Missouri Is the No. 5 Most "BBQ-Crazed" State

Categories: Fun Facts

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We're in barbecue heaven! | Courtesy Estately

According to a new real estate study from Estately, Missouri is the No. 5 most barbecue-crazed state in the country. That's it?! Coming in at No. 1 is Alabama, followed by Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. Hey, at least we beat Kansas.

See also: Spare No Rib Lands on Zagat's 15 Hottest Barbecue Restaurants

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Why Are the Urinals at 801 Chophouse Filled with Ice?

Categories: Fun Facts

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Caroline Yoo

When our photographer went into the men's room at 801 Chophouse (137 Carondelet Plaza; 314-875-9900) to shoot a portrait for our roundup of the 10 Most Beautiful Bathrooms in St. Louis, the manager wanted to make sure that each urinal contained a fresh bucket of ice.

What? Ice in the urinal? We had to know more, so we called the manager and got the full story.

See also: The 10 Best Restaurant Bathrooms (AKA the Finest Loos in the Lou)

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30 Last-Minute Halloween Jokes for Trick-or-Treaters

Categories: Fun Facts

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It's crunch time for parents and kids in St. Louis. Time to come up with a quick Halloween joke for trick-or-treaters. Natives of St. Louis might not realize it, but our city is pretty unique when it comes to requiring that trick-or-treaters provide a joke in order to get candy. Des Moines, Iowa, is perhaps the only other U.S. city with such a tradition.

But enough about that: You need a joke for your kiddo, pronto. Fortunately, for four years now Riverfront Times has been collecting the best Halloween jokes as told by St. Louis trick-or-treaters. Below are 30 of the best* ones we've heard.

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Sacre Bleu! 7 French Foods We Just Can't Stomach

Categories: Fun Facts

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       France: Usually awesome. | PRA via Wikimedia

French cuisine is generally killer. The cheese, the bread, the pastries, the wine, the pâté -- we could go on forever. Sometimes, though, our baguette-loving brethren get a little too crazy with their culinary creations. There are some dishes that even we can't get behind. (But we'll try anything once.)

Sunday is Bastille Day in France, which is basically their Fourth of July, except way less awesome than ours because a bunch of people died and a pastry cook got kicked in the balls. So, in honor of the Fête de la Fédération, we've rounded up seven crazy French dishes that we just don't have the stomach for.

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A Brief History of Canned Food

Categories: Books, Fun Facts

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Here's to you, Nicolas Appert! Let's toast with the jar you invented.
Today marks the beginning of National Canned Food Month. Why is February National Canned Food Month? Well, are there any locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables you'd want to eat at this time of year? Yeah, didn't think so.

Before we launch into our month-long celebration of soups and vegetables, sardines and SpaghettiOs, beer and Clamato and all other things canned, let us raise a Mason jar in a toast to Nicolas Appert, the father of canned food.

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Fitz's Releases Limited Edition Obama and Romney Root Beer Bottles

Categories: Fun Facts, Polls

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Image courtesy Fitz's
There are many ways to track a political race, from the traditional polling the electorate to
wunderkind Nate Silver's statistical analyses on New York Times' Five Thirty Eight blog. Gut Check, however, does things a little differently.

You see, during this election season, Fitz's American Grill & Bottling Works (6605 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-726-9555) is offering specially labeled bottles of its flagship product: one featuring Barack Obama, the other Mitt Romney.

Rather than rely on noted pollsters or the wisdom of the crowd, we figured we'd base our 2012 election projection on which Fitz's soda outpolling outsells the other.

See Also:
- "Fitz's Collaborates with Kaldi's and Pi Pizzeria To Brew Specialty Sodas"


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The Ghosts of Thanksgiving Past

Categories: Fun Facts

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Last Thanksgiving, Gut Check took a trip back in time to revisit the Thanksgivings of the good old days. Well, what we really wanted to revisit was the fabulous spread put on by the Park Avenue Hotel in New York, which started with oysters and continued through eleven courses, serving up delicacies such as "Diamond-back terrapin, Amontillado sherry" and "Sweetbreads in cases with truffles" along with good old "Rhode Island turkey stuffed with chestnuts, cranberry sauce" and "Tomato in surprise." (What could that "surprise" be, we wonder? Aspic?)

Alas, that was not possible. We just stared at the menu for a while and drooled.

St. Louisans ate much more simply. The old Globe-Democrat printed up a sample menu in 1883 that wouldn't be out of place today: roast turkey, mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie. It did, however, reprint a heart-rending tale from Baltimore of a family whose Thanksgiving feast literally crushed the table.

By 1911, exactly 100 years ago, menus hadn't changed much. But Thanksgiving promised to be more depressing that year. On October 1 the Post-Dispatch trumpeted the gloomy headline: "NEARLY ALL FOOD PRICES UP; HOPE IN DRIED APPLES."

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Osama bin Laden Felching the Fat Dixie Chick, and 6 Other Appropriately Themed Celebratory Cocktails

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A dispatch Monday afternoon from the all-things-food site Eater.com noted that restaurants are offering drink specials in honor of the killing of Public Enemy No. 1 Osama bin Laden.

A few establishments among the handful of examples Eater cited were serving free drinks, but the majority were merely offering discounts, and all appeared to be using the occasion of the fallen al-Qaeda leader purely as a marketing ploy, and only a couple even went to the trouble of ginning up a themed beverage. Then again, this is America: Land of the free, home of the avaricious.

With all due respect to Uncle Fatty's Rum Resort in Chicago and its specialty cocktails (the "Floating Terrorist" and "Osama Been Shot") and the Candi Shack in Seattle with its dollar coffee with an "Osama bin Laden Shot in the Dark," you can do just as well at your local watering hole, or at home, with these seven recipes...


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Girl Scout Cookies Make Us Want to Puke -- Episode 3: Shortbread (a.k.a. Trefoils)

Categories: Fun Facts

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Doesn't that face just scream shortbread cookie!?
If Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa of Food Network fame, baked up a batch of shortbread cookies for a Girl Scout troop in her neck of the Hamptons, here is what the ingredient list might look like:

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If, on the other hand, you bought shortbread cookies from one of Gut Check's friendly neighborhood Girl Scouts, here's what the ingredient list would look exactly like:

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Girl Scout Cookies Make Us Want to Puke -- Episode 2: Caramel deLites (a.k.a. Samoas)

Categories: Fun Facts

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It's Girl Scout Cookie season, and Gut Check is celebrating by taking a more-than-cursory glance at this annual sugar and saturated-fat bacchanalia and, well, kinda throwing up in our mouth.

In our first episode, we decried the non-nutritive abominations known as Peanut Butter Patties, or as they were formerly known and still are in some regions of this great land, Tagalongs.

Today we move on to Caramel deLites, which we'll tell you right now contain nothing remotely resembling caramel and are anything but deLiteful. They once were known as Samoas (and still are in some markets), a name that is doubtless intended to evoke the image of a tropical paradise, owing to the presence of coconut (or some facsimile thereof). Ooooh, how exotic! Or, now, Caramel deLites -- whatevs.

The concept here, for those who to this point haven't managed to focus clearly, is to direct attention to this simple but sad fact: Girl Scout Cookies, which are marketed by adults toward children to sell to other children (via their proxies, a.k.a. Mom and Dad), are, when you get right down to it, lumps of artificial glop, blended together, baked and then packaged so as to appear to be edible.

Let's have a look at the label that adorns a box of Caramel deLites -- quickly, because Gut Check's gorge is already a-risin':


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