Monday, March 23, 2009

Mom's Deli in St. Louis

I'm sure I'm not the only person to adopt the philosophy that when you're on a vacation from work you're also on a vacation from eating a balanced diet. Calories don't count when you're not sitting in front of a computer all day. Plus, how are you supposed to experience all there is to a destination without trying all its culinary options? Exactly. Now I've been to St. Louis, oh, about a million times. And still there are new tastes to savor. There's the Hill, this cute Italian neighborhood with bakeries, restaurants and independent grocers. Dogtown has a great St. Patty's day parade and (of course) Irish pubs. St. Louis is the birthplace of toasted ravioli. St. Louis-style pizza at Imo's is made with Provel cheese--a combo of swiss, cheddar and provelone that turns out nice and gooey sort of like an upscale Velvetta. And Ted Drew's boasts a thick ice frozen custard.
There's more than just toasted ravioli, pizza and ice cream to the Gateway City. Last week Jenny took me and Maria to Mom's Deli for some samiches, Krista and Amy met us there. The deli is smallish, small enough that they don't have indoor seating. There was a crowd that Friday, even though the only fish option in the Catholic-dominated town was tuna. But finally its nice enough to sit outside, so long as you're in the sun.
I ordered the Mom's Sub, which I can only assume to be the restaurant's signature dish (that was sarcasm). It came with like 10 kinds of meat (OK, just 3), tomato, lettuce, etc. and their homemade Thousand Island Dressing--a sauce that's made of mayonaise, ketchup, Tobasco and finely chopped and usually pickled vegetables. Thousand Island, a variation on Russian dressing, is another typical St. Louis thing. Wikipedia says that it was invented in Chicago (just like every other food), but the Missourians have adopted it. I'll confess I'm not a big fan of mayo or ketchup for their taste and for their nutritional value. My mother instilled these eating habits. But mixed together, yeah, it was good. I love a sandwich with lots of sauce--whether it's ranch or mustard--and Mom's delivered with plenty of 1000 Island.
Maria went for the parmesan chicken sandwich (because she only eats chicken) that I believe was actually topped with Provel cheese instead of parmesan. I made her let me taste it--good. And Jenny had to go with the tuna sub. She decided that since she's not going to church, she would at least adhere to the meatless Fridays during Lent. What a good Catholic. You know how at Subway you can order a six-inch and feel like you've restrained yourself? Well, Mom's only has foot-longs. It's OK, Maria, Jenny and I cleaned them up. Don't worry mom, we had played some tennis beforehand.

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