Wednesday, April 19th
We were up early on Wednesday and spent a few minutes taking in the beauty of the hotel lobby during a period of quiet and minimal foot traffic. It’s really a lovely place and one I would love to return to. Part of the allure of staying at the Chase Park Plaza
is that is it central to the West End (within walking), Delmar Loop (< 10 minutes), Forest Park (< 5 minutes), Wash U (< 5 minutes), SLU (< 5 minutes) and The Hill (5 minutes). Even downtown is less than 15 minutes east.
Our first stop was one of MY
favorite venues in STL – Winslow’s Home
. Set in the middle of mansion row and a dry goods store as little as ten years ago, Winslow’s Home
has morphed into a great Roadfood
stop. It’s location about a mile west of the actual Delmar Loop but still on Delmar places it right in the middle of a residential area with ginormous, old style mansions.
We arrived 10 minutes before the 7am opening and were the 2nd
car in the small parking lot as Gary
had already arrived. That gave us plenty of time for photos and a little chit chat on this gloriously sunny day! Not even one backed up train crossing in site!
When I first found Winslow’s Home
some 8-9 years ago, there were perhaps 5 tables interspersed among the dry goods shelves, racks and displays along with 3-5 outdoor tables. Today, dry goods are relegated to the west wall and the inside is all tables along with another dozen or more outside. There’s also a really good self-serve coffee bar inside that would even warm the cockles of wanderingjew’s
heart....he's in line with the Tin Man
in Kansas to get them!
Truly Farm-to-Table with everything prepared, cooked and baked on site. Upon entering, walk up to the pastry display counter, peruse the menus and then fire…your order to whoever’s manning the register. Now open for all 3 meals, you can also experience Winslow’s Home
for either custom catering or special baked orders.
Some years ago while enjoying a late night pie and coffee snack at perhaps, 9pm on Friday night, I asked about custom pies. Mentioning raspberries, our server checked the cooler and sure enough, they had lots of fresh raspberries. I ordered a Sour Cream Raspberry Pie with Crumble Top
(paging The Honorable buffetbuster-san
) for pick-up the next morning! Arriving just after 10am, it was still warm from the oven and to this day is one of the all-time best pies I have ever had.
We ordered, grabbed our coffee and a table for 4. Interesting that within the next 30 minutes, all of the large communal tables would slowly fill with the regulars who nodded to each other and then grabbed what appeared to be their regular seats at their regular table. Early on a weekday = no wait. The staff mentioned that even with seating quadrupled since the old days, the weekends still have lines and waits. Danny
choose the egg sandwich, I went with a breakfast burrito that used two types of beans instead of meat protein and Gary
choose the pancakes remarking they required NO syrup. They were mighty fine, so good I lost the picture! As it was the first meal of the day (we had 11 scheduled), plates were cleaned!
After numerous cups of coffee, we were off and on schedule for next stop….World Fair Donuts
STL, like many larger cities, has continuous road construction and as we approached Would Fair Donuts
, we could see but not reach it. We used the GPS map to take a big loop through a nice residential neighborhood filled with parks and approach from the backside even grabbing a great parking spot.
We walked by an enormous salvage store that was selling every conceivable type of statuary for your home grounds. Cement, metal, sculptures, you name it and it was both fascinating and made for interesting conversation.
The store is tiny, located on a triangle corner. Upon entering, there were two older folks manning the counter. With reverence, I would describe them as having been there since the World’s Fair…in 1904. They open at 4am which most likely corresponds to the baking period which takes place right in the open behind the display counter. The Hot Donuts
sign was NOT
illuminated in the window at 8am, but these still looked mighty fine. Danny
and I went with three – blueberry old fashioned, red velvet and a plain old-fashioned. Gary
grabbed a few more and we marched back to my car, opened the trunk and dined in the beautiful rain-free outdoors! These were donut heaven and we all loved them!
Getting out of the traffic nightmare was much easier than getting in and within 10 minutes we were transported to the tranquil neighborhood that houses another of my all-time favorites – Park Avenue Coffee
, home to STL famous gooey butter cake.
With over 70 varieties and typically 20 or so offered each day, ordering can be a challenge. My only complaint with Park Avenue Coffee
is there is no written list of that days offering. There is a flyer with ALL offerings, but that days are transmitted orally. The display case has a dozen or so of the best sellers so you can’t even see all of the days choices. Many are held in back. That system sucks but they’re not listening to me on this one. Perhaps a visit from Joe Rogo
would enlighten them as to the error of their ways…Pittston Style
We bellied up, hemmed and hawed, ask for a repeat and finally choose three to go along with our coffee. Danny
went red velvet (do you see a pattern here?), Gary
went cinnamon coffee cake and I selected white chocolate raspberry. We grabbed the goods and headed out back to beautiful and tranquil rear patio.
There was only one other table occupied on the patio. Two guys, papers and laptops strewn about, were obviously having a business meeting. When one of the two guys received a cell phone call, he immediately got up from the table so as not to disturb his co-worker and stood right next to us. Typically, this would not bother me, especially since were enjoying our third rain and
train free stop of the morning but I found it odd that he choose to stand next to the only other occupied table on the patio. After about 5 minutes of this, I gave him the ChiTownDiner Evil Eye
(taught to me by the famous Eye-talian Eye Guy, Joe Rogo
himself) and he got the message and moved away.
Check out all the flavors here…. https://parkavenuecoffee.com/
We split up after Park Avenue
(who was originally from STL) returning to visit a family member and tour the old neighborhood. Next up, Gus’s Pretzel Shop
directly across the street from a local brewery….
Inside, it’s a modern facility obviously redone since they’ve been in business since 1920. As you walk down the hall to the counter area, huge glass windows let you view the baking area which bustles with activity. The basic pretzel is either twisted or straight. From there, several dipping sauces are available.
These pretzels are soft, dense and quite filling. We choose a classic twisted and a brat stuffed straight guy. No inside dining is available so it was back to the trunk. The plain pretzels would make a great sandwich!
After departing Gus’s
, it was back to The Hill
for an early lunch. Our choice, the mighty Amighetti’s
! The shop is really several and takes up half a block extending around the corner to their bakery where all the bread is baked fresh daily. The inside of the bakery is really Old World and one gets the feeling they are stepping back in time to a bygone era.
Rounding the corner, the restaurant takes up a large chunk of area and has an outside courtyard with ordering window. The courtyard is sided by the restaurant proper on the south, enclosed party rooms on the east and a gelato and expanded indoor dining area on the north. Street side is west. We were pretty early at 10am so service was quick.
The choice at Amighetti’s
is always the Special
which we decided to share. The Special
has ham, roast beef, salami, brick cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pepperoncini, pickle and a special sauce comprised of oil & vinegar with spices. It’s a good sandwich made great by the bread!
We were pretty full at this point and passed on one of my favorite venues directly across the street – Milo’s Bocce Garden
which is a great neighborhood bar, restaurant, patio and bocce court. On nice evenings, Milo’s rocks into the night with both the gentle clink of bocce balls hitting and bottles being raised to cheer!
Our next stop was to be a little known Italian grocery outside of The Hill. LeGrand Market
is a full service grocery store that makes great unique sandwiches right at the butcher counter. Pay up and there’s a few tables set right in the middle of the store to enjoy your creation. LeGrand
was on the spreadsheet (Milo’s
was not) and we took a pass after the Special
slowed us down.
Back to the car for the 20 minute ride to location #2 of the Donut Stop
. A tricky little switchback finds this place buried in the center of large and dated strip mall. We missed the sign twice (co-pilot errors
) but finally acquired our target. Big_G
was already in the parking lot waiting!
While not the original location which was too far south for this trip, location #2 was right on our path out of town.
The menu is straightforward and the selection still pretty good at 11:45am. I was intrigued by the Cherry Crème and asked about it.
She explained to me the cherry cream is custom made and offered to do so. A glazed donut is topped with a piped custardy cream and finished with cherry pie filling. While Danny and Gary also ordered donuts, I don’t remember a thing except lighting into the Cherry Cream outside at the trunk! Good stuff!
Finishing our sugar rush, we loaded up the two vehicles and headed west to Columbia MO. Our destination, the new for me Booches Billiard Hall
. Located about 10 minutes off the interstate right in the heart of downtown Columbia, Booches
was an unexpectedly difficult place to find parking due in parts to the proximity of the college, lots of construction taking up street parking and a generally busy downtown area…must not have built the Walmart yet. I even had to resort to a u-turn, something I hate to find a spot.
Love the "Closed on Sunday - See You in Church" sign!
Walking in, we experienced yet another time warp. The sign says since 1884 and not much has changed. Bar on the left (with lots of locals) fronted by a flat top for burger cooking near the window, tables on the right, billiard tables all the back.
Burgers are the go to here and we all ordered them. Mine was a cheeseburger with extra cheese and it was love at first bite. It had that west coast beef taste everyone in California and the rest of the country raves about. The grilled onions and extra cheese made it really juicy and the sturdy bun stood up to the challenge. These are smaller in size and in hindsight, I wish we would have explored a few more items particularly the Chili Wurst.
The restrooms are located in back so you get a historic walk through the billiard area enroute. Lots of local pool cues padlocked in the holders as you journey back. The bathrooms are the smallest I’ve ever seen, smaller than onboard an airplane. It’s a bowl…period. Not even a sink. The sink is outside and is used by all
including a staff member who seemed to be almost taking a bath in it. Different!
This was my favorite burger of the trip! Hands down winner! We pull into KC in the next half of Day 2…much more to come….
post edited by ChiTownDiner - 2017/05/01 12:51:59