Short List: Jalapeno PoppersCream cheese or cheddar cheese, bacon or chorizo – they’re all better inside a jalapeno. Often overlooked on the appetizer menu, these oozy hors d’oeuvres deserve their place in the junk food pantheon next to titans like onion rings and mozzarella sticks. Why eat just fried peppers or just fried cheese when we can have both? If it’s a jalapeno, has stuff inside it and is made in-house (and all of these are), it’s in consideration.
Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
900 Spruce St., St. Louis, 314.932.1456, beerknurd.com/stores/stlouis
They might not be kosher, but they sure are delicious. Doubling down on meat sends these poppers out of this world. The inside is gifted with chorizo and cheddar jack cheese while the outside is swaddled in tender bacon with a slight crisp. This pairing will send even the most jaded bar food buff into rapture. Presented with a cup of ranch, as the gods intended.
Milagro Modern Mexican
20 Allen Ave., Suite 130, Webster Groves, 314.962.4300, milagromodernmexican.com
“Relleno” translates to “stuffed,” and these Chilitos Rellenos live up to their name, resembling something like a piñata filled to capacity with house-made chorizo and goat cheese. These deep-fried treats are too big to be finger food, but all that’s needed is a fork to crack them open. Cilantro lime crema is a smooth way to complement that perfect mix of crunchy, creamy and spicy. Don’t wait for a birthday to try this modernized take on the packed pepper, but do celebrate the occasion with a margarita.
3707 S. Kingshighway Blvd., St. Louis, 314.832.9009, southtownpub.net
Despite their name, Atomic Turds taste awesome. Chorizo sausage makes another appearance, this time alongside that stuffed pepper classic, cream cheese. The use of smoky peppers is a pleasant change-up to this folk favorite and adds sophistication to a food otherwise served on a paper plate alongside a pint of lager.