It's easy to drive past Bek-Hee without giving the place a second glance. Set amid strip malls and budget apartment complexes on Page Avenue, the restaurant blends into the north county landscape as "just another chop suey joint." That’s not completely inaccurate. Bek Hee's menu contains all of the Chinese greasy-spoon staples: St. Paul sandwiches, hot braised chicken, pork fried rice with gravy. However, hidden among these inauthentic dishes are some traditional gems that, when word gets out, will put Bek Hee on the map. The small restaurant is owned by the Lin family, expats from Sha County in China, that is famous for its culinary tradition -- legend has it, Sha's cooking style descends directly from the Han royal family that fled to Sha in 221 AD. Some Sha-style gems on Bek-Hee's menu include the housemade pork egg rolls and vegetarian spring rolls, both made from scratch (including the wonton wrappers), overstuffed and fried to a crisp golden brown. The homemade dumplings are also a must try -- the pork filled gems are delicious in their own right, but the accompanying "dumpling sauce," a Lin family secret recipe, is divine. Also noteworthy are the house special lo mein and the Singapore chow mei fun, both made with homemade noodles. Bek-Hee proves why Sha cooking is fit for a king.
A tiny bar off the St. Charles Rock Road on the outskirts of Vinita Park, Block House Saloon is the very definition of a "hole in the wall". A small handful of tables are crowded together in the center of the bar's lone room, and electronic darts, Silver Strike Bowling and a jukebox line the walls. Somehow there's a single pool table in there, which patrons crowded around over Bud Lights. Two flat screen TVs behind the bar played the local sports games while the bartender dutifully handed out drinks to the thirsty crowd. I'd bet this place gets pretty rowdy from time to time -- one could almost feel it in the air.
Cakes by Nette bakes up a variety of sweet treats from its storefront in Olivette. Options include cakes, cupcakes, cookies and chocolates, as well as special-occasion desserts. Flavors include the standards - strawberry, carrot and chocolate. For fillings, Cakes by Nette offers chocolate mousse, coconut pecan and lemon cream, among others. Guests can ice their goodies with choices such as buttercream, cream cheese and fondant. Cakes by Nette also hosts cupcake happy hours with cupcake indulgences from apple-martini to strawberry daquiris and even Long Island iced tea cupcakes.