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Where To Eat in St. Louis? (and Stovetop Mac and Cheese)

2010 March 11

Greg has a one day business trip to St. Louis coming up next week. There’s a country club in distress over their tabletops splitting or something along those lines. Most likely due to the climate in the building, I think, but he will see what the deal is and spend about 8 hours in the city. I know that he has a rep toting him about for the day but I want to be the good foodie/organizer that I am and try to find a worthwhile restaurant for his dining pleasure. He is up for anything and I am not familiar with the St. Louis scene (last time I was there was on a middle school trip where I spent most of my money on clothing instead of food…we didn’t have decent dining on the menu for that trip). Any suggestions?

I suspect he will have quite a bit of free time…maybe not, considering the airport wait but my motto is to be well-prepared without being uptight. I try anyway that is; I want to go too and have a day of dining. I could use a day, probably longer than that, somewhere else.

Last Saturday, I peered into the fridge and noticed how much cheese I owned. I love being the owner of a nice hunk of cheese. (That’s why I have Greg-badum-ching!) Then I looked in the cabinet and saw elbow pasta…are you reaching the same conclusion that I did? Well, if you’re here you already know from the title, it’s stovetop mac and cheese. Yet again, I ruined the moment. Smooth move Exlax.

I said a week (or two) ago that I had spent quite a bit of time on Martha Stewart’s site and came across this recipe. It’s easy; you can change it up if you don’t want a particular type of cheese in it or add a few different types of cheese. I changed this simply because I didn’t have specific ingredients and the directions seemed a bit formal so those had to go and what do you know, it still turned out delicious. I wanted to add tuna but was out, although I did have some peas…if you’ve never had tuna and peas mac, try it. I did add cubed ham but I don’t have to tell you that mac and cheese requires nothing more than cheese sauce and noodles to be good. I was surprised how fast this went together. I’ve had my fill and the kid in me (I’m not pregnant) is happy.

Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Stovetop Mac and Cheese
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
4 tbsp butter
1/3 cup all purpose flour
salt/pepper
4 cups milk (whole is my choice but use what you have)
1/8 to ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 lb. pasta of your choice (I used elbow)
2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 ¼ cups sharp cheddar, shredded (Gruyere or white cheddar would be nice too)
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup peas-optional
¾ cup cubed ham-optional (or large can of drained tuna)

Cook pasta according to the directions, drain and set aside. Meanwhile in a large saucepan (everything will end up in this pan), melt the butter over low/medium heat and add the flour. Whisking constantly, add salt to your taste and cook for a few minutes. Turn the heat to medium and add the milk and cayenne, whisking constantly. Bring to a slow boil, still stirring constantly; this should take about 7 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Add the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and cheese, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and add the pasta, salt/pepper, optional peas and ham or tuna. Stir until coated with cheese sauce and serve. We liked this with a few dashes of Tabasco on the top. Add a little more milk to bring it back to a creamy state when reheated.

8 Responses leave one →
  1. Elizabeth permalink
    March 11, 2010

    Whenever I go to St. Louis, I eat on The Hill (historic Italian neighborhood, it’s marked on maps). Zia’s, Fassi Sausage, Rigazzi’s. Not fine and fancy dining, sometimes even tacky but good Italian-American food not usually found in the midwest.
    Even better is shopping for amazing Italian groceries at Viviano & sons grocery. http://www.shopviviano.com/index.html
    Their peppers stuffed with buffalo mozzarella & prosciutto are to die for, and they might make sandwiches (can’t remember).
    St. Louis also has several Trader Joe’s stores– http://www.traderjoes.com . More excellent groceries.

    • March 11, 2010

      I’ll put that on the list I’ve composed from suggestions. We love Italian-American and if I’m lucky, he can pick me up some things at that grocery store. I love Trader Joes-we have a few up here but it takes a good hour to get there. Thanks!

  2. John permalink
    March 11, 2010

    I don’t live in StL any more, but low-key you can find a lot in the University City Loop (Delmar between Skinker & Big Bend). Higher end, I can’t suggest Harvest too strongly. I’ve been there a couple times and come away wowed. If you’re in a particular part of the city, they have a fairly active chowhound group, but I guess you already found that out. Also, while you’re in town, see if you can snag a Sauce Magazine (free alternative newspaper, but strictly about food.)

    • March 12, 2010

      I’ve heard that the City Loop is a great area for casual food. The Chowhound group is rather impressive and helpful. I have a large list now for my hubs and he will be finding me one of those newspapers!

  3. March 11, 2010

    It’s neat that you’re coming to St. Louis. I’ve lived here in STL for almost 3 years and am hoping I only have a few short months left.
    We don’t go out to eat these days, but we’ve been to several restaurants in the past. We LOVE Zia’s on the Hill. I’ve only been once, but it was amazing. For dessert and drinks I highly recommend Bailey’s Chocolate Bar in Lafayette Square.
    If you like chain restaurants Maggiano’s Little Italy is a winner. I’ve heard that the Drunken Fish in Central West End is excellent and I’m hoping I get to try it out soon. If you’re in the mood for some great wings or other bar food you’ll want to go to Seamus McDaniel’s in Dogtown. Another fun dessert place is Cyrano’s in Webster Groves.
    If you’re here some time between Wednesday and Saturday you may want to check out the Soulard Farmer’s Market. It’s so much fun!
    Let me know if you have any questions or if I can help you in any way.
    = )

    • March 12, 2010

      That is so helpful-thank you! Greg is psyched about trying out a few places. My list is long and I am making him take pictures…of the food.

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