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It's not enough that this ice creamery has introduced more than 1,000 ice cream flavors in St. Louis and across the world. Despite increased frozen-dessert competition, Baskin Robbins, always easy to find on Voice Places, has been named the top ice cream franchise in the United States by Entrepreneur magazine. Its nearly 7,000 retail shops have revolutionized the way we buy ice cream, with an ever-changing menu launched in 1945 in Glendale, California. Specialty flavors by the gallon or the scoop come and go, but the most popular ones—Mint Chocolate Chip; Butter Pecan; Rocky Road—have become perennials. Seasonal flavors and grab-and-go treats are a staple, and recent additions to Baskin Robbins' innovative dessert menu include hand-packed ice cream quarts, a unique flavor ribbon technique, and the introduction of mousse-textured ice creams. Signature ice cream cakes and a growing line of ice-creamy beverages (including the coffee-centric Cappuccino Blast) continue a tradition of mixing up the cold-dessert world.
Chill continues the frozen yogurt trend from its three locations in the St. Louis area. The shop, which is owned by Amy and Bill Koman's three daughters, allows guests to choose their flavor and pile on whatever toppings they like. Flavor choices include banana, cake batter, chocolate-hazelnut, cotton candy and root-beer float. Toppings cover the gamut of fruits, nuts and assorted sweets. Chill also offers sorbets. To add to the sweetness, a portion of Chill's profits benefit Friends of Kids With Cancer.
How do the folks at Companion possess the time or patience to turn out such lovely breakfast and lunch items at their Clayton eatery? Haven't they enough to do, turning out some 13,000 pounds of breads and pastries daily for dozens of St. Louis restaurants? Yet here's a scrumptious "Jive Turkey" sandwich (that's turkey, prosciutto, white Cheddar, roasted yellow onion and chili mayo on country white bread), there's a gorgeous slice of veggie pizza -- and let's not forget the eggs and French toast at breakfast. And you'll likely want to take home a treat: The bakery case boasts beautiful cakes, and a loaf of bread (in styles like rye batard, ciabatta, pumpkin-cranberry, or rosemary-olive oil) goes for about five bucks.
Located in a former Starbucks in Ladue, Deer Creek Coffee serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as Milwaukee-based Alterra coffee. The simple menu includes an egg sandwich, lox and potato pancakes for breakfast, salads, sandwiches and pizzas for lunch and dinner. Sandwich choices include corned beef, turkey and hummus, while pizza offerings include barbecue chicken and spinach-artichoke.
A homage to the late, lamented Flaco's Tacos, which introduced St. Louis to the fish taco. You can get fish tacos here - the tempura-battered are best, served with tart cabbage slaw and a mildly spicy sauce in soft flour tortillas. But you might also enjoy this tiny joint's takes on other Mexican and Tex-Mex favorites. Enchiladas are served with a rich, complex mole, as are the surprisingly fiery chiles rellenos. A chorizo kebab pairs the spicy sausage with a delicious saffron barbecue sauce and creamy mashed sweet potatoes.
Frank and Carmelo Gabrielle, sons of Giovanni’s on the Hill patriarch Giovanni Gabrielle, bring Italian fine dining to the county with Giovanni’s Kitchen. Like its sister restaurant, Giovanni’s Kitchen serves from-scratch Italian cuisine, dressed down to appeal to the casual diner. Service is impeccable, and the dining room is elegant. Highlights of the handmade pasta selections include the “Mezzemaniche Alla Puttanesca,” hollowed-out tubular noodles tossed with a zesty tomato, garlic and caper sauce. The decadent casoncelli, prosciutto and cheese-filled ravioli tossed in butter, cream, porcini mushrooms and black truffles is worth the indulgence. Another must-try is the “Filetto Ai Ferri,” a thick cut beef tenderloin filet, marinated in Chianti and fresh herbs for seven days. The melt-in-the-mouth filet is grilled and served with a rich porcini mushroom ragout. Though it is difficult to save room for dessert, one must make space for the amaretti parfait -- pieces of amaretto cookies are layered with fresh cream and liquor-soaked berries for an ambrosial treat.
Guo Bin can be found in the Brentmoor Retirement Community building (look for the Chinese décor) just west of Interstate 170, so it's a bit out of the way. But the massive menu boasts pretty much every Chinese dish you've ever heard of, and even some you haven't. Start with the crab rangoon and move on to the Peking duck for a simple introduction. Whether you're there to pick up or dine in, take advantage of the full bar, and try out some Chinese cocktails. The next time you go -- and you will return -- explore the menu to find a new favorite. Guo Bin is vegetarian friendly, open seven days a week and will deliver, so there's really no excuse to bypass this little gem.
The cupcakes at Jilly's aren't decorated so much as crafted, the precise swirls of buttercream bejeweled with shaved chocolate, peanut brittle or slivers of candied carrots. They are arranged on towers of concentric trays, a cityscape of spangled frosting like something out of a children's storybook. The best match style with substance, like the "Carrot Cake," moist carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and delicious slivers of candied carrot, or the decadently sweet "PB and 'J'illy," which features raspberry and peanut-butter buttercream. The menu also features breakfast and lunch fare as well as coffee and milk drinks.
Jilly's Ice Cream Bar fills the space directly next to owner Jill Segal's Cupcake Wars-winning Jilly's Cupcake Bar. Those already acquainted with Jilly's cupcakes know that chef Casey Shiller's baked treats certainly do not skimp in size nor flavor. The same concept carries over onto his ice cream menu -- even the tasting spoons come full-size here, folks. The selection features familiar Jilly's flavors including cupcake-batter waffle cones and cake morsels swirled right into several of the ice creams.
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