Sweet and Savory Selections in St. Louis — On the Road with the Great Food Truck Race

Photo by: Jeremiah Alley ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Jeremiah Alley, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

This past week on The Great Food Truck Race, the rookies rolled into St. Louis, where they'd soon learn a lesson or two about food truck ownership. In a Speed Bump challenge Tyler had them earn their seed money by selling the city's specialty, toasted ravioli. After that, the trucks got back to selling their normal menus, but before they knew it, Tyler visited the trucks to test their food. Finding their quality lacking, he instituted a Truck Stop cooking challenge, whose winner would double their till. At the end of the two days a frontrunner was sent home, learning that it doesn't pay to mess with quality.

Whether you're looking for the local specialty or just want a sweet fix, St. Louis has a little bit of everything, including comfort food, international specialties, made-from-scratch doughnuts and more.

When Miss Robbie Montgomery, an ex-backup singer for Ike and Tina Turner, hung up her microphone, she decided to pick up a spoon and start cooking the soul food recipes she learned from her mother as a girl. Noteworthy dishes include her mac 'n' cheese, mashed potatoes, and rice and gravy.

At this slow-food dive, the food is scratch-made with a farm-to-table attitude. The porchetta "Louie" with bitter greens, pepperoncini and cheese on a toasted baguette is a must-try, as is the pretzel with rarebit sauce.

The two brothers who run this dive are both Greek and Italian, so naturally they're serving Greek and Italian comfort food with a St. Louis spin. The toasted ravioli served with homemade marinara dipping sauce and topped with Romano cheese are a local favorite.

This grocery store-turned-restaurant was founded on "barbecue, folk and soul." Watch out, because the cheese fries piled high with smoked pork butt and rib meat are extra messy to eat. Topped with cherry juniper jam, the smoked duck is a sweet and savory revelation with crispy skin.

Chef Brian Hardesty and co-owner Joel Crespo are crankin' out Filipino street food. On a hot summer day, customers can order the blue crab ceviche or pancit made with fresh noodles. To finish off your meal, order the One-Inch Punch with black currant juice, orange juice, coconut milk and mint.

Iron Barley may be a tavern, but there's spectacular food within. Iron Barley calls its cuisine "traditional yet unusual," as the menu features Zarzuela, a Spanish seafood stew, next to a Ballistic Elvis sandwich made of peanut butter, banana, American cheese and strawberry preserves.

The process of eating Mama Toscano's handmade toasted ravioli (pictured above) can take less than five minutes. But the process of making them takes at least three days. They're a St. Louis regional specialty worth stopping for.

St. Louis locals love the Donut Drive-In, which won the vote for best doughnuts on Route 66. The same family recipes from the early 1950s are still being used for the popular chocolate Long John and cinnamon rolls.

World's Fair Donuts is a lesson in old-school doughnuttery. They make each doughnut by hand in their small, cash-only venue. Make sure to order a buttermilk cake doughnut or the equally scrumptious blueberry doughnut paired with coffee.

At Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, customers can cool off by making their own concrete dessert treat.

Find more recommended restaurants around the nation with Food Network On the Road .

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