(My current in-town favorite is Smackie’s. You’ve heard me sing their praises before, so I won’t belt out that tune here.)
In St. Louis, there is a chain called Bandana’s. It is the equivalent of Hoggy’s - acceptable, but not the greatest. Every time I’ve been to St. Louis, this is the only place anyone could tell me had good bbq. However, this time I got to venture out into the surrounding area and went to Roper’s Ribs. Tate, who you know through last year’s adventure at Comic-con, did some research and wanted to visit Roper’s.
Our next stop was Kansas City – both states – MO and KS.
On our last trip to KC, we went to Rosedale’s. This year we went to two of the big players in town: Oklahoma Joe’s and Gates.
I ordered a pulled pork sandwich and coleslaw on the side. Tate ordered a combo plate that had ribs and brisket.
The pulled pork was good. Moist and perfectly done, lightly sauced with their house sauce. (I was not offered a choice of sauces at the counter.) I added a little more of their “Night of the Living Sauce”. Most folks would find “the Living Sauce” fairly high on the heat scale, but for our group it was just warm.
Tony’s sandwich was really awesome. It was served on plain white poofy bread, but I am not going to hold that against it. Barbequed ham is really tasty and when piled up with the brisket – mmmmmmm. I am going to have to try replicating the ham at home soon.
I had heard from other folks in town that we talked to that they did not like the meat at Gates because it was too tough, but loved the sauce. The sauce was a nice middle of the road tomato based sauce. The spicy sauce was decent, but not quite as good as the sauce from Oklahoma Joe’s.
If I had to, I would eat at Gates again. It was pretty good and the experience made it all the more fun.
So who was better Gates or Oklahoma Joe’s? Wow that is hard question…
If I had to go by sauce, it would be Joe’s. If I had to go by meat, I would pick Gates (mostly because the product was consistent, if the ribs had been perfect, it would have been Joe's hands down).
The next question is – if I had a craving for KC style ‘que where would I drive to for satisfaction?
I would say the winner would be Roper’s Ribs in St. Louis. Sorry KC!
Side note: For me, the perfect side dish for barbeque is cole slaw. And I am super picky about it too. Slaw should be cool and creamy, not watery, with a nice balance of salt, sweet and vinegar over top of crisp cabbage. I ate cole slaw at all three places mentioned above but my favorite was at Oklahoma Joe’s. The dressing was dead on and was not too gloppy. The cabbage was shredded rather large and held a nice crunch. The slaw at Roper’s was good, but not outstanding. Gates was good as far as dressing and consistency, but had green pepper in it – which I did not like. The green pepper flavor dominated the cabbage.
Those of you who remember my last trip the KC might remember a mention of Bobbers. It's been two years and Eric, who was our traveling companion on that trip, still talks about the lunch buffet. When we told him we were heading to KC again, he said, “You can stop twice then! Once on the way there and once on the way back!”
Well, we only got there once this time, heading back after the massive BBQ-and-fried-chicken-fest that was KC.
Bobber Cafe is a local gathering place - the counter of the coffee shop is held down by a bunch of old farmers who meet there to eat a perfectly executed breakfast and drink pot after pot of coffee while they chew the fat. The parking lot fairly full when we got there.
Alas, we arrived too early – the lunch buffet did not start until 11 am and it was only 10 am. Tony and I wanted to wait. Tate, who had never been there, not so much. I think by that point Tate was contemplating where along I-70 he could hide two large bodies. So we cajoled Tate into waiting by plying him with beverages and amusing stories.
Our waitress, Pam, was intrigued by the fact that we had made Bobbers part of our vacation plans and told the cook in the back about the crazy people from Columbus, Ohio waiting an hour for her food. We could see people peeking out at us from the kitchen.
Thirty minutes later – the cook was putting out the buffet. The regulars thought she had gone offer her rocker – the buffet was never put out early! (I am sorry I do not remember the cook's name - if anyone knows what her name is please let me know so I can record it here!!)
Turns out – Thursday was fried chicken day. And the buffet gets busy on fried chicken day so I guess it was good we got their early.
yummmmmmmmmmm - fried chicken
The lunch dishes consisted of liver and onions, spaghetti and meat sauce with meatballs (Double your meat, double your pleasure!), fried chicken, and chicken and stuffing. There was also two types of homemade gravy (beef and white), really awesome mashed potatoes, corn, peach cobbler, homemade rolls, a salad bar and chicken noodle soup. And the cost for this amazing display of culinary prowess? Wait for it...wait for it.... $8.95!!! Even if you just went and got one plate, soup and salad, you would still have a deal!
Two gravies - the brown one is a beef based gravy.
The white is a country style milk gravy with lots of black pepper.
Both were excellent over the homemade mashed
potatoes lurking in the upper right corner.
16975 B Highway (Exit 103 off of I-70 between St. Louis and Kansas City)
Boonville, MO 65233
It was nice meeting Nick, Bethia and Zach who I had not had the pleasure of meeting before and I hope we can meet again soon...it's not like we don't have a lot in common...
The hubby said that he would "hide my body
where the hunters won't find it" if I made him try some...
Nick made what I know as "Toad in the Hole" -
Lord help me but I can't remember what he called them.
(It's my advanced age...sorry Nick!!)
CMH Gourmand made two types of chili - one with venison and one with kittens - I mean vegetarian. And Zach provided some awesome homemade pork and beans...emphasis on the pork. Sorry, there are no pictures - I blame the camera for how crappy they came out...
Me- I made my killer banana bread royale and gooey peanut bars... That's me - all about the sweets...
My first example is going to be Stroud’s from Kansas City.
I had never heard of Stroud’s. None of my friends in KC had been there. I really hadn’t done much research before our trip, so when we pulled into KC Sunday night, we were hard pressed to find someplace we really wanted to eat. After surfing Chow.com and Roadfood.com at the hotel, we stumbled upon Stroud’s.
I asked myself – how could I not have known about this place? It has a Zagat excellent rating PLUS a James Beard award. Then we looked up the website. Sticker shock set in. $16.00 for a chicken dinner? After our lunch at Annie Gunn’s, we were a little wary of $16.00 entrees.
But as we were hungry AND the internet (the fount of all knowledge) said this place was good, we opted to take the plunge.
We were so glad we did.
Stroud's prides themselves on their pan fried chicken. Pan fried – not deep fried. The chicken is barely coated with seasoned flour then fried in a cast iron skillet. That takes time. That takes skill.
Every chicken dinner comes family style. That means you get an overflowing bowl to be shared by everyone at the table. The side dishes for the chicken dinner consist of your choice of potatoes, green beans, chicken noodle soup or side salad and cinnamon rolls. Being classically minded people, we opted for mashed potatoes – with homemade gravy.
The noodle soup was great – and so was the homemade poppy seed dressing on the salad, which was served on your basic iceberg lettuce house salad.
So while we are waiting on our drinks, we are watching people go out the door – and there are a lot of boxes and bags in their hands. We assume the folks with the bags were getting huge to-go orders, 'cuz fried chicken traditionally transports pretty well. The boxes – we had no idea. Maybe they were taking out the garbage?
Since it takes time to put out pan fried chicken, we asked for a ½ order of chicken livers. We figured it would be 6 or 8 livers on a plate. This is what we got.
We stared at it a moment. “This must be a mistake – I am sure they brought us a double order.” Tony said. At that moment the manager walked by and said, “No, its a half. Did you want a full order? I can get that for you.” “No no! This is fine!”
Best freakin' chicken livers ever in a restaurant. Perfectly done and served with a side of gravy.
Before we had finished our livers, out came the chicken and side dishes. Holy cow – it was a lot. I grabbed a chicken breast to see how dry it was. Not at all. Moist, Juicy...(I am now salivating all over my keyboard.)
The mashed potatoes were creamy and rich – and the gravy...
I would go and get just the gravy and eat it with a spoon. Rich, flavorful... If you have ever had really good gravy, you know the what I am talking about.
Ladies - is you husband not as "attentive" as he used to be?
Just apply this gravy generously to the neglected area...
The green beans whisked me back to childhood – soft with pieces of ham in them. No healthy fresh veggies for us!
So we ate and we ate and made obscene sounds while doing it – because this was food sex.
Then we got the cinnamon rolls for dessert. These are not what most folks think of as cinnamon rolls. Think more along the lines of monkey bread – yeast dough rolled in butter, than coated in a thick crust of cinnamon sugar. They beg for coffee or milk...
Now I will tell you - we put a serious hurtin' on our food and still couldn't finish it. So without asking, Michelle, our server, brings over a big stack of styrofoam containers for the leftovers. AHHHH – now the light goes on. All those bags leaving with the other patrons...
I haven't mentioned this before – but Tate had opted to stay back at the hotel and watch “The sexy vampire show” on HBO, so we had ordered his dinner for carry out.
We had been going to play a trick on Tate. We are evil like that and Tate would not hesitate to do the same to us if he had the chance. (He is evil too – it's why we get along so well.) The plan was, before pulling into Stroud's, we would stop at Steak n Shake and order something, then put his dinner in the Steak n' Shake bag. We would says that the chicken place was closed and here is your dinner. He would be pissed until he opened the bag -awesome! Nothing like pissing off the guy you have to spend lots of time with for the next three days. We are brilliant!
Tate's order came out in a box. Second mystery solved. Evil plan squashed.
Screw Doggie Bags!
So we waddled out to the car with our bag AND a box of food, drove back and laid like beached whales on our bed while Tate gobbled down his dinner. He made the appropriate orgiastic noises appropriate when one is eating really good food sitting on a hotel bed and saying, “These guys must be sadists! There is so much and I can't stop eating!”
And by the way, leftovers do keep and microwave very acceptably – we got two more lunches out of them. Screw eating fast food in our room...
We went back on Wednesday before we left and had lunch – Tony was weeping for chicken livers with potatoes and gravy. I had some of the best pot roast I have ever had and Tate ordered the chicken fried steak. All excellent.
And yes - there were leftovers. I packed them into the cooler
and ate them for a late dinner when I got home. Damn....
A note about something other than the food: The staff was fantastic. Both servers and the managers were friendly, they put with our constant demands for attention and even took our picture posing with boxes of food. Bless you Stroud's staff members!
Melissa was fantastic! And so patient!!
I am only sorry it is a 10 hour drive to KC, since I would be stopping in at least once a month for some of their top notch food.
When: Sunday, September 6th, 7 PM
Where: 2491 Summit Street, Columbus, OH 43202