DC chowhound here who just spent a few days in St. Louis. I can offer three valuable tips on surprisingly good eats:
1. Lunch at Moxie, especially a great caprese salad made with the freshest of tomatoes, mozzarella and a delicious dressing.
2. Miss Saigon, on Delmar: Nothing had led me to expect high-quality Vietnamese in St. Louis, and the yuppified design had me expecting a restaurant devoted to "Americanized" cuisine, heavy on the sugar and without the great mix of Vietnamese flavors. But this is pretty much the real McCoy, or as close to it as you're likely to get around here. The sweet and sour soup and the lighty-fried calamari were the best things we ordered; but a lot of stuff appearing at surrounding tables (largely a young Vietnamese crowd) looked really tempting, too. (And the design is actually really well-executed, especially the tables and chairs -- the rare modern design that successfully creates a welcoming restaurant.)
3. Serendipity Ice Cream on Big Bend Blvd. Owner Beckie Jacobs bills it as the "Best Ice Cream in Webster Groves," but she's being entirely too modest. I can't imagine there's better stuff in the whole town (yes, I know all about, and adore, Ted Drewes, but there's really no common ground of comparison -- it's apples and, uh, custard). I tasted, let's see, the Chocolate, the Gold Coast Chocolate, the Cinnamon, the Dulce de Leche, the Banana, the Sweet Cream, the Pistachio and one or two others I'm forgetting. All were delicious except for the Banana (which is reminiscent of a frozen banana, if that's what gets you through the night); and the Pistachio and Gold Coast (dark, rich) Chocolate were considerably more than that. A real gem of a place that any town would be lucky to have. (Props to Chow-lurker Amy for the recommendation.)
P.S. You all should patronize the terrific film series at Webster University. There was something a tad incongruous about Bresson's Au Hazard Balthazar and a cone of Serendipity Pistachio, but they made for a great double bill!
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