Springfield is making Progress…

A seasonal dish prepared by Chef Drake Tillman

When you think of Springfield Missouri you might think of the home of Bass Pro Shops, Springfield Cardinals, BBQ and where a Chinese Buffet is on every street corner. Well Springfield is starting to make a change with its eclectic food scene. We have Farmers Gastropub ran by Chef Andy Hampshire, that buys as much local as he can get his hands on. We have Chef Drake Tillman that is bringing new concepts to our area with pop up dinners, pop up restaurants, and even his own Brick and Mortar “Elkhart and The Robberson”. Chef Drake is also about to launch “Margot” located inside the Artisan’s Oven on Commercial Street. It will be a seasonal menu that will change weekly and be based upon what is the best at that time of year. Caleb Strangroom is doing some amazing stuff at “The Order” Downtown inside Hotel Vandivort. We also have access to amazing local farms in the area and fun artisans to buy products.

Athena The Goat from Terrell Creek Farm at “Cheese Night”

There are a hand full of other Chef’s in the area that are taking the quality of ingredients into their own hands. I commend these chef’s and feel that the era is upon us, to actually put the ingredient first, then make a dish around it. So many times a restaurant will demand to have the same dishes year around, and that may seem impossible for an artisan that wants only the best. When you want the best, that means the best is in limited supply most of the time. Fresh fish has seasons, local produce has seasons, even goats take a beer break and stop producing milk at least once a year.

Dylan Fox, Co Owner of Hepcat & Mixologist Master

So to say the least, these chefs are hand carving a path, that has not been dug before in Springfield Missouri. Many have failed trying to bring this concept to the area and only the strong survive. The concept of buying local when possible, the concept of having a delicious simple drink at the bar like a daiquiri. How many of you have ever tasted a true daiquiri? I have been all over the world and had my first true daiquiri in Springfield Missouri by the master of mixology Dylan Fox co owner of Hepcat. A real daiquiri is Rum, Fresh Lime Juice, & Simple Syrup. It is so simple, yet so divine! Thank you Dylan, I will forever be in your debt, and you carved a memory that will be long to be lost. For a recipe of a classic daiquiri CLICK HERE

Michael Schmitz “Jersey”

So we see that Springfield is making Progress on the food scene but did you know there is actually a restaurant called “Progress”??? Let me tell you the cool aspects of how this came to be about. This was a group of 3, a team that was devised out of pure passion for what they do. You have “Jersey” Michael Schmitz who is the drink master. Seriously when I order with this Jedi Warrior of Cocktails I tell him my mood. Then he tells me what I want to drink and makes it. For instance, I might tell him I have had a long work week, I want something strong, but not too sweet but I want a hint of liveliness in the drink. One other bit of information, Michael has never let me down. I remember the very first time I told him how I felt, he made me a Smokey Mezcal Manhattan. Who does that? That takes a set of brass you know what, but it was divine! Over the top heavenly with splash of everything that is good. This magician of flavors, spice and everything nice Michael can pair my drinks at any gathering, any meal, any time!

Now onto the front of the house and the lady that makes the flow, flow. Cassidy Rollins is the smiling face you will see when you walk into the doors of Progress. I will admit I have seen Michael take a day off, I have seen Chef take a day off, but Cassidy has been there every time I have dined. She is a work-a-holic and it shows in the gracefulness of how the floor is ran. She has always accommodated me even though I bring my 18 month old daughter and never made me feel unwelcome. Even when Chef or Michael can’t make it over to say hello, Cassidy is not only there, she is asking what else can they do to make the stay more pleasant. Not only does she say the words, she means it and you can feel it in her tone. Thank you Cassidy for always making my family and myself feel so at home at your establishment. When we did my wife’s surprise 30th birthday you accommodated over 20 guests and with ease. You have made memories that will last a life time for me as well as so many in our area, thank you from all of us!

Chef Daniel Ernce with Yellowfin Tuna

18 years old, living in Australia in a house with 10 other people and they didn’t know how to cook. So Chef Daniel Ernce steps up the the plate and knew from then on he wanted to cook and learn more. Later he did an internship at 108, a Michelin-starred restaurant. This was a twist of chef Rene Redzepi’s temple to Nordic cuisine, Noma. I am sure this was a game changer for Chef Ernce and the things he would come back home with in his culinary arsenal. Expressing himself through pop up dinners in the Springfield area, he found himself cooking for Tim O’Reilly, the CEO of O’Reilly Hospitality Management LLC. That was a big deal, and now had lead to the birth of the trendy restaurant Progress with their rooftop bar Reverie right above them.

This Trio from Progress is a Power House

This trio is a power house in the culinary scene and are doing amazing things in Springfield. Today after Church we went to Brunch and had some mind blowing snacks! I will be honest and let you know I came for the dessert I saw floating around on social media and everything else was just cherries on top, luxardo cherries actually. I am taking a phrase off social media to describe this dessert: A great chef once said ‘a dessert must be worth its calories’ and this one is! Kyle’s brownies stacked with The Coffee Ethic espresso semifreddo ice cream, brown butter caramel, toasted pecans and a maraschino cherry.

Kyle’s Brownie Stack $8

Actually it was two Luxardo Cherries, the original Maraschino and they were superb! As you were biting into this dessert all the trumpets of heaven were sounding at once and you get lost in each layer. You almost have to take 3 different bites of this dessert to get the full elevation of what the chef is trying to express. The Coffee Ethic Semifreddo was literally to rob a bank for! Then you get the perfectly cooked Brownie with this decedent Brown Butter Caramel Sauce and toasted Pecan Crumbles. To just strut his stuff Kyle topped it with Two Luxardo Cherries to just take a swing for a grand slam! Thank you Kyle for this creation, you rocked my world today!

Hendricks Feature $10

The top two things on my list today was the “Kyle’s Brownie Stack” and “The Hendricks Feature” which has Hendricks Seasonal Gin, Grapefruit Liqueur, Cucumber, Lime, Grapefruit Oil, and garnished with a sugared rim and a dried grapefruit. This cocktail literally made me feel like a firework show of good flavors and perfect ratios of everything mentioned above. It was literally perfect! From the first sip, I had to close my eyes and drift off to paradise, like I was standing on an ocean pier watching the fireworks in the distance with breeze upon my face like non other, please if you like Gin, get here and order this cocktail before it is off the menu.

Donut Holes $5

We also had the Donut Holes $5 which were fried in house, dusted with Sugar and served with Nutella. It was almost Beignet-Like and I loved it! Then you got to dunk it in a big vat of nutella, and don’t act like we all don’t need an excuse to dunk in some nutella??? They came out hot, and crunchy with a doughy center. Next time I might order some milk with this dish, that would go perfect! And I am sure Jersey could pair an alcoholic mixer that would set your world on fire!

Progress Hot-Brown $14

Now onto the main course of this tasty brunch, the Progress Hot-Brown that started off with a cast iron skillet. At the bottom of this food sculpture was a toasted sliced bread that was toasted perfectly and for just the right amount of time. It did not get soggy even though it was covered in gravy. Which leads us to the next ingredient, smoked chicken. It was nice and simple, yet well seasoned. Then that was topped with scratch gravy that was delicious. Big chunks of sausage and the gravy was perfect in consistency. Then that was topped with a local Edgwood Cheddar Cheese and house made Newman Farm Bacon Bits. This dish was way over the top, and I will say normally I don’t like a smothered bowl, but this reins supreme over any smothered bowl I have ever had. You could taste all of the flavors and nothing got lost. I will say the acidity of the cocktail helped part the seas of flavor, so final verdict. You will have request Jersey to come to the table and do a paring with your Progress Hot-Brown.

I can safely say that every time I have come to dine at Progress it has been and experience and I truly appreciate that about this team. So anyways, when your experience is over you must head to the south west corner of the restaurant, for those of you that are not good with directions look to the right of the hosting station and you will see the big sign that says “Progress”. You must get a picture, don’t worry, the person at the station will notice and offer to take a picture for you. Then you do a big smile and recommend to all you friends on social media to try this place as well. Thank you team Progress, for being apart of the change here in Springfield and truly being apart of the progress.

From Left to Right: Bestie Larnelle Foster, Wifey Ashley Allen, Daughter Lilly Anastasia Allen, Paul Allen

by Chef/Food Blogger Paul Allen (remember to subscribe for more reviews and food adventures to come)

Adventure of a Fat Kid, II

The Naughty Tacos, that felt so right!

We are on day 9 of my new lifestyle and as a human does, we make excuses and let life get in the way. Not saying this is a bad thing, this is a real thing. All in all I have been doing good on my new lifestyle but I have slipped a couple of times. On cheat day, I went out with my children to Incredible Pizza. I was loving my refined and processed melted cheese on my tacos, and it felt good, at the time, lol! Ha, it is funny that I am a chef, and my cheat day was at a children’s pizza buffet, but that is the life of a dad trying to have fun with the kiddos while they are young.

Cheat Night!

I will admit for some reason I feel like I walk into a new realm when I go into Incredible Pizza and calories and fat grams don’t count. (and yes I am sure I am going to Hell for all the trans fats I am eating at this place, but for some reason I just don’t care. My children and I have so much fun, and that is more important over some standards of eating. I figure they won’t always be this age so I should enjoy it and just let loose and have a good time.

Yummy Cocktail at Cellar & Plate in Springfield Mo

I also have been eating some packaged foods at night like nuts, dried fruits, coconut clusters, and some other packaged items. What else bad have I done……….oh yeah! I went out with some chef friends during the week and totally threw the diet out the window and had meat, cheese, and all kinds of delicious rich foods and I didn’t care at all. As a father I was so excited to get out of the house and be with some good buddies and just have some downtime. Not saying I don’t love my family, just good to get away. I also had a cocktail and a glass of wine. Typically I don’t drink except on cheat day, but why not put the body in shock and awe! LOL!!!!

Thank you Flickr for the free image

So you know, don’t feel bad about having a cheat day on top of a cheat day every now and again. Do you know why??? Because you are human, and it is OK to have a good time. Take it while you can get it, just balance out the rest of your week. For me, I might not indulge quite so much on “Cheat Day” because of the things I consumed on Thursday night with the boys.

“Thursday Night With The Boys”
From right to left: Italian Aficionado Shawn Kraft, Chef of the Year Jyh Tan, Restaurateur/Chef Angel Kim, Your Truly Chef Pauly
High Heat Roasted Organic Broccoli

I feel that doing good 4-5 days that I wasn’t doing before, is progress. I have been preparing a lot of fresh meals that are very simple like “High Heat Roasted Broccoli”. Trim 1-3 heads of Organic Broccoli, toss in a large bowl Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sea Salt, & Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast. This healthy treat can be done with any vegetable out there. I love mixing that with some cleaned and trimmed Red Organic Beets.

Wild Caught Salmon is more red in color, not pink

I have also been eating a lot of Wild Caught Salmon for lunch, I think it is delicious! I personally stay away from Farm Raised Salmon and would just rather not eat if that is my only choice. For more info on Farm Raised vs. Wild Caught Salmon check this out from our friends at “Crown Prince” click HERE. I feel salmon is very digestible and good for the body. I like to blacken it, saute it in my Miyoko’s Plant Based Butter, and cook it medium.

I love my Miyoko’s!!!

Miyoko’s is made of Organic Coconut and Cashew and it tastes almost just like butter and has all the same cooking attributes as well. It is so creamy and burns like butter helping give amazing texture to steaks and seafood. You can use with your veggies or poultry. And I feel this a great help for the diets that don’t allow dairy and meat, you can use this butter alternative and get great results!

So I have been terrible about drinking water my entire life! Seriously, I would be lucky to drink 2 glasses of water a week. Being a sailor for over a decade I remember taking my vitamins with an IPA Beer or glass of champagne. I seriously never drank water, well unless you count the ice cubes that melted in my cocktails. It was what it was, you worked hard and played hard as a yacht chef and this particular yacht chef never drank water.

Yacht I worked on for 3 years in and out of St Barts and Ft Lauderdale

So now to the water part of my lifestyle, it is very important that you drink the proper amount of water even if it does funny stuff at first. Like for me, I am blowing up like a whale and my body is retaining the water that I am drinking because it thinks it is a trick and I am not going to drink water any more, lol. I am on almost 2 weeks of drinking 115 oz of water a day. I have noticed I do sleep better and when I would sit down to poop, and I would sit too long, I would get tingles in my knees and it was like my feet went to sleep. That is going away by drinking the water I feel. So you take your weight and divide it by two and that is what you should drink in water per day in ounces. So I am 230 pounds divided by 2 is 115 oz per day. If you are 200 pounds and divide by 2 your are 100 oz per day. Very simple, and very important. Your body is 60-70 percent water so do the math. So back to my water problem, but it isn’t going to stop me from drinking water. Eventually I am sure my body will start to circulate my water more rapidly as it gets used to me feeding it plenty of water every day. It just wont go out, and no matter how good I eat, I still feel this water inside me. I just have to have faith my body will know what to do.

Thank you Wikipedia for the free image

The way that I drink lots of water is I bought a cool Artic Insulated Mug that fits in a drink holder and drink from it. It is 20 oz and I try and drink from it 6 times. If you do once in the morning and once at night that is 2. Then drink one 15-20 min before or after a meal, that is a total of 5. Now just drink one or two more in between and you are 6-7 and doing good! The benefits of water are just remarkable and I strongly recommend that if you only do one thing to better your life, drink your recommended amount of water daily. You can do it!

Yacht Chef/Food Blogger Paul Allen

To here more follow me on this blog and I will keep you updated with how it is going in my life as an overweight chef trying to get a handle of life and still live at the same time!!!! Did I mention I have 3 daughters??? Life is real, for real!!!! lol 🙂

adventure of a FAT kid

Hello, my name is Paul Allen and I am 40 years old. I grew up hefty my whole life (or as my Mom would say, big boned) and didn’t shed the weight till I was in Culinary School around the age of 21 at a top weight of 255. As a fat kid, we sometimes bring the weight back on and then try to shed again. (like a yo yo effect) At the current moment I am hunched over a computer with my belly resting against the top of my thighs and It is once time to do something about it. I haven’t been on a weight scale in years but if I was to guess, I would say I am around 230-235 pounds. My ideal weight is 185 and I need to do something about it.

Paul Allen 1/7/2020

I am going on a diet or should I say “Lifestyle” that I created while attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. At the time I called it the “SOA Way of Life” but I am thinking of changing the name to “DOM Lifestyle” (D.O.M. = Design Of Me) but maybe you can help me come up with a better name. (feel free to message me a name you think would be better) I was big my whole life and when I went to Culinary School I ate a lot of food, and had a grand ole time. I was blowing up like a whale and loving every minute. Until my thighs would rub together and I would get soars and agony from the pain. I hated when that would happen. As a fat kid you don’t realize all the ailments you have, until you loose the weight and you think to yourself, how did I live with myself???

Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park New York

I remember going through Nutritional Class at the CIA and learning about calories, fat, healthy fat, trans fats, and all kinds of interesting stuff. We did a project and had to count the calories we consumed for the week and input it into a computer program. I clearly remember on the day that we did this, when I entered my breakfast alone I had gone over on calorie intake for the whole day and hadn’t even gotten to lunch, dinner, desserts or snacks for the remainder of the day. I was at over 5,500 calories for the whole day!!!!!

Photo Cred: Ash from pexels

At that moment I knew I had to make a life change! Now was the time to apply my knowledge, and focus on weight loss and a better life all around. Are you ready for my formula??? I started off by eating anything I want for breakfast, a modest lunch and fresh fruits and vegetables for dinner. I stayed away from dairy but did allow hard cheeses like Parmesan and Asiago in the morning or afternoon, and had one cheat day a week. Besides that day, no sugary candy or sweets.

Lunch of Wild Caught Salmon and Roasted Veggies

I would find myself eating better and better for breakfast and on the cheat day, sometimes I would not even cheat. My body started to crave this new lifestyle of delicious whole foods and eventually I didn’t crave sugar at all. I cut out all fast food restaurants, and stayed away from condiments and pre-packaged items. (that doesn’t mean all items, just thought about my food and ingredients. Starting to practice moderation in my life for once) Now if I was at a friends house and they served me food, I din’t make a big deal of it. I would eat and not be the weird guy, and just later that week I would eat better. Or I would consider that my cheat day for the week. It is all about balance and an 80/20 lifestyle. 80% good, 20% anything goes.

80% eat good, 20% anything goes

Previously in life, I always tried the diets that have no light at the end of the tunnel, the strict crazy diets that are so hard to follow. If you live a normal life and actually leave your house, these seem impossible! At the time (2001 “ish”) the weight loss diets that have you eat a bunch of meat and dairy were very trendy (still are) but so very unhealthy I feel. This is just my thoughts, but I don’t see how that particular diet can be good for you. And every time I would do those kind of diets, yes the weight would come off, but if I was to slip up a hand full of times the weight always came right back, and sometimes even more.

According to the USDA, we are supposed to eat 5 oz of meat per day, about the size of a deck of cards, yet we eat 2-3 times that amount. Click HERE to read more. If we are on the meat induced diets, we might eat 4-5 times that amount. Where does it all go? Again, I do believe in some meat, but not in excess. The average American eats 222.22 pounds of meat per year according to a study in 2018 by Micheline Maynard Senior Contributor of FOOD & DRINK. I will copy her link HERE if you want to read more.

Chicago Stockyards 1947

Now lets get into the dairy aspect, when is the last time you viewed a 20 year old man suckling on his mother bosom for milk? My point exactly, (sorry for the image, lol) you haven’t! So why are we consuming so many milk, cheese, and dairy items? Well probably because they taste delicious!!! And when did we become able to digest milk from a Cow???? I am sure we choose this animal because it produces a lot of milk, but take some time to think about it, to truly truly ponder and think about it. Common sense will tell us all that it is not OK to eat that much diary, especially highly mass produced dairy products. If you have to have dairy every once in a while, I get it, but to incorporate ever day, I don’t think that is smart, but who am I t tell you what to do, I am no expert or doctor. On a serious note, don’t ever try to take away my ice cream, nothing gives me more satisfaction than a good trip to the ice cream stand. In moderation, this is OK and believe me I am the first to say I eat to much diary, but am going to put a handle on this and see how I feel. (I will let you know in future blogs if I feel different)

I love my Miyoko’s

We have to get away from thinking that calories are bad for us, calories in Europe are labeled Energy. Yes that is right, think of calories as energy, you just want to put the right energy inside you. For instance, if you are a marathon runner you might need more energy than someone sitting in their office chair all day. Not saying one is bad or the other, just saying we all have different lifestyles. So if you are consuming the same amount of energy as a marathon runner, and you are sitting most of the day, it could possibly turn to fat. Just look down at your waistline and trust me, it doesn’t lie. Also there is healthy fat like in avocados, nuts, and olive oil. The main fat we want to stay away from is Trans Fats. Here is an article for the top 7 trans fats and where they come from, CLICK HERE to read. Basically fried fast foods and items like margarine. We want to stay away from Trans Fats at all cost!!! I try to not even do them on Cheat Day! If you happen to eat one every now and again, don’t let it get to you, just try to slowly cut them out.

Free Image by pxfuel

This way of life is not about being worried all the time, it is about freedom and taking your life back in stages. Some will take this way of life more aggressively and loose weight faster, some will take it slow, but the key is to making it your new way of life. Eat with common sense, have fun, life life and enjoy it all, in moderation. Like if I go out of the country, I might eat bad every day for 2 weeks, but when I get home I get strict with what I consume.

This is a short introduction to the “Adventure of a FAT kid” to learn more about how this new way of life is going to work for me, keep reading my blog. I plan on showing you what I eat daily, helping you with recipes, and meal plans. We will see what this will grow into, but I will have no expectations of what is to be. If I can help a couple people loose weight like I did, and live a better lifestyle, so be it! I am sure you will not all agree on my diet, and what I believe, but that is OK. I am no doctor, I am not a scientist and am not saying one way is better than the other, this is just what worked for me. Like they say in Israel……….L’chaim! (to life my friends)

Chef Paul Allen

PS Now I have to figure out how to review restaurants and still stay healthy 🙂 Maybe I will have to only review healthy restaurants, lol 🙂


best things in life are FREE

I claim that today is eat all the carbs you want day!!!! This should be a national holiday 😉 It is so nice to know the owner of your favorite restaurant. I was craving the bread service at Nonna’s Italian Cafe downtown Springfield, Missouri so I called the Owner/Chef Shawn Kraft and asked if he was around. It was 8:30am on a Monday, he cheerfully answers “Of course I am here, the front door is open, let yourself in!” (As I hear pots and pans banging around in the background) So I respond that I am on my way. 

Daddy Daughter Date with my 17 mo old Lilly
Daddy Daughter Date in Full Effect

A huge smile on his face and a great big bear hug are salutations as the Italian music 🎶 is playing loudly in the kitchen area. Chef Shawn is cleaning up 🧹from a tornado 🌪 that happened the night before. (We live in Missouri, literally a tornado 🌪 came through the previous evening and knocked off his sky vent)

Shawn at a pop up dinner hosted by Chef Drake Tillman
Shawn Kraft at pop up dinner hosted by Chef Drake Tillman

I come in with Lilly Pad (my 17 month old daughter) and he calls her by name and says buongiorno!!! I tell him I am craving his famous bread service, so he pulls out some freshly baked bread, chops some fresh garlic, grates the Parmesan Cheese 🧀 and drizzles Extra Virgin Olive oil on the top. I kindly add to his amazing concoction some salt 🧂 and cracked pepper.

Some of the best things in life are free
Some of the Best Things in Life are Free

He then fills a shot glass of pressed olive juice and downs it, saying “Good for the soul.” Shawn Kraft is a die hard fan of Italy and even though he lives in the states, in his mind he is always on the coast of Napoli. (He also runs a travel site that does tours through Italy and shows you the ins and outs and you eat 🍽 and drink 🍷 your way across Italy) Website: siitalia.wine

Mr and Mrs Kraft off the coast of Italy giving a tour with Si Italia
Mr and Mrs Kraft off the Coast of Italy giving a tour for their travel company “Si Italia”

I asked him why, and he says I get a free trip to Italy and at the end of the day I make a couple of bucks. What an awesome way to have an entrepreneurial spirit and take life into your own hands. Like the Frank Sinatra song, “I Do It My Way!” 

Prosecco is his favorite
Prosecco is a favorite in this family

I take my first bite and it is like heaven, the raw garlic, the quality parmigiano reggiano from the home land, the acidic and spicy Extra Virgin Olive Oil coats the back of your throat and is just like a symphony is playing inside my taste buds. Ahhhhhhh, I have been craving this experience, and no better way than to discuss culinary politics and kitchen drama with the owner while my 17 month old baby girl wanders through the dining room floor. Occasionally she will return like a little bird returning for her nibble of freshly dipped bread in the sauce of the Gods.

My little Lilly roaming the restaurant

Some things in life are simple and extravagant at the same time. It is how we source our ingredients, the surroundings (like the Italian music in the background) and the company you hold.

Lilly approved this meal! So did Daddy

This was one of my favorite breakfasts in Springfield Missouri and I will always cherish this moment. After some time of catching up he nicely starts to back away slowly into his kitchen where he will spend most of his day and I release him to his office of culinary adventures. He hugs me again and kindly brushes the cheek of my baby girl and just like that we are released back into the real world 🗺.

Location: Downtown Springfield Missouri

Vibin Late Night

So I have been Private Cheffing all day for over 12 hours executing Executive Meal Prep for one of my local high end clients. It was late and had been a long day, and I defiantly didn’t want to cook for myself. It is 9:30pm in Springfield Missouri, I ask myself, where am I going to eat this time of the night on a Thursday?

It was cold outside and I wanted a warm atmosphere. Then it strikes me like lightening struck the Clock Tower. (if your not old enough to get this joke, watch “Back To The Future” it will be good for your developing mind 🙂

The Cheesecake with the best Caramel Sauce I have ever had in Springfield Mo

I remember that my good buddies Dillon Fox & Jimmy Rollins opened a new Jazz Club downtown, & most importantly, I remember they serve food till late into the night. I pull up and get lucky and find a parking spot not too far away from the front door. It is cold and drizzly so I dart across the street and make my way into this 1920’s style Retro Chic Jazz Club.

Co Owner Dylan Fox receiving an award.

The lighting is dim (which I love in a late night spot), the place is busy with clients, and the Jazz Trio is jiving. There is a table right up front for 1 and I sit myself right down. I absolutely love live entertainment, and Live Jazz is about as high as you can get on my happy scale.

Awesome live Jazz Trio

The server comes up with an empty glass and a pitcher of water, water with no ice in it. I am in love already!!! I really appreciate good tasting water and with the offering of no ice, win and win! I prefer to drink water without ice, it is much more refreshing and helps me drink more of it and lets all admit we could all use a little more water in our lives.

Late Night Food Menu in Springfield MO

I am hungry, but not too hungry so I start to thumb through the menu. It is very well laid out, simple and to the point on all aspects from Beer that is only $2.50 (not what I would expect at a high end Jazz Bar, but they are catering to their area, and who their people are and I respect that. I also love in their Manifesto it states: “We are here to make you believe in our industry” I absolutely love that, and feel that when I walk in.

Look at these awesomely Cheap Prices!!! #getyousome

I order Pierogies with Potato & Beet Dumplings, Onion Gravy, Fried Cabbage & Mushrooms. It was plated beautifully and was the perfect temperature when served. This dish was $12.00 and I felt it was a great deal for what you get, and especially for the time of evening that it was. (it was about 10pm at this point) Do not think your typical bar food, this is much more elevated and executed with grace from Chef Dustin Fox who happens to also be Dylan Fox’s brother. I paired this with a Katas Tempranillo Wine that was $7 a glass and it was so juicy and exactly what I was expecting. You can get a decent Tempranillo from Spain for a reasonable amount per bottle $12-24 and you get a lot more bang for your buck. These grapes are so juicy because of the hot climate in which they are grown, it gives a special flavor only the Tempranillo Variety can achieve.

Pierogies, Onion Gravy, Fried Cabbage & Mushrooms $12

My only critique on the Pierogies filled with Pureed Beet & Potato, I would have seasoned the filling a little more, as well as the pastry shell. Don’t get me wrong, this was an amazing dish and prepared very classically but I would have liked a little more seasoning. Just a touch of Sea Salt would have thrown this dish to new heights. The gravy was perfectly executed and the Fried Cabbage was cooked for the perfect amount of time to not make too mushy or too crunchy, a perfect in between texture. I was also very impressed with the presentation, I highly recommend this dish.

Pierogies with Beet & Potato Dumplings & Onion Gravy $12 paired with a Tempranillo $7

I was really craving a bold glass of red, I wouldn’t recommend the pairing with this course, but this was my main dish and I am a sucker for a Tempranillo. I would recommend you have Dylan Fox make you an extraordinary mixed drink that he does so well. I remember the first time I ever had a real Daiquiri (and keep in mind I am a sailor that has sailed through the islands for over 10 years) and it was with Mixologist Dylan Fox at “Barley Wheat & Rye” a posh Whisky Bar that was on the South side of town. If you have never had a “Real Daiquiri” I think you should rush to The Hepcat Downtown Springfield Missouri and get one right now! It is so simple and so delicious: Rum, Lime Juice, and Sugar. When done right it is a game changer to add to your arsenal of go-to cocktails. I recommend you pair a classic Daiquiri with this dish, would be devine.

Specialty Cocktail Menu

As I am noshing on my Pierogies (which I am bypassing the fork and eating them by hand because I am enjoying them so much) I don’t know if this is allowed or if I am being cool enough, but they are so good, I really don’t care. As I sip on my Tempranillo, I remember thinking to myself that this is the good life. The sound of smooth Jazz flowing through the nights air, and I am sitting so close I can feel the wind come in and out of the instruments. I close my eyes and think to myself, this is truly “Viben” right here………and I am so digging it. So if you want a vibe like no other, please come check out this hip Jazz Club downtown.

I love a Fortified Wines Section!!! #brinbackport

The “Fortified Wines” section catches my eye with the offerings of a Tawny Pork, Multiples of Sherries, (Dylan is a big fan of Sherries) Ruby Port & a Madeira. I approach the bar and ask the legend himself “Dylan Fox” what he would pair with the Vanilla Cheese Cake what came with a J. Reiner Whisky Caramel Sauce. He takes a moment to think and then says “Amontillado Sherry”. I ask him what made him choose that, he replies that it is his favorite Sherry, that is why. (good answer, I think to myself)

Cheesecake of the Day with Dylan’s Favorite Sherry

So I place the order for Dylan’s Favorite Amontillado Sherry, and the “Something Cheesecake” which happens to be “Vanilla Cheesecake, Cranberry Sauce, Whipped Cream & J. Reiner Whisky Caramel Sauce. They should have changed the name to Graham Cracker Crumb Cheesecake because that was defiantly the star of the show!!! It literally melted in your mouth and you could taste the butter, the bursts of the sugared crunch and the graham just all mixing and melting together in my mouth making the most amazing magic.

I wanted to go ask the chef if he could save me all the scraps of the day that fall off the cheese cake and put them in a bowl and I would be by nightly to pick up my flakes of sweet, sweet culinary bliss. The cheesecake was spot on and nice and light, and not to heavy like some cheesecakes can be. I wouldn’t traditionally order a Cranberry Topping but this was close to Thanksgiving so it fit the theme perfectly. The chef left the cranberries in chunks which I liked and must have cooked them with sugar absorbing most of that bitter power pack that you can some time get from fresh cranberries. These were cooked perfectly, light and bright with a nice sweet undertone. They also whipped their own Sweetened Cream and appreciate that as well. It could have been a little fluffier if you are going to call it Whipped Cream. I recommend getting a “Professional Whipped Cream Dispenser” that uses Co2 Cartridges, you can use real cream and it is real fast and easy to store in fridge. Or just change the name to “Cream Sauce” it was super good!!!

Lets get a closer look at this masterpiece

Now lets get to the seduction part of this dish, the J. Reiner Whisky Caramel Sauce. This sauce was cooked down flawlessly and I was so blown away with the after bite. It is that kind of caramel sauce that is almost burnt but isn’t, do you know what I am talking about???? You could feel the texture of the grit and burn, even though it was not there at all, it gives the feel in your mind. This to me was perfectly cooked down Caramel Sauce and it takes balls to do what this chef did. Caramel Sauce can burn so fast when you take it to this level, but if done right, with the perfect technique of cooking, it will come out magnificent. This my food loving friend was cooked magnificently. Chef Fox, please don’t loose your passion for this Sauce, I am coming back for more 😉

Amontillado Sherry $8 “Dylan’s Fave”

I taste it with my sherry and it is a match made in the stars. When I come back in I will pair it with the 10 Year Tawny Port, but that is just because I love a good aged Tawny like I love breathing fresh air. I don’t always order it, but when I do, I like for it to be in an environment like this.

Executive Chef Dustin Fox for The Hepcat

After the meal I make my way back into the kitchen to tell Chef Dustin Fox that his Caramel Sauce sent me into a happy place, a happy place I needed to visit and now am reborn into a better person because of it. Don’t you just love when food can do that to you? For me it resets a clock in my body that lets me be stress free again. It lets me forget about all the problems of the world, lets me forget about any stress that might be on my mind. Takes me to that happy place that only an experience, the perfect smell in the air, the talents of a talented chef and the knowledge of a drink specialist.

If you want to enter that realm, and leave regular day life behind for a short moment in time, the enter “The Hepcat” and let that Vibe take you to that place you need to be.

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By Chef Paul Allen “Pauly”