The St. Louis Cardinals begin play tomorrow, but there’s a more pressing matter. According to a recent interview with the SB Nation website, Viva El Birdos, their ace pitcher hasn’t tried one of the Midwest’s finest culinary creations: the toasted ravioli.
You can thank the late Lou Oldani Sr. (he passed in 2015 after 103 years on Earth!) for the Italian gem. His self-titled restaurant on The Hill claims rights to the invention of the appetizer that can come in orders of 6, 8, 12, 20, and pretty much whenever you decide to stop eating them. But some say the late Charlie Gitto (who died last year) first served it. But back then, a different Oldani (Angelo) owned Gitto’s on The Hill, and it was called Angelo’s Pasta. These days, Oldani Restaurant is Mama Campisis. It’s complicated but thankfully established in this city as a staple.
When asked whether he likes the food item or not, Flaherty said he hadn’t even tried them yet. The man has been pitching in this town for three years and no one thought about giving him a toasted ravioli. Did ravioli-lover and mound assassin Max Scherzer not mutter to him after a strikeout, “extra marinara on that one, Jackie Boy?” I guess not.
Did Adam Wainwright, team statesman and ambassador of all things righteous, not at least introduce Flaherty to a burnt-end toasted rav at Salt and Smoke? We all know Uncle Charlie’s father loves Pappy’s BBQ downtown, but how about a trip to the Hill after the home opener next week.
Before he can officially become the true arm of the future, a certain baked item needs to be tasted, reviewed, and tasted again. Flaherty can’t just try one restaurant’s ravioli. He needs it from at least five spots in town. Let’s go over them real quick so the guy knows where to be guided inside one trip. C
- Charlie Gitto’s on The Hill. The perfect size minus the bullshit outside layer of dough that surrounds the collection of proteins. The pomodoro sauce that carries tons of flavor. The consistency. SALUT!
- Trattoria Marcella. Nearly as potent as Gitto’s result and twice the size, these bigger t-ravs are made to pack a punch. The slow-braised beef and pork makes these special as well.
- Cunnetto House of Pasta. After the best steak I ever had (sorry Tucker’s Place) are these delicious and classic-made raviolis. The big difference here is the affordability.
- Anthonino’s Taverna. A painful oversight on the first draft, but one of the most special ravioli that the Lou can offer. Every single one eaten was handmade that week, or morning. Traditional in size alone, the key here are the ingredients. The taste.
- Zia’s on the Hill–because they do everything well there.
The mission has been laid out. Now, someone needs to drive Jack to these places. The baseball season is just about ready to begin, but the toasted ravioli has been going for over 100 years.