In the last two posts, I talked about our recent trip to St Louis and Kansas City, but I didn’t fill you in on the food and drink we encountered. Always a highlight of our travels, it was exceptionally so in these two cities!
Missouri is a stronghold of of barbecue and we visited the stalwarts of this cuisine in both cities. In St. Louis, Pappy’s Smokehouse is known as the home of the best Memphis style barbecue. We had loved it on our visit in 2012 and it was equally as delicious on this visit! The ribs are smoky and the sauces vary from sweet to spicy – they are amazing.
In Kansas City, we tried two iconic offerings. Arthur Bryant’s was founded in the early 1920’s and is considered by many to be the most famous barbecue restaurant in the U.S. Again, the ribs had that smoky, fall-off-the-bone characteristic and the sauce, tasting of vinegar and paprika, was excellent. The atmosphere was down-home, with the floor just a bit slick from the grease in the air!
Our second excursion in KC was to LC’s Bar-B-Que. This small, one-room joint, in a rather sketchy location, is known for its ‘burnt-ends’ and they did not disappoint! As with the other two barbecue restaurants we visited, the many testimonials to their excellent food were posted on the walls!
Other Restaurants of Note
We also enjoyed some excellent meals at:
- Anthonino’s Taverna in the hill district of St. Louis – great Italian fare, especially their signature toasted ravioli
- Triumph Grill in Grand Center, St Louis
- Mario’s in Westport, Kansas City – fabulous grinders and soup
We has some excellent stops for afternoon refreshments on this trip. The October special of pumpkin brew became our drink of choice and we had some great ones!
We also enjoyed a visit to the Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City, where we tried two flights featuring their many varied brews.
Our regular readers may recall our cultural guest blogger in Prague and Vienna, Debbie. Today, Debbie returns as our resident expert on coffee houses. We visited many on this trip – here is Debbie’s take on the coffee scene in SL and KC:
“Sure, St. Louis and Kansas City are known for beer, blues, and baseball, but who knew that they are home to a craft coffee culture where the local roaster shops outnumber the big green chain outlets? Pleasantly surprised, we were. You need to adjust your whole coffee-drinking experience. There are too many to review individually, so suffice it to say that if it ain’t pour over in front of your face, it ain’t coffee. And don’t be asking for dark or mild roast, the talk is of flavours, of boldness, of undertones. Don’t be asking for small, medium, or large either – pour overs are served in ounces and might magically appear in a mini carafe or a wine glass or a flask that you can pour into your cup at leisure. And the baristas, oh, the baristas! Not for here is the short-term-part-time-wait-till-I-go-back-to-school barista, for being a barista in a craft coffee house IS a career – a career with a passion, a passion for smells, flavours, and designs. It is a thing of beauty to watch a big, strapping, bearded man gently, ever so gently, slowly pour the steaming water over the grounds at a a precise pace measured by timer for perfection every time. And if you happen to order a milky delight (only whole milk, of course), it is a wondrous thing to watch his big hands pour and tip until the perfect picture emerges in soothing browns and milky whites before he gracefully hands you his work of art. You have probably figured out by now that there is no rush in craft coffee houses. Here, you are patient and when the moment arrives, and you have that lovely, warm, beautiful liquid in your hands and feel it permeate your physical body and mind, you sit back and read or ponder or engage in thoughtful conversation with whoever is near, for this, really, is an art gallery. Not to be completely outdone by the product itself, however, is the location and the sign on the door. Chances are you will be looking for an unpretentious hole in the wall with minimalistic furnishings and with a name that only hints at what wonders hide inside – Oddly Correct, Blueprint Coffee, Picasso’s and many undiscovered others. There might be food but the best ones just have a few nibbles because you are here for the shining star, the coffee. So, the next time you are in St. Louis or Kansas City, enjoy the beer, blues, and baseball but also venture into the world of craft coffee. It’s worth a special trip.”
Bev & Harv