STL: Satisfied Tastebud Living

Bit of a stretch with that acronym, you think? Think again. While sprinting through the NAFSA: Association for International Educators conference with 8,199 of my fellow colleagues, I fell into several delicious St. Louis locations.

A disclaimer: I had a bit of a headstart, having been to St. Louis before. I knew all about the secrets of gooey butter cake from Park Avenue Coffee, crunchy and fabulous toasted ravioli, Imo’s Provel cheese pizza, and Ted Drewe’s Frozen Custard. A true St. Louis experience would be truly lacking if you did not check these off of your To Eat list.

This time, with a packed conference schedule, my touring looked a lot like Business Barbie gone mad. Luckily we were staying right next to the Arch, so we filled our eyes with the iconic structure every day – in thunderstorms and sunshine. Our conference took place at the America’s Center smack in the middle of downtown STL, so we were well placed to explore .. I mean, work.

Food & Drink:
* Pi @ 610 Washington Avenue (Mercantile Exchange): Roasted veggie bruschetta, along with the refreshing Pi Squared Cocktail: basil, vodka, something sweet.
* Rooster @ 1104 Locust Street: s’more sweet crepe? Um, yes. Apparently also a grand breakfast place, but I was focused on the crepe situation.
* Local Harvest @ 9th & Locust in the Old Post Office: A multitude of sandwiches, salads and some smoothies. Although I was crushed the Winter BLT was no longer available, the Mediterranean sandwich + green salad was excellent.
* Renaissance Hotel @ 800 Washington Avenue: again, while conferencing there is a lot of speed eating / dating / networking / meeting. This was a nearby, healthy, delicious option: Chicken Cobb salad. (unhealthy side note, they totally have gooey butter cake + Ted Drewes custard in ONE).
* Robust Wine Bar @ 635 Washington Avenue: Two words / “wine flight.” Try three wines at once, and stack up the appetizer plates. I tried Bright Whites, and we dined on cheese, olives, figs, crab cakes … it was positively decadent. No wonder it was voted Best of St. Louis 2012.
* Bella’s Frozen Yogurt Cafe @ 1021 Washington Avenue: Imagine my surprise when we discovered such a thing as froyo happy hour .. 50% off on Wednesday afternoons! Sea salt caramel pretzel was a win in my book.

Other lovely locations:

* Left Bank Books @ 321 N. 10th Street: As if my bag wasn’t heavy enough already, I picked up a used copy of Geography of Bliss, $6! Note to self: driving to conferences is bad for your suitcase / car / back.

Was also charmed by Windows on Washington (rustic and open), the Old Post Office (gorgeous venue), Four Seasons roof deck (holy posh), and McGurk’s Irish pub (outdoor patio perfection). Additional thumbs up to the Becky Thatcher Riverboat where we had breakfast, thanks to one of our British partners.

….. just think, next year NAFSA will be in San Diego. I’ll need at least 3 posts for that one.

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