Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Where to eat?

My wife and I go out to eat. A lot. This is just "our thing". Where other couples spend their money on vacations, golf, gambling, etc, we use our discretionary income to explore the dining scene in whatever town we live in. As a result, I am often asked "Where do you recommend for..." I would like to answer some of those questions with some of my favorite Saint Louis restaurants. If you work for/own a restaurant, and it's not on this list, I probably still like it. These are just what I recommend this particular morning!

A Glass of Wine-
33 wine bar. This is a great little spot in Lafayette Square with an amazing wine list. It's also owned by a guy that is quickly becoming a trusted friend, Jeff Stettner.

A cocktail-
Taste, the new concept next to, and owned by, Niche. Ted Kilgore makes a great drink in a cozy setting

A cocktail, away from the world-
The Hideaway. This is a dingy little neighborhood bar that you have probably driven by (near Hampton on Arsenal)...It has one of the better juke boxes in the city, and a blind piano player on Thursday nights.

A cocktail with a view-
Vin de Set. In my opinion, the coolest looking bar in the city

A cocktail with fancy people-
Eclipse. Cool vibe, lots of friends that work there, plus their roofdeck is a sweet view.

A cocktail with wacky people-
Venice Cafe. If you have ever been there, you know what I mean.

A great meal-
Niche. This is my place if I'm with serious food people. Gerard Craft is an amazing chef, and I have never been disappointed there

A Romantic meal-
Sidney Street Cafe. This is a great place with a mix of "old school" vibe, and "new school" cooking by Kevin Nashan.

A smiling face-
Wildflower. This is the place that you say "hey, I forgot about that really is good". Tracy and Phil Czarnec are two of my favorite people in the city, and they have decently priced, straightforward, good tasting food

Tex Mex-
Aracelia's (spelling?). This joint on Park has really good empanadas.

Real Mex-
Most people think Cherokee street, which is great. However, I like Lily's on Kingshiway. This place is like eating in the home of someone you know. I even ate goat there, and it was awesome.

Trattoria Marcella. Truth be told, the only time I eat on the Hill is if someone from out of town is visiting.

A fun dinner, with a good vibe-
Frazers. This is a place with great food, a friendly staff, and you can be noisy without getting dirty looks. One caveat- the chairs in the dining room are horribly uncomfortable.

Tani sushi bistro. In Clayton, this is the best I have tried so far. I haven't been to Miso yet, but need to try it out.

Steak, on the cheap-
Tuckers (Soulard). This is a place with a decent steak, old school charm, and a crappy wine list- drink beer.

Blues City Deli. Vince over there is incredibly nice, and his sandwiches are amazing.

Brazilian food-
Yemanja. Don't let the comfortable vibe fool you, it's possible to spend some serious money in here, but it's worth it! Real Brazilian food, not one of the "eat meat til you're dead" places.

Pappy's. Hands down, there is no other.

Casual Lunch-
Veritas (in Chesterfield)- Run by another one of my favorite people, David Stitt. Really good, relaxed place with no pretension.

Crazy night out-
Atomic Cowboy. This is a place where the rich, poor, gay, straight, hipsters, gangsters, the Mayor, pimps, thieves, Christians, people who knit, and people who watch zombie movies all hang out together. The food is good, the atmosphere is great. Check out their Cowboy's a good time!

Dessert Drink-
Bailey's Chocolate Bar. I like the Mexican Martini- it has chocolate and tequila in it, which is a good thing.

Places I want to try, but haven't yet-
Miso, Erato, Fond, Stellina Pasta Cafe, Atlas, Ricardo's, Fritanga, Banh Mi So, Mango, Pomme, and many more....

Whew! I think that's enough to keep you busy for a while. My next couple of blogs will come from my "staycation" that I'm taking for the next 6 days.


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