Tuesday, April 18th con’t…
Regaining control of himself after the Horseshoe incident, Danny
and I hit STL in about 90 minutes with the STL Arch popping into view as we rounded the turn between landfills on both sides of I-55. Our first STL stop would be the Legendary Crown Candy Kitchen
While the neighborhood is slowly undergoing gentrification, it is a rough looking area with Crown Candy
bringing in a steady flow of outsiders. The line was short by the usual standards and only extended into the double door area. Inside are ancient booths that quite cozy. Expecting a 30 minute wait, I was happy that it ended up being 10.
There are basically three areas; the candy counter, the to go area (with park seating across the street) and the actual table area. I had a pretty good idea where this order was headed, but there were still a few details to work out.
We ordered the Heart Stopping BLT and sided it with a grill cheese sandwich. If you’ve had one of their shakes, you know there’s enough for two, so we split the Johnny Rabbit Special which is a fresh banana malt with nutmeg, nuts, whipped cream and a cherry. It was an excellent choice by Danny
The BLT comes with a pound of bacon so splitting a BLT and a Grilled Cheese sandwich was perfect. Chips and a pickle complete the plate and provided some serious mopping for all the bacon bits that escape. It was truly good to the last crispy piece! The bacon is fried in thick clumps so it is extremely dense and requires a knife and fork at least until the three quarter mark.
Danny sharing with his new friend his disappointment over missing his Horseshoe got nothing but silence.
Departing CCK, we headed to Ferguson for relaxation and a little dessert. Our stop, Natalie’s Cakes & More
is a simple sidewalk store front.
Entering the storefront, we were warmly greeted by a young girl and steered to a rack with individual slices of some of the finest looking cakes around. There were three flavors available that day and we picked…
….two! The Sock It To Me Cake and the Legendary Caramel Cake. While the Roadfood Book
describes the Caramel Cake in great detail, I’ll just say that the words heaven on earth come to mind.
, we headed to Delmar Blvd and the famous Delmar Loop
. This is a happening area frequented by Wash U and SLU students. Shops, bars, restaurants, a concert venue, hotel…the Loop has it all. We timed our arrival to be earlier so that we wouldn’t have to deal with crowds. Parking was a snap and we decided to enjoy a short break at Blueprint Coffee
Most of the tables were taken by parties of one complete with laptops and headsets.
We grabbed a window table and I went with the iced coffee of the day. Blueprint Coffee
was about the halfway point on our mile walk and after coffee, we continued our tour. We walked to the western end where there is actually a loop. Here, we saw a very cool building which we later found to be the Village Hall. The stairs remain to the former front door but the walk way is no longer there as the new entrance is now on the parking lot side.
Danny went up the hill to the loop and snapped some photos of the statuary. Perhaps he’ll awaken and post a photo or two.
Walking back to our next stop, we paused at the statue of Chuck Berry.
His recent memorial service in STL drew thousands of fans and they have been dropping off tokens of love and appreciation for some time.
Another block and we arrived at our early dining destination, Salt + Smoke
. This was a new venue for me and I was looking forward to it. As a senior, I felt right at home with dinner #1 being at 4:15pm. Our group was about to grow by one as we saw Big_G,
Gary from Sweetwater TN standing in the doorway.
The venue was empty and we had our choice of tables, indoors or out. After checking out the menu, we opted for a 4-meat sampler…brisket, pork, ribs and bologna. The pulled pork was average, the ribs a step up and the brisket Texas good. But the Bologna, infused with jalapenos and cheddar and then smoked was the star of the show, absolutely perfect. A big hunk was cut and spent some time on a flat top and became the crowning touch on our platter. The beans and mac n cheese were both superb sides. Agreeing with David, the popover was the low point and we thought perhaps it was left over from lunch service. This was a very high level bbq stop and I’d strongly recommend it.
We departed for our hotel which was located in the West End District
. I had always wanted to stay at the Chase Park Plaza and when I saw a sizable discount on Priceline, I snapped up a couple of rooms. The grand lobby is filled with photos and a decade by decade historical timeline. It was fascinating and I was so interested, I didn’t take one photo….sorry! In addition to the several bar areas, there is a five screen movie theater as well as viewing area for the beautiful outdoor pool and surrounding patio.
One quick hotel story. After completing my registration, I elevatored up to my floor and headed down the hall. Just before inserting the key card, I heard voices coming from within my assigned room. It almost sounded like an argument as one voice was much louder and deeper. Hesitating a moment, I knew I had a spreadsheet schedule to keep so I readied the key card, and just as I was grabbing the handle, the room door opened from within. I was surprised but the women standing in my doorway was shocked. This was choreographed as well as a Fred and Ginger dance routine.
Turns out, the check in process activates the floor housekeeping supervisor to take a quick and final peak at your room before you arrive. Our mutual surprise was interrupted by the loud conversation on her waist band walkie talkie. Mystery solved, but not after a good laugh between us.
hadn’t been to STL before, I picked several old favorites and few new stops. No visit to STL is complete without a visit to The Hill
. The Hill
is a large area of residential homes with Italian businesses interspersed throughout. Restaurants, coffee houses, bocci clubs, delis, bakeries, olive oil stores…they’re all there. They are all mixed in with the houses, which all front the sidewalk providing a very urban, yet old world feel. There is red, white and green in all quadrants. Guido
and I about 10 years ago...
My pizza back then...
My older son and I 10 years ago at Guido's
I’ve dined at 15 or 20 of the restaurants on The Hill
and selected Guido’s Pizzeria & Tapas
for our dinner. As the evening was a perfect 72, we requested an outdoor table from the owner. Our group was now four as Roadfooder Davidsanders
, aka David Sanders
After a few stories which is pretty common among Roadfooders, we settled on a shared menu of Italian small plates, Spanish tapas and a pizza.
Toasted ravioli with sauce...
Meatballs under the potatoes...
Smoked salmon crostini...
A pepperoni pizza...
Our waiter spotted the spreadsheet and after a few questions told us how much he enjoyed St. Paul sandwiches. I could see the gleam in Danny’s
eyes get brighter with each passing sentence.
Dusk had just settled in as departed for another legendary STL stop, Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
. Parking is always at a premium at Ted’s
and you move very slowly as kids dart in and out, cars are always backing up and no one is really paying attention as they are all eating custard.
If you’re not familiar, Ted Drewes
is home to the concrete, made so thick they will turn them upside down if you ask. I went with a chocolate cherry combination and then joined the horde standing streetside and enjoying their custard.
After finishing, we walked a few doors west for the much anticipated ChiBears15 vs. the STL St Paul sandwich showdown
. We ordered up the supreme which is basically an egg foo young patty with everything thrown in and served between two slices of white bread. Our waiter shared with us several times how it was one of his favorite drunk night meals. At this point, Danny was probably wishing he’d had a few belts.
The St Paul is constructed from scratch and therefore takes about 10 minutes to prepare. This gave our group ample time to encourage Danny and share his raw anticipation.
At the ten minute mark, his prayers were answered and one hot from the fryer St Paul was placed in front of him! After a few photos and some curious examination, he dug in and was rewarded as only a St Paul can reward. Claiming he was full from the custard, he got though about a quarter of the St Paul. This one, even the squirrels and raccoons said no to!
Time to call it a night so we split up and headed to our respective hotels….but we’ll be back again tomorrow. Days 2 – 6 still to come…
post edited by ChiTownDiner - 2017/05/01 20:12:44