St. Louis, Missouri: Budweiser, BBQ, and Bill


“Why in the world would you go to St. Louis, Missouri?” You may be asking yourself.  Well, at least a lot of people asked me that when I said I was going to Missouri. To be completely honest, my family lives there and my cousin was getting married, so that is what brought me there, but I never realized how much St. Louis had to offer.  St. Louis is the birthplace of Budweiser, so thanks for that St. Louis, and also home to amazing BBQ, what is said to be one of the top zoos in America, Ted Drewes which is worth the trip in itself, and my dad Bill. Well, technically Bill was born in Florida, but he grew up in Missouri, so it counts.

My first day there I spent wandering around the Central West End by myself.  I started off at the St. Louis cathedral which was absolutely breath taking.  It was my first time in a cathedral like that.  At least the first time that comes to mind, and definitely the first time that I went to a cathedral by myself because I had chosen to.  It was so beautiful, visiting these cathedrals is definitely something I will be making a regular stop on my travels now.  I grew up going to church, so learning about world religions has always been very interesting to me, and visiting this cathedral was equally as interesting.

After the cathedral I went to find the Strange Donuts trap kitchen, basically a test kitchen to try some of their donut flavors, but unfortunately the trap kitchen is closed now.  However, Strange Donuts is still open, and you should follow them on Instagram if you want some serious donut envy (@strangednuts), I didn’t get the chance to go, but it’s happening next time I go to St. Louis.  So, I settled on going to the Coffee Cartel instead.  The night before my cousin told me that in her opinion it was kind of overrated, but a very Central West End thing to do, I’m all about doing what you’re supposed to do where you’re supposed to do it, so Coffee Cartel it was.  I had a bagel and an iced coffee and was very happy with it.  I sat at the window facing out looking at all the restaurants and boutiques as I ate my bagel and thought about my next stop.

The Worlds Largest Chess Piece found in the Central West End

The Worlds Largest Chess Piece found in the Central West End

From there I took a walk through Forest park, one of the biggest public parks in the United States, it’s 500 acres bigger than Central Park in New York!  We don’t have big parks like that where I’m from, so I really loved spending a lot of time outside there.  A cool thing about the park is you have to walk or drive through it to get to the zoo and the museums which is exactly what I was doing.

I spent a few hours at the St. Louis zoo which was an awesome zoo! It’s huge, and even better, it’s free! They have a great monkey exhibit, and I really liked the hippos there!  Kangaroos are always my favorite to see at the zoo because I got to see wild ones when I was in Australia, but as far as zoo exhibits go in comparison to the other zoos I’ve been to the monkeys and hippos were my favorite.  The zoo was busy with families and summer camp fieldtrips, people of all ages walking from animal to animal and gathering around to see any animal out braving the sun and summer heat.  From the zoo I walked a couple minutes over to the St. Louis Art Museum and spent some time in there admiring the art work.

I walked through Forest park, taking a different way than I did on my way to the zoo on my way back to the Central West End in the pursuit of food and eventually getting back to my cousins apartment.  I ended up eating at Pickles Deli which has been voted in the past as The Riverfront Times Best Delicatessen, Sandwich, and Soup shop in St. Louis, and featured as one of The 17 Most Intriguing Trends, Concepts, and People in St. Louis Dining Today.  I had the BBQ pulled pork sandwich, and I had a cookie from Hot Box Cookies. #NoRegrets

I spent the rest of the night with my family that I hadn’t seen in years.  They were all worried I would wander by myself into a bad part of St. Louis and get myself into trouble, so everyone was relieved to see that I had survived.  The next day the rest of the family came into town for the wedding and we all got to catch up and talk about what was going on in everyone’s life and had been going on for the last couple years we had all missed.  I love my family so much and don’t get to see them nearly enough, so no matter what I did on this trip the time with my family was my favorite part.

Friday my cousin Shannon hung out with me and took me around to do fun things around the city all afternoon.  First we went to the Historic Soulard Farmers Market.  They had an awesome selection of fresh foods and produce, we didn’t spend a lot of time there, but in the future when I go back to visit I want to go again.  Next we went to the Anhueser-Busch Brewery, one of the oldest and largest breweries in America, for a tour.  That was the first brewery tour I had ever been on, and it was really cool!  Budweiser is probably the most popular beer there is, and while it’s not a craft beer or anything like that it was still fun learning about their brewing techniques and the history of the brewery.  I will definitely be looking for more brewery tours in the places visit from now on! 

St. Louis is known for its BBQ, and I am all about doing what you’re supposed to do where you’re supposed to do it, so Shannon took me to her favorite BBQ place for lunch.  We went to Bogarts Smokehouse, Shannon had the pulled pork sandwich in the spirit of trying something different than her usual, and I had her favorite, the Beef Brisket Sandwich, and it may have changed my life.  From there we went to Ted Drewes and that did change my life.  Ted Drewes sells frozen custard, not exactly ice cream, not exactly soft serve, but everything you need for the rest of your life.  They also sell Christmas trees in the winter in case you need one of those. I ordered the “concrete” with cookie dough, it’s so thick they literally hold it upside down when they pass it to you through the window.  After all of that I experienced my first food coma, my friends.  I went back and slept for at least an hour.  For a half of a second I was concerned that I had let myself eat to the point that I felt like I needed a nap, but then I stopped kidding myself, I was on vacation, it doesn’t count as bad if it’s on vacation, right? Right.

Over the next few days I spent time with my family, I got to see my big sister and spend some time alone with her which was so much fun, my cousin Nick got married, so we added a new family member, and it was a great week.  If you go to St. Louis and you don’t get BBQ or Ted Drewes it is a wasted trip.  Also, spend some time outside in the park, and experience some of the things St. Louis has to offer.  I liked it there a lot more than I imagined I would and I feel like St. Louis has so much to offer that has gone unnoticed.  I am really going to try to visit again sometime and see what else I missed on this trip.   Where are some places you have visited that you feel like have a lot to offer and don’t get enough credit?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Bill (my dad) and I staying fresh at a truck stop in Belleville, IL

Bill (my dad) and I staying fresh at a truck stop in Belleville, IL