Guerrilla Street Food, St. Louis, MO – Do You Even Brunch?

“I was seven before I realized that you could eat breakfast with your pants on.”
Christopher Moore, Fool

Who doesn’t love brunch?  It’s this amazing meal where you can be totally lazy, sleep late, and eat either breakfast or lunch  items while drinking!  I recently experienced a great brunch called “Linggo” at Guerrilla Street Food.  This is a brunch worth putting on pants for.

This isn’t my first post about Guerrilla Street Food, I posted about their food truck back in August of 2012.  A lot has changed since then.  They have opened a storefront 1 block off Grand on Arsenal and now are offering brunch once a month.  Their brunches are always on Sunday which is where the name Linggo comes from, it’s the Tagalog word for Sunday.  Each month they will feature a different menu but it’s always a fun blend of Filipino favorites mashed up with St. Louis diner style.  One great example was the Southeast Sider.


This dish had a base consisting of hand made Longanisa sausage and crispy fried rice hash browns.  It was topped with pork Sugo gravy and sous vide eggs.  It’s a “stick to your ribs” kind of meal.

My favorite dish I sampled was the Pandan French toast.  For those that like something more decadent, this is right up your alley.


It featured Pandan angel food cake French toast (proof that God loves us) topped with Calamansi Curd, pickled green strawberries, and powdered sugar.  I know I said that they plan to change the menu monthly but I hope this one stays on the menu.

During my visit, Guerrilla Street Food teamed up with Cocktails Are Go!  Each of the items included a drink.  They had a Bloody Mary with Kim Chi, a version of a Hemingway daiquiri, and an excellent Hurricane.  The choices had a nice range to cover pretty much any palette.


After one brunch visit I’m hooked.  The mixture of flavors makes it stand out above your standard brunch fare.  I look forward to see what new items are on the menu next month.  Hope to see you there!

Dive 2 Five Scale: 3.  Family friendly but you never know what music you will hear. 😀  It’s my first brunch with King Diamond but it brings back memories of the late 80’s.  It’s a small space but there are dining options both inside and outside.  Everyone is extremely friendly.  They are proud of their work and it shows.

The Anvil, Ste. Genevieve, MO – Best Onion Rings Ever?

On average I trek down I-55 / Highway 67 to visit family in Farmington twice a month.  On those trips I’m not above eating fast food, but prefer supporting family establishments whenever possible.  Every once in a while, I get this craving that only The Anvil Saloon & Restaurant can satisfy.   It stretches out the trip slightly, but it provides me some quality onion rings.

The Anvil Saloon & Restaurant has a cool history.  The building was built in 1850 and started as a hardware store. In 1855 it was purchased by a family that turned it into a saloon.  The bar was actually removed from a steamboat to lighten it’s load when it became stuck on a sandbar. It was transported by oxcart; I bet that drew a crowd as well as some thirsty individuals.  When I go, I always prefer sitting downstairs and looking at the old pictures and enjoying all the exposed brick.  However, if you are afraid of clowns, you may be creeped out.  There are tons of clown pictures and art adorning the walls.

Why go out of my way to stop at the Anvil?  The onion rings of course!  The have light breading and are just fantastic.  Beware, the small order is enough to fill up several bellies.  I don’t even attempt to order a large unless my party size is 6 or more.  I have found they are also a great snack to enjoy at the bar while enjoying some unpretentious cold beer.

onion rings

On more recent visits, I have found that I keep ordering the French onion soup.  I didn’t even realize it until I was reviewing pictures for this post.  It has sneaked up on me that I really enjoy the dish.  It’s rich and very flavorful.  Notice that layer of cheese!

French Onion SoupFor my entrée, I almost always order some version of their fried chicken.  The half allows you to sample both light and dark meat.  It is also easily split if you didn’t take my advice and ordered too many onion rings.  It’s moist and the skin is very crispy.  It’s not over thought at all; just a solid rendition of a family favorite.  Be warned, it’s served piping hot.

Half fried chicken

Last but not least, let me share with you one of their more “unique” side dishes:  liver dumplins.  Huh?  liver dumplins, why would anyone do that?  This was a dish that my dad always liked and came from the German influence on the town.  To be honest, if you are a liver lover you will likely be disappointed by this dish.  The dumplins have very little flavor so you mainly taste the brown gravy.  I called them just dumplins and even my four-year old tried them.  Is it bad to lie to kids to get them to try new things? 🙂

Liver Dumplins

The Anvil Saloon & Restaurant is Ste. Genevieve to me and is one of my family favorites.  I can still picture my dad saying he wasn’t hungry and munching on onion rings non-stop while enjoying cheap beer.  It has a special place in my heart and I hope to be enjoying it for years to come.  You can’t go wrong with the onion rings and fried chicken.  I wish just once, I would be hungry enough to try their homemade pies.  The onion rings wipe me out every time.

Dive 2 Five Scale: 3.  It’s an old building and that really adds to the charm.  I love to notice the small details that show it’s age and think about all the history. There is still a spittoon by the front door and you can see how the front step has worn from traffic over the years.   It’s very family friendly and a fun experience.



Tenderloin Grill, Kansas City, MO – You Sniff Me, I’ll Sniff You Back

My weekends have involved lots of trips through Kansas City and opportunities to try new restaurants.  My most recent trip took me to a restaurant surrounded by taquerias and South American food; Tenderloin Grill is located just minutes from KC’s popular Power and Light district.  The family has been serving sandwiches the same way since they started out of a wagon in 1932.  Their slogan is “the times have changed but we haven’t.”

Tenderloin Grill is known for their hand-battered pork tenders as well as their pig snoots. They are both sandwiches that are dressed the same way: mustard, in-house hot sauce, horseradish, onion, and tomato.  They will ask if you want their standard dress, so there is an option to leave things off.  I had to give both a try.

First, let’s talk about the pork tender sandwich.  It is lightly breaded to add some flavor but not overpower the pork.  Obviously it’s going to be on the greasy side; it’s a fried chunk of pork for Pete’s sake!  If you order the standard dress for the sandwich, be prepared for some heat.  The hot sauce they make in house is flavorful and lives up to being called “hot”.  Pair that with the horseradish and your sinuses are going to have that familiar nose-tingling burn.  Thanks allyl isothiocyanate.

pork tender

If staring at two pig nostrils doesn’t bother you, why not try a snoot sandwich?  Unlike their crispy cousins served in St. Louis, these are pressure cooked and then boiled. The snoot had more meat on it than you would think. If you have texture issues, this may not be for you. It lands somewhere between tender pot roast and jello on the texture scale.  This was the first sandwich I have ever eaten that sniffed me back!  For me, this sandwich was more of a gimmick.  Trying it allowed me to renew my man card for the year.

pig snoot
All of their sandwiches come with hand cut fries.  Those that remained crispy were fantastic, however, about half the bag was soggy. 🙁  If they had a little bit more consistency, they would be a great side for sure.

Tenderloin Grill turned out to be a unique stop as I drove through KC.  The pork tender sandwich was great and now I can say I have had pig snoots both St. Louis and Kansas City styles.  It’s a fun little diner that believes in doing things the old school way is the only way.

Dive 2 Five Scale:  2.  It’s definitely more on the “divey” side of things in a good way.  It has that diner feel and is very simple.  You can watch the food being cooked right behind the counter.  You will use a lot of napkins because these sandwiches leak mustard and hot sauce everywhere.  Maybe it should be BYOB (bring your own bib).

Joo Joo Restaurant and Karoake – Creve Coeur, MO – Eat, Drink, Sing, and Be Merry!

The New Year is upon us and mine is off to a fast and furious start.  My “real job” has provided some opportunity to travel and my next trip will likely be to Korea.  To ensure I’m prepared, I have already started my “research”.  What started as one exploratory trip with friends has turned into an insatiable appetite for Korean food!  Let me tell you a little bit about a place in Creve Coeur called Joo Joo.

Joo Joo (Restaurant and Karoake to be exact), is in a corner of a strip mall in Creve Coeur by Olive and Fee Fee.  It’s pretty unassuming from the outside and there isn’t much to look at on the inside.  The menu can be a little bit daunting for a Korean food virgin, so it’s best to go with friends that can help you order.  Better yet, check out some recommendations from awesome bloggers online (hint hint…).  Although all the staff are very helpful, some speak better English than others.  When ordering, keep in mind you will also receive banchan (side dishes) so you don’t order too much food.  In the last month alone, I have been four times.  Here are some of my highlights:

I love to start with the dduk pok ki. It’s spicy rice cakes served in a very flavorful sauce with a hard boiled egg.  I love to use this sauce to spice up the standard white rice that comes with the other meals.

rice cakes

My first love was the marinated BBQ Kalbi Beef Ribs.  You grill these yourself at the table.  It includes an egg stew (think watery scrambled eggs with green onion), lettuce, and sauces. If you are concerned about not knowing when to flip the meat or how long to cook each piece, don’t be.  The staff is close by watching to ensure that everything is going according to plan, they don’t hesitate to come take over.  For me this isn’t overpowering, I appreciate the help!  Here’s how to eat it:  take some of the freshly cooked beef, slap it in the lettuce leaf, and then add some of the bean paste.  You can’t go wrong.


Lately my go-to-dish is the black pork belly.  It’s a special they have listed on their wall and I pray this dish does not go away!  It’s another “cook your own” dish, but this time it’s on a grill that cooks it on a slope so that the excess grease can drain.  If you love fatty pork dishes, this will be your jam.  The pork belly is also served with lettuce leaves and bean paste, but I prefer to dip it in the small plate of sesame oil, salt, and pepper they provide.  This dish does not help my blood pressure for sure!

black pork belly

Extreme close up to watch it start to sizzle!

black pork belly 2

If you are an adventurous eater, there is another special dish you should try: the Korean raw beef.  As it states, it’s raw beef served with ginger, pear strips, and a raw egg.  For fans of tartare, it should be no big deal.  You need to like the taste of raw ginger.  I found that the ingredients added a little sweetness.  The serving is quite large and it’s not a dish you want to take as a leftover so I would only suggest ordering if you have a group of 4 or more.

Korean raw beef

In case you can’t tell, I definitely have enjoyed my visits to Joo Joo. 🙂  Eating Korean BBQ is a fun experience, and I’m definitely looking forward to trying the hot pots on an upcoming visit.  Keep an eye out on Instagram and Twitter to see how they look!

Dive 2 Five Scale:  3.  Great family friendly restaurant if you are looking for something different.  If you haven’t tried Korean BBQ, this is a great way to experience it in a more relaxed atmosphere.  They have private Karaoke rooms that I have not tried…I haven’t crossed that boundary of Soju and Sapporo required for me to think I can sing… yet.

Southern – Midtown St, Louis, MO – Nashville Hot Fried Chicken

Guess who’s back, back again….  It’s been far too long, but it’s finally time for a new Dive Bars 2 Five Stars review!  What’s a better way to kick things back off than by talking about the Southern’s Nashville Hot Fried Chicken.


Before we get to that, let’s talk about the restaurant.  The Southern is a fast casual southern style restaurant.  The decor reflects what you would expect: wood, metal, country, and lots of paper towels.  It’s very simple and just ensures you are focused on the food.  When you arrive, you are greeted by this Mutha Clucka:

mutha clucka

What an amazing and confusing olfactory experience as you enter!  You have the smell of fried chicken from the Southern mixed with the aroma of Mike Emerson’s famous BBQ from next door.  If you weren’t hungry already, you are now drooling on yourself wishing there was a line where you could order both.  Just like Pappy’s, you wait in a line to order.  Pro tip:  get there when they open.  Fifteen minutes after they open, the line will already be to the door.

I started my meal with none other than deviled eggs.  I have ordered them at Old Standard, Juniper, and now the Southern.  The Pimento cheese is a nice twist to the norm and gives them a great flavor, they are fantastic.  If I was going to be nit picky, I would say add some crunch to them for a change in texture.

deviled eggs

Now to the star of the show!  I ordered the 2 piece dark, hot chicken plate.  The chicken is not over breaded.  Call me a wimp, but I only ordered the medium.  The medium has plenty of heat but allows you to enjoy all the flavors without the need to prove your manliness.  The heat builds over time, so wait for it.  It also hung around for at least 30 minutes after I was done.  They have different levels to choose from so the “hot heads” can get their fix.  Don’t ignore the bread under the chicken!  It soaks up the grease and is transformed into quite a treat for those that are members of the “clean plate club”.


My two sides were the mashed potatoes and the pickled beets.  Oftentimes the sides are a let down, however, I loved the seasoning of the mashed potatoes with the pan gravy.  Even though I hated the smell of my mom pickling beets when I was a kid, I have found that I actually do like them.  These were a great rendition of that family staple.

As I have said before, fried chicken is a polarizing topic.  Many people think that the style that their mom made sets the standard and can’t be beat.  While I can understand that logic, sometimes a new and different take can break through those stereotypes.  The Southern does just that with their hot fried chicken.  Combined with a neighbor like Pappy’s, and you have the perfect 1-2 punch.

Dive 2 Five Star Scale:  3.  Family friendly place that is very active.  The line gets long quickly.  Go right when they open if you want to avoid a wait.  The line does move quickly and the food comes out very fast.  I was amused by their music selection, especially Ice Ice Baby as an attempt to sooth all the burning taste buds.

Old Standard Fried Chicken – Fried Chicken and a Funny Song

Those who know me well know that I am obsessed with unique and strange music, as well as food.  Whenever I am going to eat or cook fried chicken, there is one song that gets stuck in my head every time:  Fried Chicken by MU330.  Now that I have that stuck in your head, you are in the right frame of mind to read about my experiences at Old Standard.

Old Standard

Old Standard is a tiny spot close to Ben Poremba’s other establishments Elaia and Olio.  It’s a very inviting space that serves some of my favorite comfort foods.  


Although this restaurant really focuses in on fried chicken, they have put together a great support cast of starts, breads / biscuits, and side dishes. 

I love the deviled eggs.  These have to be the fanciest deviled eggs I have ever eaten.  

deviled eggs

The toppings and combinations are really what made this dish memorable.  I especially loved the thinly sliced celery, it was a great combination of flavors and textures.  

They also have you covered when it comes to bread and biscuits.  The best thing about ordering bread and biscuits here is that you get to try them all.


I could have eaten my beer coaster if I put enough of the lemon honey butter on it.  It was by far my favorite.

Now for the moment you have all been waiting for, the fried chicken.

fried chicken 2

I have been there a few times and each time I ordered a half chicken. The crispy skin is great and the chicken isn’t dry, so all in all, it’s a very solid offering of fried chicken.  However, I definitely wouldn’t say it’s the best in St. Louis. Despite that, it may be my favorite one to visit because of the great sides, drinks, and atmosphere.

Old Standard is another new and exciting restaurant proving that the St. Louis food scene has no signs of slowing down.  It’s a place I have tried several times and will continue to enjoy.  The best fried chicken in St. Louis could be a great topic of debate; I just hope that I can be on the blind panel that gets to choose the winner!

Dive to Five Scale:  3.  Who doesn’t like fried chicken?  Old standard has everything you need to satisfy your fried chicken craving. There are unique sodas for the kids as well as great boozy cocktails and local beers for the adults.  One tip is to use the No Wait app to save your spot in line!

Here is a random pick of PBR from one of my visits because that’s how I roll:


As a bonus, check this great offer to get pre-sale tickets to RFT’s Iron Fork event!

Old Standard Fried Chicken on Urbanspoon

The Tattooed Dog – Wentzville, MO – It’s Burger Time!

“The journey of a thousand pounds begins with a single burger.”
Chris O’Brien 

If the above statement is true, I’m in serious trouble.  How many posts on burgers can one blog have?  For me, the answer is now 13 and counting.  The most recent shares my experience from the Tattooed Dog in Wentzville, MO.

The Tattooed Dog advertises itself as “upscale dive grub”.  The burger selection is impressive; and the reason for my visit.  However, they feature some pretty interesting sandwiches as well.  Can I interest you in some fried chicken sandwiched between two apple pancakes?


For my lunch, I chose the Benedicto for the simple reason that it has a fried egg on top!


It was a solid burger.  I liked the greens to help me feel OK for not eating healthy.  The pretzel bun was also a great touch.  There are two things that would have made this burger even better.  One, if you ask if I want “pink or no pink”, I expect it to be pink as requested.  Luckily, it was not overdone so much that it was dry.  Two, I should have requested my fried egg over easy.  That’s my personal preference and I didn’t think to ask.

The Tattooed Dog delivered a solid burger and it’s a nice change to the fledgling restaurant scene in Wentzville.  I like the uniqueness of the menu and I’m sure I will try other burgers in the future.

Dive 2 Five Scale: 3.  When I saw “upscale dive pub”, I was expecting a dark location with a large bar.  I was surprised at all the windows that lit up the place during lunch.  It’s also surprisingly kid friendly and did not feel like a bar atmosphere at all.  The only really “divey” part was the bathroom.  The walls were painted an awkward brown color…

The Tattooed Dog on Urbanspoon

Death in the Afternoon – St. Louis, MO – Power Lunch

“So far, about morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.” – Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

I’m a long time member of Blood and Sand and one of my greatest struggles is the distance between my home, my work, and that restaurant.  That same issue kept me from trying Death in the Afternoon, until I scheduled a PTO day for indulgence.

View of Death in the Afternoon from City Garden

View of Death in the Afternoon from City Garden

Death in the Afternoon is located in one of my favorite treasures of St. Louis, City Garden.  I was ecstatic when the owners of Blood and Sand took took over that location.  They are a lunch and brunch spot that takes full advantage of their view.  Their menu is ever changing but there are items for most palates.  I enjoy the nod given to some of my favorite Asian fare like the steamed buns and ramen.

Death in the Afternoon is located in one of my favorite treasures of St. Louis, City Garden.  I was ecstatic when the owners of Blood and Sand took over that location.  They are a lunch and brunch spot that takes full advantage of their view.  Their menu is ever changing but there are items to satisfy palates.  I appreciate the twist on some of my favorite Asian fair, such as steamed buns and ramen.

First up was the hummus.  With the addition of the roasted vegetables, this was definitely not your plain Jane hummus. Where was this idea of using zucchini on top while my family’s garden was exploding with extra produce???  As far as hummus goes, this version is a very solid offering.


Next up is one of my guilty pleasures:  Japanese steamed buns.  Remember my gushing over the pork belly buns that I devoured at Booker and Dax in NY?  Although these do not replace those in my heart, they have a lot to offer.  I went with two each of the pork belly and mushroom steamed buns.  They are served with a side of pickles and daikon carrot slaw.  I loved experimenting with the different flavor and texture combinations.  While I would order these again, they are on the pricey side at $5.50 a bun.

steamed buns

My last dish was the Cubano sandwich.  Who doesn’t like a sandwich that has multiple types of pork!?  Personally, I know that I have been craving one since I recently (finally) saw the movie Chef.  I know this isn’t a movie blog, but it’s a great watch if you love food.  Anyway, this sandwich didn’t disappoint.  The bread was crunchy, and you still have the prerequisite yellow mustard and pickles.


Death in the Afternoon is a great lunch spot with a view.  If you are lucky enough to work in the area, it’s a must.  I can’t wait to try the brunch and their Bloody Mary.  I would love to see what they could do with a banh mi as well.  Hint hint.


Dive 2 Five Scale:  4.  I think all the power suits and business lunches made me go with a 4 on this.  It has a trendy vibe in a great location.  It’s a little more than your typical lunch but as they say, you get what you pay for.

Death in the Afternoon on Urbanspoon

Steve’s Hot Dogs on the Hill – St. Louis, MO – We’ve Got the Urge…Do You Have It?

I’ll admit I was a little nervous about visiting Steve’s Hot Dogs on the Hill.  Music by Steve Ewing and the Urge whisk me back to my youth.  I have seen the Urge perform countless times on many different stages and have fond memories (for those I can still remember).  My nervousness stemmed from having my bubble burst about a St. Louis icon.  Steve Ewing has always been a kind person that takes his time out to talk to anyone.  I always appreciated seeing how much he enjoyed performing no matter the crowd size.  Enough about this bromance I have for Steve Ewing; let’s talk about some hot dogs.

Steve’s Hot Dogs on the Hill is a small shop with limited seating.  Steve’s features Nathan’s hot dogs, and clearly the focus is on hot dogs with a variety of different topping combinations.  But what exactly makes a good hot dog?  For me, it’s all about having that “snap” when you bite into the dog.

During my first visit I tried two different dogs, the Gorilla Mac & Cheese Dog and Steve’s Famous Chili-Cheese Dog.

mac n cheese

The mac n cheese was creamy, and for me the combination of cheese and hotdogs is a match made in heaven. I love to make queso and I almost always have hot dogs the next day so I can put that leftover queso to good use.  This was the top dog of the visit for sure.  Did I forget to mention they used bacon as a topping?  Who doesn’t love bacon???

chili dog 2

Next up was Steve’s Famous Chili-Cheese dog.  The song remains the same for the hot dog and the bun.  Although this was not my favorite of the evening, it was still a great dog.  You can haveraw or sautéed onions.  I went sautéed, as raw tends to overpower the taste. I was very happy thatthe bun could stand up to the chili without turning into a mushy mess.

Steve’s Hot Dogs on the Hill has been very successful.  So much so, that they have now opened asecond location in Tower Grove.  After my first visit, I can understand why.  Anyone have a recommendation on what dog tops the Gorilla Mac &  Cheese?

Dive 2 Five Scale:  3.  Clearly,  this is a kid friendly place.  That staff is always hustling but will take the time to help you with your selections.  There is street parking and limited drink selections, but the hot dog selections more than make up for it.

Steve's Hot Dogs on the Hill on Urbanspoon

Steve's Hot Dogs Tower Grove on Urbanspoon

Plank Road Pizza – Cottleville, MO – Rollin’ in the Dough

“Pizza makes me think that anything is possible” – Henry Rollins.

With all this talk of superfoods in terms of their health benefits, it’s sometimes easy to forget about the other benefits of “superfoods”, like pizza.  I’m sure the Tony Horton’s of the world cringe at a statement like that, but let’s face it, we need to indulge in things every once in a while.  Like that one time in Topeka, Kansas where I ate 19 slices of pizza at a buffet…no wait a minute, that was just GROSS.  Clearly I indulge in high calorie foods more than I should, but foods like pizza are good for the soul.

Anyway, enough about me and my thoughts on how pizza improves life and the universe.  This review is about an extremely smart choice I made recently to have lunch at Plank Road Pizza.  Plank Road Pizza recently opened in Cottleville and hasn’t broken onto the scene quite yet, but their time is coming.  All the key parts are there:

  • Cottleville is adding new restaurants quickly and is making this area in St. Charles relevant in the food scene
  • They are focused on being local and are damn proud of it
  • Last, but not least, they make a killer pizza.

Using my typical MO, I went for the namesake “Plank Road Pizza” for my inaugural visit.  It’s a chicken bacon club pizza that includes everything you would expect from a chicken bacon club sandwich, but piled on a pizza.


Maybe better yet, a view from my mouth:


So what makes a pizza “killer”?  In my opinion it comes down to how the toppings are paired and having the perfect dough.  What I noticed first about this pizza was the dough.  It was crispy on the bottom but had some tooth to it, just the right amount of chew.  This dough and its’ preparation is key for Plank Road Pizza’s success.  The toppings were paired together nicely and I appreciated the presentation.  However, I did spread them out once it arrived to get the proper coverage.  If I had to pick a negative, a few pieces of the chicken were a little dry. I’ll admit though I had to be nit-picky just to find anything negative to say.

So there you have it, you have been warned.  Plank Road Pizza has all the items in place to be a force in Cottleville.  I would suggest you give it a try while it is still new and somewhat of a hidden gem.  I don’t expect that to last long.

Seriously, stop reading and go there now!

Not so subtle subliminal messaging.

Not so subtle subliminal messaging.

Dive 2 Five Scale – 3.  Plank Road Pizza makes great use of one of the oldest buildings in Cottleville.  I love the use of reclaimed wood throughout the building.  I really want to come back and hang out on the patio with one of the local beers they serve.

Plank Road Pizza on Urbanspoon