MY CITY, MY LOVE
BY MEGAN CHANEY
I’ll admit it up front: I LOVE St. Louis. I love it. I am so lucky to call this wonderful city my home. Yes, there are absolutely things I don’t care for, but frankly that’s true about any city I’ve lived in. There is something special here for me. I can’t describe it. It’d be like trying to describe the feeling of love.
I love showing people the wonder of my town. We get a surprising amount of visitors, so I’m always trying to make sure they see some of the city’s hidden gems.
When people come to visit there are a few things I will absolutely not do. No, we will not be going to the Arch. You saw that on your way downtown to my place and you probably didn’t get tickets in advance and I hate hanging out with tourists. We also won’t be eating on The Hill, because, you can go to Olive Garden and it’s probably less expensive and tastes better than most of the restaurants over there. And no, we will not be going to the outlet malls in West County, are you out of your mind? If you told me a butt naked Ryan Gosling would feed me chocolate and red wine while I watch a Golden Girls marathon if I went to one of those headaches, I’d turn it down without a second thought.
However, there are a number of things I’d happily make sure you did. We’ll likely start downtown, in the morning (but not too early, I like to sleep in). I’ll take you to the London Tea Room
, which is hands down the best place in town to get tea. I prefer the Tea Room Blend, along with one of their signature breakfast sandwiches. You can also purchase tea by the ounce to make at home, as well as a number of wonderful gifts and tea paraphernalia, all curated by the charmingly lovely sister proprietors.
After we are fed and caffeinated, I’ll take you down Washington Avenue to The Collective
, a store that features curated pieces by local artists, designers, curators and everything in-between. One of the best purchases I’ve made in the last several years came from there: a pair of Steampunk-esque brass lamps that are now mounted on the brick wall of my loft. They have fantastic clothing, very interesting and unique jewelry and there is even a candy shop in the store!
I like eating, so we’re going to head over to Salume Beddu for lunch. They are a sort of market/restaurant hybrid. They specialize in cured meats and they are very, very good at it. The tiny space only has seating for about 8 people and it’s very cozy. We’ll order from a small menu that features a handful of sandwiches and one or two daily specials at the counter, grab a Pellegrino and take a seat. After what feels like an inordinate amount of time, your lunch will come out and you will spend the next 10 minutes in eating heaven. Before we leave, we’ll make sure to get some meat, cheese and spreads to go.
After Salume Beddu, I’d love to show you the Cherokee
area. It’s a long street (Cherokee, duh) that is littered with antique and thrift shops. I don’t think I’ve been in all of them, but start we’ll start on one end and work our way down, for as long as our feet can take it. Before we leave Cherokee, we’ll pop into the Mexican market and grab a bottle of Salsa Lizano, the best store bought salsa in the world that can only be found in this area.
By the time we get done with Cherokee, I’ll want a drink and I’m sure you will to. Why don’t we head over to Lafayette Square and grab a glass or 2 of rose from the fellas at 33 Wine Shop & Tasting Room
? Their wine list is one of the best in town, and they also serve specialty scotches, whiskeys, as well as a number of local beers. The outdoor garden is absolutely adorable, so we’ll sit out there if it’s nice. If not, we’ll hang out at the bar and chat with the staff, who are absolutely wonderfully kind, knowledgeable and funny.
Like I said, I like eating, so choosing a place to eat dinner will be tricky, so I’ll give you some options:
If you want to go causal, I’ll take you to Bahn Mi So #1, the best Vietnamese place in town. They have consistently been voted best spring rolls in St. Louis for years. They also have the most amazing yellow curry shrimp dish that is ridiculously craveable. Dewey runs the place with his sweet mom and dad, who do all the cooking. It’s definitely a no frills place, but it’s absolutely amazing.
If you want to go a little fancier or are craving some of that St. Louis bar-be-que, we’ll go to Shaved Duck
. Nestled away in the Tower Grove area, this tiny little place boasts fantastic ribs, duck confit and meatloaf. The sides are absolutely insane. And if you like a good Manhattan, this is the place to go. The bartender knows his way around a cocktail.
I’m too old to “go out” and “hit the clubs” so I prefer to head home and have some wine and watch my recorded shows, but since you are in town, I’ll make a special exception and take you over to Blood & Sand
, a local restaurant and cocktail lounge. We’ll sit at the bar and chat with the amazing bartenders and watch them make us some incredibly delicious cocktails. After a few we’ll want to order the truffled tater tots, trust me on this.
If I was going to do St. Louis in a day, that’s what I’d do. Let me know when you’re in town and I’ll meet you at the Tea Room to get started.