3-day visit to St. Louis report (long)
Arrived Thursday morning, after 4 hours of sleep, collected the rental car, and headed straight for Goody Goody Diner. What a treat! My friend ordered fried chicken and waffles. I had never really thought I'd like fried chicken for breakfast, but since fried food is one of my 5 major food groups, and after 4 hours of sleep, it was pretty freakin' tasty! And their grits were the best I've ever had. Very nice texture, and not bland like so many places. I had some egg, sausage and pepper scramble, and a wonderful, light biscuit served w/ apple butter. Excellent start!
After such a big breakfast, we waited until 4pm to hit Pappy's Smokehouse, and had no wait whatsoever. We split the pulled pork platter, and Pappy's turned out to be everything I dreamed it would be. The pork was moist, flavorful, falling apart, and even better soaking up all 3 of Pappy's sauces. I had the cole slaw, which was a wonderful, noncreamy, version, and my friend had deep fried corn on the cob, which had good flavor, but I wasn't crazy about the texture. If I lived in STL, I'd be addicted to this place!
Dinner was a 5-course wine dinner at Five Bistro. Really liked the room, and the food and service were excellent. Most of the food was from local farms. The most memorable courses were the pork belly (they assured me it was Kosher) with maple glaze, baby carrots and cream polenta and the dessert course which was Beatje farm goat cheesecake and local blackberries. The wine, from Dierberg, ranged from a very nice pinot noir to an absolutely undrinkable cab (and a few others). Wanted to meet a friend at Riley's Pub afterwards, but 5 glasses of wine did me in.
Friday, we skipped breakfast and headed to Crown Candy Kitchen for lunch. Already a line up at 11:30, and it was 98 degrees in the shade. But we skipped through the line and placed our order to go. We each had a BLT and a shake. The shakes were great, but the BLT had roughly 3/4 of a pound of bacon. While you could say this was a good value, it was overkill to the point of being grotesque. It was impossible to eat, so we pulled off half the bacon, which made it more manageable. As sinful as it is (even for this Jewish boy) to throw away good bacon, there was just nothing that could have been done to save it in all that St. Louis heat (we actually ate on a park bench on Washington in front of an art gallery).
Dinner was at Brasserie by Niche. Because we started with huge martinis at the home of friends, and continued on that theme at the restaurant, the details of the meal are a bit foggy. However, I do remember having the endive and watercress salad and trout with almonds, and being rather happy about it. And the prices were very reasonable. I tasted my friend's gnochi, which was very nice. The rest of the evening was a happy blur!
Saturday morning we breakfasted at Soulard Coffee Garden. This is another place I could become addicted to (and in fact I went back for Sunday breakfast). I had blueberry cornmeal pancakes, any my friend has a slinger (which is what brought me back the next day). Both were excellent. The chili that is served on the slinger was crazy good, with chunks of perfectly cooked beef, and just the right amount of heat. The latte was perfect as well, and the service was excellent. We sat outside, and it felt downright tropical. We then hit the Soulard Farmer's market and bought a piece of gooey butter cake. Not sure it's the healthiest thing in the world, but it sure was good. We absolutely LOVED how everyone walking around the market was drinking bloody mary's. What a hoot!
We saved the best for last. Saturday dinner was at Farmhaus. We arrived just before the thunderstorms hit, and got to enjoy them from the window. The menu was very exciting and creative. The wine list was not large, but well chosen. We had 3 small plates and one entree. The summer vegetable salad was a wonderful mix of veggies, which arrived in a tall glass topped with local goat cheese. It was gently poured onto a plate by the server, which made for a beautiful presentation. The sweet potato chips with blue cheese, bacon lardoons (ok, I am going to hell) and fire roasted catsup was to die for. The main course was blackened mahi with prawns, served over spoonbread and butter emulsion. This will count as one of my favorite dining experiences in recent memory (and I do my share of dining).
All in all, another great trip to one of the truly great American cities. Kudos to you STL chowhounds who helped with the suggestions, and obviously do your share to support an incredible culinary scene.
Goody Goody Diner
5900 Natural Bridge Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63120
Crown Candy Kitchen
1401 Saint Louis Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63106
Soulard Coffee Garden
910 Geyer Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63104
3458 Arsenal St, Saint Louis, MO 63118
Brasserie by Niche
4580 Laclede Ave, St. Louis, MO 63108