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St. Louis Visit

We will be in SL next week and I need some foodie clues. Help!

1) Which "Hill" restaurant has the best combo of fried/toasted ravioli, and a decent menu? We can do without white table cloths, tuxedoed waiters, etc. We're more into deliciousness that ambiance.

2) I could find only 2 BBQ joints that do fried/crispy snoots, Smoky Al's and Smoki O's. Are there more? Again, which is the best place for snoots plus other BBQ specialties?

3) Please tell me about "St Louis Salad". I've read several references to it - is it worth tracking down a restaurant that serves it?

4) What about "Everest", the Nepalese place? We like that sort of thing - is Everest outstanding food or just somewhat exotic, with not especially well prepared, overcooked/stale ingredients, and/or pedestrian flavored dishes?

5) "Aya Sofia" and "Gbric" are two places that we are going to hit - good ideas? Any specific menu items we should order?

6) Should we look for a sit down place for Gooey Butter Cake or just eat it in the car and spill it down our fronts? What's the best GBC bakery in town?

7) Local draft beer: which one?

Any other suggestions are welcome (we already know about slingers, provel, egg foo yung sandwiches and Ted Drewes).

We will try to help when you are in San Diego; I will post a followup when we get home.

THANK YOU SO MUCH IN ADVANCE!

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  1. EggJar,

    For the Hill, the best known place(old standby) that alot of people rave about is Cunnettos. By the same token, alot of people do not like it either. It seems to be to old world "Hill" for some. I have heard alot of talk about Grazzies, and Lou Baccardi's lately.
    Any of these places will have good salad. I am guessing by St. Louis salad you are speaking of the basic Pasta House or Charlie Gittos salad. All Hill restaurants have their version of it.
    The snouts, I cannot help you. I love to Q, but don't do the exotics.
    I am interested to try Grbic also but I can't help you today.
    Have you been to Crown Candy Kitchen? You should go there, maybe instead of Ted Drewes.
    I love this bakery-
    http://www.mcarthurs.com/default.asp

    I don't know if they have GBC but I would call them or email them.

    Lastly, I would go here-
    http://www.stltoday.com/forums/viewfo...

    And post this post. It is a local food board. Some folks hang here as well, but you will get more info and more concentration there.

    FOTD

    1. I have 2 suggestions for the GBC and snoots if you are willing to drive across the river to the east side in IL. Mallo's Bakery is my go to place for GBC. They have been making them for over 40 years and they are deelish...especially the ones w/ the cherry topping. I think it is a sit down taste treat due to gobs of custardy buttery smooshy filling that will undoubtedly end up in yer lap if you are driving..LOL For the snoots, I recommend Big Mamma's BBQ which just happens to be across the street from Mallo's. Nice and crispy! They have a huge pork steak too which most folks can't finish.
      http://local.yahoo.com/details?id=175...
      http://www.bigmamasbbq.com/

      Big Mama's also has a location at Clinton Hills Golf Course on the east side of Belleville but I've heard mixed reviews about that location.

      1. If I am not mistaken Mama Camisi's on the hill is the home of Toasted Raviolli.

        4 Replies
        1. re: kprange

          I think you may be mistaking. I do not believe it is the "home of toasted raviolli". I also don't belive they are as good as they used to be so I personally would NOT go there. It is also no longer owned by the Campisi family who made it what it was.
          According to this review,
          http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/ente...
          The former restaurant in that space originated Toasted Ravioli according to this-
          "Toasted Ravioli - invented in 1943 or 1944 at Oldani's on “The Hill” by chef Terry Lane and served to (or more likely by) Martin “Mickey” Garagiola (Joe's brother), though others also claim the invention.
          "
          http://stlplaces.com/stl_foods/

          Here is a recent article about TR-
          http://www.saucemagazine.com/article/...

          FOTD

          1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

            I guess I am mistaken. One of my favorite restaurants on the hill is Cunetto's. They have good food at reasonable prices,. I wouln't waste my time with Charlie Gitto's, but I also like Fafawza's - I don't know if I spelled it correctly. There is a bar on Southwest Ave. called Mr. B's. I don't know if it is technically on the hill, but I really like the atmosphere. They always remember us even though we don't get there very often since we moved to Illinois. I hope this helps.

            1. re: kprange

              Do you mean Favazza's on Southwest near S. Kingshighway?

              1. re: jlawrence01

                Yes, that is the place I was referring to. I knew I didn't spell it correctly. I used to to go there all the time when I was dating my husband. I lived very close to there and just loved all the restaurants around there.

        2. Hit my favorite BBQ joint, Ropers on West Florissant for the snoots - but the rib tips are better.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jberendzen

            I think there are two restaurants that people should go to when visiting town, one being Niche (which is more fine dining, maybe not what you're looking for) and the other is Iron Barley. (http://www.ironbarley.com). I'd describe it as creative southern cooking. The food is always spot on, and they have a good (but small) beer menu, including one local beer on cask, a few weeks ago it was O'Fallon 5-Day IPA, which is a very fine beer. Make sure to save room for dessert, they have great frozen pies.

            A few more things on the beer front, I'd also look for O'Fallon Pumpkin Ale (although I don't know if it is on draft anywhere) it is a great example of the pumpkin beer style. Schlafly makes some fine products too.

          2. Wow...can I come along? I'm impressed by the research you guys have done (and I'm impressed by the chowin' you plan on doing...)
            Most places in town have toasted ravioli on the app. menu. If you want the whole toasted rav experience I would favor one of the 'traditional' places on the Hill, like Lou Boccardi's or Cunnetto's...understand that these are not our most 'cutting edge' Italian restaurants...they are tomato-sauce-with-noodles kinda places, with tableclothes and waiters with white aprons tied around their midsections. You WILL find toasted ravs on the menus at more progressive places, but they are likely to be stuffed with exotica, and you should experience the genuine article. Cunetto's and Lou Boccardi's almost face one another, if you have trouble choosing you could just drive there, park, and flip a coin.
            I second the suggestion for Roper's on W. Florissant...it's way up in North County (far away for me), but I've become a fan after working up in that area...St. Louis isn't really known for our BBQ, but Roper's is good, and the real deal.
            You are going to find gooey butter cake at almost any bakery, as well as in the bakery departments of the big grocery stores (Schnucks, Dierberg's...). If you try to eat it in the car your car will draw flies for months and you will asphyxiate on airborne powdered sugar. I love the stuff (in small doses), but you really need a good cup of black coffee to go with it... I've had good gooey butter cake at Cairdeas in Dogtown, but I don't know if they offer it daily. McArthur's bakery, which does do a really nice version, has a stall at Soulard Market on Friday and Saturday, I get mine there. (My eight-year-old daughter has developed an addiction).
            I haven't been to Everest in a while, but the last time I was there the food was very good. Be sure to read the newspaper clippings about the owner's father, its an interesting story.
            I'm going to very strongly second the suggestion that you try Iron Barley. The food is what I have seen described as "haute hoosier" ('hoosier' in St. Louis denoting a certain, um, lack of cultural aspirations...think 'urban redneck'...it used to be a term of derision, but those of us who can claim St. Louis hoosier ancestry are now using the term with pride)...Iron Barley takes the kind of honest meat-and-potatoes, cast-iron-skillet cooking my grandma did and ramps up the ingredients and the technique to a lick-your-plate level. NOT fancy. And very crowded on weekend evenings. A really fun place, one of my absolute favorite places. (And you CAN get the Ballistic Elvis for dessert, trust me).
            If you get the chance, try to get to Crown Candy Kitchen. The atmosphere alone is worth the trip, but the BLT and a vanilla malt is perfection. The blt has enough bacon on it for a family of four. A dodgy neighborhood, but on the mend, and you'll be fine, the place is always packed with people from all over the area. Again, crowded. Try to get there well before or after the lunch hour or be prepared to stand in line. Do not despair, the line does move along.
            And, at the risk of being yelled at by the moderators..especially if you have kids with you, do try to fit a visit to City Museum into the week. City Museum is wonderful. Get a corndog at Beatnik Bob's while you're there...so I can claim to be guiding you in houndish directions.