Archive for the ‘Travels’ Category
A week ago today a friend of mine’s condo in Brooklyn caught fire.
Eric owned a fifth story walk-up; it was completely gutted by the fire.
It was a tragic turn of events and I am very sad for him. I had a chance to see the condo last summer during my #EastCoastTrip when I was visiting his brother Scotty. Here’s a picture I took in the condo of Eric’s wonderfully stubborn bulldog.
Luckily Bill the bulldog was able to escape from the blaze, but some of his other pets were not so lucky. Eric’s friends set up a Go Fund Me account to help him out during this difficult time. Here’s is a link to the site:
I would encourage everyone to donate to this worthy cause. Eric is a great guy who is living a nightmare. Here’s hoping his fortunes improve.
Like most of America, I spent my Memorial Day weekend eating a ton of greasy food. But this year the food was a rare treat, as I was in Kansas City for a wedding. My buddy Lucian married a gal from here in St. Louis, Martha, on Sunday. Here’s a picture that Captain Mike took of the lovely couple over the weekend.
Meg and I made the trip across state for the ceremony, which meant lots of time to enjoy the local cuisine. On the way into Kansas City we stopped for some Taco Johns.
Meg had never been to Taco Johns and was quite interested in my description of it as, “like a better version of Taco Bell.” It did not disappoint.
The wedding reception had lots of good food too, and plenty of Visinata. If you’re not familiar, Visinata is sour cherry brandy from Romania. It tastes sweet and packs a real punch. Here I am with the groom and Captain Mike toasting with some Visinata shots.
I also took a whole bunch of video from the wedding, but it will be a while till I have time to edit and post it. The whole event was a lot of fun and made for a memorable weekend.
Before leaving town on Monday morning Meg and I were determined to enjoy some BBQ for lunch. According to my friends on social media the best BBQ in town is now Oklahoma Joes. We made plans to stop by a restaurant by our hotel for lunch, only to discover they were closed! What kind of self-respecting BBQ joint is closed on Memorial Day?! Instead we went with the tried and true place for ribs in Kansas City.
We ended up at the Gates on State Line Road, my frequent stopping point when I would visit Captain Mike back in the day. And the ribs did not disappoint. Thanks to KC for a great weekend!
On Day 2 of our St. Louis vacation Meg and I awoke in our suite at the Moonrise Hotel around 9 am. Nothing beats a solid 10 hours of sleep! Meg picked up some breakfast from Piccione Pastry down the street while I packed up the room. We took our time checking out, eventually leaving around noon. Next stop was a bit up Skinker Boulevard to Sasha’s Wine Bar for some lunch. I ordered a prosciutto sandwich that was much bigger than I imagined. It was a bright and sunny day that was perfect for sitting on a patio.
After lunch we headed over to Forest Park to enjoy the beautiful day. We took a walk around the St. Louis Art Museum to enjoy all of the lovely flowers around Art Hill. It was beautiful and uncrowded, which was a real rarity for St. Louis in the Spring.
We eventually made our way home to drop off our overnight bags and to freshen up for a classy dinner. We returned to the place where it all started 10 years ago, Trattoria Marcella. The restaurant claims to be the best Italian food in St. Louis, which is quite a claim. It’s a real standout despite the fact that it is surrounded by numerous great Italian restaurants on The Hill. We lucked out with a private table in the back room to enjoy our delicious meal.
As you can see in the picture, I ordered the massive baking pan full of lasagna. It was as wonderful as it was 10 years ago today, just like my charming date. Afterwards we relived our first kiss in the original spot it occured, in the car outside of the restaurant. What can I say; Meg’s beauty was as irresistible then as it is now.
And with that kiss we headed back to her mother’s home just like we did 10 years ago. Only this time I wasn’t dropping off Meg, I was picking up our two little barking boys. After two days at grandma’s house they were exhausted! We spent the last part of our nite on the couch with our dudes before turning in early for work the next day.
It was a wonderful little trip that reminded us both of where we started and how far we have come. It’s been one hell of an amazing decade with Meg, and I’m looking forward to several more!
On April 22nd 2004 I went on my first date with Meg. It worked out much better than either one of us could have possibly imagined. We decided to mark the occasion of our first date with a two day vacation to celebrate. But instead of traveling we chose to stay in our beloved hometown and enjoy everything that St. Louis has to offer. And for a bit more of a local flair we decided to only patronize local businesses. Two days of St. Louis originals!
We began our Monday with lunch at Farmhaus.
We have wanted to try the famous blue plate special at Farmhaus for a while, but getting down to Lindenwood Park midday during the week is difficult. This was a great opportunity to experience firsthand all of the deserved praise. Monday’s special included handmade fried chicken, mac & cheese and smashed potatoes. And for only $10 it included a spinach salad and mango iced tea. It was incredible!
After lunch we headed down to Forest Park for a stop at the Missouri History Museum.
The featured exhibit right now is part of the STL250 events to celebrate the birth of our fair city. The exhibit is a fascinating look back at the important people and events in the city’s history and very informative. If nothing else, it’s a great argument starter. Just look at this list of famous St. Louisans’ who didn’t make the exhibit!
After the History Museum we headed to the Delmar Loop for a little afternoon fun. We split root beer floats at Fitz’s
And bowled a few games at Pin-Up Bowl.
Meg is trying to look tough here while leading through the first 2 frames. It did not last. After the game we walked next door to the Moonrise Hotel and checked in to our room. We have wanted to stay at the new fancy hotel on the Loop and this seemed like a great occasion. The hotel was dreamed up by self-proclaimed mayor of the Loop, Joe Edwards
It featured wall to wall moon decorations that are goofy yet still fun. Lots of vintage photos of cardboard moons.
The suite where we resided was surprisingly spacious
And feature a gigantic Jacuzzi tub that we enjoyed thoroughly.
For dinner we decided to dress up a bit
And take the elevator down to the Eclipse restaurant on the first floor.
The food and wine was delicious, but I mostly just glanced lovingly at my beautiful wife.
After dinner we went back to our suite and popped the cork on a bottle of Moët Champagne we brought from home and enjoyed a bubble bath in the Jacuzzi tub.
It was an exciting yet relaxing way to enjoy our little St. Louis vacation, and the company was the absolute best!
It’s the fifth and final day of Kauai week! Here’s the rest of the fun stuff from the trip in another well timed Friday 5
Top 5 Bonus Bits From The Kauai Trip
1. I spent a nite in LA on the way to Kauai
Getting to Kauai is always a bit of an ordeal; it’s in the middle of the Pacific Ocean! We’ve found that planning fun little layovers really helps break up the long days of traveling. On the way to Kauai we spent the night in Los Angeles at a nice hotel near LAX. I had not been in LA in over ten years, so it was awesome to see a bit of the town again. Also interesting was some of the responses I got while in town. Apparently all the Dodgers fans were still pissed off about losing in the Playoffs in the previous month. Let’s just say my Cardinals gear did not go too well with the locals. Ha!
2. On the way back I spent a morning in Seattle
We had a fun West Coast bookend both ways! We booked a midnite flight out of Kauai so we could sleep the majority of the way across the big ocean. I was asleep sound asleep until we touched down on a rainy Friday morning in Seattle. A planned five hour layover gave us a couple of hours to run around town. Seattle has wonderful light rail system that starts at airport and ends downtown. I had never been to Seattle, so it was a great way to quickly see the sights. Although I definitely wasn’t ready for the weather transition from warm and sunny to cold and windy! But it was still awesome to be a tourist for a couple of hours. We went to Pikes Place Market, of course
And Meg got to visit the very first Starbucks!
It was a great little bonus before heading home.
3. The weather on Kauai was challenging
The first two trips we took to Kauai back in 2005 were mostly sunny and warm. That was some incredible luck, as Kauai is one of the rainiest places on earth. This time around we weren’t quite as lucky. We had at least three afternoons cut short by rain. It was much rainier than either trip from 2005. But more rain means more rainbows!
Even with the rain we managed to work around it. For example
4. We hiked to a waterfall on top of mountain
Our second full day on the island was a Saturday and the forecast called for rain most of the day. However, the local weatherman said there would be a brief window of dryness in the morning. We were originally planning a 6 hours hike up Waimea Canyon but had to change plans based on the weather. We found a shorter 3 hour hike around the same area and started out much earlier than planned. Our revised plan worked out well and we were rewarded with some astonishing views.
Highlighted by the waterfalls at the end of the trail
And we managed to make it off the mountain just in time. It was pouring by the time we returned to car and the rain continued to fall hard for the rest of the day. Careful planning and good timing served us well the entire trip, but none more so than on our beautiful hike.
5. Marriage Equality
During our trip the Hawaiian State Legislature voted to legalize same-sex marriage and the Governor signed the bill. How awesome is that?! As a big supporter of Marriage Equality it felt awesome to be present for such a momentous occasion. Proposing marriage in Kauai back in 2005 was one of the highlights of my life, and I’m thrilled to know that every person now has that right in Hawaii. And what a positive way to end Kauai Week; thanks for joining me!