When I moved back to St. Louis, my aunt told me about Washington, Missouri. It’s a small town next to the Missouri River that’s known for its antique shops and delicious food. Since antiques and delicious food are two of my favorite things, I decided to go check it out this past Saturday.
I love places like Washington because everything moves slower. St. Louis isn’t a huge city and I feel like the pace of life here is more laid back than, say, DC or New York. But Washington takes it to a new level. When I showed up on Saturday, people were watering their lawns, lounging on their wraparound porches, and generally taking it easy. It was refreshing.
I think I have a built-in radar for bakeries because, without realizing it, I drove straight to the best one in town. Schulte’s is tucked away in the residential part of Washington, about a half a mile walk away from downtown. Walking through the front door is like going back in time. The walls are painted bright blue and there are vintage pieces everywhere, including an old Coca Cola sign against the back wall.
Of course, the real attraction is the pastries. I had a hard time deciding what to get but ultimately I decided on a lemon cake doughnut. Glazed doughnuts are my favorite and I was interested to see what the lemon would taste like.
It was, in a word, delicious. The cake doughnut was fluffy and moist, the lemon was bright and citrusy, and the sugar was glazed to perfection on the outside. I forgot to get a napkin before I walked out so I ended up with sugar all over my hands and wrists, but I didn’t care. I wish I always smelled like a lemon glazed cake doughnut.
After temporarily blacking out from the deliciousness of the lemon cake doughnut, I made my way downtown. Washington has a lot of cute antique shops that are worth checking out, even if you’re not into old things. A lot of the stores surprised me with their range of products. I walked into a floral shop that had amazing furniture and met a new friend. She ended up following me around the store.
I walked down by the river for a while and then I made my way to the far side of town to the Blue Duck. I’d heard about the restaurant from a local food magazine but I didn’t know what to expect. Sometimes, food places in small towns can be hit or miss.
I ordered the “DLT” with house smoked duck, fried egg, and honey chipotle mayo on house made sourdough. I took one bite and literally had to hold back tears. “How is it?” the waitress asked. “I’m blown away,” I said.
I’m not going to lie…the duck reminded me of Spam sliders that I ate in Seattle with my friend last summer. But that’s okay, because those Spam sliders were delicious, and so was this sandwich. The smoky duck, buttery sourdough, runny and crunchy fried egg, and the sweet and spicy honey chipotle mayo were the perfect combination. I wish I could eat this sandwich everyday.
On the way back from Washington, I decided to stop in my favorite Missouri small town, Augusta. I’d heard about a restaurant called the Silly Goose that specializes in Southern food. I pretended to deliberate over the menu but I knew what I wanted: The fried chicken and waffles.
Sometimes, you eat a really good meal and you’re satisfied. You’ll remember it for a few days then forget about it and go back to your life. That’s not the case with this chicken and waffles. I’m going to be thinking about it for a long, long time.
The Silly Goose sources its ingredients locally so everything tastes fresh. The free-range chicken they used was tender and flavorful. It made me wonder why I ever settle for subpar chicken. The buttermilk waffle was the perfect consistency, not too light and not too heavy, and was doused with vanilla bourbon maple syrup and a scoop of creamy sorghum butter.
The salted, crispy fried chicken with the waffle and sweet syrup and butter was honestly one of the best things I’ve ever tasted in my life. I’m almost crying writing about it now. I don’t want to be morbid but I want this dish on my deathbed. I am not exaggerating.
ANYWAY. If you find yourself in St. Louis or the surrounding area, I’d highly recommend a day trip to Washington and Augusta. The food alone would make it worth your while, but the antique shops are fun to browse and, as a plus, there’s tons of natural beauty. In the summer, rolling green farm hills give way to valleys with colorful wildflowers and lush foliage. Honestly, I consider it a little piece of heaven on earth.