Hot!Snoots, Slingers & Saints

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buffetbuster
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2008/02/04 21:30:47 (permalink)

Snoots, Slingers & Saints

As you may have guessed by the title, I went to St. Louis over the weekend.

Friday February 1

How lucky am I weather wise? I missed a big snowstorm in St. Louis by one day. The shuttle driver told me they got 8 1/2 inches of snow at the airport.

After getting my car (I switched to a SUV because of the snow, but it proved to be unnecessary), I drove to the western suburb of Ladue to eat at Busch's Grove,


(the above photos were taken Sunday morning) which appeared in several of the old Roadfood books.

Open since 1890, this place oozes old money. Even though I didn't have a reservation, I had no trouble getting a table at 8:30. When the hostess asked where I wanted to sit, I asked to see the different rooms. Once I saw the Grove Room, I knew that is where I had to dine. This beautiful room is two stories, with a spiral staircase leading to the second floor, which is used primarily for wine bottle storage. Darkly lit, with hunting party photos lining the wood walls, a huge iron chandelier completes the scene.

I started off with a bowl of the Tuscan Tomato soup. What was funny was they first brought me an empty bowl. When they sat it down and there was no soup in it, I immediately thought about the commercial where the couple are excited to eat at this fancy restaurant, but shocked to see how small the portions are. Afterward, they hungrily attack a grocery store. There was another person carrying the soup in another bowl who poured that into my bowl. Maybe this is a common practice, which shows how often I go to fancy restaurants, but it is the first time I have ever seen this. Anyway, the soup was thick and delicious and stayed piping hot.

By the way, the room was so dark, my food photos turned out unusable. The one exception was the lobster macaroni and cheese side I ordered.

Full of large pieces of lobster, I was very happy with this dish.

For my main course, I ordered the filet mignon, which was cooked perfectly. The sides were whipped potatoes and asparagus. To drink, I had a glass of Layer Cake Shiraz. They did have many interesting choices for dessert, but by now it was late and I was anxious to get to my hotel, the Comfort Inn by the airport.

http://www.buschsgrove.com/

I did stop at the Steak & Shake across the street from my hotel and got a mint chocolate shake.

Much more to come and I promise plenty of interesting food photos.....

#1

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    buffetbuster
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/04 22:08:27 (permalink)
    Saturday February 2

    I thought when I showed up at Connelly's Goody Goody Diner

    when they opened at 7:00AM, I would be the first one in the door. Instead, there was a table with four policemen, halfway through their breakfast, which is almost always a good Roadfood sign.

    Slingers are popular here in St. Louis and here at the Goody Goody Diner, the slinger known as The Wilbur is their signature item.


    This is an omelet, full of home fries, green peppers and onions, all smothered with a delicious chili and topped with cheese. Here is a close-up shot of the inside.

    I have had The Wilbur before, but I had forgotten just how good it was. You also got your choice of breads and I received an excellent hot biscuit,

    which was great for mopping up the extra chili. A bowl of grits completed the meal.


    As usual, my picture taking drew attention and the owner, Richard Connelly came over and introduced himself. When he found out I was a visitor to the city, he sat down and chatted for a while. I had lots of questions and he told me the family's history with the business. Also interestingly, he said that the big neon sign on the front of the building is one of the very few businesses in St. Louis grandfathered in to be allowed flashing lights.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed spending time with Mr. Connelly and before I left, he gave me a commemorative (this is their 60th year) coffee cup, which I really appreciated.


    http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=1178&RefID=1178

    Before heading out of town, I went looking for another interesting St. Louis food, Gooey Butter Cake.

    Much more to come.....

    #2
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/04 22:15:48 (permalink)
    Buffetbuster,
    Can't wait... especial' fo' them snoots.
    Keep the good detective work coming!
    Barnacled To The Spot For Awhile, Ort. Carlton in Amazing Athens.
    #3
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/04 22:32:49 (permalink)
    Ort-
    You sound like a snoot man from way back! Sorry, but you are going to need to be barnacled there for quite a while.....snoots was my last meal before I flew home. That will give me incentive to try and get the report done in a more timely manner.
    #4
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/04 22:54:16 (permalink)
    Saturday February 2 cont.

    Before my trip, I searched the forums for advice on where to get Gooey Butter Cake. A place recommended by local St. Louis tipster Extreme Glow looked promising. So I headed for Park Avenue Coffee.


    The people inside were incredibly nice (a common theme throughout the area my entire trip) and answered all my questions. They advertise having 64 different varieties, with 15-20 available any given day. Here is their display


    Every single one the guy helping me named sounded good, but I settled on a butterscotch toffee

    chocolate peanut butter

    and of course I had to try the traditional, too.


    Since this is my first experience with GBC, I wasn't too sure how representative what they sell at Park Avenue Coffee is. But, I can tell you they were delicious! Ultra-sweet, Gooey Butter Cake is the perfect name, because they are extremely gooey, which is a wonderful thing. The chocolate peanut butter was too rich for me, but the butterscotch toffee was wonderful. And the traditional was easily the best and reminded me of eating a gooey version of chess pie.

    Extreme Glow-
    Thanks for the great tip!

    http://www.parkavenuecoffee.com/home.asp

    By the way, I spoke with my cousin Johnny when I returned and he mentioned our grandmother used to make Gooey Butter Cake. I didn't know that!

    Much more to come.....
    #5
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/04 23:41:44 (permalink)
    Saturday February 2 cont.

    After leaving Park Avenue Coffee, I ran into a bit of a stumbling block. Road after road I tried to get on was closed due to the Mardi Gras parade that was soon to start. Many, many young St. Louisians walked by my car wearing beads as I sat in traffic I wasn't expecting. Finally, I made it onto the freeway and headed east into Illinois.

    My destination was Carbondale and after a nice almost 2 hour drive, I arrived at my destination, Mary Lou's.


    As soon as I walked in the door, I fell in love, in a Roadfood sort of way.


    Although there is another room to the left with tables, I appreciate a place that has so many counter seats. I sat down and asked the waitress what they make best. She immediately answered biscuits and gravy. Since it was 11:30AM by now, I had my mind made up for lunch. She then said most people get the hamburgers. Once I started looking around, I realized that everyone and I mean EVERYONE was eating the biscuits and gravy. So, I called the waitress back and ordered that.

    I can't promise the biscuits were homemade, since I forgot to ask, but they sure did taste that way. And the peppery sausage gravy was outstanding! It is easy to see why this is so popular. I was conveniently sitting right in front of the gravy holding area

    and probably no more than 30 seconds ever went by without one of the waitresses coming over to get another plate of biscuits and gravy.

    I thought about eating a burger, too, but decided to try some pie. But my waitress informed me they don't have pie on Saturdays, which I thought was a little odd. So, I paid my bill of under three bucks and left. It is easy to see why this place is wildly popular with students from Southern Illinois Universiy just down the street.

    Speaking of SIU, their bookstore was my next destination, where I bought myself a t-shirt. SIU has one of the best college sports team nicknames, the Salukis and a pretty cool logo.


    On the way out of town, I stopped at an interesting bakery I had spotted.

    Wasn't Christadous the name of a villian in a James Bond movie?

    After looking over the pastries in the case, I decided it was easier to scan the list on the front of the case. One of the things listed was a butterfluffette. I don't know what they were, but I decided I had to have one! Unfortunately, they were out. So, I had to settle for a black and white cookie

    and a devil's food heart.


    While I was driving on SR 127, just south of Pinckneyville, I passed a place called Dixie's Cup Cafe that looked promising. The parking lot was full of pickup trucks and it had a great Roadfood look about it. But being on a bit of schedule, I didn't have time to stop. Anyone ever been there?

    I got back on I-64 and headed back to St. Louis.

    Much more to come.....
    #6
    lleechef
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/05 01:18:55 (permalink)
    bb, you absolutely amaze me. And as I posted before you are the quintessential Roadfooder!!! Continue to enjoy!
    #7
    billyboy
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/05 05:38:01 (permalink)
    I second that. You're like a Roadfood divining rod! That biscuit and the biscuits and gravy looked mighty fine. Can't wait to see the rest of the report. I really love your ability to talk to the owners and proprietors and get the backstory on the places you eat at and the food you eat. I wish I could do more of that.
    #8
    mr chips
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/05 06:12:51 (permalink)
    You, sir, are the roadfood prince(the Sterns remain king and queen) Loved your report and I envy your visit to Southen Illinois. My favorite Saluki is probably former New York Knick Walt(Clyde)Frazier.
    #9
    John A
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/05 07:05:07 (permalink)
    You the man BB. There's some mighty good trip reporters here that run a close second but you're the leader of the pack.
    #10
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/05 07:20:57 (permalink)
    Saturday February 2 cont.

    One of my favorite moments of the trip occurred when I was driving back to St. Louis from Illinois. Around the 8 1/2 mile marker, you come around a bend in the interstate and all of a sudden the city skyline is there, with the Arch framing a tall building. Beautiful sight and I wish I could have pulled over and taken a photo!

    Once I got back in the city, I headed to The Hill, home of St. Louis' Italian community. My first stop was Amighetti's.


    Known for their excellent sandwiches

    I ordered the famous Amighetti Special.


    The sandwich comes wrapped in butcher paper, closed with tape that says, "Amighetti's Special Often Imitated-Never Duplicated."

    Although the quality meat, cheese and toppings help, what really makes this sandwich is the excellent homemade baked bread. Fresh and chewy, it is baked right next door.

    In fact, I saw several people come in and just buy the bread.

    They also make lots of pasta and salads and what I saw on other tables sure did look good. But, I knew I had another place to hit on The Hill, so I moved on.

    At the church next door to Amighetti's, they have a cool statue dedicated to Italian Immigrants.


    More to come.....

    #11
    wanderingjew
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/05 08:16:40 (permalink)
    Buffetbuster,

    As usual you outdid your self!

    One thing though.....Grits and Biscuits??!!! In St. Louis???!!! " />

    Next thing I know they're going to be serving Lobster Rolls in Natchez Mississippi!
    #12
    zataar
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/05 09:00:08 (permalink)
    WJ, Half the population of the Ozarks relocated to South St. Louis after WWII, of course there are biscuits and gravy and grits!

    Buffetbuster, I haven't been to St. Louis for about 9 months. You sure make me want to go back. Great report.
    #13
    wanderingjew
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/05 09:17:52 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by zataar

    WJ, Half the population of the Ozarks relocated to South St. Louis after WWII, of course there are biscuits and gravy and grits!


    Yes, Zataar,

    You're right!
    I forgot about the Ozarks
    I had the the "blue collar" "rust belt" city with the mixed ethnic enclave in my mind similar to buffetbuster's Pittsburgh!
    #14
    Leania_1stone
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/05 09:20:52 (permalink)
    I am loving this report my husband and son and I are going to St Louis for the very first time ever this May for our 9 year anniversary/family vacation lol awesome pictures!!!
    #15
    1bbqboy
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/05 09:53:39 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by wanderingjew

    quote:
    Originally posted by zataar

    WJ, Half the population of the Ozarks relocated to South St. Louis after WWII, of course there are biscuits and gravy and grits!


    Yes, Zataar,

    You're right!
    I forgot about the Ozarks
    I had the the "blue collar" "rust belt" city with the mixed ethnic enclave in my mind similar to buffetbuster's Pittsburgh!

    Missouri was a Southern state that didn't secede. Still thinks that way.
    #16
    CajunKing
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/05 12:10:08 (permalink)
    BB - I am loving this trip so far, looking forward to the later editions and the snoots. I also see you are keeping up the tradition, why only buy and eat one dessert by the traditional and some others for comparison. That is going to be my knew RF philosphy!!

    WJ - Grits, I was thinking, what is this Yankee doing ordering grits, then I remembered BB is no typical Yankee.


    Edit: That Lobster Mac looked AWESOME!!
    #17
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/06 01:55:42 (permalink)
    lleechef-
    Thanks again for the compliment! Coming from you, it is genuinely very much appreciated.

    billyboy-
    Thank you also. Seeing all the great trip reports from you and others on here make me want to keep trying to get better at it to keep up. So thank you for that, too.

    I rarely go into a restaurant looking to meet the owners. More times than not, I just want to blend in, although in the south, as soon as I open my mouth and they hear me speak, that goes out the window. This past weekend in St. Louis, I wore my Mizzou sweatshirt, just so they would think I was a local. But, it can be difficult to be inconspicuous when you are taking photos of everything!

    I imagine it would be much harder to converse with the owners where you live in NYC. First of all, the restaurants up there are usually so much busier, they usually don't have time. And they are also most likely much more used to having out of towners patronizing them. When I walk into a place like the Cypress Grill in North Carolina, they are shocked and thrilled that someone from so far away is eating there. They are just as curious about me as I am about them.
    #18
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/06 02:08:40 (permalink)
    mr chips-
    Once again, much appreciated! I had never been to the southern part of Illinios before, so a trip over to Carbondale made a lot of sense. And I had been curious about Mary Lou's since buying the 1992 Roadfood book. I just had a feeling this place would be a really good one and it was. By the way, I had no idea Walt Frazier went to SIU. Go Salukis!

    CajunKing-
    I thought you would be upset at me for not having eaten any pie this past weekend, but luckily the gooey butter cake was close enough. Wait until you see what I ate at the Crown Candy Kitchen!

    By the way, this Yankee has a mama born in Hazard, Kentucky and I grew up eating lots of good Southern dishes.

    One more thing.....as good as that lobster macaroni & cheese was, it was so rich and luxurious, I did have a hard time finishing it. A bigger portion would have gone to waste.

    Leania 1stone-
    I'm glad you are enjoying the trip report and it is so timely for you. I can't tell you how many times someone posted something here in the forums that came in handy just before I visited another city. I'm glad I can do it for someone else for a change!
    #19
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/06 02:23:38 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by wanderingjew



    One thing though.....Grits and Biscuits??!!! In St. Louis???!!! " />


    I was thinking along the same lines when I went into Mary Lou's in Carbondale, IL. When the waitress suggested the biscuits and gravy, I immediately fluffed it off. But when I saw everyone else was eating it and I remembered a recent thread here on Roadfood saying that southern Illinois has more in common with the south than it does Chicago, I changed my mind.

    Now, I recently ate at a place called Schmucker's in Toledo where the reviewer recommended the biscuits and gravy. I just couldn't see me ordering that there.
    #20
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/06 02:58:36 (permalink)
    Saturday February 2 cont.

    My next destination was less than a mile away, Lou Boccardi's.


    The bar was full of revelers from the Mardi Gras parade, but the dining area was practically empty. But then, it was only about 4:30 in the afternoon. I got seated in the upstairs back dining room, which has some attractive murals on the wall.


    The reason for my visit here was to try another food St. Louis is famous for, toasted ravioli. Eight come to an order

    and although I have certainly had similar dishes back home, these were especially good and firm and were delicious! Good salad with the house Italian dressing

    and I ordered the cannelloni as my main dish.

    I can be very picky when it comes to red sauce, but this was quite good. Lou Boccardi's gets a big thumbs up!

    By this time, I was really, really full, so I decided to go back to the hotel. But, not before making one more stop. Bissinger's

    is a local upscale candy store with multiple locations. I went to the one on Maryland Plaza.

    I can tell you this is the first time I ever felt underdressed in a candy store. There is no doubt that the candy here is expensive, but everything I bought and tried has been terrific. This includes chocolate covered cranberries

    cinnamon bark (which I had never heard of before)

    and several others small pieces including a chocolate marshmallow bar called Heavenly Hash.

    From talking with the young guy waiting on me, the thing to get here is the chocolate covered fruit, which is what Bruce & Sue mention in their review. Unfortunately, they are only available a very limited amount of time during the year and February sure isn't that time. I am looking forward to getting some shipped to me this summer.

    http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=3152&RefID=3213

    Back to the hotel to relax for a few hours.

    More to come.....
    #21
    wanderingjew
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/06 08:18:49 (permalink)
    Buffetbuster, I haven't been to Lou Boccardi's in 12 years, I'm so glad to see that the quality has kept up...

    If you ever return to St Louis, Mama Campisi and Cunnetto House of Pasta also get a huge thumbs up....Unfortunately I can't say the same about Rigazzi's.
    #22
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/06 09:59:35 (permalink)
    WJ-
    I knew you would be pleased I went to Lou Boccardi's. I chose there because of recommendations from you here in the forums.

    I did see Cunnetto across the street, but figured two meals on The Hill was enough for one visit. Next time for sure!
    #23
    ann peeples
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/06 10:08:14 (permalink)
    What a great report.Your pictures are so crystal clear-you really capture the essence of the food.All looks yummy!!
    #24
    blinky193
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/06 10:32:45 (permalink)
    What a great review, and the pictures are making me so hungry. Can I go to lunch now? Where's that cinnamon bark?
    #25
    CajunKing
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/06 11:01:23 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by buffetbuster

    CajunKing-
    I thought you would be upset at me for not having eaten any pie this past weekend, but luckily the gooey butter cake was close enough. Wait until you see what I ate at the Crown Candy Kitchen!

    By the way, this Yankee has a mama born in Hazard, Kentucky and I grew up eating lots of good Southern dishes.


    I was smiling the whole time reading about the GBC, you did yourself proud.

    I said you are not the typical Yankee, a mama from Hazard? hmmmmmm now it all becomes clear.

    I have a good friend down in that neck of the woods, that produces some of the best "Kan-Tuck-Ee Electric Spring Water" if you know what I mean. Smooth, slightly sweet, warms your innards.
    #26
    divefl
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/06 11:23:43 (permalink)
    Quite a trip. Nice pics
    #27
    doggydaddy
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/06 14:20:03 (permalink)

    Will you please finish this report? That way, I can tell you how much I enjoyed -all- of it. You're among my insirations in the trip report game.
    I wish you could have written or at least taken a picture of a brain sandwich. Does it come with mayo..? Inquiring minds want to know.

    wanderingjew wrote:===Next thing I know they're going to be serving Lobster Rolls in Natchez Mississippi!===

    They do. It's called a crawfish po'boy. The truth of the matter is crawfish are nothing more than lobsters who have walked down the Misissippi. By the time they get there, that's what they look like.

    mark
    #28
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/06 16:03:06 (permalink)
    doggydaddy-
    Thanks for the kind words! And welcome to the army of Roadfooders now invading restaurants everywhere and photographing their food!

    I am having all kinds of trouble with my laptop, but I should be able to finish the report tonight. I hate to keep Ort waiting for his snoots photo.

    Sorry, but no brains sandwiches on this trip. I just plain ran out of time. Darn!!!
    #29
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Snoots, Slingers & Saints 2008/02/06 16:52:55 (permalink)
    Saturday February 2 cont.

    After relaxing at the hotel for several hours and getting my appetite back, I decided it was time to look for another one of St. Louis' unique foods, a St. Paul sandwich.

    Usually, I am obsessive about planning ahead of time of where exactly I am going to eat, but these sandwiches are supposed to be readily available at one of the many chop suey parlors all over the city, so I thought I would just find a place once I got here.

    While driving from my hotel to Connelly's Goody Goody Diner, I noticed a small chop suey place in a strip mall. So around 9:00, I called to see if they carry St. Paul sandwiches. They said yes and I was on my way.

    The name of the restaurant is Year of the Dragon.

    and they carry many different varieties of St. Pauls.


    I ordered two, one pork and one chicken. In case you are unfamiliar with this food, it is basically an egg foo young patty, between slices of white bread and topped with pickle, lettuce and mayonnaise.

    Here you can see the crispy edges of the pork St. Paul

    and here is the chicken St. Paul with the lid off.


    I have to admit, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this item. And the two together were less than five bucks.....a real bargain. It made an excellent late snack.

    After the St. Paul sandwiches, I went to bed, knowing I had a busy schedule the next day.

    More to come.....
    #30
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