Category Archives: St. Louis

Keeping it Creepy at Meramec Caverns

With how chilly its become in St. Louis, summer feels like ages ago. And so does our visit to Meramec Caverns. But I figured, those eery stalactites and stalagmites at the caverns look a lot like Halloween. So recapping our adventure doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch.

Back in July, Mikey and I joined my parents, brother, nieces and nephews for a visit to Meramec Caverns in Stanton, Missouri. Meramec Caverns is Missouri’s largest commercial cave. Tours are offered daily, allowing visitors a glimpse into the mysterious underground where these unique mineral formations live. None of us in the family had been on a tour before — even Mikey, the St. Louis native. And with my niece, Hannah, and nephew, Josh, in town for a few weeks over the summer, we had the perfect excuse to go.

While on the tour, our guide touched on more than just the natural wonder of the cave’s formations. He went deep into the history of the cave, explaining how explorers were lured there by the possibility of gold — only to find saltpeter (potassium nitrate). Back then, saltpeter was a key ingredient used in the making of gun powder. Over the years, the cave and its precious minerals were heavily disputed over. Southerners eventually took control of the caverns during the Civil War and ended saltpeter mining altogether.

The infamous Jesse James was another point of discussion during the tour. Notorious for his numerous bank robberies and murderous ways, he made Meramec Caverns his hideout and used the underground river as an escape route. Hence, the caves have been dubbed “Jesse James’ Hideout”.

Winding through the cave trails was equally creepy as it was cold. The temperatures in the caverns drops to around 50 degrees, which was much cooler than the summer swelter happening above ground. The chill in the air added to the mystery, but nothing compares to the ghostly contortions of the formations themselves. So without further ado…

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Stalactites oozing out of the cave ceiling

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Staring at the jagged edges in the dark

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You could hear the occasional drip-drop like tears hitting the pond below.

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Of course, the lights show got a lot of oooohhh’s and ahhhhh’s.

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These formations remind me of Captain Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean.

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The Wine Table Room, an intriguing part of the caverns that was formed by a massive earthquake. The quake left behind a structure with three legs that resembles a table. An array of wine bottle-shaped stalactites and stalagmites surround it.

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Looks like underwater coral.

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The tour ended with a music and light show against this incredible backdrop.

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American flag illuminated against the massive geological structure

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One final giant stalactite as we head out of the darkness and into the light

Now we can check Meramec Caverns off our St. Louis must-see list and perhaps use it as inspiration for this year’s Halloween costume. I mean, really. How awesome would it be to show up to a party as a stalagmite?

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Filed under Family, St. Louis

This Year’s Green Thumb Successes + A Terrible Tragedy

It was a breezy fall day in St. Louis today. But as much as I love fall, I’m reverting back to spring and summer to recap the lovelies that have graced the Riley garden since April.

For once, we had a pretty mild summer in St. Louis. I could actually go longer than 24 hours without watering my plants on most days. The year before, we experienced a drought in the region that kept us cooped us inside and our plants in permanent droop mode. This year was different. My plants thrived.

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This was the first bloom for these pink hyacinths, bought online at Dutch Gardens. They were huge!

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Blue hyacinth beauties. Also purchased from Dutch Gardens.

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Gorgeous tulip insides

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These Replete Daffodils were perfect cut flowers.

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Every year we have this stretch of the backyard mulched. This was the day the landscape company did the work. The rhododendrons were looking mighty fine.

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A yellow Bearded Iris

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A fluffy pink Peony

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Purple clematis bloom

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Bigger than my palm red Clematis

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Lace cap hydrangeas. Love how the little flowers have white edges.

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A striking red lily in our front yard flower bed

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Paired these deep purple Vincas with pale pink Vincas in a multi-tiered flower pot.

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Can’t remember what these are called, but when multiple blooms are in effect, they look like a carpet of pink neon.

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Large and in charge white hydrangeas

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The first bloom of my new Delphinium. Love that reverse ombre.

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One of my favorite pairings. Red Geranium with Lobelia. Very patriotic, too.

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One of the hens and chicks that my mom gave me. They’re growing like wildfire over at her house.

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More hydrangeas to fuel my obsession. The leaves are looking so healthy, thick and shiny on these.

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With all the construction going on at the front of the house, we had to move all the patio plants to the back deck. Our backyard may or not have looked like a jungle.

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Even though it was hard to maneuver around our deck, the vibrant flower colors instantly put me in a good mood.

My biggest green thumb success, though, was my blue Endless Summer hydrangeas. After five years of living in our house, they were blooming like crazy and growing so large, you could see them peeking at you from the sidewalk. And, of course, since blue hydrangeas are my all-time favorite flowers, I was ecstatic about how well they were doing…

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Photo taken just as construction on our chimney was beginning.

That is, until the house construction started. The area of stucco behind the hydrangeas needed replacement, so I let our contractor twist my arm and agree to digging the hydrangeas up and putting them in large pots to be stored in the backyard shade. Only a couple weeks into their new pots, we had a few days of rain, and a short time later, I noticed the hydrangeas starting to droop. Lo and behold, our contractor failed to drill drainage holes at the bottom of the pots. So for almost an entire week, the flowers had been sitting in still water. Mikey and I tipped the pots on their sides, so that all the water could drain out, but the damage was done. Both plants were dying, and despite our best attempts to dry them out, eventually all the leaves and stems turned dark.

We told our contractor about his major screw-up, and his response was that he couldn’t be held responsible for the plants. It wasn’t written into our contract or bid or anything. He did say that he’d talk to a landscaping friend of his to see what he could work out, but he never followed up with us. With so many other issues we had to deal with regarding the house construction, Mikey and I were both stressed to the max. It wasn’t worth fighting, and at this point, if anyone is going to lay a finger on my new hydrangeas, it is going to be me — not the guy who killed them in the first place.

Anyone with a passion for gardening knows how much of a loss something like this is. Yes, flowers are a material thing. But they’re also living things that can’t be replaced with a simple trip to the nursery. It takes time for plants to adjust to their new soil and surroundings and mature. Five years is a long time to wait for a new pair of hydrangeas to get back to the size and health that these ones were.

If I’m looking on the bright side, at least there have been many of other stunning flowers to delight me this year. Our flowers and shrubs have helped us make our mark on this house of ours, and I’ve always been a big fan of that saying: I’d rather have flowers on my table than diamonds on my finger. (Although don’t get me wrong — diamonds are cool, too.)

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Filed under Home Improvement, St. Louis

Showing My Adventurous Side

Five years ago, if you would’ve asked me to strap into a harness, climb 50 feet off the ground, push off from a platform in the trees and crash into a cargo net, hanging in mid-air, I would’ve emphatically told you, “NO”. I’ve never been the adventurous, adrenaline-rush type and usually try to avoid any and all situations where someone could potentially lure me into an extreme sports or X-games-like circumstance. Well, that was until I had to do it for work.

As part of a team-building activity on a business trip in Portland, Oregon, I was lured taken to a ropes course called Tree to Tree. Once properly geared up and brought up to speed on the do’s and don’t’s of safety, my team tackled the ropes course. Climbing rope ladders up to wooden platforms, walking across tight ropes and zip-lining from the tree leaves into cushioned mulch beds below. Much to my surprise, it was a lot of fun.

So when I heard that St. Louis’ Creve Coeur Park was getting a ropes course of its own this past summer, I jumped at the chance to take my niece there during her annual summer visit to St. Louis. The name of the ropes course is Go Ape, and they have six locations across the country, including the one that recently opened in Creve Coeur Park. The course is open to children, starting at age 10, and adults 18 and over.

Since Mike and I brought my niece on the Go Ape adventure, the whole family ended up coming along. With my dad in tow, he took a few great shots to document the day.

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The Go Ape building, located in Creve Coeur Park

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Mikey gives Tarzan Swing #1 a go.

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Once you crash into the cargo net, the challenge is to climb your way up and over to the next platform.

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Waiting in line for my time to swing.

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“Weeeeeee!”

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In hard core concentration mode

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Trying hard to stabilize

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How old am I in this picture? Like 6?

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Zip lining backwards

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Mikey follows after me on the zip line.

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Disappearing into the trees

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The final stop. Mikey makes a safe landing.

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Course complete!

While Go Ape was fun and definitely a good upper body workout, the day turned out to be a bust for my niece. Even though the age requirement is 10 years old, I would recommend waiting to take your kid until he or she is a couple years older. Unless your child is uber outdoorsy and adventurous, this course may not be the best way to spend an afternoon. My niece struggled to to the top of a rope ladder at the first station, and despite giving it her best shot, she decided to sit the rest of the day out. I couldn’t have been more proud of her for being brave and trying something new. At her age, I was afraid to swing the baseball bat in P.E. class.

Another kid we encountered during the day was also overcome by nerves at one of the last stations. We weren’t sure what the culprit of his nerves was, but it may have been the sheer sight of looking down to the ground from way up high. It is a little freaky when you come to terms with how sky-high you really are.

Unfortunately, this Go Ape course consisted a single course. The Tree to Tree course I did in Portland had multiple levels — beginner, intermediate and advanced. And there aren’t any escape routes or emergency exits at the various stations at Go Ape. If you’re ready to call it quits, you have to proceed station after station until your course leads you to solid ground.

After a little reflection, I’ve discovered that my ability to do a ropes course without total debilitating fear probably has to do with the fact that when in the act, I am in complete control. I dictate how fast or slow I move across the ropes. It’s not a roller coaster that drops or turns unexpectedly. Or like sky-diving where you hop out of a plane, and the rest is up to your parachute and God. The ropes course is really is a mental exercise for me. A lot of deep breaths, and a lot of just going for it.

Who knows. That might be the extent of my adventurous side. Still no plans to become a BMX bike rider or tight rope across the Grand Canyon.

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Another Successful Schurcipfones Festival

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Attention: everyone. I think I may have found my favorite St. Louis beer festival.

It’s the Schurcipfones beer festival, held in downtown St. Louis at the corner of 10th and Locust. Schurcipfones wraps up the annual St. Louis Craft Beer Week and features a great showing of local craft breweries — and even an out-of-town guest, New Belgium Brewing.

Some of you may remember when I blogged about it last year. With two years in attendance under my belt, I can say it was fun then, and it was fun again this year — which means this gathering of craft beer enthusiasts is no fluke.

Mikey and I spent all of Sunday afternoon with a few of my trusty beer-loving coworkers at Schurcipfones. Sipping beers, enjoying the fan-freaking-tastic weather and sharing lots of laughs. There was music, tasty food (still thinking about those loaded fries) and even activities for kids.

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Us girls

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All smiles. And balls flying through the air.

But the stars of the show were most certainly the beers. Although I didn’t try everything, here’s how I broke down the beers I tried. Ranked on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.

4 Hands Ruby Red Prussia Berliner Weisse – 3.5 stars

Civil Life Milk Stout – 4 stars

Perennial Tart Hopfentea – 4 stars

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Tasting glass of Hopfentea

4 Hands Plum Farmhouse – 3 stars

4 Hands Rooster’s Breakfast Beer – 4 stars

4 Hands Pear Cider – 3 stars

Civil Life Grapefruit Radler – 4.5 stars

My favorite beer of the day? Despite the fact that I gave Civil Life Grapefruit Radler a higher rating, the award goes to Perennial Tart Hopfentea. Put the words “tart” and “tea” into a beer name, and I’m almost guaranteed to like it. I may have given the Grapefruit Radler too generous of a rating, since it was the first beer I tasted in the lineup. But if I’m putting my beer hat on and listening to my taste buds over my sweet tooth, Hopfentea takes the trophy.

My favorite brewery of the day? 4 Hands tops my list. With all they had to offer that day, I kept going to back to their table. Overall, they had the best showing of experimental flavors, and you know I’m a sucker for newfangled flavor combos.

Not that I consider myself a beer festival connoisseur, but I think the Schurcipfones festival has a lot going for it. I think it’s because it isn’t incredibly overcrowded. There’s a perfectly-sized audience, and I like that I can move through the crowd without bumping into someone and having to peel myself away from his or her sweaty arm. For whatever reason Schurcipfones is flying under the radar, I hope it doesn’t explode into a massively-attended beer festival. Although that would spell success for the festival organizers, that might warrant them to consider a different location that can accommodate a larger crowd. And frankly, I love its current location.

Not to worry though. I’m still basking in the glow of this year’s festival. Can’t wait to do it all over again next year.

Fun was had. Obviously.

Fun was had. Obviously.

For more on the Schurcipfones festival brews, our good friend, Joe, breaks everything down to a (Hopfen)tea on his new blog, BrewintheLou.com. You should check it out.

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A Stroll Down West Pine Mall (the College Edition of Memory Lane)

Over the long 4th of July weekend, Mikey and I came up with a fun idea. We decided to switch up our daily dog park routine and take The Bear on a walk through the campus of our alma mater, St. Louis University.

The timing was perfect. All the college kids were back home for the summer, so we practically had the entire campus all to ourselves. With hardly a soul in sight, we were able to walk all of West Pine Mall, the main walkway that flows through campus.

The last time the hubs and I walked the main campus grounds was on our wedding day. We got hitched at St. Xavier College Church and had pictures taken with our wedding party on campus and at the nearby the Fox Theater.

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Our entourage on our wedding day

So its really been almost five years since we’ve set foot on the place where we met (or if you want to be all corny about it, fell in loooooo-oooove).

A few things have changed about the campus. There’s a new Center for Global Citizenship in the place where the athletic gym used to be. They also removed the statue of the school mascot, the Billiken (a mythical creature known to bring good luck if you rub its belly, in case you were wondering). Not sure where it went. Maybe at the new Chaifetz Arena where the Billiken basketball teams play.

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Billiken pictured here

There are also a few new statues in various grassy areas of campus and a swanky new Starbucks and Chipotle in the place where Del Taco used to be.

But overall, SLU is still very much the same.

On the east side of campus, there are lakes, a rock garden and plenty of statues. The Bear had a crocodile encounter while there.

On the east side of campus, there are lakes, a rock garden and plenty of statues. The Bear had a crocodile encounter while there.

It's official. The Bear swam in the Dolphin Pond. That now makes three of us!

It’s official. The Bear swam in the Dolphin Pond. That now makes three of us!

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Approaching Grand Boulevard, the street that huge groups of students cross on a daily basis to get to class, dodging cars on the way across.

The clock tower, the location of one or two serious "relationship talks" shared between Mikey and me during our  SLU years.

The clock tower, the location of one or two serious “relationship talks” shared between Mikey and me during our SLU years.

The Bear picks a fight with the clock tower fountains. Typical Bear behavior.

The Bear picks a fight with the clock tower fountains. Typical Bear behavior.

Cupples House, a historic home and on-campus museum. During my summer internship at SLU, I'd sit on the patio on my lunch break and call Mikey to kill time.

Cupples House, a historic home and on-campus museum. During my summer internship at the SLU Admissions office, I’d sit on the patio on my lunch break and talk to Mikey on my cell phone until it was time to go back.

St. Francis Xavier College Church, where Mikey and I tied the knot.

St. Francis Xavier College Church, where Mikey and I tied the knot.

Truth be told, I’d give a lot to go back to college. Where mid-day naps were built into my daily routine. Where eating hot dogs cooked on the George Foreman for lunch every day was totally acceptable. Where sweatpants and a baseball cap were the unofficial school uniform.

And then adulthood sets in, and I settle for a yearly stroll down memory lane (aka West Pine Mall). I think that will do just fine.

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Filed under Marriage, St. Louis

Like Dahlias in the Sky

I’ve lived in the St. Louis area for 16 years now and can honestly say I still haven’t figured out my favorite way to celebrate the 4th of July here in the Lou. I’ve done the small-town fireworks on the Illinois side of the river and thought they were decent. I’ve gone downtown to the Arch grounds a few times and loved the fireworks show there. Unfortunately, the crowds are just a little too much to bear.

This year, we decided to check out the fireworks show in Webster Groves. The fireworks show is presented as part of their Community Days summer celebration. It’s complete with all the things that make summer — carnival rides, games, BBQ and live music. While it was fun and all, the fireworks weren’t as showy as the ones down at the Arch. Yes, I know that’s to be expected. A national monument is surely going to wow more than a small St. Louis suburb’s display. But the Webster Groves show didn’t include my favorite fireworks (the ones that look like weeping willows). And because we were newbies to the Webster Groves display, we weren’t sure where exactly to position ourselves to get the best view. Without any idea where the fireworks were going to be shooting off, we just plopped ourselves onto a hill and camped out until nightfall. It turned out the fireworks shot off right above a series of tennis court lights — many of which made multiple appearances in my photos that night.

Anyway, as much as it might come off that I’m complaining, it really was an enjoyable night. St. Louis weather has been extremely kind to us lately. I was actually wishing I had a sweater once the sun started to set. Sweaters in July hardly ever happen here. And of course, I was pleased with a handful of the fireworks photos I snapped during the show. (Minus the fact that none of them were weeping willow fireworks.)

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This inflatable tiger butt photo bombed nearly all of my carnival photos.

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Next year, I’m really tempted to get a hotel room on the riverfront. Preferably one with a balcony that faces the Arch. Maybe then I’ll get the big showy fireworks display minus the sweaty elbows poking me while I try to position my camera correctly.

Or maybe we’ll decide that seeing fireworks isn’t really a necessity. In the whole grand scheme of things, celebrating our freedom with fireworks is just as American as drinking a cold brew on the deck behind our house (which, let’s face it, the hubs and I do well and do often).

No matter how you celebrated 4th of July, I hope you had a good one!

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Filed under Holidays, St. Louis

Eating Adventurously at The Libertine

Over Memorial Day weekend, Mikey and I thought we’d try out St. Louis’ newest eatery, The Libertine. The foodies I follow on Twitter were clamoring like crazy about this place. Much of the hype revolves around the chef in the kitchen, Josh Galliano. As former head chef at Monarch in Maplewood and Food & Wine Magazine’s “People’s Best New Chef Midwest”, Galliano has made quite a name for himself in the food scene. The opening of The Libertine marks his long-awaited return to the kitchen, and I’m happy we got a taste of it only a couple weeks after the grand opening.

What I like most about The Libertine is how casual it is. If you think of a restaurant in Clayton, you’re likely to guess the dress code is categorized under “dress to impress” or “see and be seen”. I don’t think that’s the case for this Clayton neighborhood eatery. You could stroll in with jeans without a problem. And I like that. There’s nothing pretentious going on at The Libertine. The website even says, we take our food seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

Hand-crafted tables made in the STL added to the approachable ambience.

Hand-crafted tables made in the STL add to the approachable ambience.

One look at the menu, and it’s easy to see it’s anything but typical. Galliano focuses on ingredients and lets their flavors shine. And a lot of these ingredients you wouldn’t find on any ordinary menu. Frog legs, crispy octopus, bone marrow and uni, crispy pig tails. But I love seeing that there’s a high level of experimentation going on at The Libertine. It gives me a chance to be a little adventurous and try something I’ve never had before. Frankly, I don’t think there are enough chefs in St. Louis taking this sort of approach. I’m glad The Libertine is pushing the envelope.

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If the ingredients themselves aren’t entertaining enough, the way the wine menu is written is a copywriter’s dream. Each wine selection was presented with a paragraph that told a story about the wine. It really brought some personality to it and gave it character. Like you would know your wine a whole lot better after reading its backstory.

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Aside from the wine, the cocktail menu, featuring modernized parlor cocktails, was pretty impressive. However, Mikey and I were both in a beer mood, so we opted for the Goose Island Sofie and the Bells Two-Hearted IPA.

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goose island sofie

And as for the food we ordered, it goes like this:

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The crispy pig tails were definitely our favorite dish of the night. Mouthwatering and succulent with just the right amount of crunch, I think it’s a must-have. The sunflower seed risotto comes in at a close second. Such an interesting take on risotto, and given the fact that Mikey is a sunflower seed nut (pardon the pun), this was a big hit for us. Another item worth noting is the Diner Burger. It was delicious — especially the chef’s take on “cheese whiz”, which you can see is draping oh-so perfectly around every patty, in the photo above. The Deep Water Hake (a fish) was tasty, but I was particularly in love with the gnudi ricotta dumplings that were paired with it. Give me a bag of those, and I’ll eat ’em like popcorn.

Not pictured above is the The Libertine Candy Bar that I had for dessert. Mikey had a glass of whiskey from the new St. Louis-based distillery, Still 630, for his final course. And before the pig tails and risotto came out, we also had a sampling of roasted chickpeas with a powdery coating on the house. I meant to take pictures, but sometimes my appetite gets in the way. When the food is this good, you can’t blame me.

Anyway, The Libertine is definitely a welcome addition to the St. Louis food scene, as far as I’m concerned. As I looked around at the surrounding tables that night though, I noticed a lot of Diner Burger orders — which is fine and dandy. I just hope that the people who dine at The Libertine are willing to step just a tad bit out of their comfort zone. Eating adventurously isn’t easily accepted by your average diner. But if you’re not willing to take a risk, you’re kind of missing out on all the fun. I know for sure that the hubs and I will be back for more of those crispy pig tails and some other dish we’ve never tried before.

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Filed under Food, St. Louis

Fashion Takes Many Forms

I heard about it on Twitter from 4 Hands, a St. Louis microbrewery. I experienced it outside of said microbrewery, surrounded by a handful of St. Louis’ tastiest food trucks. I walked away from it with a new lace print, peplum-esque skirt. And I’m writing about it now because I think it’s one of the trendiest concepts in fashion to hit the Lou.

It’s called Rack + Clutch, a fashion truck. Yes, a fashion truck. Like a food truck, but instead of cooking and selling delicious food, it sells stylish and decently-priced clothing, jewelry and accessories.

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Their grand opening took place a couple weekends ago at 4 Hands Brewery’s Food Truck Feast. I heard about the event on Twitter and made a mental note to try to attend. Not only are Mikey and I big fans of 4 Hands beer, but we’ve attended their Food Truck Feast events in the past. They’re always a good excuse to hit the brewery and grab some yummy food truck grub. But this Food Truck Feast was different because Rack + Clutch was making their debut.

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So we went, filled up on some brews and food from Seoul Taco and The Fifth Wheel, and then, I ventured into the fashion truck while Mikey went to the tasting room to fill our growler. It probably wasn’t a good idea to leave me to my own devices because once I got sucked in, I knew I was going to have a hard time coming out empty handed.

You’d think a truck wouldn’t be large enough to house a big collection of merchandise. But surprisingly, there was a good selection to cull through. Very of-the-moment printed skirts, floral blouses and maxi dresses. Half a wall dedicated to the cutest clutches in all the latest trends — neon, color block, studs. And stacks of drawers filled with baubles galore. There’s even a fitting room, if you’re brave enough to change clothes behind a curtain while strangers shop only inches away from you. (Which for the record, I did. Anything for fashion!)

And if I wasn’t already impressed with the whole fashion truck experience, Owner Emily Ponath checked me out at the register (Foursquare app, actually. Registers are soooooo passé.) and was sweet as can be.

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The lovely little number I went home with.

I think it’s a very cool and brave thing to pioneer such a new concept in St. Louis, and I hope it sees a lot of success. Unfortunately, there’s already been a little bit of an uproar over licensing issues for Rack + Clutch. Uproar enough for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay to post about it on Facebook at Twitter. I won’t get into all the details of the debacle. You can read more about it here.

But here’s my two cents. I’m not a true believer of “bad PR is good PR”, but in the case of Rack + Clutch, I do think the controversy is helping to spread the word about what Rack + Clutch is and its ultramodern approach to the fashion boutique. Besides, every soul in history who has pioneered an idea or a movement has always been met with adversity in some way, shape or form. Take the first St. Louis food trucks and the city’s opposition to them only a year or so ago, for example.

All in all, I hope Rack + Clutch gets to stick around for a while and that more people check it out, embrace it and see it as a step forward for St. Louis and the people here who love fashion.

To find out where the truck is headed next, you can follow it here on Twitter.

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Filed under Fashion, St. Louis

Sunday at the Orchid Show

I don’t know about you, but this winter has done an impressive job of chaining me to my couch for weekends on end. I really have had zero motivation to get out of the house lately. I also apparently have had zero motivation to blog too, considering that my last post was almost a month ago.

Last weekend, however, was a different story. I wanted to get out of the house and do something. And although I nearly turned down the outing to stay home and do chores (lame), Mikey convinced me otherwise. I got dressed, grabbed my camera bag and headed down to the Missouri Botanical Garden for their annual Orchid Show.

I instantly felt better inside the showroom.

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The Missouri Botanical Garden has conducted research in Madagascar for 25 years now. The showroom was a stunning display of orchids from the Madagascar region. It was a warm, tropical welcome to the snow-covered parking lot outside.

I’m no stranger to orchids. They grow wild back on Guam, where my family is originally from. So it’s pretty comical that Mikey and I paid $16 to see a 5,000 square foot display hall to get a glimpse of these beauties. We can and have seen them growing like it’s nobody’s business off the side of a coconut tree back home.

However, I can’t in any way, shape or form claim to be an orchid expert. Four years ago when we first moved into our house, my best friend gave me an orchid as a housewarming gift. It was a gorgeous white cymbidium orchid with flawless petals. Sadly, in the four years I’ve had it, I have not been able to get it to rebloom. Mikey likes to irritate me and tell me it’s dead (as any guy would), but the leaves are dark green and healthy. And in the past couple months, there has been some new growth. I’m determined to get the thing working again. Just need to find the time to figure out what’s wrong.

To round out our Sunday Fun Day, we left the garden and drove down the street to O’Connell’s Pub for Guinness and what could arguably be the best burgers in St. Louis. Because you know, nothing goes better with flowers than a good burger and a pint of Guinness.

Quite the change in scenery from the garden, but the food was delicious. So I'm not complaining.

O’Connell’s. Quite the change in scenery from the garden, but the food was delicious. So I’m not complaining.

A great day overall. Here’s to more Sundays spent off the couch and in the land of the living!

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Filed under Photography, St. Louis

This Very Happy Hockey House

The Bear missing his Blues hockey

The Bear missing his Blues hockey

Its been a long, arduous winter. Drudging along with our mundane lives. Pained with the overwhelming feeling of loss and emptiness.

That is, until two Sundays ago when I woke up to find Facebook had revealed the most triumphant news in all the world — Hockey. Is. Back. After a few seconds of internal screaming, I gently tiptoed back into the bedroom, where Mikey was still snoozing and nudged him awake to announce the news.

“Hockey is back,” I said.

His response through closed eyes and clenched teeth, “Awesoommme”.

A week later, we were again wakened by good news — a text from Mikey’s friend, announcing that our 10-game package deal (now eight games, due to the shortened season) included tickets to the St. Louis Blues home opener at the Scottrade on January 19th. We jolted out of bed with excitement. In fact, I may have done a fist pump. Not sure.

And six days later, we found ourselves in matching outfits (Blues jerseys, mind you), making the pilgrimage downtown to the Scottrade Center to watch our beloved St. Louis Blues crush the Detroit Redwings. And crush they did. The Blues’ freshest face on the ice, Vladimir Tarasenko, stuck it to Jimmy Howard twice with shots worthy of the 10 minutes I spent watching the replay over and over this morning over breakfast. Blues Forward, Chris Stewart, also fell one score shy of a hat trick, making those who doubted his ability last season call themselves into question. And there was that sweet breakaway, courtesy of Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and made magical with a shorthanded five-hole zinger by Forward T.J. Oshie. By the end of the night, we were roaring from the top row of section 326 as the Redwings left St. Louis with a 0-6 score on the board.

We’ve had our fair share of random “I miss hockey” moments while the guys in suits and ties have been throwing hissy fits negotiating sans hockey for 119 days. But last night’s game couldn’t have been a better Blues “thank you” for the fans who haven’t gone a day without supporting them. As if it isn’t already evident, Mikey and I can’t wait to see what this short season will bring. Suffice to say, the future for the Blues is bright.

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