Confession: I used to refer to myself as a "foodie" until I recently discovered that the term is widely considered an overused buzzword. Who knew? Regardless of labels, for those who love to eat, drink and be merry, Missouri's food hotspots provide the perfect avenue for exploring pleasures for your palate.
New Taste Adventures
St. Joseph's newest restaurant, Ostrea, touts house-made preserves, artisanal cheeses, charcuterie and the star of the show, Chef Spark's oysters. Also relatively new, Flyover has creative craft cocktails as well as the only wood-fired oven in Columbia. It's great fun to order a few of their rustic small plates for sharing.
Tried and True Favorites
With entrees as eye-pleasing as the décor, Prasino is a St. Charles staple. While their menu is full of yummy options, their burger - topped with smoked gouda, tomato jam, arugula and pickled onion - is a must-order. Another fave, Lake of the Ozarks Baxter's Lakeside Grille has a sunset view only outdone by their delectable jumbo scallops and grilled-to-perfection steaks that melt in your mouth.
Food Truck Phenomenon
Serving up savory and sweet crepes to order, Eat. Crepe. Love. brings a European treat to mid-Missouri. Made from scratch (with love), the hardest decision might be which crepe (or crepes, let's be real) to eat. Another great food truck, located behind White River Brewing Company in Springfield, is family-owned and -operated Skully's. Their innovative Asian cuisine will please the vegan and meat-lover alike with spicy, blackened chili hot wings and kim chi loaded fries.
Wine and Beer and Cocktails, oh my!
Chaumette Vineyard and Winery in Ste. Genevieve, boasts the appealing combo of both award-winning wines and the delicious Cajun-inspired Grapevine Grill, making it worth the drive. Question: what goes better with hand-crafted beer than slow-smoked BBQ? Answer: nothing. Springfield's Lost Signal Brewing has a pretty good handle on the pairing. If you're looking for a well-crafted, no-fuss cocktail, Columbia's Dogmaster Distillery mashes, ferments, distills, ages, filters, bottles and pours quality spirits in house.
James Beard Awardees
I'm dying to try the Rabbit Porcheta at Sidney Street Café in St. Louis, whose chef, James Nashan, was awarded the2017 James Beard Award's Best Chef: Midwest. Hit up the happy hour at Port Fonda in Kansas City with $5 Rose Margaritas and their signature chilaquiles. Its chef, Patrick Ryan, was a Best Chef: Midwest nominee this year.
Missouri offers an exciting array of culinary hotspots that are sure to please both the food adventurer and lover of the tried-and-true.