Thursday, February 11, 2010
Will Walk For Food -- Especially Ribs
Still trapped in St. Louis, I had to get out of the hotel Wednesday so I arbitrarily walked to a barbeque place mentioned in the local city magazine. First, I walked to the famous Arch. (Love the steel structure; still mildly phobic about heights and edges; bought good taffy in the fake general store underneath.) Then, I set off for Pappy's Smokehouse. St. Louis has the most striking downtown -- individual buildings and businesses dropped among blocks of commercial ruins. I walked dozens of blocks, many lined by vacant or boarded-up buildings, and didn't pass a single store or restaurant enticing enough to make me break stride.
Now, I was walking for barbeque, which keeps a mind focused. After 90 minutes on my feet, I had earned my half rack of ribs even after a stellar hamburger the night before. I went with potato salad and beans after last night's fries had been so disappointing. Pappy's sells delicious ribs. They're firm textured and smokey. Nothing falls off the bone. I gnawed each rib, which I'm happy to do for this kind of smoked flavor. You get a real meaty flavor with nothing burned, nothing overwhelmed by barbeque sauce.
The sides were top-notch as well, especially the beans which had flavor but none of the sugar that ruins many barbeque plates. The white bread under the ribs surprised me. It was firm as well, a real loaf that held up to -- and was even better than -- the three barbeque sauces that Pappy's lets you apply by yourself.
Pappy's has the feel of real institution. St. Louis seems empty in most ways, but the line stayed steady at Pappy's even in early afternoon. I had walked in thinking that I might sample some beef brisket as well, but my single basket left me full and satisified. Definitely worth a visit if you're trapped in -- or just passing through -- St. Louis, and the $2 bus ride back downtown made it practical even if this week's frigid weather.
If all the snow has put you in a carnivorous mood, check out my 2009 take on the best barbeque and kabobs in Howard County.
I hope you're digging out. As of late Wednesday, United still has my flight leaves for Dulles at 8 am on Thursday. Seems unlikely. I hope they'll just make a decision before I need to check out and catch a cab. A day waiting at the airport would make me nostalgic for the day that I could spend walking around the casino and downtown.
3106 Olive Street
St. Louis, MO 63103
Scribbled by HowChow at 5:00 AM