While I vacationed in St. Louis, I had the opportunity to experience a culinary food tour. If you haven’t done this before, it’s a great way to experience local food and understand some history about the local area.
Our group assembled at Left Bank Books and our first stop was Dresel’s Public House. Our tour leader mentioned that it was featured on Diners, Drive-in’s and Dives. The staff at Dresel’s Public House decided to serve us their famous ‘Louie’ sandwich since Guy Fieri featured it on his show. This was an herb roasted porchetta sandwich with rapini, peperoncini and provel cheese on a toasted baguette.
The choice of bread for a sandwich is extremely important as it is the first thing you experience when you bite into a sandwich. Dresel’s Public House did not disappoint as they used an extremely fresh baguette which was very crisp on the outside yet delicately soft on the inside. Porchetta, rapini, and sliced peperoncini peppers was a nice combination of flavors. Provel cheese, I learned, is a processed cheese which is common in St Louis. In this region, it’s commonly used on pizza due to its low melting point.
The second stop on our tour was Café Osage. I was surprised to find out that it is located inside of Bowood Farms. Our tour guide stopped in front of their open lot where they grow much of the produce that is served at the restaurant. I’ve never seen a restaurant operated by a grower and I was rather intrigued by their business model. We entered Bowood Farms’ greenhouse to gain access to Café Osage.
We were served their BrieLT which was an open face sandwich with brie cheese, arugula, Nueske bacon and tomato marmalade. For many chefs, Nueske bacon is the bacon of choice when you want to use the very best available. The bread was toasted and I really enjoyed the tomato marmalade with the Nueske bacon. The zesty peppery nature of the arugula balanced the sweetness of the tomato marmalade. They also served a refreshing lemon balm spritzer. It consisted of carbonated water, simple syrup, and lemon rind topped with a mint leaf. The BrieLT ended up being my favorite offering of the day.
Pi Pizzeria was our third destination. They were very generous and allowed us to sample both their thin crust and deep dish pizzas. Pi Pizzeria adds cornmeal to its recipe which give the crust a slight grainy texture. The ‘Central West End’ pizza was a thin crust pizza with mozzarella, Volpi prosciutto, goat cheese, grape tomatoes, feta cheese and fresh basil. All of the ingredients were farmer’s market fresh and the crust was very crisp.
If you enjoy a good pizza sauce, their deep dish is the way to go. In appearance it resembles a Chicago pizza pie, but after eating a slice, I discovered that the crust is significantly thinner. Consequently, it is more like quiche in texture and less filling. Kalamata olives really added to the flavor of the pizza sauce. The pizza was topped with portabella mushrooms, onions, red bell peppers, zucchini, garlic and mozzarella cheese.
After Pi Pizzeria, I think everyone was getting full.
Our fourth stop was Bar Italia where we were served a bruschetta toast with a thinly sliced smoked salmon, capers and sour cream on the side. I splurged and ordered a delightful Italian white wine with my dish. The wine was very crisp and paired nicely with the smoked salmon and capers.
Our fifth and last stop was at Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier. We were served a single milk chocolate which I devoured quickly. The second piece was a 60% cocoa dark chocolate. After taking a small bite, I realized that I had to slowly savor the experience. It was served with a delicious hot cocoa topped with whipped cream.
The Central West End culinary food tour by Savor St Louis is very informative, interesting and is well organized. In addition to learning about the neighborhood restaurants, we were educated about the various historic homes we strolled past. I truly enjoyed myself and I think the others in the group did as well. At just $44/person I think the price of the tour is well worth the experience.
- Savor Saint Louis Food Tours