the Shangri-La Diner, an all-veg. restaurant
As most of you know, Daiku was born and raised in St. Louis and most of his family still lives there. For this reason, we visit there at least once or twice a year. I've actually lucked out- my mother lives in Northern Virginia, my father lives in Los Angeles, and Daiku's parents live in St. Louis, which gives me a chance to visit 3 exciting foodie destinations on a regular basis. However, a lot of people are surprised that I can find good food to eat here in the midwest. I hope to help dispel the idea that good vegan eats and the middle of our country don't mix by this post, and my next post about Kansas City.
Even though this was my 8th year of visiting St. Louis, I'd never been up the arch! Well, we had to rectify that, so Daiku, his brother, our neice, and I decided to take the trip to the top on a hot and muggy day.
From the top, we had a clear view of downtown St. Louis
and the Mississippi River, which even at this point in early June had risen to unusual levels.
Speaking of the Mississippi (I know, I know, horrible transition!), we went to the Mississippi Mud House cafe on Cherokee Street. We had heard really positive reviews of this place, and we all enjoyed it.
Here's a shot of the inside of the cafe- enlarge the image to read the funny sign on the wall.
In addition to the refreshing coffee drinks that we all enjoyed, I ordered this avocado, bean, and veggie wrap. The wrap was listed as having cheese. When I asked to have the cheese left off, the cashier said, "are you vegan?" When I said yes, she replied "me too. The dressing on that wrap has dairy in it- do you want me to replace it with a sweet sesame dressing instead?" Of course I did- and I thanked her for watching out for me. The wrap was really delicious and cooling on a hot day.
Just down the street from Mississippi Mud is the Shangri-La Diner, an all-veg diner that serves up a menu of comfort and even, dare I say, junk food- just the kind of stuff you crave from a diner.
The inside is colored in bright shades and filled with kitschy decorations and Beatles memorabilia.
Since I was full from lunch, all I had room to order was a milkshake. (As you know, I can never pass up a vegan milkshake!) I got a blueberry milkshake to go- and it was so good! It was really creamy, but also nice and icy.
Another restaurant we visited in St. Louis was Joanie's pizzeria. While they specialize in pizza, they also have a full sandwich menu including not one but two vegan sandwiches. One was a grilled veggie sandwich, but the one that caught my eye was the cold veggie sandwich. Since this whole trip was about beating the heat and humidity, I ordered the cold veggie sandwich and I am so glad that I did. On a multi-grain baguette, they piled a huge amount of fresh and marinated veggies- red pepper, onion, tomato, cucumbers, lettuce, and perhaps most refreshing of all, tons of fresh basil. This sandwich, served with fresh-made chips and bottomless iced tea really hit the spot.
Here is a shot of some wild strawberries that we found growing one day in a park. They were really cute, but not really edible.
One night, Daiku and I went out to eat with 2 of our more adventurous relatives, who said they wanted to try Vietnamese food. We ended up going to Lemongrass, a wonderful restaurant with an extensive (and veg-friendly) menu. For appetizer, we all shared an order of deep-fried tofu, which came with a wonderful and sweet-tangy dipping sauce. The texture of the tofu was perfect, and I'm glad, since it left our relatives with a positive impression of our favorite bean-curd-y cake of goodness!
For my entrée, I decided to order something I'd never had before- a rice hot pot. Oh my gosh, am I glad I did, because this was one of the best things I'd eaten in a long time! The rice came sizzling in a very hot dish, which meant that the bottom was nice and cruncy, and was topped with an amazing assortment of veggies (broccoli, baby corn, carrots, onions, snap peas, and more) and tofu. All of this was in a super-spicy sauce- all in all, a very unique and satisfying dish. We all left Lemongrass very satisfied- I think we have two new fans of Vietnamese food on our hands! Good thing St. Louis has so many good options to choose from if that is what you're craving.
Finally, I want to pay homage to my favorite fruit, the cherry. My love for this stuff knows no bounds. My in-laws watched,
Soon, it was time for me to head to Kansas City on the train- stay tuned for my report from that city, which I visited for the very first time. Well, not counting the airport. And trust me, the city is way cooler than the airport!
Mississippi Mud House
2101 Cherokee Street
St Louis, Missouri 63118
The Shangri-La Diner
2201 Cherokee Street
St. Louis, MO 63118
314 772 8308
2101 Menard (at Russell)
In Historic Soulard
St. Louis, MO 63104
Tel: (314) 865-1994
3161 S. Grand Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63118