Thai Kitchen in St. Peters, MO

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Thai food has become fairly ubiquitous in and around the St. Louis area. So to attract attention, a Thai restaurant really needs to impress with their food. Thai Kitchen in St. Peters does just that.

This was our first visit to this restaurant. My first impression was that the interior looked just like every other Thai place we have been to. So, I figured, the food would be good, but it would not stand out. I was impressed by the specials board as I passed it, though. It featured two items we could not pass up and eventually ordered: Fried Shrimp Spring-rolls and Pineapple Duck Curry. (Actually, my wife could have passed up the duck. But not me!)

Fried Tofu with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Fried Tofu with Spicy Peanut Sauce

We started with the spring-rolls and some fried tofu with a slightly spiced peanut sauce. Both were delicious. Our boys helped us quickly devour these treats. Next up, the before-mentioned Duck Curry with Brown Rice for me, and Lo Mein with Tofu and Steamed White Rice for her. With ample shares for the kids, of course.

Pineapple Duck Curry

Pineapple Duck Curry

The Duck Curry was perfect. The meat was cooked just right, with the fat having been rendered and the skin crispy. The sauce was fragrant and spicy. The pineapple balanced the spice and added a layer of sweetness. I appreciate the fact that the restaurant offers brown rice as well. I believe that the nutty flavor and wholesome texture of brown rice goes well with curries and other heavy sauces and stews.

Lo Mein with Tofu

Lo Mein with Tofu

My wife and boys enjoyed the Lo Mein with Tofu and the White Rice. It was very mild on spice, but well-balanced with soy and stir-fried vegetables. Of course I had to have my share. I also topped the meal off well with a chilled glass of rich plum wine.

The service was prompt and friendly, the place was clean and welcoming. We had plenty of leftovers to take home for a second meal, and the prices are very moderate. Dinner entrees are around $12 and appetizers range from $5 to $8. A definite bargain for the hungry family. I am glad I was wrong in my initial assessment that Thai Kitchen would be nothing special.

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The interior of Thai Kitchen

http://thaikitchen-stpeters.com/index.htm

Hickory River Smokehouse in Springfield, IL

images (1)After buying and devouring two Family Meals from Hickory River Smokehouse in Springfield, IL, I have come to the realization that this is Real. Texas. Barbecue. I would have never thought that Springfield would house one of my favorite barbecue eateries, but that is exactly the case. In existence for under 20 years, the chain of seven restaurants should continue to proliferate and gain popularity if they stick to their standards and commitment to great food and service.

Hickory River was founded in Urbana, IL. in 1995 by Brad and Krista Bowman. They desired to bring good, authentic Texas barbecue to the Midwest. I feel that they have succeeded. As is typical among Texas barbecue, the beef brisket rules. It can be had either sliced or chopped. I prefer it chopped, with just a touch of sauce. The meat is meltingly tender, seasoned well and has just the right amount of smoke.

The pulled pork is equally good and the ribs are done quite well; tender and full of flavor. The ubiquitous sides are offered; ranch beans, coleslaw, potato salad, cornbread, mac & cheese and Texas-style chili. There is nothing spectacular about any of the sides, but they are all good. What is spectacular are the Pulled Pork Nachos. As good as the brisket is, this was my favorite dish by far. Tortilla chips covered with pulled pork and melted cheese, coupled with the tangy sauce: delicious. They also offer decent cobblers, cookies and brownies. Beverages include soft-drinks, iced tea and bottled beers.

Hickory River offers catering services as well and are seeking to franchise more locations throughout the Midwest. When visiting Springfield, I recommend a stop at Hickory River Smokehouse for some awesome Texas barbecue.