St. Louis' "Best" Bean Pie, the Dessert That's Good and Good for You

Categories: Eat This?!

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A slice of bean pie. | Stu Spivack

Bean pie is a classic dish in the African American Muslim community. When Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammed set out the group's dietary restrictions in the 1960s, popular items like sweet potatoes were out and the high-protein navy bean was in. It's the main ingredient in bean pie, and Muhammed claimed it could extend your lifespan.

Bean pie especially took hold on the east coast, but you can get them right here in St. Louis -- if you know where to look. Wanting to taste this unusual creation, we decided to seek out the maker of the self-proclaimed best bean pie in St. Louis.

See also: Smoki O's "Snoot," the Other-Other White Meat You Should Definitely Eat

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Schottzie's Gives a Whole New Meaning to "Brain Food"

Categories: Eat This?!

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       The brain sandwich in all its glory. | Zach Garrison

When considering St. Louis' best neighborhood bars, Schottzie's Bar and Grill (11428 Concord Village Avenue; 314-842-7244) has to be at the top of list -- it's a classic. Schottzie's is the type of place where, at high noon, a regular saddles up to the bar and promptly orders a pitcher of beer, Keno is the game of choice and brain sandwiches are served up with style.

That's right, a sandwich that prominently features brains. Don't be alarmed: Schottzie's has perfected the art, gaining quite the reputation along the way. At this point, if you want to call yourself a true St. Louisan foodie, you'll have to make a pilgrimage to south county and try it for yourself -- like we did. After all, the modern take on the brain sandwich is said to have its origins in late 19th-century St. Louis. Read on for a preview.

See also: Syberg's Shark Tacos Turn the Tables on Jaws

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Syberg's Shark Tacos Turn the Tables on Jaws

Categories: Eat This?!

In this series Gut Check tracks down St. Louis' more unusual culinary offerings in hopes of expanding our collective food knowledge and answering the question: Should you really "Eat This?!"

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        Syberg's "Shark Tacos," (insert theme music from Jaws). | Zach Garrison

At Syberg's (7802 Gravois Road; 314-832-3560) on Gravois, a massive shark head is mounted on the wall, trophy style, next to one of an unfortunate buffalo. Given St. Louis' distance from the ocean, we found this a bit curious. Luckily, server Beth Scalise, a sixteen-year Syberg's veteran, was on hand to explain that decades ago, the owners of Syberg's would travel south to Florida and do some deep-sea fishing. The family grew to love the taste of shark and eventually said, "Hey, let's bring some shark back to St. Louis." Since then, shark has been on the menu, which is why we're at the bar ordering up some shark tacos.

See also:Broadway Oyster Bar's "Fried Alligator" is Straight Outta the Swamp Cajun Cuisine

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Broadway Oyster Bar's "Fried Alligator" is Straight Outta the Swamp Cajun Cuisine

Categories: Eat This?!

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        Fried gator is served. | Zach Garrison

On the History Channel, which long ago lost all legitimacy, there's a popular show that revolves around people living in swamps down on the bayou, who then primarily hunt alligators in said swamps. Usually these "swamp people" are colorful characters who speak with nearly indecipherable yet endearing Cajun accents and are often missing several teeth. Needless to say, the show is wildly entertaining (nearly every episode leads you to believe that by show's end, someone will be eaten by a big ole gator, though, so far, no such luck). But all of this is really just a way of explaining that alligators are a hot commodity -- not just as purses and boots, but as a source of food, especially in Cajun cuisine.

While St. Louis might have its French antecedents, Cajun in our fair city is not overly abundant. Still, we have our sources, and at the iconic Broadway Oyster Bar (736 South Broadway; 314-621-8811), you can in fact find yourself some gator. Recently, we did just that.

See also:
-
Smoki O's "Snoot," the Other-Other White Meat You Should Definitely Eat
- Try This Now: Lamb Liver at the Kabob House

More »

Smoki O's "Snoot," the Other-Other White Meat You Should Definitely Eat

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        There's a snootful for ya. | Zach Garrison

On the north side, at the corner of Mullanphy Street and Broadway, trails of smoke can be seen billowing out behind Smoki O's (1545 North Broadway; 314-621-8180) known as one of the best barbecue joints in the city. A family operation, Smoki O's has been pulling pork and slicing brisket since 1997, receiving many accolades along the way (including from the Travel Channel's Andrew Zimmern) and devoted fans along the way.

On the day we visited, the St. Louis Police Department put in a massive take-out order, which, understandably, garnered the immediate attention of the staff. And while scouring the menu, our eyes were drawn to the ribs, the pork, the chicken -- it all sounded delicious. But we were there for one reason and one reason only: the snoot. That's right, snoot, or pig snout. It's considered a fine delicacy when cooked properly, and lucky for us, Smoki O's nose (sorry, couldn't resist) a thing or two about snoot.

See also: Open Mouth, Insert Tongue: Why You Gotta Try the Tongue Sandwich at Kopperman's Deli


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Try This Now: Lamb Liver at the Kabob House

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       The Lamb Liver. | Pat Kohm

When scanning a menu, it's easy to gravitate toward the familiar, the go-to. Far too often, though, that means missing out on a specialty dish or ethnic delicacy. In this series Gut Check tracks down St. Louis' more unusual culinary offerings in hopes of expanding our collective food knowledge and answer the question: Should you really "Eat This?!"

While driving south a ways down Kingshighway, you'll pass a few neighborhoods taverns and a couple barbecue joints -- stellar south city staples each and every one -- but then, a bit unexpectedly, the Kabob House (4940 Christy Boulevard; 314-832-2977) appears and you'll pretty much have to stop, because you've just stumbled upon some excellent Middle Eastern cuisine. There's a strong chance you're thinking falafel, and with good reason: they're pretty amazing. But we decided it was time to try something new. Like lamb...lamb liver.

See also: Open Mouth, Insert Tongue: Why You Gotta Try the Tongue Sandwich at Kopperman's Deli

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Open Mouth, Insert Tongue: Why You Gotta Try the Tongue Sandwich at Kopperman's Deli

Categories: Eat This?!

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       The iconic deli counter at Kopperman's. | Laura Miller

When scanning a menu, it's easy to gravitate toward the familiar, the go-to. Far too often, though, that means missing out on a specialty dish or ethnic delicacy. In this series Gut Check tracks down St. Louis' more unusual culinary offerings in hopes of expanding our collective food knowledge and answer the question: Should you really "Eat This?!"

Kopperman's Delicatessen (386 N. Euclid Avenue; 314-361-0100) is the quintessential New York delicatessen that just so happens to also be a St. Louis institution. This place is serious about sandwiches: overstuffed, towering stacks of meats and cheeses that leave you sated and content.

To go along with the sandwiches, oversized antique circus posters decorate the walls, and the outdoor seating area is arguably the best spot in the Central West End to take in the comings and goings of Euclid Avenue.

And while you can choose from a menu filled with good old-fashioned deli sandwiches, we're here for the Tongue Fu: beef tongue, but mixed in with pastrami and corned beef, with Swiss cheese and mustard on pumpernickel bread.

See also:
-
Where to Break the Yom Kippur Fast
- Trendy Cocktails and Sky-High Sandwiches: The Central West End
- The Lunch Bucket List at Kopperman's

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