I’m very lucky to be great friends with a true St. Louis celebrity, the Riverfront Times 2011 St. Louis Food Blogger of Year, “Iron Stef” aka Stephanie. She’s on a first name basis with Emeril thanks to her ingenious meatloaf cupcakes with mashed potato frosting. She knows every condiment from au jus to soy. She’s super quick with a knife, so watch out. But this Foodie also happens to be one fabulous human being.
Today, you’re in for a real treat: the first in a series of guest posts from the Iron Stef herself and she’s whipped up something special. So, read on. It’s about to get good!
Photo: Corey Woodruff
"Hello Roving I readers! I am totally smitten with my good friend Julie's travel blog here, so it is with honor that I am writing a series of guest posts about food in St. Louis. Whether you are visiting our fair city or already live here and are looking for fun "staycation" ideas, I am proud of St. Louis' food culture. We have lots of good places to eat, from fancy to hole-in-the wall. We have some of the best chef's in the country and we also have lots of diversity... virtually every nationality in the world is represented here. So when Julie asked me to write about the best places to eat, I just could not narrow it down to a single post. So this is the first in a series of... well, however many Julie lets me write... :)
I'm gonna start extreme. Are you a fan of the Travel Channel show Man vs. Food? Do you fancy yourself a bottomless pit or a steel-tongued superstar? Here are some food challenges in the area for when you're feeling... well... gluttonous.
1. Crown Candy Kitchen Malt Challenge. (http://crowncandykitchen.net/) Crown Candy Kitchen has been a St. Louis favorite since 1913! Located in the north side of the city, Crown Candy is famous for its delicious chocolates and ice cream malts. If you can drink 5 malts in 30 minutes, you get them for free. You also win bragging rights. This is a big feat... one that beat Adam from Man vs. Food (video here). That's right. He had a reversal.... 5 malts does not sound like a lot, but they are big malts. Even if you are not up for the challenge, I encourage you to visit this old-school eatery. I love the BLT, as well as the candies and the fudge sundae.
2. The Pointersaurus Challenge at Pointer's Pizza
Only 16 teams of 2 have won this challenge since its inception in 2001. It's no wonder... the Pointersaurus is 28" in diameter and weighs 10 pounds. Not many people can take down 5 pounds of dough, meat and cheese. If you and a friend can, though, you'll win $500!
3. The Level 25 (and up) Challenge at Pearl Cafe http://www.pearlcafestl.com/
|Photo: Corey Woodruff|
Pearl Cafe is located in my neck of the woods in North St. Louis Country. They have fantastic Thai and Vietnamese food, worth a visit even if you are not trying to set your insides on fire. However, if you can stand the heat, the Level 25 challenge will test you. The heat level in normal dishes ranges from 1-5. For the Level 25, 50, 75 and 100, Pearl mixes in more peppers, including ghost pepper concentrate to make you sweat. You have to start at 25 and work your way up to 100 in subsequent visits... there is no jumping straight to the top. When you beat each stage you get your picture on Pearl's Facebook page. Some friends of mine took on the 25 challenge, a visit I documented in a recent Food Blog Mafia post. They beat it, then ordered a Level 50 dish just to try. I tried a bite of the 50. My lips were on fire for a good 20 minutes. This is serious stuff. The guy who runs the challenge told us that the people who beat the Level 100 would usually be pretty out of it by the time they finished... like in an altered state! That's HOT.
4. The Archinator at Pam's Chicago Style Hot Dogs
I only recently discovered Pam's, a fun little hot dog joint on the Delmar Loop, an entertainment district that is home to lots of fun shops, restaurants, theatres and music venues. Pam's is rebellious in that the back wall displays Cub's baseball memorabilia. In a Cardinals town, this is a risky move. They make up for it by offering an array of hot dogs, gyros and crazy, heart-clogging fried desserts (Twinkies battered and deep fried, balls of cookie dough battered and deep fried, Twix bar wrapped in cookie dough battered and deep fried... !!!). The Archinator is a 22-inch beef dog, served on a whole baguette and dressed the Chicago way (bright green relish, mustard, pickled peppers, tomatoes, onions, celery salt). The Archinator CHALLENGE however, includes Chili, sauerkraut, cheese and more (see photo for full description), and a large order of fries and a soda. If you can down this you get your photo on the wall and a $20 gift certificate to come back.
So, are you up to St. Louis' extreme food challenges?"
Special thanks to Iron Stef for her delicious first guest post. She truly has the recipe for wonderful.