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Jul 15, 2008 10:35 AM

St. Louis Trip Report

Thanks everyone for your help and advice for this past weekend- not one bad meal was had! :-)

We started out on Saturday morning and decided to drive through Hermann on the way there since neither my husband nor I had been there before. We went to Stone Hill Winery and Adam Puchta. We had been to Stone Hill's satellite location before in Branson, and came away with one of the most ridiculous memories on record for our vacations. The bottling tour at the Branson location is just absurdly cheesy- so bad I almost had to exit the room so I wouldn't pee my pants from giggling so hard! Anyway, we just are not impressed with Stone Hill as a whole. I would consider myself far from a wine connoisseur, but even I don't think their wine is very good. However, we really enjoyed Adam Puchta, and I found much to like about their wine. I like the more rustic simplicity of their setting too.

We ate dinner that night at Stellina Pasta, and this was probably our favorite meal of the trip. It was just absolutely wonderful! I had the pulled pork sandwich with caramelized onions and smoked gouda. I got cole slaw for my side, but I really wanted to sample all the side options because I had a tough time deciding between that or the potato salad or the watermelon salad. I should have just tried all three! Anyway, the sandwich was fabulous- just the right amount of smoke flavor. My husband had the black pepper fettuccine with sirloin beef tips and chanterelles. We switched halfway through, so I got to eat quite a bit of this too. Sometimes I find black pepper-flavored pastas to be too peppery, but this was just right. Ridiculously good! We also sampled the creamy zucchini soup with bleu cheese, which was very fresh and excellent with the bleu in top. I had the Aztec hot chocolate because it was absolutely freezing in there (my only complaint)! It helped to warm me up a bit, but my teeth were still chattering through dinner! I remarked to my husband that I wanted to wrap Stellina Pasta Cafe up in my pocket and take it home with me! I love that it's casual but that you can still get top quality food there. Loved it!

For breakfast the next day, we went to Rooster's because it was literally a block and a half from our hotel so we could walk. I had the Finnish pancake with homemade raspberry jam and the mimo- a mimosa with pomegranate juice. My husband had the andouille sausage and eggs over sourdough toast with gravy. Everything was really fresh tasting and definitely hit the spot. The banana bread with cinnamon butter that they brought out was also wonderful! I wish we had a fun breakfast place like this within walking distance of our home here too.

For dinner before the concert, we went to Sweetie Pie's. This was the perfect choice to set the mood for a Gladys Knight and Al Green concert! I know that Gladys would have approved! I had the meatloaf with mac n' cheese and green beans, and of course, cornbread! My husband had the baked chicken with corn and mashed potatoes. I had to try the banana pudding too! Everything was just wonderful, and I really expected that any minute, Gladys, or at least the Pips, were going to sit down in the booth next to us! I'm sure Gladys was getting ready for the concert though! ;-) And who knows where the Pips are! Anyway, this was absolutely the perfect spot for us to go, and the epitome of soul food. Thanks so much for this rec!

We didn't really get anywhere for desserts this time around. With the exception of the banana pudding at Sweetie Pie's, I didn't really have any other desserts! If you knew me at all, you would know how rare that is! We were just too stuffed from all the good meals to do desserts. Usually I tell my husband that dessert is reserved for my other stomach, but I just did not have any room to speak of. I'm definitely keeping the dessert recs for another trip though. We really had a wonderful time and managed to get to the zoo and the Gordon Parks exhibit (who happens to be my favorite photographer) at the art museum. We also were able to go to Trader Joe's (first time!) and The Container Store (another first)! We packed a lot in to a short weekend! Thanks again for all your help and past posts as well!

1104 Locust St, St Louis, MO 63101

Cafe Stellina Pasta
3342 Watson Rd, Saint Louis, MO 63139

Sweetie Pies At the Mangrove
4270 Manchester Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63110

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  1. Katie, glad you enjoyed the St. Louis experience. Thanks for the report!

    1. Katie, I read your report with interest. We will be there next week! What did you think of the zoo? Worth going? We are staying in Forest Park and will be close.

      5 Replies
      1. re: maggiwun

        Definitely worth going, especially for being free. Make sure you try Stellina Pasta too, if you get a chance.

        1. re: maggiwun

          the zoo in STL is behind San Diego and the Bronx only. National in DC lacks in comparison.

          while there (and time permitting) the art museum has very well regarded pre-Columbian and German expressionist collections. also free and just up the hill.

          1. re: hill food

            Many would rank the St. Louis Zoo as second only to San Diego's. The secret is to go early -- St. Louis tends to get very HOT and humid in the summer, the animals are more active, crowds are less, and parking is easier the closer to opening you get there. For info,

            1. re: nosh

              Thank Katie, hill food and nosh. The zoo opens at 8am and since we are at the Chase, shouldn't be hard to get there when it opens.

              1. re: nosh

                nosh: maybe the Bronx doesn't measure, but we agree STL's is worth a visit - and gotta ride that train!

                bonus points maggiwun: if you can name what enclosure the Marlin Perkins statue is near. and even better (the long dead gorilla - no longer flinging fecal matter - but quite well known in local lore).

                yeah other insider tip: if you're taking a cab back through the park, have the driver go past the birdcage while you screech "ferrark!" or something similar out the window - the goal being to wake the birds and set off a chain reaction around the place of disturbed animals.

                I think it's an urban myth.

          2. Katie,

            The owner of Sweetie Pies came off the road as a back up singer, I think it was for Ike and Tina, to open the original Sweetie Pie's on West Florissant in North St. Louis. So very apropos.