Monday, November 5, 2012

Meet Me In St. Louis - Route 66 Road Trip Update!

The slice brisket & pulled pork from Pappy's Smokehouse
I have fallen in love with St. Louis. This charming city in the mid-west is full of delicious barbecue, art, culture, loads of unique things to do and great food! After arriving in St. Louis as the first major stop on our Route 66 road trip, I was sad to be leaving after only one night. I loved it here so much, that I will definitely be booking a trip back. It's just a short 1:20 minute flight from Toronto, so I'm not sure why I've never visited. I have been to New York City and Chicago a few times, but I really didn't think there was much in St. Louis. I was oh-so-wrong. 
The Barbecue - I didn't think much about what the food would be like here, until my contact at The Peninsula Hotel in Chicago told me that I can't miss the barbecue while I'm there. Ask any local where to go and they will most likely tell you Pappy's Smokehouse, which was featured on Man vs. Food and voted to be some of the best barbecue in St. Louis.
The Half Slab of Ribs ($13.99) with fried corn and maple-baked beans. Ok this is a deal for the price and sheer amount of food you get for under $15. The ribs are perfect seasoned with a nice peppery dry rub flavour - not too salty either. They fell off the bone, but still had a nice chew to them. You add your own bbq, sweet bbq or hot sauce via squeeze bottles at your table. I loved the ribs the best and get there before they sell out, because once they're gone for the day - you're out of luck. The beans were sweet and smokey, but I wasn't a fan of the juicy fried corn.

The Regular Meat Platter ($11.99) came with a choice of two meats and two sides - I opted for the crunch green beans and coleslaw, both were well done. The pulled pork was done right, juicy and full of flavour and not a ton of fat. My favourite of the two was definitely the beef brisket. All of it served on thick bread and squeeze your own BBQ sauce.
Since Pappy's Smokehouse is so popular, we waited for about 20-30 minutes in line at lunch. They have their ops down, so you want in a line in the hallway for about 15 minutes, then you move through to the inside line for the rest of your wait. By the time you order and find a seat, your food is usually ready and brought out to you. Don't forget to look in the cooler case for a taste of Fitz's local soda!
How to finish off some of the BEST barbecue that I've ever had? Well a stop to Ted Drewes Frozen Custard on Route 66 in St. Louis was in order. A local gentleman introduced me to the 'concrete' frozen custard - it's thick and taste like hard soft serve ice cream and all sorts of delicious. He said chocolate chip was his favourite and he wasn't wrong. The mix it in with chunks of itty-bitty chips. They know what they're doing and have been churning out frozen custard since 1929.
After stuffing ourselves silly with way too much food, Paul and I took up a friend's suggestion and went to The City Museum. Everyone we spoke to was so adamant that we go and said it was virtually undescribable and that we had to see what it was about for ourselves. They were right. Do not miss The City Museum if you are ever even near St. Louis. It's the treehouse-fort-playground of my dreams. Sure, it's built for kids, but adults are encourage to participate. Here I am above climbing to the top of a wired fort on top of an old 10-storey shoe warehouse.
I also made the trek up to the three-storey slide on the top of the roof and shot out fast on the other end. The ladder cage climb is above the slide which is that narrow chute below. It's the sort of place where you ask, how did they get approved to do this? Is this sort of dangerous but also awesome? YES!
If you buy a museum pass, don't skimp on the rooftop pass which also includes a working ferris wheel with gorgeous views of St. Louis. Sturdy running shoes and even knee pads are recommended. Bring your sense of adventure.
You surprised me St. Louis. I didn't even get around to the zoo, the art and all your famous donut stands. Next time, I'm coming for a three-day weekend.

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