Category Archives: STL restaurants

There Were Waffles

Melt is a new-ish place in the Carondelet area, and I suggest you check it out.

They serve:

  • coffee drinks
  • waffles, including gluten-free!
  • cocktails
  • ice cream
  • boozy shakes

In sum: all of the good things.

Gluten-free turtle waffle!

What more could you want, really?

Argh, matey!

 

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SALAD

I love salad.

I could write odes to it and eat it every day. Some weeks I do just that (eat it every day that is, not write odes to it)!

For the past few years, one of my biggest wishes for St. Louis has been for a place dedicated to salads. And not those damp, limp salads found on many salad bars, or salads that are considered daring for having cranberries or cherries on them.

I wanted a salad place with fresh, crisp lettuces and spinach, with toppings like hazelnuts and quinoa and fun cheeses.

To my great delight, I recently discovered that such a place now exists!!! I am seriously beyond ecstatic!

I went to Green Bean in the Central West End the other night, and it did not disappoint!

You can design your own salad or order one of their combinations. If you build your own, these are all the possibilities from which to choose:

So many decisions!

The Barcelona – romaine, roasted peppers, asparagus, eggs, almonds, manchego, and romesco – sounded perfect to me. The only change I made was to add chicken, although it would be quite filling without the extra protein. Here it is:

YUM!

The salads are large enough to leave some and take it to go, but I was so happy, I ate the entire thing in one sitting.

The plastic bowl and utensils are compostable, but it would be nice to have a to-stay china and silverware option. I appreciate the compostability, but I think compostable plastics generally take a long time to break down.

Other than that, I have absolutely no complaints! I will definitely return for more salad!

PS You might notice that I now have a browser logo! Thank CJ for urging me to use a little Keetah picture!

Celebration

On Tuesday, I took off of work to do last-minute studying for physics. The test wasn’t as bad as it could have been, and I feel like I earned a solid B or B- (which is good in this twisted world of physics).

Last night was my abnormal psychology final, which was annoying as expected with its 100 multiple choice questions regarding minute details buried within the >800 PowerPoint slides from the last half of the semester.

To celebrate the end of such annoyances, Porkchop and I visited Fountain on Locust for ice cream delights. Porkchop stuck with a scoop of butternut pecan in a waffle cone while I ordered something that I’ve always wanted: the Three Coins Sundae.

With scoops of Zanzibar chocolate, After Dinner Mint, and Coconut Almond Joy (I subbed this for vanilla) topped with hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, and three chocolate coins, this sundae was the best way to mark the end of the semester.

Distinguished portrait with sundae.

The Zanzibar chocolate is always good, but the mint and coconut flavors really knocked my socks off. After Dinner Mint with hot fudge sauce is my new favorite.

Determined to power through the ice cream.

You might recall that I stopped eating refined sugar over the summer. I still don’t have much of it, and the sugar I had last night was probably more than I’ve had in total since the summer. While trying to go to sleep last night, my heartbeat was ba-BOOM ba-BOOM ba-SUGARSUGARSUGAR.

Flagging, but close to finishing.

In any case, I’d rather have a bunch of sugar-y ice cream than do a physics problem!

Rubble Rouser

Yesterday, I “worked” from home and I skipped out on stats class. While I felt a bit guilty lying to my stats professor, I enjoyed being at home during the evening tremendously.

Instead of sitting through two long hours of stats lecture and lab, I cooked dinner and watched Porkchop work on a landscaping project. In other words, I felt normal again. But don’t think I goofed off the entire day! I still put in a good 3 hours of stats work.

But more about this landscaping project. We have (or had, rather) a pile of rubble by our garage that made us ashamed. So much shame! Especially when one of our neighbors put in some bushes and tulips and landscaping rock by his parking pad.

In an effort to de-junkify our garage area, Porkchop decided to clear out the rubble and put in a couple of terraced levels. After some consultation with neighbors, she set to work:

Anyone need some rocks?

I primarily watched and said things like, good God, will the soda pull tabs never end??

Whoever lived in our house before us had a thing for soda pull tabs. A thing as in, they are all over the yard. Front, back, by the garage, we’ve found hundreds. Were they collecting them for a reason? Did they make a game of pulling off the tabs and throwing them in the yard?

We’ll never know.

I do know that the rubble pile already looks much better without so much rubble.

The rubble never ends.

Switching topics, we ate at La Vallesana Wednesday night, and I was incredibly pleased with my dinner. Since kicking the gluten out of my diet, I’ve become an annoying diner. For example, I asked the La Vallesana server if I could possibly get the spicy shrimp burrito (my favorite!) on corn tortillas. She came back and said something to the affirmative, but when I realized she said that they could do it on wheat tortillas (which is the norm), I was like, no! not wheat! So there was a bit of miscommunication in the beginning. But, the kitchen redeemed itself by preparing a spicy shrimp platter with corn tortillas on the side.

It was the best:

Careful: these shrimp are ridiculously hot.

Whereas many restaurants give you stupid vegetables on the side, La Vallesana goes all out with asparagus and potatoes! Asparagus! I was more than happy to pay $9.95 for this spread. Delicious.

Have a great weekend!

Snow Beaks

Thanks to the recent 60+ degree weather here, all of the snow has nearly melted. However, I’ve been meaning to post this snowy chicken photo for a while, so here it is without further delay:

Snow is yummy!

That’s Scout and Agnes with snow-encrusted beaks. All of the chickens love to eat snow.

Chickens are funny animals. And mean too. Agnes is still at the bottom of the pecking order, and now Scooter and June Wayne (known as the Wyandottes around our house) have started harassing her constantly.

If Agnes is pecking at food off by herself, the Wyandottes come over and push her away. If Agnes is enjoying some alone time in the run, the Wyandottes take the opportunity to bully her. Over the weekend, Agnes developed a swollen right eye, and if I had to take a wild guess I would blame one of the Wyandottes. (The eye is getting better.)

If we had another chicken coop, we would give Agnes her own place.

In other news, some jackass busted out one of our car windows last week while Porkchop was parked at the community college art annex. Apparently, they thought Porkchop’s lunch bag contained some high value materials, as that was the only item disturbed. Nothing was taken, unless you count the $250 we spent to replace the window (and I count that).

On a happier note, we have guests lined up for March visits. Fun times are on the horizon! Until then, my time continues to be consumed by classes and studying. I have two big tests on Monday, and am feeling rather overwhelmed by the amount of material I still need to memorize.

Recent Eating

We’ve had a few meals recently that I’ve been meaning to recount.

One Saturday morning found us at Brasserie for brunch with an out-of-town friend. While the brunch menu is not online, trust that it is tasty and surprisingly inexpensive. I had eggs benedict with ham…the poached eggs were perfect, the hollandaise had a delight dijon mustard twist, and the ham was tasty. Porkchop’s brisket sandwich was excellent, and our friend’s quiche looked pretty darned good too. Other menu items like hazelnut waffles and french toast with lemon curd sounded tempting.

Local Harvest Café needs to be closer so we can just walk there. They know how to make a mean trout and meatloaf, that’s for sure. If you go for dinner, go early or late to avoid the 6-7:00 rush. Otherwise, you have to stand around watching people savor their food, and you kind of start to hate them.

At home, I’ve been loving these roasted sweet potatoes with ginger and honey. Seriously, tasty times a million. Over the weekend, I made this brown sugar glazed turkey meatloaf and chicken curry apple stir-fry. Both are from the Gluten Free Goddess blog, and both are new favorites.

Enjoy the warmth and sunshine!

To Infinity and Beyond

Happy 10 years and 1 week to Porkchop and me!

Porkchop is my best friend, my biggest supporter, and the greatest person in the universe. Each day, I consider myself lucky to be her partner and enjoy this life with her.

Last week, on the 10-year-day proper, we took a day off from our respective works and did fun things. For example, lunching on blue plate specials of fried halibut, hush puppies, and red beans and rice from Farmhaus; having our minds blown by the beautiful yarn at the Loopy Ewe; and watching a movie (Secretariat, which I found surprisingly enjoyable). Fun continued through the weekend with the farmers’ market, a 24-mile bike ride to the Chain of Rocks Bridge, the Blues home opener, and a game of tennis on a perfect Sunday morning.

Way back in September, we took a trip to Albuquerque that was part-work, part-fun, and part-anniversary trip. The fun anniversary leg was to Ojo Caliente, a spa in the middle of nowhere in northern New Mexico. It is seriously isolated and spectacular.

Look at that vivid blue sky…the sky here is never so blue.

Ojo Caliente registration and gift shop. Also gateway to the hot springs.

We couldn’t take pictures of the hot springs because something about guest privacy and blah blah blah, but they were lovely. My favorites were the arsenic pool and the iron pool. The iron pool because it was built right into the cliff side, and the arsenic pool because the water was 109 degrees and made me feel like warm butter.

We had two nights at the springs and spent them soaking under a star-filled sky.

Wonderful.

When we go back (and there will be another trip at some point, I hope), I want to spend a full day at the spa so that I can enjoy the mud pool longer. We took a day trip into Taos for lunch and sightseeing, and had only 20 minutes for the mud pool, which isn’t nearly long enough.

On our way to Taos, we crossed over the Rio Grande on the fifth-highest bridge in the US:

Rio Grande. In person, this looks even deeper.

Amanda and me. Not against the railing. That would be too close to the edge.

At Ojo Caliente, we stayed in the “historic hotel” part of the resort:

Outside the restaurant and historic hotel. Built around 1916.

The hotel rooms are the cheapest because they don’t have showers, which isn’t a problem because you can use the bathhouse showers. However, when we go back, I want to stay in one of the cliffside suites with a private outdoor pool and a kiva.

Anyway, I totally recommend a trip out to Ojo Caliente. Soak up the minerals and enjoy the stars.

What Else I’m Doing

Over the summer, I started thinking a lot about the rest of my life. Big thinking.

Somewhere, I ran across this quote by Annie Dillard:

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.

And I started thinking, there is no way in hell I want to spend the rest of my life working at a computer.

So, then I started thinking about how I’ve always been interested in physical therapy, but scared to pick up the prerequisites and scared to commit to an intense 3-year program. The fear came from things like: What about the student debt I’ll pick up? How will we pay our mortgage and bills if I’m not working?

Just for fun, I looked at the prereq lists of a few PT programs and found that I needed to pick up only 5 classes. And then I looked some more and found that I could take most of the classes for free through my university’s evening program!

So, here I am taking Anatomy & Physiology and studying my ass off. SO MUCH INFORMATION! I’m in A&P on Mondays from 4:45 – 9:30 pm (lab and lecture), and then on Thursdays from 4:45 – 6:45 pm (lab). Sometimes I go to the Wednesday lab to finish things and study more. On Monday nights, my head is usually so full of stuff, I can’t get to sleep until 1 am.

I wake up and have phrases like non-keratinized stratified squamous epithelium bouncing around.

I have two quizzes every Monday. And the big test weeks are hard. We have a lab take-home exam, a lab practical exam, and a lecture exam. It’s nuts.

It’s a lot of work and overwhelming at times, but I’m really loving it. It goes back to my roots in physical anthropology, which is what I studied as an undergrad (I picked up feminist studies during my senior year). Currently we’re studying the skeleton and bone histology, and I feel so fortunate that I learned a lot of it as an undergrad. Still, it’s hard. We have to know so much more in lab than I did in my anthro classes.

For real, I am following through on this PT thing. GRE over winter break. A&P II in the spring, along with Abnormal Psych at the community college. Medical terminology over the summer. Physics I and II next year. Before summer 2011, 100 volunteer/observation hours in PT clinics.

It’s my goal to apply to programs over the summer and be admitted somewhere for Fall 2012. We’ll figure out the student loan and mortgage stuff when the time comes.

It’s time to start doing something that I really want to do!

Spin Me Right Round

Yesterday afternoon at 4:00, I was struck with dizziness, and I’ve been plagued by it since then. I think it’s a combination of fatigue, low blood pressure, and the heat. In any case, I don’t like it.

You know I feel bad when I decide to skip the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market.

Sadness.

We did, however, stop by the Mud House for brunch. Last night I saw a picture of the Nutella and Nanners crepe, and I started craving it big time. It probably isn’t what the doctor would suggest for someone with the dizzies, but it’s darn good.

Nutella, bananas, and more Nutella. And then some more Nutella.

And then we went home and watched a bad gay movie, Make the Yuletide Gay. The Netflix instant play pool is really kind of small, thus this laughable movie. (Another sign I feel bad: I watched a movie at 11 am.)

We went out to REI after the movie and procured a new bike helmet for Porkchop. I’m hoping to feel tons better tomorrow and go on a bike ride.

After REI, it was back home to watch a baseball game (see – another sign I feel like crap!). I knitted during the game on a new project, Springtime Bandit. I’m loving this pattern! Easy, but not boring.

Pretty!

During the game, Porkchop went outside and came back with potatoes!

Potato success!

One potato, two potato...

More potatoes!

After last year’s letdown, we’re pretty happy with this harvest. If the chickens hadn’t turned the potato plants into a roost, maybe we would have more. Note for next year: build chicken-proof potato area.

All for now…

I Want to be a Pi Driver

Yesterday evening we stopped at the new Downtown Farmers’ Market, which is run by the folks behind the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market. A lot of the vendors are the same, and it’s awesome to have two days to buy things from them.

However, while the Tower Grove market has the Big Cheese, a crepe stand, and a breakfast taco stand, the Downtown market has…the Pi truck!

One can never have enough Pi pizza.

Pizzas are cooked in the truck, so they are fresh and hot. Pi generally serves two varieties (one meat, one vegetarian), small only at $12 a pie. The pepperoni we had was deep dish, which is enough for two people to dine upon and then argue about who gets the leftovers for lunch.

If you haven’t been to the Downtown market yet, check it out!

This is the second time I had Pi pizza this week…and I don’t think I could ever tire of it.

Pounds with Patrick

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.

Ribs at Pappy's!

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!

Beer tasting at Schlafly's.

Porkchop and Patrick enjoy more beer at Schlafly's.

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).

Patrick in a pit in the skateless skate park.

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!

New Food on Grand

It’s Porkchop’s first night back in town, so I bowed out of knitting and we grabbed pizza and ice cream on Grand. Both establishments are new, and both hit the spot.

Slices so big you have to fold them.

First up, National Pizza (I’m giving them a break on the website that still contains placeholder text because it’s a small operation and very new). Doors opened this past Friday, and the pizza is fast and fresh.

The hook for this place is that they serve St. Louis, Chicago, and New York style pizzas, the owner having worked in pizza joints in all three cities. Porkchop and I each enjoyed a slice of New York style pizza. And by slice, I mean a quarter of a pizza. I ordered mine with tomato, bacon, and spinach, and was more than pleased.

What better to follow pizza than ice cream, especially when it’s good ol’ Central Dairy?? Nothing!

Tower Grove Creamery recently opened in the corner shop at Grand and Arsenal. This is such a busy corner, I don’t know why things can’t stick.

Tiger Tracks! I have school spirit when it's in ice cream form.

When we lived just a few houses down from the corner, it was a flower shop, then a clothing store that lasted two days, and then a ridiculously expensive ice cream chain based in Boston (Emack and Bolio’s). And now ice cream is back!

Guess what Boston? We don’t need your $10 ice cream cones! We have Central Dairy! At the Central Dairy ice cream shop in Jefferson City, cones are $1.00. Or they were when I was at Mizzou. However, I didn’t mind paying the $3 for a single scoop waffle cone at Tower Grove Creamery (after the Emack and Bolio prices, this was a steal). I enjoyed my Tiger Tracks very much, and we’ll be sure to be back for more ice cream this summer.

(Two things disturb me in the ice cream photo: 1) I’m clutching my napkin like my life depends upon it, and 2) When did my neck get so veiny? Do I always look like that when I eat? So very disturbing.)

Two new great places on Grand! Check them out!