Saturday, October 27, 2012

B is for: Broadway Oyster Bar, Pappy’s, & Taste by Niche {St. Louis}

I honestly don’t know how they keep doing it.

Despite falling down 0-2 to the Reds and then 3-1 to the Cardinals, the San Francisco Giants keep finding ways to win and advance. The best description I’ve heard is they are like cockroaches…they just won’t die. You might be able to kill one, but that just means that 10 more will appear out of nowhere.

Because of this never-say-die attitude, I’m currently on a whirlwind tour of Midwestern Cities, following the Giants as they tear through the MLB postseason. Our first stop was Cincinnati for the NLDS, but in the interest of keeping up with my alphabet theme, I’m waiting until we hit the “C’s” to tell you about the ‘Nati. As I type this, I sit on a flight headed to Detroit, so you can bet that D-town will follow as well. But I begin with St. Louis, where our week started off with Broadway Oyster Bar.

As you might remember from a couple months ago, covering the NLCS was not my first trip to St. Louis this year. I was honored to serve as a bridesmaid in my friend Kim’s wedding in June, and documented my food adventures here. One place I didn’t have a chance to try the first time around was Broadway Oyster Bar, one of Kim’s favorite restaurants.

B.O.B. is a no frills type of place, and they warn you to "Leave your attitude at home" upon entering the dive. They feature live music every night and a menu full of Cajun items that would stack up with New Orleans restaurants most nights of the week. We of course ordered some oysters, and my co-workers and I enjoyed everything from fried alligator (tastes like chicken) to shrimp Po'Boys and jumbalaya. The favorite of the table was probably the crawfish bisque, which was creamy and spicy and full of crawfish chunks. (Though Kim told me after the fact that the "Grinder" sandwich is universally a crowd pleaser with her friends). Everyone left feeling full and satisfied and I can see why Kim adores this place so much.

One of the drawbacks to our job, especially on the road, is that we get finished with work pretty late. And while ballpark food is OK every once in awhile, it's definitely not something you want to consume every meal. We're always on the lookout for good late-night food spots. Fortunately, our co-worker Rob pulled up an article on late night dining in St. Louis, which led us to Taste Bar.

Taste is located in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis and is part of a restaurant group known for producing top-notch food. Our server informed us that Taste was actually created for its cocktail program, so we definitely had to check out the eclectic drink menu. (Think Fiji Apple Infused Gin and Chai Infused Rum). The menu is small in size but big on flavor. It's all tapas-style, and we particularly enjoyed the cornbread fried in bacon fat (ummmm, yes please) and the Corned Beef Hash with fried brussels sprouts and topped with a fried egg (our server described it as a "sexy breakfast dish," which sold me immediately). Everything was fabulous, and we were so thankful to find a restaurant that serves food until 12:30 a.m. (closes at 1).

Another St. Louis staple is Pappy's Smokehouse, which is consistently voted the #1 BBQ spot in St. Louis. They do Memphis style BBQ and they do it well. It can get pretty busy at lunchtime, and like Oklahoma Joe's in KC, you stand in line to place your order and sit down once you get your food (which is pretty fast from the time you actually order). My co-workers got ribs and brisket and I got the large pulled pork sandwich, which was tender and juicy and provided plenty for leftovers later that night after work.

They leave bottles of extra sauce on the tables, featuring their original recipe, another called "Sweet Baby Jane," named after the owner's granddaughter (this was my fave), and the "Holly's Hot Sauce." Most plates and sandwiches come with a choice of two sides. The fried corn there is apparently one of the favorites, but I didn't care for it too much. Frying it in oil made the kernels all chewy and oily. I much prefer corn on the grill. However, the BBQ beans and the sweet potato fries were bomb, and I've heard good things about the green beans as well. Apparently Giants' reliever Sergio Romo likes BBQ as well, because he and his fam ended up sitting right next to us at lunch!

As for work, we survived a rain delay, watched an inspiring performance by Barry Zito, and headed back to San Francisco to watch the Giants complete the comeback and win the NL Pennant in 7 games. As for how those cockroaches fared in Detroit...we'll have to wait and see!

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