Always a fan of DC Comics, Gut Check often imagines with glee what the aftermath of a visit from Mr. Freeze would look like. Fortunately for us this week's eighth annual Delmar Loop Ice Carnival on Saturday, January 19, should paint a pretty reliable picture.
Yep, from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. this family-friendly street fest on Delmar Boulevard (5900 to 6700 blocks) will offer ice slides, themed ice sculptures in front of businesses, games, ice carving demonstrations, photos with "penguins" and "polar bears," human dog sled races and food and drink options such as s'mores and hot chocolate.
But since s'mores don't a meal make, dip into any of these twelve restaurants in and around the Delmar Loop for warm respite from
Mr. Freeze's lair the Ice Carnival.
Chinese Noodle Cafe (6138 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-725-9889) A clean, well-lit place that serves straightforward Chinese dishes, the Noodle Café has made itself a welcome addition to the Loop's never-ending ethnic options. Inexpensive entrées include the usual suspects -- sweet-and-sour chicken, cashew chicken, pepper steak, fried tofu with vegetables, General Tso's chicken -- but the five noodle dishes are the real reason to stop in, especially during the winter months. Generous amounts of fresh cilantro, celery and carrots add grace notes to the broth and noodles; takeout servings are large enough to last for two or even three meals. Owner Peggy Hou has been in the St. Louis restaurant business for more than 25 years, and in this little storefront spot she's got another winner.
Pi Pizzeria (6144 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-727-6633) This funky Delmar Loop joint proves that a great crust can elevate a simple pizza above the ordinary. Pi adds cornmeal, which imbues the texture of the crust with a faint granular quality. The exterior is crisp and a lovely, summery golden brown, while the interior keeps a spongy softness that absorbs the flavors of the various toppings while retaining its own individual qualities. The deep-dish pizzas are excellent. You can build your own from the list of toppings or try one of the specialty pizzas: red onion, sun-dried tomato and artichoke make the "Bucktown" stand out. The restaurant's efforts to be environmentally friendly are commendable.
Three Kings Public House (6307 Delmar Boulevard University City; 314-721-3355) Three Kings Public House occupies the address of the late, lamented Riddle's Penultimate Café & Wine Bar but wisely doesn't try to imitate it. Instead, Three Kings offers a menu that rises above standard bar fare but doesn't have any pretenses to highfalutin gastropub cuisine. There are burgers (the "Three Kings" variety, with bacon, blue cheese and a balsamic-onion jam, is quite good), sandwiches and beer-friendly snacks like pub chips and hot wings. There are also a handful of more-ambitious entrées, such as Moroccan-spiced pork shanks and paella.
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