Dare we say it? We just might have seen the last of Old Man Winter, and we here at Gut Check are eagerly awaiting warm sunshine, patio dining and summer flavors. Before we say our final goodbyes, however, we thought we'd indulge one last time in our favorite cold-weather comfort foods that warmed up our taste buds this winter.
Cucina Pazzo (392 North Euclid Avenue; 314-696-8400)
Tender, red wine- and port-braised short ribs on top of wide ribbons of fresh, housemade pappardelle noodles at Cucino Pazzo -- what could be more satisfying? Maybe that same bowl topped with sweet roasted cipollini onions and cremini mushrooms and a dollop of sour cream.
Pastaria (7734 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton; 314-862-6603)
Pasteria's version of ramen is, perhaps, a quintessential winter dish. This steaming bowl of intense, richly flavored broth is paired with chicken and spaghettini noodles and topped with a runny, soft-cooked egg, fresh basil and shaved Grana Padana cheese.
Wild Flower (4590 Laclede Avenue; 314-367-9888)
A rich and creamy bowl of mac & cheese is a decadent treat in any season. Wild Flower's addition of white truffle oil makes this lightly browned, four-cheese macaroni dish a cozy fix for a frosty winter day.
Planter's House (1000 Mississippi Avenue; 314-696-2603)
Planter's House effortlessly escorts diners through the dark days of winter with fortifying smoked-pork-jowl lardons and fried Brussels sprouts topped with a fried egg and dried cherries. All are tossed in a scrumptious duck-fat and red-chile vinaigrette.
The Block (33 North Sarah Street; 314-535-5100)
Chef Marc Del Pietro brings his grandmother's wintertime tradition to the Block's Central West End location. Nani's Rustida Italian stew features three types of fresh Italian sausage, pork and veal stew meat, onions, garlic, tomatoes and thyme.
Katie's Pizza and Pasta (9568 Manchester Road, Rock Hill; 314-942-6555)
This signature dish from Katie's Pizza and Pasta features wild boar and fresh pappardelle noodles in a sauce of San Marzano tomatoes and chianti, topped with shaved parmigiana. The citrusy lemon gremolata brightens any gray winter day.
Baida (3191 South Grand Boulevard; 314-932-7950)
The hearty Moroccan kefta meatball tagine at Baida brings the warmth of the chef's kitchen right to your table. Spicy meatballs and eggs are poached in a rich tomato and pepper sauce with cumin, coriander and smoked paprika.