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Pearl Cafe heats up North County

March 6, 2011

Photo by Corey Woodruff -


I love discovering good restaurants. I love it even more when the restaurant is in my own neighborhood… I love in North County in St. Louis. NoCo is not known as a big cultural hotspot. Some a-holes even think it’s “dangerous” (I need this shirt). But I grew up here, and I can tell you it’s just as good as any other St. Louis neighborhood. The past 10 years or so, especially, have shown some cool growth in the realm of culinary destinations. I wrote a bit about it in my post about Free Range Cookies in Ferguson. Also, the NoCo blog won best neighborhood blog in the Riverfront Time’s webs awards!

Fellow food blogger and NoCo dweller Bill of STL Bites posted a couple of weeks ago about Pearl Cafe‘s “25+ heat challenge.” I have been to Pearl a couple of times, and it’s really fantastic… delicious Thai and Vietnamese food, great service, good beer (bottles only) selection. A gem. I was not aware of this hot food challenge, but as soon as Bill tweeted about it, I knew exactly who I had to alert. My friend Eric is a Spicy food fanatic. It’s like a disease. He took down the Hottest hot chicken at Prince’s Hot Chicken in Nashville during our Epic roadtrip. I knew he could do it. Our friend Bryan was also up for the challenge.

Photo by Corey Woodruff -

So the jist of it is, normal people hot at Pearl is 1-5. If you are in the know and like the sensation of licking branding irons, you can ask for 25 and up to 100. You can’t go straight to 100, though. You have to work your way up the ladder…. 25, 50, 75, 100. 3 people have done 100. Our waiter said all 3 say they would never do it again. It does physically crazy things to you… they make you sign a waiver if you want to eat a 100. You can choose from most of the entrée to do the challenge. Both my boys got pad thai, reasoning that dryer dishes are better than saucy or soupy dishes.

Bryan came prepared with a towel, tums, and bunny ears. Photo by Corey Woodruff -

They both took it down like champs! Pearl cafe took photos of them before, during and after for their Facebook page wall of fame. Bryan was sweating pretty profusely, but finished first. Eric turned slightly pink, but did not break a sweat at all. He barely seemed fazed! In fact, he ordered a level 50 dish afterwards, knowing he was too full to finish it, just to taste it and compare. He let anyone else who wanted try the 50 level, too (in order to meet the challenge and get on FB you can’t share). I tried it. It took a few seconds to hit, but once it did, my mouth was burning pretty intensely for a good 10 minutes. every breath out magnified the sensation…it felt like I had made out with a hot skillet. ouch. I’m glad I tried it, though. See there are NO GIRLS who have done the 25 level yet. Seriously?! This disappoints me. I kind of want to be the first girl… but I have training to do.

So yeah, a fun idea if you or anyone you know is into Man vs. Food type challenges. And for those of us sane people, the food at Pearl is really good… everyone wins, especially North County.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2011 4:02 pm

    Dude…Man vs. Food is on his way…no doubt.

  2. Dexter permalink
    March 27, 2011 7:55 pm

    Thanks very much for the review. When reading restaurant reviews, I tend to wonder: Do people trust restaurant reviewers more than the advice of friends and family? It’s also hard to know which reviewer to follow since there are so many out there. Here’s more interesting insight on the topic…

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