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Jun 27, 2007 11:15 AM

if you were stuck driving across rt 70

sitting outside columbus now, headed for st. louis, kansas city, boulder, salt lake in the next few days. any ideas for hidden gems not too far off the highway? vegetarian friendly, otherwise slow food type things, stellar ice cream, indian, etc. etc. and cheap. will be checking back soon. thanks (surely anything you have to offer beats waffle house, etc.) best.

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  1. if you can plan roughly the towns you'll be in for each meal that would be helpful.....there are SO many places to stop and, really, quite a few "hidden gems". Give us a place to start! =)

    1. In St. Peters, MO, just north of 70 at Mid Rivers Mall Road, you can find Tango Argentine, a wonderful restaurant serving authentic Argentinian. The empanadas are Too Die For! The spinach and the creamy corn is meat-free. When we go, the whole family orders 2-3 empanadas each and an order of mashed potatoes. They are nicely spiced, something like mild garlic mashers. It's worth a stop.

      My other favorite is at Hwy K and 70, in O'Fallon MO, just a few miles West of the other stop. McGurk's offers wonderful Irish and American food in a beautiful atmosphere. Hwy K becomes Main Street when you drive north of 70 and McGurk's is at 108 S. Main, on the right hand side of the street just before City Hall and the railroad tracks.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Socialkim

        When did this open? It actually all sounds really good. It seems odd that an Argentinean restaurant is in St. Peters though doesn't it?

        1. re: bobzemuda

          It has been open a year and a half or so. Very laid back, and the food was very good as well. The tortilla was also very good.

      2. Here is a chowhounder's recommendation for western Kansas towns along I-70. Posting was in 2006

        he Cozy Inn in Salina is legendary for it's "slider" type burgers. Definitely a 'hound destination.
        Meridys in Russell (between Salina and Hays) is a worthy stop, huge steaks for cheap.

        Also, when in Hays, check out the venerable Al's Chickenette and the relatively new Liquid Bread Brewery.

        1. Very veg friendly is in Columbia, MO. Main Squeeze is on 9th, just south of Broadway. Take the Providence Rd exit, go across the highway (south). Turn left on Bdwy and go up to the top of the hill. Right on 9th, it's on your left at the end of the block. All veggie - much local and much organic.

          From there, you could go to the corner with Cherry St, go west half a block (down the slight hill) and find Bangkok Gardens for Thai.

          13 Replies
          1. re: Dennis S

            For the Best Thai food in Columbia, don't go to Bangkok Gardens. They have gone downhill since their move. GO TO THAI KITCHEN in the REGENCY HOTEL on BROADWAY. The best curries in town, no contest. In fact, they have 5 or 6 different curry dishes on their menu. Better hurry because I understand the hotel is on the chopping block for demolition.

            1. re: Christine

              I've heard this and need to try next time I'm there. There is one dish, phat prik nheu (sp?) at B.G. that I can't find anywhere else (currently live in DC amidst a large thai population).

              1. re: Dennis S

                Hopefully the inhabitants of Thai Kitchen will relocate after the new hotel is built "sometime" next year. For some reason, I doubt if they will be allowed to remain because the new hotel is supposed to be real "high-tech" whatever that means. I just hope it's not a dreaded boring chain restaurant that goes in its place.

                Interesting tidbit: If I understand correctly, there is a Thai chef out at the Blue Moon restaurant on Nifong, and they've added some Thai items to the menu. Can't verify this for sure, but I plan to check it out sometime in the near future.

                1. re: Christine

                  The Thai Kitchen folks also are behind the outpost at Cooper's Landing, correct? I really really need to get there next time I'm in town. Eating Thai food on the banks of the river (at sunset of course). Mind blowing.

              2. re: Christine

                I am so sorry, but I do not understand the good reviews behind Thai Kitchen. I've eaten there twice. The first time was unremarkable and the second time was so bad that I should have sent my food back, but I did not.

                I've had the food at Cooper's and it's fine there. Bangkok Gardens is still better, although it's quality seems to have slipped since their move.

                As far as I can tell, Blue Moon is now entirely Thai and is going by the name Bangkok Cuisine.

                1. re: rweater

                  We've always had good luck at Thai Kitchen and will continue to support them until their demise. Bangkok Gardens I just do not get anymore since their move. The food just does not taste as fresh. Oh well, diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks. I guess that's why God made Neapolitan ice cream so everyone could have a choice - ha!

                  Thanks for the update on Blue Moon now being totally Thai. Hey, wouldn't that be a great name for a Thai restaurant: Totally Thai?

                    1. re: Christine

                      hmmm...all I can say is that nothing about Thai Kitchen was remotely fresh. My food was cold and overcooked (which seems to be an oxymoron) and had no flavor.

                      I ate at BG last week and the vegetables were crisp and flavorful.

                      1. re: rweater

                        Like I said, each to his own (said the old maid as she kissed the cow). Hey, why don't you go out to Bangkok Cuisine and report back on that? It might be awhile before we get out there and I would like to know your opinion. BTW, has anyone tried Simma Down on Forum at Wilson's Fitness Center (or whatever it's called)? I know it's not Thai, but I'm curious as to what it's like. I'm eager for Jina Yoo's to open on Forum: the return of Korean food to Columbia - yay!

                        1. re: Christine

                          We were in Blue Moon I would say a week and a half ago perhaps and they still had both menus at that time because we both ordered from the sandwich menu. They messed up my order but I guess that is beside the point! Anyway, after I read this post yesterday, we went in search of Simma Down because I had never even heard of it and I was not expecting much when we drove up. I almost just turned around and left because I thought it would be more of a juice bar but we were very pleasantly surprised. I had an avocado sandwich on pretzel bread and my husband had curried chicken salad on ciabatta. Both came with a small melon cup and greens with some warm chunks of potato salad. I'm not a huge curry fan but he said it was exactly what curried chicken should be and my sandwich just hit the spot. It was all freshly prepared and for some reason, it was one of those days when a meal just hits you the right way. We spent almost $19 for two sandwiches and soda before the tip so it can be a little pricey. I notice that they have sushi as well but we didn't try that. We browsed the dinner menu too-some pasta, salads, that sort of thing. I would say the worst thing about this place is the silly name. It really does not do it justice.

                          1. re: Hooda_Guest

                            Where is Simma Down? I agree about the name - unless it were serving Jamaican food.

                            1. re: Hooda_Guest

                              Thanks for the recommendation for Simma Down! Sounds good and we'll have to try. To answer the question from Dennis S, it's on Forum at that curve at the bottom of the hill after Chapel Hill Road. Know where I mean? It's actually in the Wilson's Fitness Center, but does have its own entrance and you can see the signage from Forum. Hope this helps.

                2. I'd recommend a stop in lovely Lawrence. The Free State Brewery has excellent beer, a eye toward local ingredients, and a number of veg-friendly offerings. They even make compost and pig feed from their brewery waste. If you're arriving at more of a breakfast/brunch time, check out Wheatfields, a nationally recognizes bakery.

                  Lots of ,restaurants, coffee shops, and an excellent ice cream parlor (Silas and Maddy's) on the main Massachusetts Street drag. It's the first exit for Lawrence as you go west on I-70.

                  In Kansas City, I'd recommend a walk round the City Market (follow the signs as you come into downtown on I-70). Several interesting restaurants. For more suggestions in downtown KC, check here