One of our favorite places in the city:
at 5001 Lindenwood. The alfresco dining is tops. The food is amazing. This place, along with El Burrito Loco are fresh and delicious. The plantain torta, spicy fried plantain chips and spicy chicken quesadillas and cactus salad are my favorites. This is not your average, run of the mill place; it's tops for Latin food in my book. Not only is the food great, the people are nice too.
A St. Louis Public School in the neighborhood, Kennard Classical Junior Academy, has a unit on community and the 1st graders get to walk from their school to La Tropicana to learn about a local business in the neighborhood. The kids learn Spanish too, so they each introduced themselves (in Spanish) to the owner, told them where they live, how old they are, what languages they can speak and what they want to be when they grow up. 25 or so kids are in the class and the owner graciously listened to each and every kid's spiel. He fried up some plantains and made chips for the kids to taste. He gave them guava jarritos, showed them around the market, talked about where the food comes from and how they prepare it. Each class got a bunch of those mini bananas to take back to class.
I never did anything like this in school. Of course, I went to a private Catholic school in a small town where no one offered or spoke anything other than English. My high school didn't even offer Spanish. It was either French, German or Latin. I am so happy my kids are getting exposed to the Kingshighway Hills neighborhood, local-family owned businesses and multiple ethnicity's. Heartwarming stuff really. The owner really went out of his way to educate the kids and show them a good time.
Back to La Tropicana. This food is fresh, delectable and affordable. If you're not into fresh Latin food, you can always sit outside under the tent and enjoy a cocktail or a delicious Mexican beer with lime (mmmm Modello) and watch the neighbors walking around and tending to their homes/yards. This is one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city.
You can't go wrong supporting places like this.