Top 10 Eats in St. Louis, MO

Yep. Back to Missouri. Can’t let the beast win, right?wpid-img_20140711_220341.jpgA few weeks before we made the plan to go, I found a clue. A new lead, like letters underneath fingernails. I think hipsters stole my briefcase. This is entirely based on a piece of paper I found while going through my belongings after switching rooms, a paint sample wedged in between a few Kansas City bus passes that read, in lazy handwriting, “I hope I’m the pain in your poems.” wpid-screenshot_2014-07-17-22-13-472.jpg.jpegThe color is called cantaloupe slice. It looks unripe to me. Hipsters makes me feel better, it feels more romantic and planned. A heist, a film noir with me as the unwitting victim of seduction in the Paris of the Midwest, filmed, of course, on a 16mm vintage Bolex.wpid-img_20140711_121743.jpgI hope I’m the pain in your poems. The front says that, the back says unripe cantaloupe, but in different handwriting. Someone was thinking the same thing I was and maybe they robbed my car. Me, by extension. And maybe I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure regular robbers don’t leave vaguely depressive one-liners as calling cards. Hipsters, I swear. It just makes me feel less shitty than the classic boy meets girl, boy is a meth head and girl is a gently used Hyundai, boy breaks girl’s heart and girl doesn’t even beep plaintively story that we all know and hate to report to our insurance companies. wpid-img_20140712_121828.jpgI don’t know what it means, but it feels like a clue, because even after having a drink, I’d definitely remember having a note like that. Oh well. wpid-img_20140712_104618.jpgMy point is, it made me wary to drive back home. It permeated my whimsical Keroacean fantasies with a punch of realness to them, slick in the gut like an image of your parents’ disapproval while you’re rubbing one out. A cross-country trip now felt like miles upon miles of trouble waiting to happen, waiting for me to rub against it and stick like a magnet. But maybe we can start small, we thought. So we went to St. Louis, the Brooklyn of Missouri, approached with perfect courage. And here are the top ten things we ate and drank.

1. Gin bucket, Venice Café

$15 gets you well gin- we say, spend the $5 to sub in Tanqueray. Mixed with peppermint schnapps, fresh mint leaves, lime juice, whole limes, and tonic, it is the official drink of St. Louis and the unofficial drink of the most awesome lagoon bar outside of New Orleans. wpid-img_20140711_200439.jpg
2. Coffee tonic, Sump Coffee
Better with gin? Possibly. Few things aren’t improved with it, but the addition of tonic is a clever and quixotic start, rendering the coffee both effervescent and tangy with the slug of quinine. More refreshing than any iced coffee and beautifully layered. wpid-img_20140712_122017.jpg3. Chili mac, Courtesy Diner
The best breakfast for the night after the gin bucket, doing Cincinatti proud with homemade chili and soft spaghetti noodles. Hot sauce throws it over the edge to sheer perfection. Frequent the Kingshighway location to meet Dr. Dan, the pancake wizard, and convince his bosses to pay him more so that he can make beautiful pancakes en masse. wpid-img_20140712_111659.jpg
4. Weisswurst and Erlkönig, Urban Chestnut Brewery
The perfect sandwich for the perfect beer, though eating it is a messy affair, abetted by the phallic shape of the sandwich. Still, with homemade pretzel bread and a snappy wurst, you can’t go wrong. The beer was deceptively light and packed a woozy 8% punch. wpid-img_20140711_183408.jpg
5. King Roast Beef, Lion’s Choice
This is a St. Louis local specialty- natives have described it as Arby’s in the 70’s, with hand-shaved beef steamed and spiced with a sweet paprika mixture. We shared a sandwich on the ride home and immediately ordered another to take back for dinner. One is not enough.
6. Roasted and smothered chicken, Sweetie Pie’s Kitchen
Getting in was an ordeal, eating was a relaxed affair. With a line snaking out the window, no shirts left, and the world’s loudest and longest one-note (literally!) soprano saxophone solo, the smothered chicken was the star, falling off the bone and right onto the mac and cheese. The black eyed peas were perfect. wpid-img_20140712_182224.jpg
7. Buttermilk glazed, World’s Fair Donuts
While Strange Donuts won the award for best shirts, friendliest service, and most awesome drunken hours, their donuts were less impressive than we expected them to be. Get a robber shirt (modeled on me above) and skip the dones, then wake up early and soothe your hangover with a freshly fried buttermilk glazed from World’s Fair. They are molten hot and ethereally light in texture, like cotton candy. Their gooey butter cake was also exquisite. wpid-img_20140712_115654.jpg8. Coatepec (Mexico) over ice, Kaldi’s Coffee
This was a very unique coffee and tasted like a dark, caffeinated agua fresca, with cantaloupe, strawberry, and watermelon flavors. wpid-img_20140711_162214.jpg
9. ReBoost, Nadoz Bakery + Café
Cabbage, mint, lemon, apple, and pineapple, or as I know it, the perfect hangover cure. This literally saved my life after the events that led to #10. wpid-img_20140713_091907.jpg
10. Cheeseburger, White Castle
Yes, I know White Castles are everywhere, but we made the arch out of boxes. I repeat, we crafted the famous St. Louis arch out of empty burger boxes. That alone makes it list-worthy. I’ll fight you for it. wpid-img_20140713_021518.jpgHoly crap, St. Louis, can I live with you? You’re the best. Screw you, KC.

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