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Best Flaming Cheese St. Louis 2008 - Iron Barley

Iron Barley

Iron Barley

5510 Virginia Ave.

St. Louis, MO 63111

314-351-4500

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Some cheese lovers hear "queso panela" and turn up the nariz. Poor fools haven't sampled Tom Coghill's flaming rendition of this humble Mexican mozzarella-like cheese. Coghill, proprietor-chef of Iron Barley, slaps a honkin' slice of panela on his grill, then slides it into a warm cast-iron frying pan, hits it with his special tequila-lime vinaigrette and finishes it off in the oven to caramelize. The sizzling queso arrives at the table topped with a sweet tomato relish and accompanied by warm tortillas. Crammed with flavor but ethereal on the tongue, this extravagantly redefined app is heart-stopping, thigh-slapping, hot-damn delicious. (And yes, you can taste the tequila.)

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