This weekend has been one of indulgence and excess, as Porkchop’s friend Patrick rolled into town Thursday evening. Ever the gracious guest, he bore sweet Wisconsin gifts of New Glarus Spotted Cow, an outstanding assortment of Gail Ambrosius truffles, three sensational cheeses from Fromagination, scones from Lazy Jane’s, and squash and cucumbers from his garden.
We primed the visit with dinner at Pappy’s Smokehouse. Porkchop and I stuck with pulled pork sandwiches, but Patrick’s order of ribs convinced me to go that route next time. The ribs don’t need any sauce at all; they are spiced and smoked to perfection and have that mythical “falling off the bone” tenderness. Yum.
The rest of the evening was spent at the Cardinals-Dodgers game with faculty and staff from my center. It was hot as heck, but we caught some nice breezes as the Cardinals clinched a victory.
Friday morning started with me emailing in a notice that I was taking the day off. Why I didn’t do that earlier, I have no idea! After doing some work for our neighborhood art fair coming up, we packed the rest of the day with FUN FUN FUN.
The first stop was lunch at Stellina Pasta Cafe. This stop was an inspired impromptu decision. Stellina is awesomely delicious no matter what you order. Porkchop and I stuck with favorites again: whole wheat tagliatelle for her, and herb cheese agnolotti (or little pillows of heaven as I call them) for me. Patrick couldn’t decide between the lasagna (zucchini and goat cheese) or the South Side Smoke sandwich, so he went with both. The lasagna was perfect as ever, and the sandwich lived up to the “smoke” in its name (maybe a tad too smoky – our only complaint).
After lunch, we stopped by Suzi and Dale’s, and then headed to Schlafly Bottleworks for the free brewery tour. The tour culminated with a tasting of three beers: Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, and American IPA. The American IPA is deliciously citrusy and is quite high in alcohol content. After the three good-sized tastings and a pint of Summer Lager, I was quite gone. That’s more beer than I’ve had in the past few months combined!
When we returned home, I had to have a second cup of tea in order to clear my head. Whew.
Patrick’s former girlfriend happens to be wrapping up a summer art job here in St. Louis, so she stopped by for a visit. After that, it was off to a friend’s birthday party which featured The Princess Bride projected on their backyard garage. Fun!
We left the movie early for a late dinner and more drinks at the Royale. After finishing up around 11:00 (usually my bedtime on Friday nights), we capped the night with a visit to the City Museum. The name doesn’t really explain what it is. As our server at the Royale stated, in most places, the City Museum would be illegal. While it has some museum aspects to it (like salvaged architectural elements, circus posters, and some insect displays), it’s primarily a giant playground built in an old shoe factory. There are tunnels (many of which only small children can fit through, which makes going with kids extra fun), a 10-story slide, an aquarium, an indoor skateless skate park, a circus school, model railroads, a huge art activity area, old pipe organs, a play area outside featuring two abandoned planes suspended high above the ground and connected by wire tunnels (scary!!), giant ball pits, a Ferris Wheel on the roof, and a school bus half suspended off the roof (which I’ll never set foot in).
We only stayed at the City Museum for about an hour and a half, but it was enough time for me to regret having the fish taco at the Royale, to strain my left quad, to scrape my left elbow, to get a nice little bruise on my right knee, to be terrified while climbing on things outside, and to laugh myself silly at Porkchop’s hesitance to go down a particular near-vertical slide.
After sleeping in a little bit on Saturday, we hit the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market. We loaded up on peaches, tomatoes, pasta, ground beef, and grilled cheese and then came back home where we rested for a while.
And then it was time for more food! La Vallesana was on the list for lunch, and it delivered big time. The food was terrific as always, and the watermelon agua fresca was the perfect drink for the hot weather. Afterwards we stopped at Foam for a beer (it’s hard to resist Patrick’s peer pressure). And then we hung out at home a bit more, burned some David Sedaris CDs for Patrick’s drive to Milwaukee, and then we had to say goodbye. Sadness!
Patrick had to leave Saturday evening in order to help with a family picnic on Sunday. I was sad to see him go, but I don’t know if I could have pounded any more beers with him.
Patrick is a young 25-year-old male, and I am a not-as-young 32-year-old female. It is hard to keep up with the beer and food consumption. I am now having to detox my body. Of course, I don’t think the bacon-cheese-tomato sandwich I had for lunch was on the detox menu.
I look forward to September, when we shall see Patrick in Madison! Yay!