We recently returned from a vacation in St. Louis. We had a great week full of beautiful sights, friendly people and amazing food. Although we did much more than eat (we swear!), this is a food blog after all, so here we give you the first half of A Couple in the Kitchen's Culinary Guide to St. Louis.
Forest Park is full of excellent (and free!) attractions. We spent time at the zoo, the science center, and the history museum. On the second floor of the museum is a fantastic restaurant called Bixby's. With floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the park, and local, seasonal offerings, it's a great place to rest your well-traveled feet and enjoy some of the best food Missouri has to offer. Check out Chris's sea bass with mango and fingerling potatoes. My Missouri-raised skirt steak was to die for as well.
Best Italian (Shop)
There's an entire neighborhood devoted to Italian food in St. Louis called The Hill. Wandering on the outskirts of this area, we discovered an authentic salumeria called Salume Beddu where Mark Sanfilippo is hand-crafting artisanal meats cured in the traditional way with modern flair. His incredible pancetta helped us create our best bucatini all'amatriciana ever. Laudate lardum (Praise the lard!), indeed!
Best Italian (Restaurant)
Mark suggested we cross the street and enjoy some Sicilian fare at Da Baldo's. If you ignore the dated decor (think Italian salon circa 1970), minimal air-conditioning and torn upholstery, you're in for some great pasta. Baldo himself was our chef and host, his wife, Madda, our hostess. They were a cute couple, very gracious, and we had a very friendly and outgoing server as well. A house specialty appetizer, "Scampi Baldo", grilled shrimp in a butter sauce with basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes, topped with browned breadcrumbs, was delizioso! I thoroughly enjoyed the "Bowtie Cognac," farfalle pasta in a creamy tomato cognac sauce with prosciutto and peas. However, Chris definitely hit the jackpot with his dish (pictured) - "Tortellini alla Panna." The light meat tortellini were mixed with prosciutto and peas as well, but a nice hint of sherry gave the sauce great depth of flavor. Don't miss the house-made tartufo for dessert.