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Exploring St. Louis: Eating

2013 June 3
by Becky

Though we were gone a mere eighteen months I feel like I have a whole new appreciation for the St. Louis food scene.

Did Virginia and DC have incredible food? Of course. But I can’t get over how… accessible the fabulous STL restaurants are. So many incredible options within minutes, no reservations required, and more often than not, they welcome your toddler with a high chair and lidded cup.

It’s been pretty effortless to explore the food options in our neighborhood and the surrounding areas. Some were long-time favs that exist just blocks from our front door…like Black Thorn pizza, City Diner, King & I, Basil Thai, and Cafe Natasha. All kid friendly, all frequent destinations. All really, really solid food.

EthanPancakesCity Diner: Pancakes don’t get better than this.

City Diner has my favorite-ever pancakes and I think Stu may have a full-on addiction to Black Thorn as he’s making up constant reasons to order take-out (“We’ve had a long day, let’s order pizza.” “Someone’s coming over? Let’s order pizza”) . Since it takes at least a hour to make their deep-dish, Chicago-style pies, living two blocks away makes for a very happy ordering situation.

RiceNoodlesEthanEthan turning his rice noodles at King & I into a sensory activity…he did eat SOME.

A favorite since the week we moved in is Cafe Mochi…incredible sushi and fabulous outdoor seating. And SO kid friendly. Good thing, because my kid can put away a TON of sushi. Starting, of course, with miso soup, edamame, and baked green-lip mussels.

MisoSoup

GreenLipMussels

EthanEatinSushi

No joke, Ethan eats as many pieces as we do. Spicy White Tuna rolls, tuna nigiri, Godzilla roll, he doesn’t care. His little hand shoots out to the platter full of sushi as soon as it’s placed in front of us. The rest of the patio diners acting as his cheering section, laughs and smiles as they stare in amazement at his appetite for raw fish and his enthusiasm for the umami goodness.

We are SO proud.

But seriously, Cafe Mochi is delicious, kid friendly, and freakishly close to our house…a block walk. Dangerous.

Another frequent stop, just another block farther, is Gelateria del Leone (also known as The Gelateria) usually for their scrumptious coffee but also for the decadent gelato. Ethan LOVES sampling and picking out his flavor from the glass case of goodness. Something about that special plastic cup and flat “spoon” that makes the gelato feel so different from regular old ice cream.

GelatoEthan

The Shaved Duck is another top pick, just several blocks North East of us in Tower Grove East. Phenomenal, slow roasted BBQ, local beer selections, and pulled pork cheese fries that are worth every calorie.

Once a month we drive North to Cafe Ventana to meet up with other toddlers and their mommy counterparts for coffee and beignets. Plenty of room for the kids to play in a gorgeous patio setting…something we make an effort to attend.

BeignetsCafeVentana

If Stu’s addiction is Black Thorn pizza, mine is quickly becoming Sump Coffee. Just South East of us, in a neighborhood I’m not very familiar with, sits a corner shop roasting a mean coffee bean. We’re not used to the slowness of this place…paying AFTER you enjoy your cup of coffee artwork. But it’s something I’d like to get used to.

SumpCoffe

 

Not un-kid-friendly, but there are definitely no kids running around this place. To-go is fine, but to-sit is better and that’s easier to do without the little one in tow. Which is never for me, until one day I went during nap time. Worth it just for the froth design.

My Tuesday morning stop is Pint Size Bakery. Not in our neighborhood but very close to Ethan’s school…so I pop in after drop-off. A latte and savory scone make the perfect start to a productive morning—usually spent on freelance work and Etsy order filling. The vanilla icing-stuffed cookies are a treat for pick-up. Ethan never complains when half is gone.

 

PintSizeBakery

 

A couple times a week our minds are blown by local eatery—we’ve been having a blast trying new places and becoming regulars at others. Ethan is such a restaurant pro…I feel lucky to be able to take him on these adventures. Somehow I haven’t gained 100 pounds even though my work-out schedule has been greatly interrupted by my inability to move without pain…something I hope will be addressed in the next few days.

A whole other food world opens up on Saturdays (the Tower Grove farmers market) and one Friday a month (Food Truck Friday in Tower Grove Park) but those are whole other posts…for another day.

I think I could write about food every day…

What’s your favorite STL lunch stop? Place to take your kids?

 

 

12 Responses
  1. June 3, 2013

    Yum!!!!!

  2. June 3, 2013

    Sort of in your neighborhood (north of Tower Grove Park by just a couple of blocks) is SweetArt Cafe. The husband and wife owners are incredible people and the quiche almost made me cry. The harmony cupcake is a favorite too. http://sweetartstl.com/index2.php.

    Also…thanks for the post on Warehouse of Stuff a few weeks back. Got me off my butt to finally check it out and was glad I did. I’m a little obsessed with it.

    • Becky permalink*
      June 3, 2013

      Oh SweetArt is going on the top of my list now! I love quiche! It made you cry, hilarious!

      • June 3, 2013

        You won’t even believe that place. The pocket pie with the spicy sweet potato chili goodness. And yes, the quiches are tear inducing. I was never a “crust” person til I ate at Sweet Art. Also kid friendly, and the right size cupcakes.

        The art, the owners, all of it.
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    • Barbara permalink
      June 5, 2013

      And it has lots of allergy friendly food! Griffy brings along a Sweet Art cupcake to all the Birthday parties!

      • Becky permalink*
        June 5, 2013

        I’ll have to take my MIL to Sweet Art because she has dairy allergies and can never eat cupcakes!! She’ll be thrilled.

  3. Grandpa Joe permalink
    June 3, 2013

    Have you ever thought of starting a FOOD CHANNEL FOR KIDS (and their grandparents, naturally).
    with maybe a “side-trip” into the kitchen to share their secrets and maybe a kid helping with the preparation…………
    Ethan would be a natural for that………..
    I can see it …. Sunglasses on top of his head, his orange Crocks, sleeves pushed up……

    We’ll be watching for it.

  4. Linda Johnson permalink
    June 3, 2013

    Great idea Grandpa Joe on the Food Channel fore Kids!!

    Just watching Ethan eating his pancakes makes me want to fly back for more!!! I loved that breakfast; the best pancakes ever!!! The Tai Place was also Fabulous!! Also, Ethan is so well behaved at dinning out.

    BTW, did I tell you I’m coming back next weekend for more!!

    CU all in a few weeks

  5. Barbara permalink
    June 5, 2013

    Piper and I are totally obsessed with Russell’s on Macklind. The baked oatmeal and freshly baked biscuits are a delight. We sneak off for breakfast dates whenever we get the chance.

    http://russellscafe.com/

    I am also totally obsessed with Gringo, a new restaurant in CWE. Perfect for kids because you can just order a la carte. Table side guac is awesome. It is on a heavenly corner of the Central West End and the decorating is fantastic. After (or before) you can visit Left Bank Books across the street.

    http://www.gringo-stl.com/

    • Becky permalink*
      June 5, 2013

      Ok so I was at a picnic last weekend where my friend Adrianne brought gooey butter cake and chocolate chip cookies from Russels…no joke I could have eaten every crumb by myself!!! Best I’ve ever had!

      And Gringos is on my list, it sounds awesome!!

  6. Adrianne permalink
    June 11, 2013

    so, does ‘kid friendly’ mean there is a diaper changing table in the restroom? I feel as if I have a difficult time with that here in the city.

    I can’t wait to tell Craig about some of these places and try them out. I am familiar with some of them but not all and we live so close! We need to really be better about taking Cordelia out. We do eat Russels a lot, their breakfast is awesome. I second the baked oatmeal, it’s fabulous. And Craig discovered Sweet Art while searching for gluten/dairy free desert that Max could eat at the picnic. He is now obsessed with their scones (note, the cupcakes are gluten free but with minimal dairy, they told him to get completely dairy free you had to call and place an order ahead of time).

    We will have to grab coffee and breakfast one Friday morning!

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