Tagged with " St. Louis"
11 May
2015
Posted in: Food, Life
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Food Truck Friday

I finally made it to my first Food Truck Friday here at Tower Grove Park in St. Louis. I’ve had this on my STL Bucket List forever but in my past life it would have taken me so long to drive here that all the food would have sold out. Luckily, the wait was worth it. This month Sauce Magazine had 25 total trucks, up from the years before so no one should go hungry.

Food Truck Friday - May 2015

There are so many food options from so many city neighborhoods. You have pasta, pizza and sandwiches from The Hill, healthy eats from Cherokee Street, Pie from Maplewood, vegan and Filipino from Grand, even the county is represented. There are beer trucks, smoothie and coffee trucks, dessert trucks, and of course food trucks.

Food Truck Friday

Here’s some good tips if you’re going to your first Food Truck Friday

  1. Get there early. The lines get long and it’s totally worth it to sneak out early and get ahead of the crowds, especially if you want Seoul Taco or Gorilla Street Food. Consider splitting up with your group and sending someone to each line to grab food or break into smaller groups. You can all share dishes and have a regular food supply.
  2. Have cash on hand. Most places accept credit or square and some even have an ATM on board but always come prepared.
  3. Bring some gear with you. There were times I wish I had some extra napkins or plasticware to make splitting a dish easier. And while there was plenty of beer and soda to be had, I’m glad I brought some water bottles. If I had a picnic blanket and some wine I bet I would have had an even better time.
  4. Dress for the weather. It had just finished raining and I get that everyone wanted to look cute but you don’t want to wear heels in the mud and this is STL, not Coachella.
  5. Be smart with your car. Look at the map and avoid the thought that you can park right next to a truck. Ain’t gonna happen and you’ll spend more time in your car watching people eat than actually eating. There’s plenty of room along Magnola and Arsenal. If you’re local, why not walk? I usually walk 4 or so miles on Friday and I’m more than willing to do that for food. (And hey, if the organizers could arrange for more bike racks I’d love that too!)

Food Truck Friday 2

This time I kept it easy since I spent more time absorbing the atmosphere than planning a strategy. Next time I’ll be ready. Friday I tried Steak Louie and Sarah’s Cake Stop.

Food Truck Friday 3

Food Truck Friday 4

Steak Louie had this amazing Philly Cheesesteak with strip steak and cheese and peppers. It was a great choice and worth the wait. I hesitated on the fries but decided to limit my stops tonight by grabbing more food at the first stop. The east coast seasoning and cheese sauce were amazing.

Food Truck Friday 5

And then there’s the cupcakes.

Food Truck Friday 7

I of course had to try the red velvet and it was pretty good. But the night’s surprise winner was the 4 Hands Chocolate Milkshake cupcake. It’s made with 4 Hands Chocolate Milk Stout and has the taste of malted milk balls.

Food Truck Friday 8

There’s just something wonderful about seeing people come together. My husband remarked that it all reminded him of our rural church picnic and I realized he was right; with people, food, pets, strollers, young and old, it felt like a community.

Food Truck Friday 10

Food Truck Friday 9

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23 Mar
2015
Posted in: Life
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Art In Bloom

I’ve been trying to do a good job keeping up on the date nights that I did last year. Not every month gets a meal + activity and some months get a good helping of both. This month the husband and I went to the St. Louis Art Museum. They were having an event called “Art in Bloom” but I also wanted to see an exhibit due to close that weekend. I’m so glad we went since the evening turned out to be really fun.

There were all kinds of floral arrangements based on works of art and to see the inspiration next to another piece of art was a nice way to gain perspective on the original piece and the floral design. Like here, I was able to capture most of the inspiration piece with the original art.

Art in Bloom

Art In Bloom

Some inspiration was more abstract than others

art in bloom

While others were more traditional

art in bloom

The other part I was there to see was the Nick Cave exhibit. Cave is a Missouri native and his pieces really felt anchored in sculpture and fashion. Each piece felt like it had so much movement and so many levels to it.

Speak Louder

Speak Louder detail

Nick Cave

Nick Cave exhibit

Nick Cave exhibit

Nick Cave exhibit

It’s so nice to live closer to the St. Louis Art Museum and make time to see these kinds of events. Here’s a list of their current exhibits and this Friday don’t forget it is time for another SLAM Underground.

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18 Dec
2014
Posted in: Home Renovation, Life
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Christmas Spirit

I’ve been having a bit of a time getting into the Christmas spirit for reasons that will soon be clear. I did make a few attempts to get in the mood though.

Giving Tree

One of my 30before30 goals was to adopt a family for Christmas. I had no idea how hard this would be. I work for a satellite location of my main employer so I couldn’t easily join their program, my church wouldn’t be doing theirs until far too late for me to be prepared, and when I called the country social services program they were all out before the middle of November. That’s an amazing thing for all those families but I knew there still had to be a market. I managed to find one via my last employer’s giving tree, getting a mom and her daughter. I made sure to get them everything on their list and threw in a few extra holiday treats and gift cards so they can do some extra shopping too. It was an easy project but one that did make a difference.

The other way I got into the holiday spirit was by going on my last date night of the year. Another of my 30before30 goals was to go on a monthly date night for all of 2014. Date night had to be a meal + an activity. Can I just say I chose the absolute worst year for such a goal? (Don’t even get me started on the goal for Peru…) I had my job go from decent to destructive, I got a new job, had to start a new satellite office for my employer, my husband’s job took up a lot of his time, I stopped working out, my commute doubled/tripled, someone hit my car, a beloved high school teacher of mine passed away from cancer which sent me on a minor freakout, I decided to buy a house in January and spent all year looking, and decided to sell my own home. I don’t mean to say that my year was a bad one but it was unnecessarily stressful and I really just want to move on to 2015 and all its potential. Date nights for this year were hard due to scheduling, snow, stress, and at times being a little unhappy with where things stood in life. That’s probably why I wanted the date nights more than ever but there were moments when trying to grab a meal and a movie seemed like the most painful experience in the world.

Lafayette Parlor Tour

Thankfully our December date night was a much better ending to the series. All those issues from before were over. My husband and I decided to take some time off work so this past weekend didn’t have work looming over us. We took my parents out to the Lafayette Square Holiday Parlor Tour in St. Louis. Lafayette Square is an old historic neighborhood in one part of the city. It was hit by a tornado years ago and parts of the neighborhood fell into decay while others aged and needed improvement. Starting in the 1980s the neighborhood improvement picked up the pace and they started renovating what could be fixed and doing matching infill to keep up the historic charm of the neighborhood. Now upscale bars, small businesses, art galleries, and brunch spots have moved in. When you see bad things about St. Louis on the news, know that the city and county are huge places and there are so many great things here.

Lafayette Tour 1

A few times a year homes open their doors for tours. It’s a great chance to see how people have improved their homes, their antique decor, or just their fun touches on the houses.

Parlor Tour 2 Parlor Tour 3

After making it to most of the homes we jumped to the county for a meal at Pastaria. Pastaria is run by one of the top chefs in STL and the country, Gerard Craft. Pastaria isn’t one of those snooty kinds of places though. You can get pizza, pasta, and gelato and go home happy. The gelato is always a fun experience. Last time I went I got a salted caramel. This time I ended up with a blackened carrot while my parents ended up with a parsnip one. You just never know what you’ll get except you’ll be stuffed when you leave.

Date nights ended on a good note. I hope in 2015 we can keep making our best attempts to go on date nights and they can be a bit more spontaneous and convenient.

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25 Nov
2014
Posted in: Life
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On St. Louis

I’ve learned some things in my work for the legal system. I’ve learned people can be bad people and do bad things, I’ve learned people can be good people and do bad things. I’ve learned not all cops, attorneys, and judges are interested in doing what is right but rather what is easy. I’ve learned victims can be hard to sympathize with as they lash out in anger. I’ve learned money can buy a certain amount of influence. I’ve learned that the general public often knows nothing about how the system works.

What I’ve really learned is that the justice system isn’t really about justice and every group of people has outliers. We shouldn’t need the law to tell us how we should treat each other in this world, whether it is with our deeds or with our words. There’s also no shame in remembering that today when I see acts of violence in my city and words of hatred on my news feed. I try to tell myself these are good people doing hateful things because these are people I felt were my friends saying awful things or these are people who are my community acting out in violence. I want to believe in the good in people and yet I wonder how many people I feel I’m giving the benefit of the doubt I’m really just excusing.

There are 3 neighborhoods in St. Louis that were touched by the reaction to Ferguson. One was guarded and protected by police and the National Guard. One was given a chance to protest peacefully and had law enforcement step in when needed. Another was allowed to burn. It’s a perfect embodiment of our community divided in St. Louis and how easy it can be to look the other way.

There is no simple answer to describe what is happening in Ferguson and anyone who tries to give you one is ignorant of the entire situation. People are angry about many things. People are scared about many things. People are sad about many things. I don’t think St. Louis is alone in feeling that way. I woke up today deciding I can let those worries control me or I can keep working to bring about positive change in my community. I hope I don’t let me down.

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4 Mar
2013
Posted in: Gardening
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Botanical Garden Inspiration

Last year one of my favorite experiences was seeing the Lantern Festival at Missouri Botanical Garden. The gardens are always beautiful but the lanterns were gorgeous pieces of art in a beautiful landscape.

lantern1

lantern3

lantern2

That last one there was so incredible. At night it lit up and breathed smoke. My favorite at night was this one:

lilies

Seriously, how gorgeous are all the reflections? I’ve profiled the gardens on my old travel blog and I have to say that even without the lanterns that place is beautiful. I came away from that visit so inspired by what I could do in my own yard. Can you just see adding lights to a water feature in your own yard to play with texture?

I was pleased to see the gardens suffering from the same effects of drought that my yard was. Even the pros suffer too! I realized I was just fine in many of my plant choices and sometimes living in Missouri means bad years. I’m hoping this year will be a better one. Tomorrow will hopefully be the last snowfall of the season and I expect the rest to be melted by Friday. I won’t plant then because I’ve got a Muse concert to see but Saturday this girl is putting on her shoes and planting grass seed.

rainbow

Back on topic to the cooler plants though. The botanical garden has a plant finder tool to help you decide what plants around Missouri and the gardens will work in your own yard. I used it with some of the photos I took of the hanging baskets in the garden.

hanging1

This basket has lantana, swedish ivy and coleus in it. I learned from the plant finder that lantana blooms in July (when I was there) and that it resists drought well which is probably why it was thriving so well. Bonus: it attracts butterflies.

hanging3

This basket also has lantana but this time it’s paired with a licorice plant. Crazy how you can get such different planters both starting with the same species.

hanging2

This basket has vinca, spurflower, and spider lily. The finder tool helped me to see that all would do well in the shade meaning I can still have a gorgeous basket even in the darker corners of my yard.

What do you use for garden inspiration?

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4 Dec
2012
Posted in: Life
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Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

This past weekend I tried a bit to get into the Christmas spirit. Christmas can be a hard holiday for me. I feel like if I don’t get something done then I’ve let people down and if I do get it done it’s often to the sacrifice of my own happiness. Awesome, right? I’m sure I’m not alone but it’s a constant struggle for me to find some balance.

shopping on cherokee street

This weekend was spent trying to find that sweet spot. I went with my mom down to Cherokee Street in St. Louis. If you’ve never been, it’s a walkable street with brick historic homes and storefronts. Many shops are filled with antiques or crafts. If you visit, you’ll notice the amazing food in this area too. It’s sort of the Mexican food capital of St. Louis. Today was also what is known as the Cookie Spree where every shop on the street that is participating has a cookie tray inside. Can you say way too stuffed?

shopping on Cherokee Street

I ate lunch at a place called Neveria La Vallesana. Very good burritos there. I also did a ton of window shopping. If you want some fun places to shop, The Purple Cow, Retro 101/Cherry Bomb Vintage, and St. Louis Curio Shoppe are your stops. If you want something practical, check out China Finders, Lady Jane’s, Haffner’s Antiques, or Hammond’s Books.

tea cart

My two favorite shops of the day both heavily featured antiques. Elder’s Ltd had 3 stories of some of the most beautiful antique/mid-century furniture at reasonable prices. It’s a shame I wasn’t looking for that this time but I’ll definitely be back. My other favorite was the place I got my big purchase of the day, Bella. I’m not sure my dog is impressed but I’ve got high hopes for turning this tea cart from Bella’s into a bar cart. There was a 20% off sale going on today and they gave me a great deal and I can’t wait to get to work on this beautiful piece.

Oh and notice my blue dining room rug in the background? It got moved to the living room this week. I don’t know why, I just decided to mix it up. I might end up with a new rug in the dining room and it’ll work with this new bar cart look. I’m just trying to decide if I want to stick with blue as my accent in the dining room of if I’d rather go with a bolder color. Stay tuned for updates one day on that front.

Christmas

The dining room did get a bit of a new look minus the rug being taken away. We put up our Christmas tree! It may not look like much, being a $16.99 purchase from back in 2005 but it means something. The year my husband bought it was his first in a new apartment back when he was still just my boyfriend. I was really sick that winter and had just gotten some bad news that I’d need more treatment so I am pretty sure he bought that cheap little tree to cheer me up at a time where money was tight.

I think that’s the important way for me to find some balance this season. Just stop and take a step back and remember all the little reasons to try hard this season. I don’t have to do everything right or everything perfect but I should try to do it with love and care and let the pieces fall where they may.

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13 Jun
2012
Posted in: Food
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Blueberry Picking

Last week I invited my friend Wendy and her mom along with me to go blueberry picking. I had gone last year and enjoyed it so much that I wanted to go again this year.

blueberry picking

I go picking at Wind Ridge Farm in New Melle, Missouri. They also have blackberries and peaches depending on the season. They aren’t open for picking every day but they do update their website, twitter account, and facebook page to help you plan your next pick date. This method ensures that the plants aren’t overpicked and that guests have plenty of picking options.

blueberry picking

When we arrived this year we could see the blueberries hanging off the bushes before we even entered the field. You just grab a bucket, listen as an employee tells you the best places to pick, and have at it. We spent less than an hour picking casually and ended up with about 2 1/2 pounds each. The blueberries are $2.99/lb and they even take credit cards if you have your whole family out there picking.

blueberry picking

Their next pick date is on Sunday from 8 AM to noon or until the field is all picked. You could celebrate Father’s Day with some blueberries or even some blackberries since they will have a small batch of them ready to go. After we went picking we did a scenic drive along Missouri’s wine country. There are several wineries out in the area so if you time it right you could pick one day and stop for some lunch at a winery before shopping (like we did).

blueberries

I’ve been planning out all sorts of delicious blueberry treats since I saw the fields were open and you can see them and other berry treats on my Berry Picking pinterest board. Coming up tomorrow I’ll show you my first cooking project or you can check out my favorite blueberry buckle recipe on my travel site.

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