There was a time during the infancy of this blog where I thought I was going to just focus on sandwiches in Orange County. I figured I could cover most places in the OC and eventually move onto something else (like being a Vine star or racist youtube vlogger). As it turns out, my job has given me more opportunities to try food from places I never planned to go to. Lucky me! I know I say it a lot in my travels, but my California ass was NOT even remotely ready for the frigid STL weather. Apparently, owning nothing but cotton clothing doesn’t do much for you in snowy, windy weather. But you certainly can’t beat the view of the cabins we stayed in:
After three years of speaking with most of the people at the office on the phone and Whatsapp, I finally got a chance to meet a lot of them at the company winter party in St. Louis Missouri. It was two days of matching names to faces and eating more than any human should. A portion of the time I was eating catering, so this is going to be a mini slay blog post, but know that each meal I had was shared with new friends and great conversation.
BBQ in St. Louis
I don’t know anything about the St. Louis food scene, but the first thing that pops into my head when it comes to STL is barbecue. I know it doesn’t quite have the BBQ reputation that Kansas City does (Which is located in Missouri President Trump), but there is a style of rib named after St. Louis, so it must be good right? Either way, I was in the mood to fill my stomach with smokey meat and thick sweet BBQ sauce.
The most famous BBQ spot in St. Louis is Pappy’s Smokehouse, which I would’ve loved to try if it not for the long lines and limited amounts of food. Unfortunately, this trip was too short to get an opportunity to try it. Luckily for me, my local friends took me to Salt + Smoke in the Delmar Loop, a modern University district filled with restaurants and bars. It is here that I learned more about St. Louis BBQ while stuffing my face.
So what is St. Louis style BBQ? the secret lies in the heat and the sauce. Whereas many styles use indirect heat over long periods of time to smoke their ribs, STL style ribs are cooked on a grill. Salt + Smoke uses a Texas dry rub to season it’s ribs, but the cut and cooking style is St Louis. The outside is charred and the meat is more firm, it was just asking to be drenched in sticky BBQ sauce (which is also part of the STL style). I think I prefer baby back ribs more than these, but they were pretty damn good. The sides that we all ordered were okay, but nothing really stood out as exceptional. The meats and sauces were ALL great though.
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Salt + Smoke
6525 Delmar Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63130
Modern American Cuisine
Dinner that night was spent at a modern American eatery called Sqwires. Located in an area called Lafayette Square. The neighborhood is filled with small upscale restaurants and Victorian style houses surrounding a large park. The restaurant itself is inside what appears to be a renovated factory, with classic brick work and big uniform windows. It may sound mundane to you, but you don’t really see a lot of brick in Orange County, so I enjoyed looking at the building.
The building was kind of dark, so the pictures didn’t come out the way I wanted them to. Forgive me.
The star of the show was Sqwire’s short rib ragu with papardelle. It’s a relatively simple dish that requires a lot of time to execute, but patience yields some amazing results. This dish is the definition of rich and sumptuous. The sauce and meat slowly cooks in it’s own fat for hours breaking down all the tough muscular rib meat into tender morsels. Few people have the simple pleasure of eating fresh pasta and it’s truly a shame. Don’t get me wrong, dried pasta is great and perfect for a lot of dishes, but there is a distinct flavor and texture that you get from fresh that matched perfectly with braised short rib. The truffle and loads of parmesan cheese were just extras on an already great dish.
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1415 S 18th St
St. Louis, MO 63104
Finally, a sandwich!
After two days of minimal sleep and amazing memories, it was time to go home. Of course I couldn’t actually leave Missouri without having at least one sandwich for myself, so I headed to Snarf’s on the way to the airport. The restaurant is a chain that originated in Colorado and it has locations in Texas and Missouri. As far as “chain” sandwich shops go, I put it up there with some of my favorites. There’s nothing here that you can’t find anywhere else, but the basics are done well. Pictured here is the prime rib and provolone:
The bread is hot and slightly crispy, the meat is flavorful and juicy, and the produce is fresh. What more could you ask for? actually, horseradish, I would’ve drenched it in horseradish. But other than that, Snarf’s Sandwiches is pretty great. I don’t normally visit sandwich chains more than once when I’ve travelling to other states, but I’d make an exception for Snarf’s.
Snarf’s Sandwiches Maryland Heights
11512 Page Service Dr
Maryland Heights, MO 63146
Yeah, I did it.
So here’s the thing, I’ve never eaten at White Castle before. I don’t think they have them in California. The only real exposure I’ve had to this mini burger chain is from the “Harold & Kumar” stoner movies. Needless to say, I forced my friend Jesse to take me to White Castle at 1 in the morning so I could try it (I guess I’m Kumar to Jesse’s Harold). Don’t judge me, but I took a photo of it:
Whether or not White Castle is good is one of the most polarizing issues I’ve run into in my adult life. I didn’t care for it. The burger patties were so thin that I questioned their existence and the rest of the burger could only be saved by copious amounts of ketchup. Even after a night of partying with my co-workers, I only ate two of the sliders and half of the fries. These mini burgers turned me into everything that I fight against (mostly people who consciously control the meal portions).
I would like to thank all my friends from STL for putting up with me that weekend. It was a great time finally meeting the people that I work with and getting to know them in person. I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed St. Louis. It may take a some time, but I totally plan on going back and gorging myself once again (probably not on White Castle).