Tag - cuisines

Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Pumpkin Pie Spice Season in St. Louis

Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Pumpkin Pie Spice Season in St. Louis

Beyond Lattes: St. Louis’ Best Pumpkin Spice Specials This Fall

St. Louis, MO/September 25, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Ah fall!  The leaves are turning.  The days are shorter, bringing the promise of cooler weather.  And the warm aroma of pumpkin spice is everywhere!  We’ve become accustomed to the annual return of pumpkin pie spiced lattes at our favorite coffee shop.  Some curse it.  Others embrace it fully.  I’ll confess that I fall into the latter group.  There is nothing as delicious on a chilly fall day as a well-brewed pumpkin pie spiced latte, except maybe a pumpkin pie spiced donut or a fluffy pumpkin waffle to go with it.  Perhaps you prefer your pumpkin pie spice in a more savory application?  How about those rich, spicy pumpkin flavors in pasta, soup, or beer?  St. Louis has it all, and diners have a variety of favorite ways to enjoy this classic fall flavor.  After pouring through customer reviews, we found St. Louis’ favorites sweet and savory uses of pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice—including lattes.

Leading the pack is the iconic southside frozen custard stand, Ted Drewes.  Their Great Pumpkin Concrete is a great way to enjoy the flavors of pumpkin spice season, aka autumn, while it’s still relatively warm.  It’s Ted Drewes ultra-creamy custard blended with a slice of pumpkin pie—crust and all—then topped with a generous portion of whipped cream.  For lovers of creamy, pumpkin pie goodness, there is nothing better on a warm September evening.  But then Ted Drewes is St. Louis’ original frozen custard, serving up hand-dipped cones, concretes, shakes, malts, sundaes, and floats since 1929.  It’s a truly multigenerational treat!  And lucky for us, the St. Louis Hills location is open all fall, serving the Great Pumpkin Concrete, St. Louis’ favorite way to get their pumpkin pie spice fix this season.

St. Louis loves a good pumpkin pie spiced latte too, and this week’s top 10 list reflects that with three slots on the list filled with places that specialize in making this seasonal drink.  The customer reviews show that St. Louis loves pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice in many forms.  From cupcakes to beer, this top 10 list has something for everyone.  Here are the top 10 ways to enjoy pumpkin pies spice season in St. Louis:

1. Ted Drewes (4.61 stars/3646 reviews) Saint Louis Hills, 6726 Chippewa Street, Saint Louis, MO 63109, (314) 481-2652.  The Great Pumpkin Concrete is their ultra-creamy custard blended with a slice of pumpkin pie.
2. Piccione Pastry (4.54 stars/316 reviews) The Loop, 6197 Delmar Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63112, (314) 932-1355.  Pumpkin cannoli and pumpkin spice cassata cakes.
3. Picasso’s Coffee House (4.49 stars/281 reviews) St Charles, 101 North Main Street, Saint Charles, MO 63301, (636) 925-2911.  Pumpkin spice latte.
4. Kaldi’s Coffee Roasting Company (4.30 stars/229 reviews) DeMun, 700 DeMun Ave, Clayton, MO 63105, (314) 727-9955.  Pumpkin spice latte made with real pumpkin purée, maple syrup and nutmeg.
5. The Cup (4.27 stars/300 reviews) Central West End, 28 Maryland Plaza (Rear), Saint Louis, MO 63108, (314) 367-6111.  Pumpkin Harvest Cupcake – cinnamon icing with pumpkin spice cake.
6. Kaldi’s Coffeehouse (4.17 stars/115 reviews) Clayton, 187 Carondelet Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63105, (314) 726-2900.  Pumpkin spice.  When a chain store makes the list twice, you know there’s something special about this drink.
7. Park Avenue Coffee (4.15 stars/209 reviews) Downtown, 417 North 10th Street, Saint Louis, MO 63101, (314) 231-5282.  Pumpkin gooey butter cake and pumpkin spice latte.
8. The Schlafly Tap Room (4.11 stars/957 reviews) Downtown, 2100 Locust Street, Saint Louis, MO 63103, (314) 241-2337.  Pumpkin Ale.
9. City Coffeehouse & Crêperie (4.11 stars/471 reviews) Clayton, 36 North Brentwood Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63105, (314) 862-2489.  Pumpkin waffles and pumpkin pie crepes.  Wash it down with their pumpkin spice coffee.
10. Porano Pasta (4.08 stars/189 reviews) Downtown, 634 Washington Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63101, (314) 833-6414.  Homemade pasta with pumpkin seed and lime pesto.

With so many great places offering their take on pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice this season, it’s not surprising there are some really terrific options that didn’t quite make the top 10 list.  These establishments know their way around this quintessentially autumn treat, and so to them we offer Honorable Mentions:

Bailey’s Range (3.92 stars/1679 reviews) Downtown, 920 Olive Street, Saint Louis, MO 63101, (314) 241-8121.  This is a well-loved downtown restaurant that offers an amazing take on this seasonal favorite: The Great Pumpkin float.  It’s made with Schlafly Pumpkin Ale and pumpkin-pie ice cream (with chunks of pie in it).  This salute to pumpkin pie is unlike anything else, and well worth your attention.

The Coffeehouse Company (4.48 stars/25 reviews) Metro-East, 1333 Central Park Drive, O Fallon, IL 62269, (618) 624-6343.  This unassuming little coffee shop is known for their great service, great prices, homemade baked goods, and unique drink selection. (Caramel apple Italian creme soda anyone?)  Their pumpkin caramel latte lives up to their high rating.  It is like autumn in a warm, creamy cup.

St. Louis Hills Donut Shop (4.73 stars/49 reviews) St. Louis Hills, 6917 Hampton Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63109, (314) 481-6050.  If you’ve never had a pumpkin spice cake donut, then you haven’t fully explored the wonders of pumpkin spice season.  As customers will attest, nobody does this seasonal delicacy better.  The donuts are always fresh and they will chocolate glaze any donut you want.  Chocolate glazed pumpkin spice cake donut.  Nuff said.

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By Susan Smith-Harmon – published on STLRestaurant.News by St. Louis Media, LLC

Celebrate National Mac and Cheese Day Friday

Where to Find the Best Mac and Cheese in St. Louis

St. Louis, MO/July 13, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) — National Mac and Cheese Day is upon us.  Of all the celebrated food holidays and observances, this is one of our favorites in my family.  Macaroni and cheese is a simple combination of noodles, butters, and cheese that comes in a multitude of variations.  Mac and cheese can be made with a variety of cheeses, from mild to sharp, tangy to smoked, and everything in between.  It can be an artisan creation that blends familiar flavors with exotic ingredients.  Or a homey dish of cheese, butter, milk, and pasta that is as warm and satisfying as it is simple.

The origins of this classic dish are a disputed matter.  James Beard Foundation cookbook winner Clifford A.  Wright says, “there can be no doubt that its ultimate origins are Italian.”  As proof, he cites a 13th century cookbook recipe for a dish that calls for lasagna noodles to be cut into squares, cooked, and tossed with grated cheese.  Food 52 says the dish may be French in origin.  Dishes combining dough or pasta, cheese, and butter appear in several 14th century cookbooks across Italy, France, and even England’s The Forme of Cury.  American-style mac and cheese may date back to the eighteenth century.  Smithsonian Magazine says, “it most likely hails from Northern Europe, with the earliest known recorded recipe being scribbled down in 1769.”

It’s not even clear how Americans came to know this classic comfort food.  Some food historians credit Thomas Jefferson with bringing macaroni and cheese to the U.S. after a European trip that took him to Italy and France.  Others say colonists in Connecticut introduced a creamy casserole form of mac and cheese, having brought the recipe with them from England.  No matter how it got here, macaroni and cheese has become a classic—if not the quintessential American comfort food.

Most of us grew up with the blue boxed macaroni and cheese with it’s convenient combination of elbow macaroni and dried cheese sauce mix.  It was weeknight fast, and surprisingly tasty.  It was the only mac and cheese my mom ever made.  I loved the stuff, right up until the cafeteria at my elementary school began serving their version of macaroni and cheese at lunch time.  The creamy, buttery, white cheddar and Velveeta-based, baked casserole was made by the lunch ladies at South Elementary School in Fairborn, Ohio—and it put the boxed kind to shame.  It was creamy and cheesy, with the perfect toasty cheese crust on top.  If that mac and cheese was sold in a St. Louis restaurant, I would eat there every day.

Fortunately for mac and cheese lovers across the metro area, there are a lot of local restaurants that do justice to this American mainstay.  Some local eateries offer their takes on this classic as side dishes to accompany fried chicken, steak, or barbecue mains, or on their kids’ menus.  Other places feature mac and cheese as an entree that stands on its own.  Across town, you’ll find mac and cheese stirred into a creamy, saucy dish; baked under a blanket of buttery, crispy breadcrumbs; and topped with everything from bacon to asparagus relish.  You’ll even find crispy mac and cheese balls (Lotawata Creek in Fairview Heights), and a smoked gouda mac and cheese hand pie (Saturdays only at Pint Size Bakery in Lindenwood Park).

Since Friday, June 14th is National Mac and Cheese Day, we thought we’d point you to a few St. Louis restaurants that do this creamy comfort food justice.  Each has its own version of the noodle, butter, cheese combo that makes their mac and cheese worth the trip.  Here are our recommendations for five places that offer exceptional interpretations of this homespun comfort food favorite:

1. Sweetie Pies makes the mac and cheese of my dreams.  This is the closest approximation I have found to the old elementary school lunch ladies’ version I fell in love with all those years ago.  It’s super cheesy, creamy, and baked with a toasty cheese crust (no breadcrumbs), and simply delicious.  Miss Robbie Montgomery, founder of Sweetie Pie’s soul food restaurants (and one of the stars of the reality TV show Welcome to Sweetie Pies on OWN) has even shared the secrets to her signature Mac and Cheese.

VIDEO: Miss Robbie Montgomery shows Food Network’s Guy Fieri how to make Sweetie Pie’s Mac and Cheese.

There have been several iterations of Sweetie Pie’s Restaurants over the years. Currently, you’ll find this incredible mac and cheese at Sweetie Pie’s The Upper Crust, 3643 Delmar Blvd. in St. Louis’ Grand Center neighborhood.

2. Steve’s Hot Dogs at 2131 Marconi Ave. on The Hill is known for two things, hot dogs, as the name suggests, and mac and cheese.  They offer the great American comfort food five ways, from the unadorned, silky “Madeline Mac & Cheese Bowl” to the decadent layers of rotini, alfredo, parmesan, cheddar, bacon, and fried onion known as “The Macgyver Bowl,” the choices offer a little something for everyone.  At Steve’s you can get mac and cheese topped with bacon, or chili.  They even have a sweet and spice combo called the “Kevin Bacon Jamaican Bowl” which starts with a slice of pepper jack that’s topped with Mac & Cheese, honey chipotle, crisscrossed bacon slices, grilled bell peppers and then more bacon.  Can’t decide between a hot dog and mac and cheese? Have a Gorilla Mac & Cheese Dog: a smoked Nathan’s hotdog, topped with creamy mac and cheese, bacon, and French fried onions.

3. Mak’s Pub and Grub is a family owned bar and grill that specializes in gourmet “Mak” and Cheese.  The Princeton Heights restaurant (6109 Gravois Ave.) opened last year offering six different, creative versions of macaroni and cheese.  The choices run the gamut from a “Classic Mak” made with their melted four-cheese blend, cavatappi (corkscrew noodles) and toasted pretzel crumbs, to the “Brinner Mak” made with brown sugar bacon, hash brown, a sunny side egg, and corn flakes.  You can even get mac and cheese stuffed into a grilled cheese sandwich!

4. The Lobster Mac ‘n’ Cheese at Herbie’s is legendary.  This dinner menu entree is a brilliant combination of lobster tail, four-cheese mornay, asiago gratin, corn, and truffle oil.  Since July 14th is also Bastille Day, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate America’s favorite comfort food than ordering the Lobster Mac ‘n’ Cheese at Herbie’s (8100 Maryland Ave, Clayton) French-inspired American bistro.

5. The Thai Pork Mac N’ Cheese at the Walnut Grill is something special.  It’s loaded with four cheese alfredo and smoked gouda, then topped with Thai-seasoned pulled pork, asparagus relish, and sweet chili sauce.  Not exactly a traditional mix of flavors, this mac and cheese is creamy, smoky, spicy, and oh so delicious.  Walnut Grill is a boutique restaurant chain based in Pittsburgh, Penn.  There are currently two locations in St. Louis (1386 Clarkson Clayton Center in Ellisville and 4401 State Hwy K in O’Fallon, MO), with a new Sunset Hills location (10797 Sunset Hills Plaza) set to open in August.

Bonus Pick: Mangia Italiano at 3145 South Grand Blvd in south St, Louis offers a baked lobster mac and cheese that can be ordered with gluten free pasta.  You’d never guess this rich and creamy dish is gluten free.

TOP 10 CAJUN AND CREOLE RESTAURANTS IN ST. LOUIS, MO

Top 10 Cajun Restaurant in St. Louis, MO

Top 10 Cajun Restaurant in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS, MO: (STLRestaurant.News) – If you hear some people say “the only place to get true Creole and Cajun food is in Louisiana”, they really haven’t visited St. Louis and been to any of the many restaurants that have all but perfected that cuisine. Cajun and Creole are two distinct cultures, but over the years they’ve blended together. One over-simplified description of the two cuisines is to deem Creole cuisine “city food” and Cajun cuisine “country food.” Either way, St. Louis’ talented chefs have used their culinary expertise to capture the diversity of the culture.

For some of the very best Gumbo, Jambalaya, Crawfish Bisque, or Spicy Lobster Po-Boy, check out the list of the best ranking restaurants in the St. Louis metro area.

Our Top 10 Creole and Cajun restaurants are as follows:

1. Broadway Oyster Bar- 736 S Broadway, St. Louis, MO 63102
2. Gulf Shores Restaurant and Grill-12528 Olive Blvd, Creve Coeur, Saint Louis, MO 63141
3. Hwy 61 Roadhouse & Kitchen-34 S Old Orchard Ave, Webster Groves, Saint Louis, MO 6
4. Evangeline’s Bistro- 512 N Euclid Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63108
5. Boogaloo- 7344 Manchester Rd, Maplewood, Saint Louis, MO 63143 (Sutton)
6. The Kitchen Sink- 255 Union Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63108
7. Fleur de Lilles- 1031 Lynch Street, Saint Louis, MO 63118
8. St. Louis Wing Company- 9816 Manchester Rd, Saint Louis, MO 63119
9. Almond’s Restaurant- 8127 Maryland Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63105-3720
10. PerJax Americana Kitchen-7401 Pershing Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63130

Contributing Editor: Kara Savio