#74: "Burger" at Small Batch Whiskey & Fare

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Small Batch Whiskey & Fare's vegetarian burger. | Caroline Yoo

Sometimes, I just have to have a big, greasy burger -- one that covered in gooey cheese, tangy sauce and served on a soft buttery bun with crispy lettuce, red onions and some juicy tomatoes.

I never expected I'd find one to satisfy this craving at a vegetarian restaurant.

See Also: Dave Bailey Announces New Barbecue Restaurant in Downtown for Winter 2014


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#75: Smoked Salami Sandwich from Adam's Smokehouse

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The smoked salami sandwich at Adam's Smokehouse. | Mabel Suen

The secret to the smoked salami at Adam's Smokehouse (2819 Watson Road; 314-875-9890) is the 70/30 blend of pork and beef. Or is it the fruitwood smoke that spreads throughout the meat? Then again, it could be the generous flecks of black pepper and blend of spices the pit-masters keep as closely guarded as classified material.

See Also: First Look: Adam's Smokehouse Serves as a Sister Restaurant to Pappy's and Bogart's

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#76: Gyro on Pita at Olympia Kebob House & Taverna

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Olympia's classic gyro. | Caroline Yoo

Please indulge this recently repatriated St. Louisan who just returned from the hinterlands. It's not exactly breaking news that Olympia Kebob House & Taverna's (1543 McCausland Avenue, Richmond Heights; 314-781-1299) gyro is the best in town. Like most, I've been going to Olympia for years, taking its signature sandwich for granted. But, in the words of 1980s hair metal band Cinderella, "You don't know what you've got till it's gone."


See Also: Layla Debuts New Menu Focusing on Burgers and Shawarma


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#77: The Johnny Cake at Tree House

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The Johnny cake at Tree House. | Caroline Yoo

I used to feel bad for vegetarians. While I got to dine out and stuff my face with prosciutto and ribs, their menu choices were typically more limited. ("Um, we can do a veggie pasta?") Thankfully, meatless options have gotten much better over the past few years, and vegetarian restaurants like Tree House (3177 South Grand Boulevard; 314-696-2100) are popping up all over town.

See Also: Tree House's Meatless Menu Satisfies Even the Most Reluctant Vegetarian


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#78: A Classic Glazed Doughnut from Pharoah's Donuts

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A dozen of the city's finest. | Mabel Suen

Boy, do we have it tough here at Gut Check. While others get to spend their days frolicking through cubicle farms or perusing TPS reports, we trudge into the office to do doughnut taste tests. Yes, it's a rough life, but we strongly feel that we owe it to the St. Louis doughnut-eating public to lead it in the direction of fried-dough bliss, and we're ready to declare a champion.

See Also: A Blind Taste Test of 5 Doughnuts Including Strange, World's Fair and, Yes, Schnucks

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#79: Skordalia at the Purple Martin

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Skordalia, or garlic dip, at the Purple Martin. | Corey Woodruff

This is not just my usual weekly selection. It's a plea to Brooke Roseberry and Tony Lagouranis, owners of the Purple Martin (2800 Shenandoah Avenue; 314-898-0011). See, just recently they announced that they're revamping the menu at their delightful Fox Park eatery.

Guys, I'm begging you: Keep the gloriously garlicky skordalia dip on the menu.

See Also: The Purple Martin holds great promise in Fox Park

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#80: Beef Brisket Birria Taco at Mission Taco Joint

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Mission Taco Joint's beef brisket birria taco. | Cheryl Baehr

It's difficult to decide between beef and pork for the ideal taco filling. A well-prepared carne asada gives such a meaty richness, but the sweet pork flavor of something like carnitas is hard to beat. When I go to Mission Taco Joint (6235 Delmar Boulevard; 314-932-5430), I don't have to choose. I simply order the beef brisket birria and drift off into taco bliss.

See also: Chef Chat: Jason Tilford Turns Corn into Masa and Water into Wine

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#81: Cappuccino from Sump Coffee

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A cappuccino from Sump Coffee. | Cheryl Baehr

Thank goodness former patent attorney Scott Carey had the courage to follow a dream. Since opening Sump Coffee (3700 South Jefferson Avenue; 917-412-5670) in 2011, this soft-spoken craftsman has elevated the St, Louis coffee scene to new heights, serving house-roasted seasonal selections from his south Jefferson storefront. Don't think of ordering a double skinny mochaccino at Sump. In fact, don't even bother asking for cream and sugar. It's just not that kind of place.

See Also: MOFU Tofu Collaborates With Sump Coffee to Create Ramen Pop-Up Restaurant

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#82: Salted Caramel Croissant at Pint Size Bakery

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The salted caramel croissant at Pint Size Bakery. | Cheryl Baehr

When it comes to her salted caramel croissants, Pint Size Bakery (3825 Watson Road; 314-645-7142) owner Christy Augustin lays down the law.

"They come out at 10 a.m., there's only two per transaction, and when they're gone, they're gone," she says.

Just because there are rules doesn't mean that everyone follows them. These croissants are so good, Augustin has to deal with scam artists.

"We had a big family come in the other week. They were all sneaky and divided up in line so they could buy us out," she says. "It was sad, because everyone else who was waiting was out of luck. We should get a bouncer."

See Also: Christy Augustin is Pint Size Bakery's "Punk Rock Grandma"

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#83: Gnocchi at the Good Pie

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The Good Pie's butcher and pasta maker, John Messbarger, prepares the gnocchi. | Jennifer Silverberg

One could be forgiven for assuming that the must-eat dish at the Good Pie (6665 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-899-9221) would be the pizza. Without a doubt, it's fantastic, but the delicious pies run the danger of obscuring the best dish on the menu -- the housemade gnocchi. Diners may be tempted to pass on the pasta to save room for the pizza, but it's not necessary. The dish is a small appetizer portion of not more than a few bites. What it lacks in size it more than makes up for in taste.

See also: Good Pie or Great? A Neapolitan pizza fanatic finds out

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