Hey hey hey! I hope you’re all staying warm. I’m sitting at home on a Monday afternoon, fantasizing about spring. I have a feeling it’s going to be a while before it gets here. My boss sent us home from work today to prepare for Snowpocalypse St. Louis. Freezing rain and lots and lots of snow is in the forecast. Lovely.
Have I mentioned that I hate winter? I choose to think about brighter things, like my lovely dinner at Araka last week. It all started with this:
Almost immediately, Kelly, Stef (winner of the Riverfront Times Best St. Louis Food Blog!), Laura, Lindsay, and Stacy responded! We made plans to meet at Araka for Clayton Restaurant Week. Gosh, I love the internet (especially Twitter!). This never would have been possible a few years ago.
Araka is a very nice restaurant in Clayton that specializes in Southern European and Mediterranean cuisine. For Restaurant Week, they offered a three course meal for $25. Score! Let’s not waste any more time – there’s food to be talked about!
I started with a simple greens salad: spring mix with spiced pecans, gorgonzola, and apples.
Oh, and one huge crouton. While it certainly looked pretty, it wasn’t the most exciting thing in the world. Actually, it was quite bitter. In the interest of trying to be polite, I didn’t shove the whole crouton in my mouth like I would have liked to. Instead I just kind of…stared at it.
The gorgonzola cheese was pretty nonexistent. There was one lone crumble that I popped into my mouth. It was good. I also spotted one pecan. It was so small and forgettable I forgot if it was good or bad.
Overall, this salad was a huge fail. And before you go into the “But Stephanie – you ordered a salad; of course it’s going to be bad” spiel, let me remind you of a little salad I had at Dewey’s:
Now that’s a good salad. It’s also a very poor picture, but that’s neither here nor there. And it was pre-DSLR, so cut me some slack, eh?
Oh! Before I forget, I also had some delicious bread:
And a not-so-delicious drink:
The Clayton Cooler: Pearl Plum flavored vodka, club soda, cranberry juice. Nastay! I could only down a sip.
I promise it gets better from here!
For my second course I went with the Classic Paella: shrimp, mussels, house made chorizo, and edamame:
Now this was delicious! Juicy flavorful chorizo, plump shrimp, and the best paella I’ve ever had in my life! It was formed into a patty with a crispy exterior that I fell in love with. I devoured every last morsel. I was tempted to lick my plate, but you know – there’s that whole politeness thing and all.
For dessert, we decided to order two of everything and split it amongst the table. I think it was Kelly who suggested this, and it was a great idea! I didn’t take pictures of all of the desserts, but here’s a sample:
Chocolate chestnut cake with banana ice cream. Amazeballs. We also had chocolate ice cream and a toasted hazelnut semifreddo that was to die for!
Food: 3 stars (out of five)
Ambiance: 5 stars
Service: 3 stars
Value: 2 stars
The food at Araka was good, but the company was even better. Thanks to everyone for coming out! I had a good time.