Monday, November 2, 2009

The Curse of St. Louis and the Quest for the Perfect BBQ


Looking back on my recent trip to St. Louis, it ended up being more about barbecue than anything else. We hadn't planned for it to be about barbecue but about an hour after we arrived, it began to rain and continue almost straight through for the next two days we were there. I should have expected it since every time I have been to St. Louis, it has rained. I don't know if it is me or that there is a hidden Seattle in the Midwest but I have yet to see St. Louis in the sunshine.

We got there Sunday around lunch time and immediately ate a quick bite at Uno's Chicago Grill before heading to the Magic House which coincidentally had a Curious George exhibit. (Funny how we accidentally hit the Thomas the Train exhibit at the Boone railroad and now this.) The Magic House is a science center for kids that has been beefed up on Steroids. After three hours there and we had barely made it out of the Curious George exhibit on the first floor, I was beginning to think we would barely see the rest but Little Abbey kept trucking and we finally exhausted all the hands on exhibits about fifteen minutes before closing time. The Mrs. and I were exhausted long before that. We went back to the motel to rest our weary dogs before going out to eat. The BBQ Sliders I had eaten at Uno's Chicago Grill were still with me so I wasn't really all that hungry but we had decided to find some light BBQ, if there was such a thing and ate at a place called Bandana's BBQ.

The next day, we took a small road trip down to Elephant Rocks State Park for a small hike and stopped at a specialty medical bookstore. We settled down the day for eating some more BBQ at a place called Pappy's Smokehouse and meeting Pappy himself. On our final day with the rain still coming down, we opted out of the zoo and instead went to the Science Museum which though not as packed and taking steroids like the Magic House, was a quick way for Little Abbey to get rid of some of her energy. We opted for a lunch of pasta at Cunetto's House of Pasta on the recommendation of R. Sherman and weren't disappointed. Finally we staggered through an obligatory tour of the Anheuser-Busch plant and drove home in the rain until we got within about 20 miles of the Iowa border.

The next day found us in Des Moines for a brief errand and since we had eaten so much BBQ recently, we decided to get a control by eating at Woody's Smokehouse not far from where we live. I will do a more in depth posts on all the BBQ joints and perhaps the House of Pasta in the coming weeks. I also have a planned post on Elephant Rocks State Park and perhaps a couple other ancillary stories along the way. All in all it was a good trip "away from home" and I hope not the last before this year is through.

10 comments:

R. Sherman said...

Elephant Rocks is one of my boys' favorite parks. They could and have spent hours climbing around the rocks. BTW, depending on how you went down there, you probably passed within 4 miles of my house either way.

Cheers.

sage said...

Welcome back--I've been to St. Louis many times--twice for a week--and didn't get the memo on the obligatory tour of the Anheuser-Busch plant. Looking forward to your posts.

Ed said...

R. Sherman - I believe we headed south on I-55 to hwy 67 to hwy 32 and from there state roads. My daughter really loved climbing on the rocks too when we weren't on the trail though she spent most of the trail time on my shoulders.

Sage - Well wait for my review of the tour. It seems like it has gone downhill since the last time I took it back in the early 90's.

TC said...

I'm now craving BBQ. Though when I hear BBQ, I think Memphis, not St. Louis.

TC said...

Oh and I didn't like the tour when I went a couple years ago either. It was just "so-so."

Ed said...

TC - I like BBQ so I'm game where ever it is served, even in a Korean restaurant as I did on my last trip to Kansas City. I've found good traditional BBQ in about every town I've gone too so I'm sure there is some good ones in Memphis.

A lot has changed in the tour of the brewery since the first time I did it in the early 90's.

Murf said...

I loooove Uno's. I didn't know they served anything other than a really good 4 cheese pizza. I think Big A and I are doing a road trip north to visit one this weekend.

Beau said...

If I had seen your other post sooner, I could have given some recommendations! There are some great family BBQ places. Glad you got to Elephant Rocks... I haven't been there in a decade or more. (Nice monkey suit... saw about 5 kids in the Curious George suits on Saturday!)

Bone said...

Just please tell me they don't put coleslaw on their barbecue in Missouri.

Ed said...

Murf - So it is a chain. I guess I still have the sixth sense.

Beau - I'm sure there are more. I think I could probably spend months down there and not hit everything I would liked to have tried.

Bone - I've heard of such nonsensical places but I have yet to find some that do that. They did have some outstanding coleslaw, in one case (Pappy's Smokehouse), the best I've ever eaten, but it was in a side dish container, as it should have been.