There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

This year we were able to go visit our family and friends in St. Louis for Christmas.  As always, we had a wonderful time catching up with people and enjoying fabulous foods, at places both old and new to us.  So, St. Louis friends and family, pay attention, I'm going to give you some ideas of places to visit, whether new or forgotten.

 My mom and I got a chance to try a brand new restaurant, Signature Sandwich Company.  This new place was located right across the street from my first job, Fritz's, in Old Town Florissant.  The restaurant is tiny, but cute and we were excited to see that there was a little bit of a line when we arrived.  It took us a bit to decide, but I finally settled on the buffalo chicken brioche (which happened to be the special of the day) and the kickin' chicken soup.  My mom opted for the turkey wrap and potato salad.  While we waited for our food, we had a chance to talk to the owners.  Our food arrived quickly and was tasty.  The buffalo chicken was well seasoned, but not overly spicy or dripping with sauce.  The bread was toasted to perfection.  My soup had great flavor, but wasn't as spicy as I had hoped.  Maybe, my Texas exposure has made me tough!  My mom liked her food, too.  This was definitely a great lunch choice and I highly recommend Signature Sandwich Company to anyone in Florissant during lunch time.

 Buffalo Chicken Brioche

Buffalo Chicken Brioche

 Turkey Wrap

Turkey Wrap

 Kickin' Chicken Soup and Potato Salad

Kickin' Chicken Soup and Potato Salad

One thing that Austin is missing is great Italian food.  So, when we come home to St. Louis, we make sure to eat our fill, especially when it comes to pizza and toasted ravioli.  We had the opportunity to try an Italian place we'd never been to with Mike's family.  Charlie Gitto's claims to be the originator of the toasted ravioli.  While, I don't know if that's true, they definitely had the best toasted ravioli I've ever had.  It was hand breaded and not uniform.  It melted in your mouth and we ate 2 orders so quickly that I didn't get a chance to snap any pictures.  I ordered a delicious open faced steak sandwich.  The steak was cooked to perfection and then placed on cheesy garlic bread.  It was topped with a yummy herbed butter and served with homemade French fries.  Everyone enjoyed their meals and it was nice to try a place that was new to us. 

 Steak Sandwich at Charlie Gittos

Steak Sandwich at Charlie Gittos

When in Florissant, its customary to have Old Town Donuts.  They are the best donuts.  Mike tried to tell me that one of our Texas places was better, so I had to remind him that he was incorrect.  My dad and I got up early one morning and I was treated to a ride in his new car, complete with seat warmers!  I thought I might have a tough time choosing, but in the end, I opted for the chocolate cream filled, a cinnamon sugar cake donut, and a maple bacon long john.  All the donuts were amazing and Mike was reminded that there is no donut like an Old Town Donut! 

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Our trip fell during the holidays, so much of our time was spent with family, but we did sneak in a few chances to meet up with a few friends.  We got to see 3 of my oldest friends and their families.  It's always fun to catch up, take a trip down memory lane, and see who can be the most amusing to the children!   

 Sassy! 

Sassy! 

In addition to great Italian food, we love beer!  My dad reminded us of a way that we could have both, without leaving Florissant.  We headed over to Cugino's/Narrow Gauge Brewery for great Italian food and a new craft brew experience.  Cugino's used to be Domenico's, which had been owned by the Arcobosso family.  Both Mike and I grew up on pizza and salad made by this family and Cugino's is the closest place to get that experience.  We ordered salad with the signature dressing and tons of provel cheese.  Next, we had to decide on pizza and we ordered the Big Dave, which was covered in meat and a sausage and cheese pizza.  The pizza didn't disappoint, with its thin crust and ooey gooey cheese.  Finally, a few of us sampled the Narrow Gauge Beer.  We got the Old Town Porter, which was great.  Most of their beers were IPAs, which weren't to our taste, so we also enjoyed beers made by other companies from their extensive guest tap list. 

 Old Town Porter

Old Town Porter

 House Salad

House Salad

 The Big Dave

The Big Dave

Our trip was fabulous and full of family, friends, and food!  It's never long enough, but we also missed our new home in Austin.  Hopefully, we've given you some new ideas of places to visit in St. Louis and if all else fails, we'd love to host you here in Austin and let you experience some of the many wonderful places the city has to offer.