Moving to a new state is stressful but it is also fun.
One of the things I like best about moving is learning about the local food traditions which vary state to state and region to region. Missouri is only two states down from Minnesota. Still, we’re finding that St. Louis has plenty of foods we’ve never tried before.
For one thing, there’s Provel. We both learned that we like it raw and shredded into salads, but we’re less sure how we feel about it melted. Jake’s tried more versions of St. Louis style-pizza than I have. In some cases, he’s liked it, and in others, not so much. We’ve literally never encountered Provel outside of Missouri, so imagine our surprise when we visited a local Italian restaurant and found it topping the chicken parmesan and baked ziti. The jury’s out on melted Provel. We’ve got plenty of time to decide.
This week we entertained several out-of town-guests who treated us to dinner at two restaurants we haven’t visited yet. These meals provided the perfect opportunity to try two foods I haven’t encountered outside of St. Louis:
Burger With Cheddar Cheese Spread
Burgers topped with cheddar cheese spread might be a thing elsewhere, but I haven’t encountered them yet. A while ago, I ran across this Chowhound thread in which a man asked for help finding a burger with cheddar cheese spread in St. Louis. Based upon the responses and a quick internet search, it seems like this type of burger is offered at many local restaurants.
I spotted it on the menu at Schlafly Brewery in Maplewood, MO. If you’re in the camp that likes goopy cheese sauces, cheese balls, and cheese spreads, you’ll like this style of burger. There’s really nothing not to like. The fact that the cheese spread’s temperature was cooler than the burger struck me as interesting, since I’m used to the cheese being melted onto the burger. But eventually the warm burger patty made the cheese more melty.
Finally, there are two more things I really like about Schlafly: The brewery offers small 10 oz. glasses of beer & did NOT overcook the burger.
According to this Feast Magazine article, the pork steak is a slice from the pork shoulder or Boston butt. This cut was made very popular in the 1950’s by the second-generation owners of one of our major grocery store chains, Schnucks. I’ve only seen people cook pork shoulder low and slow in a braise or crock-pot. Supposedly, pork steaks take well to grilling. It seems like they’re typically baked or smoked before receiving a char on the grill. At Hendricks, this was the case.
My North Iowa Blogger friends visited St. Louis this week to promote North Iowa’s new flight service to and from St. Louis via Air Choice One. The city of St. Charles provided a warm welcome and treated us to a meal at Hendricks BBQ. Pork Steak was the Wednesday special and so I ordered it.
Keep in mind that this is the very first pork steak I have ever tried. The meat wasn’t as spoon tender as the menu described, but, honestly, I preferred it not to be. I dislike ribs that are cooked so long that their meat slides from the bones. I prefer the meat to still retain some chew. This pork steak’s flavor and texture reminded me of pork ribs. I especially liked the melting fatty bits around the edges. Jake got to enjoy the leftovers and agrees that we need to eat more pork steaks.
So far, we’ve tried Provel, toasted ravioli, pork steaks, gooey butter cake and cheese spread burgers. We’ve had Mr. Wizard’s frozen custard, but not Ted Drewes’. I still need to try an Imo’s pizza and neither of us has ordered a St. Paul Sandwich, Syberg’s-style wings, or slinger (yet). What unique-to-St. Louis foods should we try next?