4 places you must try this March
1. Brick River Cider Co.
2000 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.244.5046, brickrivercider.comHoused in a two-story, historic former firehouse named after St. Louis’ once-vibrant brick industry, Brick River Cider Co. has one foot in the past while it breaks new ground as the city’s first dedicated cidery. It opened with two flagships – the classic Cornerstone and farmhouse-style Homestead – and two limited editions – the beer-inspired Brewer’s Choice and the Firehouse Rosé: a tart and crisp cider made with sour cherries and hibiscus tea that tastes very much like a brut sparkling wine. Brick River’s taproom menu extends well beyond basic bar snacks. Executive chef Carlos Hernandez and consulting chef Christopher Lee put together dishes based on rustic fare from England and France, with elevated specialties like a trout fillet sauteed in brown butter with sage and pecans, served on wild rice pilaf, and pork Normandy: pork shoulder with cider-braised apples. Just want a burger and fries or a flatbread? Brick River can make that happen, too.
2. DD Mau
11982 Dorsett Road, Maryland Heights, 314.942.2300, ddmaustl.com
The bright, counter-service DD Mau in Maryland Heights offers customizable Vietnamese bowls with a base of vermicelli, rice or salad greens. The fried tofu and Vietnamese vinaigrette made for a fresh, vibrant meal atop a bed of vermicelli with lettuce, cucumber, cabbage, pickled veggies, peanuts and fried onion. For a more filling option, we added thin slices of tender pork and a creamy DD sauce to a rice bowl with the same veggie toppings and a sunny egg. Need something handheld? Grab a banh mi – both the rich pork and tender tofu were excellent with a perfect balance of cucumbers, pickles, creamy mayo and a sneaky jalapeno or two. DD Mau also offers plenty of snacks to accompany your bowl; order the crisp Vietnamese egg rolls filled will ground shrimp and pork or the fluffy bao sliders with tofu or chicken.
3. Small Change
2800 Indiana Ave., St. Louis, Facebook: Small Change STL
Small Change is easy to overlook – there’s no signage aside from a broken Falstaff sign above the entrance – but inside boasts exposed brick walls, a few TVs (verboten at a classy establishment like sister bar Planter’s House) and a bar filled with premium spirits, canned beer and kitsch collectables. The short cocktail list includes a rotating Manhattan on draft and unique drinks like the Mad as Hatters, a play on a Singapore Sling with Tom’s Town gin, cherry Heering, passion fruit and lime. Beer fans will love the can offerings with local favorites like 2nd Shift Brewing alongside national brands like Crooked Stave and Firestone Walker. Fear not, though; Busch and Bud are available, too, and Stag is always on draft. Hungry? Grab some quarters and head to the vending machines for candy bars, chips and Lunchables.
4. Simba Ugandan Cuisine
8531 Olive Blvd., University City, 314.484.2530, Facebook: Simba Ugandan Restaurant
Fans of the now-shuttered Olive Green International Cuisine can get their fix of traditional Ugandan fare at the owners’ new establishment, Simba Ugandan Cuisine. Street food shines at Simba (Swahili for “lion”); don't miss its house chicken wrap, a lackluster name for a tasty treat. Tender pieces of dark meat and veggies are tossed in a rich sauce that includes coriander, black pepper and onion, then rolled into a chapati and deep-fried to crispy goodness. The Rolex, another traditional Ugandan street food, rolls a thin seasoned omelet with a dense, filling chapati for a vegetarian meal on the go. Simba also offers a variety of dairy-free curries; we filled up on the beef and bean versions served with simple yet savory vegetables and sweet coconut steamed rice.
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