1. Next time you’re at Gilardi’s (820 E. Walnut St., Springfield, 417-862-6400), be sure to order the Antipasti Misti. Gourmet cheeses, Italian cold cuts, olives and roasted garlic cloves are served with house-made crostinis. It’s a flavorful start to a meal.
2. McSalty’s (2627 E Sunshine St, Springfield, 417-887-2589; 1550 E. Battlefield, Springfield, 417-883-4324) might be known for its pizzas but they also make killer subs. We love the McSalty’s sub. It’s topped with Canadian bacon, salami, mozzarella, cheddar, provolone, mayo, German mustard and lettuce.
3. When you need something sweet, stop by the closest Andy’s (various locations in 417-land, eatandys.com) and request one of our staffer’s favorite custom concretes: half vanilla custard, half chocolate custard and double raspberries. It’s sweet, tart and oh-so-tasty.
4. Dig into the pork pomodoro at Dobyns Dining Room in the Keeter Center (1 Opportunity Ave., Point Lookout, 417-239-1900) and enjoy pork medallions with pesto, garden-fresh tomatoes and garlic over a bed of Edwards Mill polenta.
5. Big Fat Burritos (3354 S. National Ave., Ste. C, Springfield, 417-890-1500) is our own local version of Chipotle, but better, and we can’t get enough of its chipotle beef tostada. A tostada is smothered in house-made chipotle beef and topped with black beans, lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese and your choice of salsa.
6. We dream of the catfish plate from Big Easy Grill (3641 E. Sunshine St., Springfield, 417-832-0040). Not only is the fish battered in a tasty and perfectly crispy crust, but the sides of sweet potato fries and coleslaw are equally delicious.
7. Bacon jam is real. And it is so, so good. At Aviary (400 E. Walnut, Ste. 100, Springfield, 417-866-6378; 2144 E. Republic Rd., Ste. E120., Springfield, 417-881-9736) they slather this salty-sweet creation on slices of baguette topped with goat cheese. Yum!