo, topped with melted cheese and served with a side of au jus. Then, I’m that girl that wants to stuff it in her face asap.

The beef was a little thick (remind me sometime to tell you how much I really don’t like an unbalanced meat-to-bread ratio on my sandwiches), but the lunch, the weather, the beer, the boy, were pretty much perfect.

And that, my friends, is my garlic dippy melt lunch. Go get it, St. Louis. Tell them Kathleen sent you.

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And not even the alcoholic kind.

Mini Indulgences at Seasons 52

Just something I’ve noticed (and enjoyed): the trend for some restaurants to offer mini-desserts. Little mini parfaits/sundaes/layer cakes in shot glasses, for the low, low price of $2.50. Seasons 52 has a nice assortment, brought to the table on a nice tray (I had their Rocky Road). Applebee’s features their own version (Dessert Shooters), and I’m sure this isn’t just a two-restaurant trend. I think its brilliant; I never want more than a bite or two of something sweet after dinner and don’t usually make a full-dessert commitment.

Interesting, too, after a discussion with some coworkers about gargantuan meal portions after a session wrestling with our food at the Cheesecake Factory. Not a bad mini-trend, these dessert shots, at a time where our economy is shrinking and our waist sizes need even more help in that area.