How do we love "Dining Out for Life"? Let us count the ways:
Buffalo fries and blue-cheese dressing at Blueberry Hill; enough pepper to know you're alive and sweating at Bobby's; the unique feel of a grainy oyster shell on your bottom lip and then slurping up the mollusk at Broadway Oyster Bar; chocolate fritters at Café Balaban; the Famous House Salad at Candicci's (with Provel, Parmesan, red onions, pimiento, black olives, Italian salami and Italian dressing); decadent pineapple-ham-and-cream-cheese pizza at Cicero's; cheese in barbecue sauce (try it, you'll see) and real chips with malt vinegar (and the best décor in town) at Dressel's; the circus of tapas at Modesto; the presentation of flaming cheese at Olympia; the drenched salad at the Pasta House; chili, pancakes and biscuits with gravy at the South City Diner; a burger cooked rare at Tucker's; Harvest Chicken Eggrolls, with the lime-soy dipping sauce, at Zoë's Pan-Asian Café.
We know we'll love whatever they give us at King Louie's and the Sidney Street Café, and we're ready for some drinkin' at Marty's (coffee), Space (cocktails at the funky bar), Riddle's Penultimate Café (wine) and Bar Italia (Mengesha's secret grappa stash). Save room for that bread pudding at the St. Louis Brewery & Tap Room.
We're not afraid to inhale a little jasmine-flavored tobacco from a hookah in the new smoking room at Nik's Wine Bar & Hookah Lounge, and we love the prime people-watching perches at MoKaBe's and Clementine's.
All these things will be even easier to love on Tuesday, when 25 percent or more of the tab is donated to the St. Louis Effort for AIDS, a group fighting the disease with education and prevention programs. Visit www.stlefa.org for a complete list of the 117 participating restaurants, including the previously mentioned winners, and pay with your MasterCard to double the donation.