02 September 2011

I ate and drank in St. Louis. It was OK.

I had some time to kill before flying out of lovely Lambert International Airport not long ago, so I decided to learn something about the respectable, hard-working city of St. Louis.  Now, I only spent a few hours there, so St. Louis fans, feel free to chime in with your suggestions.  What I found is that people like American food and lagers.  

Aya Sofia

I was looking for something a little more exotic than barbecue, so after slogging through about 10 American restaurants on opentable.com, we landed on Aya Sofia for some Turkish food in Midtown.  Good luck finding parking.  The food was perfectly fine, but there was nothing unique or surprising on the menu. They used quality ingredients and prepared the dishes capably and portions were large. Very large.  I had what ended up being a wrap sandwich (whoopee!), and my husband had a huge pile of buttery, comforting Moussaka.  Service was fast but a tiny bit on the snooty side, as if the restaurant could pretend it wasn't populated by diners with country accents and John Deere hats if they just acted posh enough.  I preferred the John Deere hats, actually.  And the noise level with relatively few people in the restaurant was quite loud. I cannot imagine how overwhelming it must be when filled. It's a beautifully decorated, laid-back little place with nice food. I'd go again if I lived there, but I won't make a special trip for it.

Moussaka at Aya Sofia
Community garden in Lafayette Square

Then we headed over to Lafayette Square, A national historic district, an area with a gorgeous park, a bunch of expensive-looking Victorian houses, and a few boutiques and hip-looking restaurants.  We went to Square One Brewery and Distillery for after-lunch drinks (and to numb ourselves a bit for the pending irritation of airport security).  The long list of beers presented nothing inventive, just the usual line-up of lagers, ales, stouts, and an IPA.  My husband, the IPA connoisseur, was not pleased.  It did have a bitterness at the front end, but dissolved quickly into a very bready flavor you would expect from a kolsch or other mild summer beer.  Weird.  

I always like to try craft beers, but I knew I could only drink so much before my behavior might run the risk of getting us both arrest at the airport, so I decide to test the distillery instead.  These guys make a massive number of grain spirits--flavored and unflavored vodkas, tequila, rum, and more, which I thought was pretty exciting.  I ended up getting a vodka flavored with gin and sweetened with agave syrup on the rocks.  It was delicious.  If my tolerance was higher (or if I lived in St. Louis), I would definitely go back and try more of their spirits.  Not so sure about the beer.   And the neighborhood is adorable--you should go if you're in town.  Only 10 minutes or so from the airport.   

He didn't look as happy after finishing his IPA.

By the way, you know how I've been slowly trying to compile places to bide your time while trapped in airports around the country?  Lambert International Airport has not been added to that list. 

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