For Christmas one of my brothers sent me this:
a Krakowska, from Piekutowski’s. It’s a ham based sausage, and Pope John Paul II said it is the best Krakowska outside of Krakow. This sausage maker is located in the old neighborhood in North St. Louis, and I have been eating this for as long as I can remember. When I lived in the neighborhood it was a working-class area with mostly Poles and Germans. The older generation were good friends with my grandparents, and when my brother went in to buy this, the old guy was there helping out.
Another food I associate with St. Louis and love is White Castle hamburgers, also an acquired taste. They are tiny square hamburgers, steamed with onions and served on tiny square buns. There is a White Castle right near the St. Louis airport and it is always my first stop when I fly in. Sometimes it is my last stop as well, I get frozen ones to take home.
When I was a young teenager going to Steak ‘n Shake late at night was the thing to do. It was a real diner, with hamburgers freshly cooked on grill and served on thick white plates with a side order of fries (chips). Now it is a chain, and this one is located here. They are going for a retro vibe, everyone still wears a white dress shirt with a black bow tie and a paper hat. But it is not nearly as special, there was that intoxicating freedom of being out and about late at night when I was young. And I can’t replicate that.
But they still make a pretty decent hamburger, and me and Miss P enjoyed this one today.