I was in St. Louis last weekend…land of Nelly, the great Gateway Arch and apparently a very large Mardi Gras celebration. As some of you may know, The BF (my BF) lives in The STL so I go there every so often. I’m not really sure what I expected when I went to St. Louis for the first time, but it kinda flew in the face of any stereotypes I could have thought of.
I’m not gonna lie…there’s a limited number of neighborhoods that a) you want to actually be in and, b) have a cool vibe or a strong retail/food presence. BUT!! When you find one, man do you find some gems! Here’s one weekend’s worth of eating and, okay, drinking. Each trip I’ll try to chronicle a few new spots…these are our favorites so far!
Coffee Cartel – Located in the Central West End this coffee shop has been around since 1996, (apparently) seats 250 people, has a great outdoor patio, is open 24hrs a day and has free wifi. And OH YEAH! Some seriously awesome coffee. The BF and I always (and I mean always) start our days here with a coffee and a snack. Pictured here is an apple fritter…so nomy nom nom. And in case you’re a real coffee connoisseur, you can buy their beans online here.
Crepes: Etc. – Best. Pancakes. Ever. Farmer’s cheese (buttermilk?) pancakes topped with lemon curd and blueberries. There aren’t words for the kind of happiness I experienced when I ate these (and for our Valentine’s Day date no less!!). This is a dish I will be trying to recreate very soon. Very, very soon. Find this spot in the Central West End as well. Oh and they serve Illy coffee! Always a plus.
Pappy’s Smokehouse – Voted best BBQ in St Louis and featured in Man v. Food’s St. Louis episode, this joint has only been open for TWO YEARS!! And it’s knocking everyone’s socks off. Everything is tasty but their real shining star are the ribs. A full slab of ribs with a side order of green beans (honestly, why were we even trying?) and potato salad are pictured here. The BF and I aren’t exactly the couple that sits through a whole meal without talking but this is the exception. How do you say “happy” in St. Louis? Pappy’s ribs. That’s how.
Tom’s Bar and Grill – Everybody needs a neighborhood bar, right? This is The BF’s. And all his friends’ too. Tom’s. Ah Tom’s. Tom’s is the bar you hit up for happy hour…where a pitcher of beer costs $7.50 (pictured) and for $10.00 it comes with a pound of hot wings (legit hot wings…not pansy pants hot wings). The place has been around since 1976…can you imagine St. Louis in 1976?! Walk inside Tom’s and you’ll get a good idea.
Washington University Law School – Okay, okay…this isn’t exactly a destination…and I don’t endorse party crashing. But! Like most buildings, businesses, stadiums, etc. in this city, Anheuser-Busch, um, dominates (not a strong enough word). The building the law school is housed in? Anheuser-Busch Hall. And they don’t just give their name to the fine students of Wash U.’s law school. They give them beer, too. Fridays. Lotsa Bud. ‘Nuf said.
Mardi Gras – Are you making a confused puppy face right now? It’s okay…I did too when The BF told me we were going to one of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations outside NOLA. Taking place in Soulard, this party draws something like 80,000 people ready to drink and eat a lot of street meat. The BF and I encountered a man BBQing pork butt, breaking it apart with his hands and making sandwiches on a fold out card table. The same man had a crock pot of homemade chili to go on…HOT DOGS!! Again, bliss. Feed me probably dirty, questionable meat from a street vendor and wow do you have a happy girl. And just cause I think I’ll get asked…there weren’t a lot of boobs.
So, yeah! That’s St. Louis in one weekend. Send me your suggestions, your groupons, your dirty dives, your farmer’s markets. I’ll be in The STL plenty over the next year…be my guide?!