#63: Arancini From Mangia Mobile
Robin Wheeler Only one Mangia has arancini.
What's in a name? If you're food truck Mangia Mobile, a lawsuit from a similarly named local restaurant.
Mangia Mobile compensates for the name overlap by bringing Italian street food to St. Louis. Specifically, Sicilian-style arancini. Owners Catherine, Thomas and Alex Daake borrowed the recipe from their Sicilian grandmother and no one minds.
How could we, when arancini are concerned? Somewhere between the size of a golf and a tennis ball, the Daakes layer beef, mozzerella and rice, toss the concoction in seasoned breadcrumbs and deep-fry to order. Served with a side of homemade marinara sauce for drizzling -- the arancini are too big to dip -- they're fresh, hot, crisp and hearty. The rice stays toothsome and a little chewy, reminiscent of risotto. At its core the meat and cheese melt together, mild in flavor, allowing the bright freshness of the marinara to shine.
Not every great meal needs to be served in a darkened cafe. Mangia Mobile's arancini prove that sometimes, a great dish can come from a truck and be savored while hustling down Market Street. An arancini sold by another name would taste just as wonderful.
Beginning last year, RFT restaurant critic Ian Froeb counted down -- in no particular order -- 100 of his favorite dishes in St. Louis. Now Gut Check has taken up where he left off. Check back frequently as we detail our 100 favorites, and don't hesitate to send us yours, too, either via the comments thread or at email@example.com.
#64: Three Coins in the Fountain at the Fountain on Locust
#65: Pan-Fried Noodles at Pho Grand
#66: Pastelitos at Fritanga
# 67: Bento Box at Blue Ocean Sushi
# 68: Lamb Burger at The Scottish Arms
#69: Crispy Pork Spring Rolls at Bobo Noodle House
#70: Turkey Melt and Field Greens Salad at Schlafly Bottleworks
#71: The Vegetarian Platter at Ranoush
#72: Vegetarian Meatballs at Lucas Park Grille
#73: Sizzling Rice Soup at Hunan and Peking Garden
#74: Straw and Hay Pasta at Trattoria Marcella
#75: Spaghetti Pomodoro at Babbo's Spaghetteria
#76: Shrimp Fajitas at El Matador
#77: Vegetable Quesadilla at Chava's
#78: Companion Rustic Olive Bread
#79: Salt and Pepper Shrimp from Wei Hong