Dinner in St. Louis–with a Toddler

Earlier this summer, Paul and I went to St. Louis with Mr. Moo. I wrote about lunching with a toddler while on vacation, and now I’m finally getting around to writing about dinner. I think that I’ve been trying to scour the memory from my brain, but, alas, it will not budge.

I had dreams of grandeur… eating at lovely establishments, while my son (clean and well-behaved) nibbled on escargot. Yeah, let’s wake up.

When we drove in on Saturday afternoon, traffic was so horrible that we ended up at the Ruth’s Chris Steak House in our hotel lobby. My son, half-crazed with a five hour car ride and half-dazed from hunger decided to take up playing the spoons by banging them into each other and any other clang-able surface. Needless to say, he has to work on his rhythm. As for the nibbling on something extremely age inappropriate? He ate two fries from a $9 side that I ordered specifically because I thought he would eat it all and three mouthfuls of his father’s sweet potato casserole.

After that adventure, I was a bit gun shy to take him anywhere else at all. But, we had to eat. So, we compromised with a few family friendly (especially at an early hour) places.

Grbic

Nope, I didn’t just randomly start typing letters on that subhead up there. Apparently, St. Louis has a very large Bosnian population, and Grbic is one of the dining establishments that cater to the neighborhood. We went early on a Sunday, and the owner and his family were eating in the dining room. (Or, at least, I assumed that it was the owner and his family… If not, they really shouldn’t let 10 year old girls run back and forth from the kitchen to the dining room.) Obviously, good for little ones.

I had a veal jager schnitzel (you can get a chicken variety as well). It was served on top of homemade spaetzle with a white wine mushroom sauce. Paul really wanted the mixed plate which is just a pile of different grilled meats and vegetables. The waiter said that he should try the valdostana—layers of spaetzle, grilled beef, and a cream sauce topped with mozzarella cheese and baked until crusty on top.

Mr. Moo had a half a loaf of bread, an order of fried polenta, and half a bowl of goulash soup. He wasn’t a fan of the soup, but he really liked my spaetzle. As you can see, this is hearty fare… not something to be entered into lightly. Paul had a Bosnian beer in a bottle and I had a glass of wine. Always the teetotaler, Mr. Moo had milk.

Location: 4071 Keokuk Street, St. Louis. All I can say is thank the heavens for GPS because it’s on a very odd angle street in a residential area where you apparently can’t turn the correct way down any streets. There is free parking in the back.

Schlafly Tap Room

It’s been mentioned before, but it bears repeating: Paul likes beer. I say he likes fancy beer, but he says he just likes beer that doesn’t taste like crap. So, when in St. Louis, we did not go to any large beer making facility and take a tour… even if there was free beer at the end. Because Paul said he would rather drink piss. And, I believe him.

Fortunately for beer snobs everywhere, St. Louis is also home to the Schlafly Beer Company. They’re a locally owned, independent brewery with two brewery-restaurants. Some of the beer they brew is only available on tap, but others come in bottles.

We went to the Schlafly Tap Room (as opposed to the Schlafly Bottleworks). The Monday night we were there, the room was filled with the typical after work crowd as well as a few other families so again, no worries about the toddler. For my appetizer, I ordered the Bavarian style pretzels. They are ginormous sticks with a white cheddar sauce. Mr. Moo and I absolutely loved them (and the next day, all they took was a quick zap in the microwave to make them soft and lovely again.) Paul had the poutine. He was unimpressed. But, he’s also a poutine snob. (I might have to admit that he’s a bit of a snob on a lot of things.)

For the main course, I was thinking about the Cuban sandwich, but the waitress said they were known for their fish and chips (called fish and fries on the menu). Um, yeah, they should be known for them. Served with the fries on the bottom and the Hefeweizen battered cod on top, they were amazing. Good fish, not overly fried. Very nice.

Paul ordered this:

Various pork products on a dinner plate.

It’s called the Plate of Swine. That’s a grilled chop, stout broiled brat, beer battered bacon, sauerkraut (which I think has some pork product in it), mashed potatoes, and gravy. Surprisingly, Paul said the bacon was the least exciting thing about his meal. The entire thing totally killed him. He was waddling to the car. I have rarely seen a man so stuffed.

I seem to think that Mr. Moo had a grilled cheese sandwich, but I can’t be certain.

Paul had a few beers and must have liked them because he bought a few to bring home—one of which was a growler size. I had a glass of wine. If I ever go back, I think I’d want to try the mussels with the Cuban. And, maybe go with someone who wasn’t eating his weight in pig.

Location: 2100 Locust Street, St. Louis. Free parking next to the building.

 

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