Saturday, September 17, 2011

On the road again: Bouchercon, St. Louis, day 3

Let's look at a few pictures.

On the way to lunch yesterday, we passed a building that was boarded up and awaiting renovation. On the boards covering some of the ground-floor windows, someone had painted architectural highlights, like this one.

And this one.

And this one.

The women in these shots are not people I know. I was trying to get the shots, they were walking, and they ended up providing scale. I hope they don't mind.

Where we were hoping to eat lunch was this place, whose name made it irresistible.

Alas, it closed three minutes before we hit it--we were heading to lunch quite late, due to work demands--so I never got to experience the Chili Mac's diner.

Walking late yesterday, just to explore downtown a bit, we encountered the bowling alley at which Bouchercon held its bowling tournament. Yes, a con with a bowling tournament.

You have to admit, though, if you were running a con and for some strange reason had to involve bowling, you'd be pretty darn happy to put it at the Flamingo.

Lunch today was at Mosaic, a fusion place with a more ambitious menu than I would have expected from this area. While most of the dishes we sampled were tasty, and I applaud the chef's fusion goals, I have to be clear on one point: no matter what you put on your menu, these are not frites.

Even with the addition of grated Parmesan and specks of white truffles, you may not call these truffled frites. Truffled housemade chips, sure, but not frites.

I'm glad we've settled that.

Exiting the restaurant, we spotted this rooster sitting outside a second-story window, the fabled St. Louis guard rooster, standing watch over the mean streets of downtown.

Or something.

I'm going with something.

Dinner took us to Stefano's, a little Italian place around the corner from the hotel's outlying ballroom building (this hotel sprawls over three buildings). The pizza was surprisingly good, one of the best I've had in a long time, with all fresh ingredients and a tangy tomato sauce that was simply excellent.

For dessert we tried two variants of a dish that is apparently a local, if not Midwestern, classic: the gooey butter cake. When Jeni's ice creams started selling an ice cream with that name, I thought they had just made it up, but apparently not.

The classic was sweet and definitely gooey.

The chocolate was, if anything, even sweeter and also quite gooey.

Stefano's claims to have won an award for the best gooey butter cake in the area, so I now feel well-schooled in this odd tradition.

Before and after dinner, the con offered live music from writer Max Allan Collins and his band, Cruzin'. They played mostly covers, but the music was fun, the crowd was into it, and I quite enjoyed it. A lovely end to the evening.


J. Griffin Barber said...

My family used to drive through St Louis twice a year, and its been economically depressed for as long as I can remember. Yet its state is nothing relative to East Saint Louis, which is a hotter, damper, uglier version of Gary, Indiana. Which is to say, another circle of hell.

John Lambshead said...

I spent a week in St Louis once as an invited speaker at a conference. The humidity and heat was breathtaking. Incendentally, I agree that those are not frites but they are not chips either. Look like hand made crisps. :)

Mark said...

Crisps is another good guess.


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