Trendy Cocktails and Sky-High Sandwiches: The Central West End

        A Fiesta at Gringo | Mabel Suen

(398 N. Euclid Avenue; 314-449-1212)
After conquering the pizza world, the minds behind Pi Pizzeria have introduced
a new concept: Gringo. Described by co-owner Chris Sommers as "a mid-century Baja beach party," the brightly lit 3,300-square-foot dining room complete with a hanging swordfish fits the bill. The menu features a unique collection of tacos, such as the al pastor, grilled octopus and the especially tasty pescado, with grilled or fried snapper, Napa cabbage slaw, chipotle crema and toasted pepitas. And there's the chapulines made with sauteed grasshoppers, guajillo pepper and avocado. Yes, you read it correctly -- grasshoppers. Be adventurous, give it a shot. To wash it all down, choose from an excellent list of margaritas or one of the craft beers made just for the new restaurant.

See also:
First Look: Gringo

(4584 Laclede Avenue; 314-361-1200)
A cocktail at Taste is not just some drink you have to take the edge off; it's a transformative experience. Drinks like Hell's Bells and Ab-Duck-tion offer a glimpse into the genius of the Mixologists at Taste. The former is a spiced gin wonder made with Hayman's Old Tom Gin, Pimm's, a touch of sugar, absinthe and a sizable garnish of smoked red bell pepper. Ab-Duck-tion is a heady melange of mascarpone, pepper, lemon, lavender bitters and duck fat infused Grand Marnier. The awe-inspiring cocktail menu can be intimidating, and there's often newly created drinks that you've never heard of. Thus, for the true Taste experience, we recommend that you ask whoever is behind the bar, and then order that.

See also:
Seven Great Summer Cocktails
- Taste's "Barbacoa": One of the 100 St. Louis Dishes You Must Eat Right Now

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