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Neighborfood Takes a Jaunt Through the Loop July 27

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       Mission Taco is one of eight stops in the Loop. | Jennifer Silverberg

There are so many good places to eat in the Loop that sometimes it's hard to pick just one. Neighborfood has got you covered. On Saturday, July 27, the dishcrawl will tour the Delmar Loop in University City and hit eight restaurants.

See also:
-Gut Check Tags Along on First Dishcrawl Down Wash. Ave.
-Eat Streets: St. Louis welcomes an influx of dining tours
-St. Louis Dining Tours Round-Up + Win A Savor Saint Louis Central West End Tour For Two


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Ferguson Man Fights to Grow Veggies in Front Yard [Updated]

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City officials say this garden poses safety and erosion concerns.

Update: (Tuesday, July 31, 2:45 p.m.) Karl Tricamo emailed us with the results of his appeal to the Board of Adjustments: "Appeal went well, and the City's [Ferguson] determination that the garden violates code was overturned."

Original post follows.

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Karl Tricamo thought he had found a harmless way to provide food for his fiancée and infant son this summer.

But when the recently laid-off Tricamo set out to plant a vegetable garden outside his Ferguson home, he encountered a small obstacle. The backyard didn't get enough sunlight. So Tricamo moved his garden to the front yard, tilling up a 25-foot by 35-foot plot of ground he's come to call a "yarden."

Today the yarden is in full bloom, sprouting multiple varieties of beans, corn, peppers, tomatoes, squashes and melons that Tricamo boasts were all planted by seed and are entirely GMO free. Yet the fruit of Tricamo's labors soon could be headed prematurely to the compost heap if Ferguson officials have their way.


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Albert Pujols Can Buy a Lot of Wheaties for $254 Million

St. Louis Cardinals fans might still be coming to terms with Albert Pujols' departure for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The marketplace, however, has already responded. Seen today at Schnucks:

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​(Of course, since this commemorative box of Wheaties Fuel features Albert's handsome mug but no St. Louis Cardinals logos, Schnucks could have just cut a deal with an Orange County grocer and shipped the leftover boxes to the West Coast.)

"It's Not Food, It's Frozen Yogurt"

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I'd like to think that this sign, spotted recently on the front door of a business in the Delmar Loop, is a clever commentary on the questionable nature of frozen yogurt, but I suspect the owner of this business is simply exhausted by the number of frozen-yogurt joints that have opened in St. Louis over the past few years and is trying to drive home the point.

Riding Out the Rapture at Taste of Maplewood

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Holly Fann
There was plenty of Schlafly on ice at Taste of Maplewood

The Rapture didn't happen, and it's a good thing. When the festivities and food officially started on Saturday at noon, Taste of Maplewood was already bustling. White tents lined both sides of Sutton Boulevard; a few were manned by vendors offering services (Edward Jones, for instance, and Hatch), but food was the focus -- that, and an array of beer and boozy drinks.
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Holly Fann
Maya Cafe brought the beef -- brisket and empanadas.

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The Hungriest Gas Pump in St. Louis

Bad enough that gas costs $4 a gallon. Now, the gas pumps are getting all pushy-like, demanding that we feed them.

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Ian Froeb

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gas pumps

Not Feeling Friskies: A Modern Supermarket Tragicomedy in One Act

"Feed the cat? Or obliterate the pain of my daily existence? Feed the cat? Or obliterate the pain of my daily existence?"

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Ian Froeb
​Sorry, Mr. Whiskers.

Royal Wedding Paaaaartay Begins at London Tea Room at 4 a.m. Sharp

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image via
What proud American could fail to be excited about getting up at 4 a.m. to watch the British royal wedding?
Gut Check would like to propose that a true, red-blooded American like yourself would feel a lot less silly watching the Royal Wedding tomorrow morning if you weren't sitting alone on the couch in your pajamas.

Sure, it all goes down at the ass- arse-crack of dawn here, thanks to the time difference, but is that any excuse to not get yourself all spiffed up -- maybe even with a fancy hat, like the good British aristocrat you undoubtedly were in a previous life -- and, more important, enjoy the festivities without a nice cuppa or a proper scone with clotted cream?

We think not!

Jackie James, British expat and manager of the London Tea Room (1520 Washington Avenue; 314-241-6556), happens to agree with us. That's why she'll be flinging open the tea room's doors at 4 a.m. tomorrow, in time for her guests to get caffeinated and settled in front of the big screen that'll be set up in English Living, the furniture store next door, by the time the wedding starts at 5.

"It's open to everybody," says James. "Anyone who wants to get up that early is a crazy person."

She will, of course, be there.


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Tater Tot Eating Competition to Rock Bar Louie Next Thursday

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Imagine taking down more than four pounds of these babies -- in six minutes.

We've heard about all-you-can-eat hot-dog competitions. And all-you-can-eat pie contests. We were even aware, in some deep recess of our brain, that there's an International Federation of Competitive Eating to regulate some of the more, umm, prestigious competitive eating events.

But we'd never heard of a tater tot eating contest -- until we learned about the one at Bar Louie next week. Silly us! Turns out, this is the fourth year of hosting "Rock the Tot" for the Chicago-based chain, which has locations in both the Central West End and Kirkwood. The winner at each location gets a $250 gift card for Bar Louie, plus free tots for a year; the national winner gets a $500 gift card, plus a year's worth of free tots.

And for all you city dwellers, there's a big opportunity lurking at the Central West End location this year: "Carl" is retiring.
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South Central Regional Barista Competition: And the Winner Is...

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The setup at one of the stations at the South Central Regional Barista Competition.
Several former baristas work here at Gut Check International Headquarters, and sometimes when we're really, really bored, we gather in someone's cubicle and compare war stories. Oddly enough, none of these stories has anything to do with the transcendent joy of pulling the perfect shot of espresso.

For one thing, most of us worked at Starbucks after the chain switched to the idiot-proof push-button espresso machines, which require no operating skill whatsoever. For another, it's much more fun to share stories of our most insane customers and compare the number of times the police had to stop by. When we wore the green apron, way more of our time was spent cleaning and dealing with crazy people than actually, y'know, practicing our craft.

The baristas who showed up at the South Central Regional Barista Competition at the Chase Park Plaza this weekend are in an entirely different league. These baristas grind and tamp their coffee grounds themselves. They have definite opinions about single-origin coffees and blends. They use phrases like "chocolatey finish" and "citrusy top notes" without irony. They know how to put pretty shapes into the foam of their cappuccinos. They eschew the coffee-stained apron in favor of dressing like nineteenth-century barkeeps. (Suspenders vs. vests is a major point of contention among serious baristas.) And, as befits those who have risen far enough in their field that they have reached the regional level of the United States Barista Championship, they don't have to clean up after themselves.

For Gut Check, it was a brave new world.


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