A quick run through of the places we hit up on our last trip. There just wasn't enough time to get to all of the spots I had in mind (see you this summer, Guerrilla Street Food), so here are the winners.
Sump Coffee had us driving from our West County HQ to the city on the regular to enjoy this delicious deliciousness in a non-BS environment. I swear, my cappuccino tasted like chocolate-covered cherries. And not like some Whitman's shit, but like some bliss from Marcolini. It was a real moment for me, a setting of the bar. That Blue Bottle capp' I had the week after in SF. Not as good.
Now that I live in Sweden, I am developing a love of coffee--not only for its nom-nom goodness but for the socialization (hello, fika!) and, well, alertness it affords. I can get good coffee here, for sure, but now they are all compared to my cup from Sump. Oh, and check the blog, too, for some nice reading.
Here is an insta-hoo-ha of Marshall Faulk
enjoying his pasta playing on his smart phone (is that one word? Smartphone?) at the wonderful Pastaria. Sample text: Yo Tiki, I think I dropped my Superbowl ring in a bowl of spaghetti. Come fish it out for me? xo Faulk
But oh man, you should have seen the cougar parade passing by his table.
Pastaria is another Gerard Craft jam and despite the fact that the words "restaurant group" now appear behind his name (this totally skeevs me, in Cameron Mitchell kinda way), he is still putting out delicious and innovative food and bringing global flavors and newness to St. Louis in a way that still feels local and special. I will state here (as I did in an ages' old yelp post) that the guy could use some serious help with his spaces and his interior decoration. Pastaria is fine in that it's pretty bare bones, but for such cozy food the room was just too big and too cold. And the acoustics were the pits, what with the highest ceiling ever.
But the food. Oh, the food. B had the marinara pizza, which passed his muster and garnered some fine praise. And before you feel sorry for this gluten-free gal up in Carb City, they make their own gluten-free pasta in house. What? Thanks for not sleeping on your gluten-free homies, Pastaria! I had mine with roasted pork, marscapone, and apples. Yum. Oh, and we had the shaved kale salad to start, which was like a steroidal caesar salad. Double yums.
Can we talk about the name for a sec? Is it Pas-TARE-ia or PAS-ta-ree-a? Hmm?
I accompanied B to the Record Exchange on Hampton and spent a couple of hours there, finding all sorts of things. Housed in an old library, it's beautiful on the outside and stacked to the rafters inside. We didn't even make it up to the room of 45s this time. This summer...
Another St. Louis treasure trove just around the corner from the Record Exchange is TFA. We have followed them from location to location, but now they are settled in on Chippewa. They always remember us for buying our beautiful Wendell Lovett fireplace there years ago. This time we bought a family of three (Japanese ceramic) squirrels to hang on our wall.
This is a Wendell Lovett fireplace for you to enjoy. This is not at TFA.
Peep some of the merchandise here. Wow, right??
Other favorites for eats are Local Harvest Cafe on Morganford, which is also gluten-free friendly, bien sur!
And last year's James Beard semifinalist chef's resto, Salt, which now has apparently filed for bankruptcy. Keep it together, St. Louis! Those roasted beets with horseradish, feta, apple, and olives are too good to lose!
The Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood has a damn fine menu, too. And a delicious pumpkin cider to boot! It is less cozy than its downtown counterpart and the hillbilly band could have turned it down a few for me, but for those of us holed up in WestCo with moms and dads, it's a heckofalot closer.
We will definitely have to try the Crow's Nest again, as sadly they were out of most of the good stuff (read: brains) when we went. Any joint that serves good beer and brains done multiple ways (nuggets to start, on a sandwich for an old school StL main) goes to the top of my list for next time. Respect!