Sunday, May 8, 2011

Eatin' in St. Louie

That was supposed to be a play on Meet Me in St. Louis, but I'm not sure how well it worked. Oh well. I just got back from St. Louis about an hour ago. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are expecting in June so Jeff and I made the short drive down to attend a baby shower. I'm rather excited for them. They are both very happy about the baby and, if the volume of presents is any indication, this will be one spoiled little boy. It was fantastic to see everyone. I spent only a bit of time with the mom-to-be and my other sister-in-law but got to spend a ton of time with my in-laws. We played dominos and talked and of course ate.

Jeff and I travel a lot but there are very few places where we have so many must-eat foods. St. Louis has some amazing eating, even for a vegetarian like me. So without further ado, here are Jeff's or my top 10 foods you must try in St. Louis. Note that since both Jeff and I contributed this will be a mix of vegetarian and meatatarian fare.

10. White Castles. I know that there are White Castles all over the country but this one of the only places where we ever seem to get them. Both Jeff and I are Castle fans. I've found you either love them or hate them passionately. There is no middle ground with White Castles.

9. Chiliman Chili is also national but we can't seem to find it anywhere but St. Louis. We pick up a case every trip we make. I'm not normally a fan of canned chili but this stuff is good, particularly over macaroni noodles.

8. Fried Pickles at J. Bucks. Having spent years listening to Jack Buck announce the Cardinals games I knew I had to try the restaurant named after him. And after trying their fried pickles, I knew I'd be back. Jeff will argue but those are some of the most amazing pickles I've ever had (Jeff hates pickles so he'd argue no matter what).

7. Vess Cream Soda. Where else can you find a syrupy sweet, bright pink beverage that I would go crazy for. Vess is a local soda company that makes one of the most interesting and tasty cream sodas around. They have tons of other flavors but Jeff and I used to fight over the cream soda. Another one of those things we grab a case of most trips.

6. Toasted Ravioli. This St. Louis tradition is always meat filled (rather than the more common cheese-filled) which is why it is Jeff's favorite meal.

5. The Pasta House. I was introduced to their salad long before I ate at the restaurant and from that first taste I was hooked. This St. Louis company has everything from sandwiches to rich pastas. Although I've eaten my fair share of meals on The Hill (the Italian district), the Pasta House is a great go-to meal.

4. Gerbers at Ruma's. Ruma's Deli makes the best Gerber sandwich in town. A Gerber is a St. Louis tradition. You take garlic bread, add thinly-sliced ham, mound on Provel cheese, bake, and then dash with Paprika. It's one of the few sandwiches where I break my vegetarian fast to have a bite of ham and cheese goodness.

3. Imo's. We had to get pizza this weekend. Like Fox's in Chicago I have certain pizzas that I crave. Imo's uses Provel cheese on their square-cut thin crust pies to make the perfect balance of cheese and crust. Add their cheese covered house salad with the celery seed dressing and I'm in heaven. My only worry is about saving some for anyone else.

2. To be honest almost anything with Provel makes my list. This St. Louis based cheese was created specifically for Imo's Pizza and has spread throughout the city. It is a mixture of swiss, cheddar, and provolone and is quite possibly one of the greatest things ever. Our local grocery store has just started carrying it (on request) and we buy a carton at least once every two weeks. Mmmmm

1. And last but not least...Ted Drewes. If I had access to this iconic ice cream stand on a regular basis, I would weigh well over 300 pounds. I'm addicted. Ted Drewes is a frozen custard stand on the old Route 66 that specializes in Concretes (think Blizzard but only better). Their Apple Pie concrete (with apples and pie crust and whipped cream) is my downfall, my Kryptonite. I am powerless to stop myself from eating it. We didn't get a chance to go this past trip but I'm sure we'll go down after the baby is born.

The typical nighttime crowd at Ted Drewes

Like any top 10 list, I'm sure that there will be disagreements. I didn't even mention the world-famous St. Louis style barbeque. I didn't talk about all the fantastic restaurants on The Hill. I was told that there is a pretzel place down by the Anheuser-Busch brewery that I would love. I've eaten some amazing meals in St. Louis. These are just the ones that instantly come to mind when the great city is mentioned. We travel down to visit really, but we also make the trek for the food.


Salt said...

You need to come to the Food Building at the Minnesota State Fair, and get a sampling of pickles from the pickle booth within.

You can leave Jeff at home. :-D

Cat B said...

We've actually been wanting to come for the fair. Perhaps this year. I've seen the for the biggest.

Anonymous said...

It was great to see you, even for a short period of was such a crazy weekend, we almost thought Callen was going to be coming on Sunday! Thankfully he is not ready i need another week or two to finish up! hopefully next visit we will be able to visit more!

jen b2

Cat B said...

Yay! Jen,
Thanks so much. It was wonderful to see you too. Even if just for a short time. You look beautiful. I'm so excited for you and Greg...and Callen. Jeff and I will try to get down and spend some more time after he is born. I'm glad he didn't decide on Sunday. Keep us posted.