Hit List: 3 new places you must try this October

1. Narwhal’s Crafted Urban Ice:
3906 Laclede Ave., St. Louis, 314.696.8388 

With its long menu of boozy slushies and committed nautical theme, the one thing Narwhal’s Crafted Urban Ice might be missing is a pool. From the boardwalk-y planks of weathered wood on the walls to its narwhal mascot with an ornery expression, the bar feels like a vacation spot. Calories don’t count on vacation, so settle into the patio lounge chairs and sip on an ice cream-based treat like the minty Flying Grasshopper or the root beer float. If you’re feeling classic, go for the frozen Negroni or bourbon slush. They may be pulled from a slushie machine, but Narwhal’s cocktails aren’t sugar bombs soaked in vodka. The mixes are made in-house with real fruit and juices, and each tastes delightfully distinct.

 2. Snow Factory: 6602 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314.669.9300 

You may have seen YouTube videos of Thai ice cream rolls being made halfway across the world, but now you can watch it live in The Loop. Snow Factory ice cream is made to order: Fillings and a liquid base are mixed up on a minus 10-degree cold plate, then smoothed into a thin layer. The ice cream is then scraped off into rolled tubes and placed in serving cups like an edible bouquet. Try the light, fresh Matcha Cavalier, which features matcha ice cream mixed with bright strawberries. Or, classic Oreo, brownie and chocolate team up in the Black Humor. Prefer scoops to Thai-style rolls? Order a bubble wrap-like egg waffle cone­ – which is more of a tender waffle wrapped around ice cream than a crispy cone. Grab a booth inside the bright little space and enjoy your treat to the tune of upbeat dance music.

smoked salmon from the garden on grand // photo by michelle volansky

3. The Garden on Grand: 2245 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314.898.3788

 The Garden on Grand aims to bring Eden indoors with its expansive wood bar, tables cut from the same tree trunk, exposed brick and more live plants than you can shake a stick at. Order a glass of wine from trendy regions like Portugal or Washington state, then start with the rich pan-seared duck dumplings, plump with tender duck confit, celery, onion and carrot, served with a simple ginger soy sauce. Or try the crispy shrimp rolls: big, meaty shrimp folded into spring roll wrappers and deep-fried, served with a thick, sweet chile-garlic sauce. Don’t miss the pistachio-crusted roast salmon, served on a bed of decadent lemon-truffle risotto and a bright green brushstroke of asparagus puree. Meat lovers should opt for the remarkably tender lamb chops; four or eight chops are stacked atop an island of creamy celery root puree alongside a mound of al dente broccolini with almond brown butter and crispy fingerling potatoes.