“Now, on the St. Louis team we have Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know is on third. “
~ Bud Abbott ~
(Of Abbott & Costello)
This week, I had the privilege of going to St. Louis, MO on business and stayed in a hotel downtown. Props to the Embassy Suites. I will stay there again. However, I wanted to also take some time to reflect on what was a really good trip.
First, when you go to st. Louis, you have to see the Arch. Most people go up to the top of it and look down over the city. Frankly, I have been to the top of many tall buildings and looked down over many cities. I’m sure it’s a cool view, but unless I’m in NYC or Paris, this really isn’t going to WOW me, if you know what I mean. There were some other things that did. The park surrounding the Arch was beautiful… the spring green was amazing.
St. Louis – Gateway Arch
Within walking distance to the Arch is the Old Courthouse. I am a sucker for really pretty buildings, old architecture and history. If you put them together, it’s irresistible. I took the following picture at sunset.
St. Louis Gateway Arch & Old Courthouse
The next morning, when there were a couple of sessions that had nothing whatsoever to do with my job, T and I skipped out and went for a walk through downtown and we went inside.
Inside the Old Courthouse where the Dred Scott Case was tried and decided
Dred Scott, a slave who had lived with his owner in a free state before returning to the slave state of Missouri. Scott argued that his time spent in these locations entitled him to emancipation. In his decision, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, a staunch supporter of slavery, disagreed: The court found that no black, free or slave, could claim U.S. citizenship, and therefore blacks were unable to petition the court for their freedom. The Dred Scott decision incensed abolitionists and heightened North-South tensions, which would erupt in war just three years later. (Thank you History Channel for succinctly saying what I wanted to. )
I sat in the judges chair, the defense attorney’s spot and prosecutor’s seat. I cannot imagine any of those individuals would hazard to know just what this case would mean.
Inside of the Old Courthouse to the top of the rotunda
Looking out the “back door” of the courthouse to the Gateway Arch
While I was in St. Louis with T, there was “Food.” I mean food in the mouth-watering, non-McDonald’s-style-restaurant, yummy-deliciousness that can be found many other places than where I live. I was in hog-heaven.
Tigin’s Irish Pub at 333 Washington Avenue was outstanding. http://www.tiginirishpub.com/stl/
I ended up having the Pulled Lamb French Dip. $12.95
T had the Chicken Boxty Quesadilla $9.95
For the amount of food. The price was well worth it.
Atmosphere and service were really good.
I also had a mixed drink – a kamikaze – which I’m pretty certain the waitress / bartender didn’t really know how to make. It was heavy on the sweet/sour. At the end of a long day though, the food more than made up for it.
Empire Deli and Pizza Company at 1131 Washington Ave was excellent
We didn’t stray from downtown during the trip, but really wanted something simple for lunch. This hit the spot. This was a huge slice of Veggie Pizza (baby spinach, tomato, squash, zucchini, and no tomato sauce, but cheese and an alfredo type sauce. Delish!) Yes, I even had to take a picture of the food.
Hard Rock Cafe, St. Louis at 1820 Market St. was really, really good.
After walking for what seemed like forever (it wasn’t) and passing our 100th park (it wasn’t), we ended up at Union Station, which we really wanted to see. Inside the old terminal, it’s now a lounge for the hotel and a sort of shopping complex and other things. One of my favorite places is the top of the “whispering arch.” At the bottom of the arch (as I’m standing on the second floor) you quietly say whatever it is you want the person at the other end of the arch to hear and say it. Poof, the sound travels the arch and they hear it.
Be advised: best not to be talking behind someone’s back…
After traveling through Union Station… the Hard Rock. Again, for me and whether business or pleasure, trips out of town are almost always about the food. I had the:
HONEY CITRUS GRILLED CHICKEN SALAD
Fresh cut greens tossed with sweet red onions, grilled cajun chicken and tossed with our honey citrus dressing. Topped with fresh orange segments, spiced pecans, red pepper strips, sweetened dried cranberries and blue cheese crumbles.
It was one of the best salads I have eaten in a long time. And of course, I wouldn’t be me unless I included a shot of the food, eh?
Let’s see, what else can I tell you about St. Louis?
The Metro is clean, air-conditioned and fast. We got to Union Station, once we got on the train, in about 5 minutes. If we had walked it the second time (because we had to go back for swag at the Hard Rock) then it would have been about 25 minutes on foot. The train swings by about every 12 minutes so that’s not too shabby. Round trip cost us $4.50 each – much better than the taxi that starts off at $3.50 for the first 1\10th mile and $.22 for each mile after that.
The Dubliner – ate there one night and literally our dinner starts off with “Five drunk women walk into an Irish Pub…” and we weren’t the women! It got really loud, really fast and I was NOT in the mood for listening to a group of drunks. T and I were concerned the bartender kept serving the obviously intoxicated. Food was “so-so.” We both had burgers and on a scale of 1-10, I would give mine a 6. It might actually only have a 5, but because it has Gouda cheese it gets a bonus point. The mixed drink / shot “Applesauce” was FAB. (Goldschlager, Apple Pucker and Pineapple juice.)
Game night for the St. Louis Cardinals… park downtown early. There are many garages within walking distance and they are reasonable. Also, unless you are a die hard Cards fan, leave a little early. Getting out of the garages can be a nightmare. Downtown St. Louis is a grid of one-way streets and I saw more than a few people cursing up a blue streak. (Of course, that night the Cardinals also lost…)
The Mississippi River was above flood stage of 30.0 feet at 32.2 feet. It was supposed to go back down in a couple of days; however, I also wonder if they factored in the rain / snow that was supposed to hit the day we left town. We get tornados – they deal with moisture control issues. Interesting.
The PEOPLE were awesome. They were some of the friendliest folks I have met in a long time. From the folks at the airport, to the hotel employees to people we just met while walking around town, I was somewhat surprised and amazed at how friendly everyone really was.
There were a lot of other things I really wanted to do, but didn’t get to do because of time constraints. However, I can definitely say there WILL be a next time.
Thank you St. Louis for a wonderful time.