St. Louis and Cheesecake

This weekend I went to the Joyce Meyer conference in St. Louis with a few other lovely ladies.  I’ve been several times before and it’s always a wonderful time of awesome music and challenging teaching.  It’s also a great time to sneak in some shopping and splurge on some good eating out!   On Friday, our sessions were at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. so during that gap me, my sister Hannah and friend Nicole high-tailed it to the Galleria for a marathon shopping session.

One of our stops was Urban Outfitters where I found these Kitty Cat Measuring Cups.  I am a HUGE cat person, so I pretty much died when I saw them.  I still regret not getting them.

I also came across this toothpaste at Urban Outfitters.  As much as I love cupcakes, I’m not sure I want to brush my teeth with them.  That just seems…wrong.

After the last session on Saturday, we went back to the Galleria for the Cheesecake Factory.  I know, I know it’s a chain and all but I’m sorry, I love the place.  We had some awesome salads and then left.

Just kidding!  Well, we did have salads but we most certainly ordered cheesecake too!  And no, we didn’t share a piece, we each got our own piece.  That’s right.  Total gluttony.  And it was sooooo worth it.  Here is a picture of all three of them taken with my crappy cell phone.

And here are some beautiful stock photos of what we got.  Much better.

My sister Hannah got Craig’s Crazy Carrot Cake Cheesecake.  It. Is. So. Good.  Layers of carrot cake, vanilla cheesecake, cream cheese frosting and toasted pecans.  Amazing.

I got the Lemon Raspberry Cream Cheesecake which consisted of Raspberry-Vanilla Cake, Creamy Lemon Cheesecake, Raspberry Lady Fingers and Lemon Mousse.  It didn’t have the lady fingers and didn’t quite look like this photo and wasn’t really my favorite, BUT it was good.  Just not my favorite.

What was my favorite?  My friend Nicole’s choice, the Kahlua Cocoa Coffee Cheesecake.  OMG.  I know that phrase is overused but seriously, OMG.  It was so, so, so good…a yummy brownie crust with a hint of coffee in the uber-creamy cheesecake filling and some seriously rich chocolate mousse and ganache on top.  I was *this close* to choosing the Kahlua cheesecake and I was KICKING myself for changing my mind at the last minute.  However, Nicole couldn’t quite finish all of her piece so like the good friend I am, I volunteered to help her out.

I had such a great weekend and was so sad to see it end but I’m thankful for the girl time and most importantly, God time.  And now, I’m gonna shut down my computer on this dreary, rainy Sunday afternoon and hold my husband’s hand as he rides the emotional rollercoaster that is fantasy football.  Hope everyone has a lovely Sunday evening.

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Missouri Baking Co. – St. Louis Bakeries, Pt. 2

About a week ago I posted the first part of two bakery reviews from a trip that Jeremy and I took to St. Louis recently.  Now it’s time for the second review and I have saved the best for last!  When we were googling “St. Louis bakeries”, one of the first things to pop up at the top of the search was Missouri Baking Company.  This place had awesome reviews and people especially raved about their Italian desserts, cookies, pastries and gooey butter cake.  Since they don’t have a website, I wasn’t really sure what to expect in the way of a menu or what the place looked like.  We pulled up to an old, brick, factory-like building that was quite non-descript except for a large sign that said “Missouri Baking Co.” on the side of the building.  We walked inside and were greeted by several bakery cases, people everywhere and no tables or chairs.  This place was very straightforward, no frills which probably meant they don’t need to impress you with decor or aesthetics because their baked goods are just that good!

So, we got a number (yes, you had to take a number!) and I frantically tried to pick out what I wanted.  I am not so good with the decision making so trying to choose from this sea of delectable looking sugar was SO hard.  Plus, we couldn’t see any prices so we had no idea what we were going to spend AND they only took cash.  What to do?!?  Finally our number came up.  I knew I wanted a cannoli and asked the girl working which of their bazillion different kinds of cookies was popular and she recommended the Amaretti cookie.  Jeremy settled on a slice of Italian vanilla cheesecake and a brownie.   Our total was $4.75.  Say what???  Jeremy and I immediately looked at each other in shock and wanted to choose at least five more items…but we didn’t.  So we took our stash out to the car and got busy taking pictures and eating (between being in the car and extremely overcast skies, these are the best pics we could get but I thought Jeremy still did a great job).

Ok, first the brownie.  It was just…meh.  Kind of like they threw it in as an afterthought for the person who comes in the door and says “what the heck’s a cannoli?”.  It was a more cake-like brownie studded with chopped walnuts and covered with a thin layer of chocolate frosting, very reminiscient of the ones they sale at Walmart, two to a package that school kids get in their lunch.  So definitely our least favorite item.

But, things got immensely better from them on!  Jeremy’s cheesecake was awesome.  Not overly sweet, super creamy and smooth, with some sort of delicate indescribable crust (now that I think about it, I’m not sure it even had a crust) and was dusted with cinnamon.  So simple and so delicious!

Next the cannoli.  Isn’t it pretty?  I think I’ve had a very Americanized cannoli once it my life and this one was nothing like it, thank goodness.  It consisted of a waffle-cone like shell, filled with some sort of sweet custard that had a faint hint of cinnamon and was studded with semi-sweet chocolate chips and finished with a cherry.  So, so delicious!  We loved it.

Lastly, our absolute favorite was the Amaretti cookie.  The almond flavor of this cookie was INSANE and I love almond flavor.  And the texture was perfect–slightly chewy outside but so soft inside.  Just divine.  I definitely wished I had chosen more cookies, so if we ever get a chance to go back (we’ll find some excuse!), I plan on getting quite the selection of cookies and without a doubt will try their gooey butter cake.  This place really is all about the BAKING, especially authentic Italian baking which is refreshing since everyone and their brother thinks that if they can make a cupcake, they can open a bakery.

Check them out if you are in the St. Louis area!  You will most likely find something delicious that you’ve never tried before!

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BitterSweet Bakery – St. Louis Bakeries, Pt. 1

Last weekend, Jeremy and I headed to St. Louis to see Jimmy Eat World Saturday night.  The concert didn’t start until 8 p.m. so we had plenty of time to go at a somewhat leisurely pace and make some stops along the way.  We managed to hit up three vintage stores that we came across while driving and then proceeded into St. Louis to check out a couple of bakeries that had pretty decent reviews online.

I’ll start with the second bakery we visited that day, Bittersweet Bakery.  First, the space itself was really cool, one of those refurbished old brick warehouse buildings.  Inside were hardwood floors, exposed ductwork and modern chandeliers.   The bakery case was full of cakes and the countertops displayed quite the assortment of jumbo muffins, breakfast breads, biscotti and jumbo cookies.  I was a little surprised at the lack of selection just judging by what I’d seen on their website.  They did have a small display with a couple of whoopie pies that looked awesome, an amaretti cookie and a couple macaroons.

My first two selections they were out of, a whoopie pie and a mini peanut butter pie.  Apparently they were out of a lot.  So I finally settled on a Chocolate Chunk Cookie and Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Cake.  Jeremy chose Chocolate Buttermilk Cake.  The cakes themselves were very good, dense and probably some of the most moist cake I’ve ever had.  Inside they had chocolate mousse/vanilla pastry cream fillings and they were topped with a huge swirl of what I thought was Swiss buttercream but apparently it was Italian.  Not sure what the difference is but either way, I loved the frosting.  Jeremy, not so much.  He’s used to the American style of buttercream.  I also loved the fact that you could really see and taste the vanilla bean in mine.  At $5 each they were enough for two to share so we could only eat about half.

The cookie was allright, nothing special.  The texture was pretty good, very chewy but the flavor was somewhat lacking and a teensy bit on the salty side.  I kind of liked it but Jeremy didn’t like it at all.  It was somewhere around $3 and most of it went into the trash, unfortunately.

So, our overall experience here was ok.  We got there around 4 p.m. so I guess it was a little late in the day for them to have much left.  That was really disappointing to me because I would have really liked to have tried some other things.  But I will say their cake was absolutely delicious!  So if you are in the area, get there early for the best selection and definitely split one of the cakes with someone–you won’t be disappointed!

I will have Part 2 of our St. Louis bakery adventures next week–I’ve saved the best for last!  Oh and in case you were wondering, the concert was AWESOME.

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