Visiting St. Louis

Since Kathy and I didn’t take a summer vacation, we decided to go visit a friend in St. Louis.

We flew in early Friday afternoon, and our friend took us to eat St. Louis style pizza. I forgot the name of the restaurant already, but it had these cool red booths that I couldn’t resist taking a picture of:

The cheese is a mix of provolone and mozzarella. It tasted very different, but I liked it.

After lunch, our friend dropped us off at the Saint Louis Zoo and went back to work. We were teasing him because his mom told us “oh, he loves the zoo.” But after visiting, we can see why — the Saint Louis Zoo is the 3rd-largest in the US, ranked #1 by Zagat, and admission is free. (A recurring theme in St. Louis, it seems…) We didn’t have time to hit all of the exhibits, but we did see some cool ones. I liked how a lot of the exhibits allowed you to get very close to the animals.

After our friend picked us up, he showed us around his alma mater, Washington University.

We had dinner and some excellent root beer floats at Fitz’s. They make all their root beers and sodas on the premises — you can see all the equipment behind a big glass wall. (I didn’t take a picture, though.)

The next morning, we woke up early and went to see the Gateway Arch.

After the arch, we had lunch at St. Louis Bread Co., what we Californians call “Panera”. They had the same design, same logo, etc. — it was just called St. Louis Bread Co. Even the web site on their cups pointed to panerabread.com, but we were joking that Panera is better because this particular location badly burned our paninis. (We took it back and they fixed it.)

After lunch, we toured the Anheuser-Busch brewery. Anheuser-Busch is probably best known for making Budweiser, but they apparently do a bunch of other stuff too, like owning Sea World in San Diego and selling baker’s yeast during Prohibition. You learn something new every day. The (free) tour started off with a visit to their Clydesdale stables and ended with two free beers. 🙂

More than anything else, I was impressed by the sheer amount of beer they produce. During the tour, we visited their secondary fermentation tanks. The tour guide said that if you drank a beer per hour, it would take you 137 years to drink all the beer in one tank. These things were huge, and they had several hundred of them on the premises. (You can’t see it in the photo, but the tanks are pretty deep, and there are another set of tanks stacked on top of the ground-level tanks.) And they have several breweries across the country. That’s a lot of beer.

That night we had dinner at Rigazzi’s on The Hill (St. Louis’ Little Italy), then dessert at Bailey’s Chocolate Bar. I loved how the place was decorated, and the chocolate brownie was probably the best brownie I’ve ever tasted. It was a little bit crunchy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside. Mmm…

Sunday morning we got up a little later, checked out of our hotel, and went to have brunch at Wild Flower. The food was really good. They had this one wall next to where we were sitting that was decorated with masks. The masks were for sale, too. We didn’t buy any, but I took a few pictures.

After brunch, we visited the Cathedral Basilica Saint Louis. The pictures don’t do it justice. There’s a sense of awe that you feel when you’re inside that pictures just can’t convey.

Other stuff we did that afternoon…

We checked out a condo that was for sale. (We were curious about property values there.) The model unit on the 5th floor (which was recently sold) was nice. Two bedrooms, corner unit, with floor-to-ceiling windows for the entire corner (living room and kitchen) that had a view of the Gateway Arch. The bedroom window on the other side overlooked the 4th-floor pool.

We took some pictures with the pretty fall trees as a background.

We (read: Kathy) wanted to visit The Cupcakery, but they were closed on Sundays. So we got boba instead. The tea was good, but the boba was pretty tasteless and hard. 🙁 I’m thinking about starting a boba critic web site. 😉

We visited the Saint Louis Science Center. Admission was free.

My engineer friend and I made Kathy and our other friends solve the Tower of Hanoi puzzle. It took them a while, but they managed to figure it out.

When we left the Science Center, it started to rain. We hung out at out friend’s place for a little bit, then he took us to the airport.

It was a fun weekend. 🙂