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Any recent St. Louis recommendations?


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#1 KRamsey

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Posted 20 September 2007 - 02:22 PM

We're flying to St. Louis on 9/24 for a few days. I'm intrigued by a restaurant called Niche because of an interview I read with the chef. Any other places to recommend for any meal? We've been to an excellent Turkish place, but I don't remember the name.

#2 ghostrider

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 04:41 AM

In case you aren't familiar with the Riverfront Times, here you go.

http://restaurants.riverfronttimes.com/sea...ics'%20Pick

I always check this website for ideas before I head out there, though I'm rarely able to follow through on them. We usually just wind up going to Il Vicino two or three times because we really like their pizza.

http://restaurants.r...ts.php?oid=5093

The Forest Park Boathouse has a really pleasant setting but the food is nothing special. It's a shame. Come to think of it, back in May they were remodeling the fountains & such on the big hill that spills down from the Art Museum, so until that work is done it's probably not worth even a drive-by for the park ambience.
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#3 kuan

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Posted 22 September 2007 - 08:15 PM

My wife went to American Place and thought it was quite good.
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#4 KRamsey

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:48 PM

QUOTE(KRamsey @ Sep 18 2007, 12:22 PM) View Post
We're flying to St. Louis on 9/24 for a few days. I'm intrigued by a restaurant called Niche because of an interview I read with the chef. Any other places to recommend for any meal? We've been to an excellent Turkish place, but I don't remember the name.



We had breakfast at Rooster, which someone put me onto because they have bacon from a local supplier called Hinkebein Hills. The bacon was indeed very good (more on that later) and the crepes were excellent. A few days later, Riverfront Times named it Best Breakfast of 2007.
http://bestof.riverf...a...3&year=2007
http://www.hinkebeinhillsfarm.com/

The friends we visited took us to a Vietnamese place they like that actually turned out to be Chinese and Vietnamese and I felt was not very good. Another night, we went to Cafe Brasil. We ate there maybe 4 years ago when the place was very small, but it has expanded hugely, offering churrascaria and losing its liquor license in the meantime. That was a nasty shock when we sat down and expected to order caipirinhas. Personnel was cagey about why they could offer no beer, wine, or liquor. My expectations about the food weren't high after learning of these developments, but it was solidly okay. Truly awful decor.

Our friends also really like Racanelli's Pizza, which is in their neighborhood and purports to be New York style pizza baked in a brick oven. Yeah, that's complete bullshit. I can eat the worst of pizza, so had no problem getting it down, but it's nothing close to what they advertise, and the cheese is really fluffy and just plain weird, like it was whipped with eggs or something.
http://www.racanellis.com/

We went to the Wednesday night farmer's market at the Schlafly Brewery and bought many pork items from the Hinkebein Hills guy: Cured bacon, P.R. bacon (this compares to rashers), Italian sausage, and bratwurst (because I love brats). We toted it all to Iowa and really liked it all.

I was struck by how tiny this farmer's market is. My friend toted along a lot of fabric shopping bags in preparation, so I was expecting a larger market. I was really impressed by the chocolates made by Kakao. I asked the woman at the stand a lot of questions. They are a very young company, so their prices are still pretty low. I'd jump on that, because the truffles were excellent. I asked her what kind of chocolate they use -- it's combinations of Scharffenberger, Cluizel, E. Guittard, and others. The flavor profile of a particular brand may clash with the filling, so they tailor a different combination of couverture for each type of truffle. I was very impressed with them and will definitely be ordering their chocolates in the future.
http://www.kakaochocolate.com/

There was a guy with homemade gelato, which I didn't try, but he had cannele, which I can never pass up. It really suffered in the heat and storage, however.

ETA: Visited Jilly's Cupcake Bar in St. Louis, which been open only for a few months. The cupcakes, especially the plain chocolate/chocolate frosting and vanilla/vanilla frosting, are outstanding. Pricy at $3 (a bit more for the more frilly combos, which are of varying success but also tasty), but big and substantial and delicious. We also had a Monte Cristo that was pretty good, accompanied by a very delicious slaw. Great place, and I would definitely make this a daytime hangout if I lived in St. Louis.
http://www.jillyscup...r.com/Home.html

In Iowa City, I visited one of my old favorites, the New Pioneer Co-Op. Still a decent store, but their cheese selection has really gone downhill. I did fine one fantastic cheese I hadn't had before.

On the next required trip* to St. Louis and Iowa, I plan to try Lincoln Cafe in Mt. Vernon, Iowa (which is owned by the friend of a friend -- I've had his fantastic cooking, but at a friend's home, not at the restaurant). Also am interested in Devotay in Iowa City. Maybe a tonier St. Louis restaurant next time when the tyke is not so squirmy. The folks at Niche were very nice on the phone and said they'd welcome my 2 year old, but confessed that they don't see many kids. I didn't want to inflict my pre-cooperative kid on fine diners. I was also a little less interested upon finding out that they don't currently offer the dish that has bacon ice cream as one of the components.
Lincoln Cafe: http://www.foodisimportant.com/

*I do like visiting the Midwest and old friends there. St. Louis is a great place and if the bottom dropped out of husband's job in San Francisco, I would look to St. Louis as a place to live. I complain only because they are trips filled with duty, obligation, and hard/dirty work and are not really vacations at all.

#5 Stone

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:51 PM

St. Louis has weird pizza. Emos, or something like that. Cut into squares.

But God bless toasted ravioli.

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#6 KRamsey

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 02:12 PM

QUOTE(Stone @ Oct 3 2007, 11:51 AM) View Post
St. Louis has weird pizza. Emos, or something like that. Cut into squares.

But God bless toasted ravioli.


Imo's, but I've never been able to try it. I hear the cheese is like plastic--totally gotta get that next time. My friend who lives there screams "No!" every time we mention it.

We got toasted ravioli from Racanelli's, but I think it suffered in the time/transportation/packing department. Has to be freshly fried to be really good, like most fried items, I'm guessing.

#7 Behemoth

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 02:19 PM

QUOTE(KRamsey @ Oct 5 2007, 09:12 AM) View Post
QUOTE(Stone @ Oct 3 2007, 11:51 AM) View Post
St. Louis has weird pizza. Emos, or something like that. Cut into squares.

But God bless toasted ravioli.


Imo, but I've never been able to try it. I hear the cheese is like plastic--gotta try it next time. My friend who lives there screams "No!" every time my husband mentions we should go there.

We got toasted ravioli from Racanelli's, but I think it suffered in the time/transportation/packing department. Has to be freshly fried, like most fried items, I'm guessing.


St. Louis style pizza is depressing. The only other option in central IL is deep dish pizza, which in addition to being gross, has the property of making me very sick to my stomache. And ravioli -- what did poor ravioli do to be treated like this? I ask you.

Headed back next week. Can you tell? dry.gif
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#8 KRamsey

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 02:24 PM

QUOTE(Behemoth @ Oct 3 2007, 12:19 PM) View Post
QUOTE(KRamsey @ Oct 5 2007, 09:12 AM) View Post
QUOTE(Stone @ Oct 3 2007, 11:51 AM) View Post
St. Louis has weird pizza. Emos, or something like that. Cut into squares.

But God bless toasted ravioli.


Imo, but I've never been able to try it. I hear the cheese is like plastic--gotta try it next time. My friend who lives there screams "No!" every time my husband mentions we should go there.

We got toasted ravioli from Racanelli's, but I think it suffered in the time/transportation/packing department. Has to be freshly fried, like most fried items, I'm guessing.


St. Louis style pizza is depressing. The only other option in central IL is deep dish pizza, which in addition to being gross, has the property of making me very sick to my stomache. And ravioli -- what did poor ravioli do to be treated like this? I ask you.

Headed back next week. Can you tell? dry.gif


Ooo, I didn't mention the revolting Chinese food in Palmyra, Missouri. The fried rice had an organ meat funk I won't soon forget. Won ton soup an unnatural orange color, won tons still quite hard. I was able to find a really good T-shirt for a friend in a thrift shop, so it wasn't a total wash.

#9 kuan

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 06:55 PM

QUOTE(KRamsey @ Oct 5 2007, 09:24 AM) View Post
QUOTE(Behemoth @ Oct 3 2007, 12:19 PM) View Post
QUOTE(KRamsey @ Oct 5 2007, 09:12 AM) View Post
QUOTE(Stone @ Oct 3 2007, 11:51 AM) View Post
St. Louis has weird pizza. Emos, or something like that. Cut into squares.

But God bless toasted ravioli.


Imo, but I've never been able to try it. I hear the cheese is like plastic--gotta try it next time. My friend who lives there screams "No!" every time my husband mentions we should go there.

We got toasted ravioli from Racanelli's, but I think it suffered in the time/transportation/packing department. Has to be freshly fried, like most fried items, I'm guessing.


St. Louis style pizza is depressing. The only other option in central IL is deep dish pizza, which in addition to being gross, has the property of making me very sick to my stomache. And ravioli -- what did poor ravioli do to be treated like this? I ask you.

Headed back next week. Can you tell? dry.gif


Ooo, I didn't mention the revolting Chinese food in Palmyra, Missouri. The fried rice had an organ meat funk I won't soon forget. Won ton soup an unnatural orange color, won tons still quite hard. I was able to find a really good T-shirt for a friend in a thrift shop, so it wasn't a total wash.


Heh, that part of MO has nothing to offer. You shoulda forged on to Quincy IL. There's a new Thai place there next to the Panera Bread.

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#10 ghostrider

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 07:51 PM

QUOTE(KRamsey @ Oct 5 2007, 09:48 AM) View Post
Our friends also really like Racanelli's Pizza, which is in their neighborhood and purports to be New York style pizza baked in a brick oven. Yeah, that's complete bullshit. I can eat the worst of pizza, so had no problem getting it down, but it's nothing close to what they advertise, and the cheese is really fluffy and just plain weird, like it was whipped with eggs or something.
http://www.racanellis.com/

QUOTE(KRamsey @ Oct 5 2007, 10:12 AM) View Post
QUOTE(Stone @ Oct 3 2007, 11:51 AM) View Post
St. Louis has weird pizza. Emos, or something like that. Cut into squares.

But God bless toasted ravioli.

Imo's, but I've never been able to try it. I hear the cheese is like plastic--totally gotta get that next time. My friend who lives there screams "No!" every time we mention it.

QUOTE(Behemoth @ Oct 5 2007, 10:19 AM) View Post
St. Louis style pizza is depressing. The only other option in central IL is deep dish pizza, which in addition to being gross, has the property of making me very sick to my stomache. And ravioli -- what did poor ravioli do to be treated like this? I ask you.

Headed back next week. Can you tell? dry.gif


I mentioned Il Vicino, & we go back there again & again, precisely because it's like none of the above. (It's in "downtown" Clayton if anyone's travels happen to take them there.) It's one of the closer approximations to actual Italian pizzas (nicely charred thin crust, just enough cheese) that we've found, albeit with a distinctly American-oriented range of toppings. But it chews well & tastes good, & they offer caramelized onions which is a plus in my book.

In spite of hailing from StL, I've had Imo's only once in my life, when I arrived in town late one night & it was the only place open in the neighborhood. I agree, weird, weird stuff.
It was hard to avoid the feeling that somebody, somewhere, was missing the point. I couldn't even be sure that it wasn't me. - Douglas Adams

Please come visit my rock concert blog: Tantalized.

#11 kuan

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 11:24 PM

You know, they use that provel cheese in St. Louis. smile.gif

What is it anyone know?
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#12 Ron Johnson

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 12:14 PM

Provel cheese is "Italian" processed cheese. It is their version of the Kraft single, seriously. It's a blend of three cheeses with artificial smoke flavor added. It has a very low melting point, which is important because the paper thin crusts of St. Louis style pizza only last about 4 minutes in the oven so it needs a cheese that will melt quickly. Imo's is definitely an acquired taste. I hated it at first, but quickly got hooked. Now, I have to have one whenever I go back to visit. Racanelli's pizza is faux NY style, and it sucks.

and toasted ravioli? simply a gift from god.



#13 ghostrider

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Posted 11 May 2008 - 03:09 PM

Back to the topic at hand - we're back in StL for a few days & so far I have one new recommendation:

Stellina Pasta Cafe, 3342 Watson Rd. (Closed Sun & Mon.) Decidedly worth the drive from wherever you may be staying in the area. Hits every note just right - decor, service, salads & of course their trademark pasta.

There's no fixed pasta menu, it changes daily; it's a nice feature of this modern world that you can check their web site to see what's on for the day. Last night we had the goat cheese agnolotti with spinach pecan pesto and the spinach pancetta lasagna, both excellent. The agnolotti were superb, with a little diced sundried tomato in the ricotta filling for contrast. The lasagna was hearty & insanely good, overflowing with mozz, fresh spinach, tomatoes & cubed pancetta, baked in an iron dish to create perfectly charred edges.

Easy to get to. Exit 284 (Jamieson Ave) off I-44. Follow Bradley Ave. east from the exit ramp for 2 blocks, hang a right onto Watson & go another 1 & 1/2 blocks.

After dinner, if you have any room left, you can continue down Watson until it becomes Chippewa & then join the lines at the legendary Ted Drewes Frozen Custard for dessert.
It was hard to avoid the feeling that somebody, somewhere, was missing the point. I couldn't even be sure that it wasn't me. - Douglas Adams

Please come visit my rock concert blog: Tantalized.

#14 prasantrin

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 09:09 AM

Is anyone familiar with the following doughnut places: Donut Drive-In, World's Fair Donuts, and St. Louis Hills Donut Shop?

I'll be in St. Louis next month, and I read World's Fair Donuts was good, but when I added it to my google map, the pointer said the place was now closed. Can anyone verify?

If it is closed, how are Donut Drive-In and St. Louis Hills Donut Shop? Donut Drive-In has two locations--is either better than the other?

I prefer yeast doughnuts to cake ones, and lemon-filled ones have a very special place in my heart (and stomach), as do apple fritters.

Help a girl wipe the memories of Japanese doughnuts out with some good American doughnuts!

#15 Sneakeater

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 02:41 AM

Forget doughnuts.

Ted Drew's. Ted Drew's. Ted Drew's.
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