Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Let's hold up those glasses again...!!"

Post by: Beth

Yey for birthdays! My birthday was this past Friday, and I'd wanted to do something fun and special for the occasion. As cliche as it is, I REALLY like having fondue for special occasions. It's just something different that we don't do a lot, and there's something fun about controlling what sauce you use with what type of meat, what style cooking oil you use, what kinds of spices are used, and making up fun combinations for the other one to try. So we decided Saturday night would be the night we'd go have fondue. We'd make up our minds pretty early during the week, so we had plenty of time to make reservations for the date and time we wanted... we thought. There's a fondue place right near our loft called "Simply Fondue" and I was pretty excited to try it since it was new to us and looks really pretty inside. Raja started calling on Tuesday to try to make the reservations. He called a couple of times Tuesday, but was unable to get anything but an answering machine. That's not too strange really, because there's a lot of restaurants and lounges in St. Louis that keep odd hours that are hard to figure out. Neither of us were worried. He called again Wednesday and got the answering machine several more times, so decided that must just be one of those businesses that doesn't actually answer the phone half the time. He left a message this time and we still didn't get too concerned. Thursday he tried again... relentlessly.. left another message finally and called me sounding baffled. I knew they were open, because I'd seen people eating dinner in the front of the restaurant Monday night when I'd driven by, so he drove by that night as well. No one was eating in there Thursday night, but again... some businesses here keep really strange hours and it's not unusual to see no pattern at all. Friday while I was at work, he called me and his words were: "I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first?" I should have known better because he's used this phrase before and it ended up being ONLY bad news for me, but I went ahead and asked for the good news first. "The good news is that Simply Fondue finally called me back today." "YEY!! I'm so excited!! Did you get us a reservation?!" "The bad news is that they called me back to tell me that they can't serve us because they are closing down the restaurant. For good." As you can imagine, my face fell and the possibility of fondue for my birthday dinner seemed dismal. But Raja had looked up another fondue restaurant and said we could go there if I wanted instead. We'd gone to the "Melting Pot" once in Birmingham so it wasn't as new to us, but I was still excited about fondue so Saturday night at the "Melting Pot" it was!

The experience was great, and I was really glad in the end that we ended up going to that restaurant. The waiter was really nice, the food was so yummy, and the whole experience was just a lot of fun. We had Jamaican jerk sirloin, garlic chicken, teriyaki shrimp, filet mignon, and of course the cheese appetizer dip with apples, veggies, and bread. We also had yummy chocolate with peanut butter as our dessert fondue! Our waiter volunteered to take pictures of us constantly, which was VERY nice of him... but it was really hard not to bust out laughing each time because his phrase was always "Let's hold up those glasses again...!!!" Raja and I obliged because he was so nice and he'd really gone out of his way for us the whole night, but it made for some funny pictures of us half-heartedly posing with our glasses. ;) Here are some pictures from our birthday dinner.

Mom really did visit!!

Post by: Beth

So I got to do our visitors' post last night, but since Mom was always beind the camera, she's never in any of the pictures! I wanted to take the time to post some of what SHE'S been doing too, even when she's not around us here in St. Louis. :) She and Dad recently got to take a trip to Hilton Head for a mini-vacation, and as most of you know, she's pretty spontaneous. I called her to see how the drive was going, and she'd decided they were going to stop in Savannah to eat at Paula Deen's restaurant! I was really excited for them, and told them to call me immediately after they left so they could tell me all about it. Mom said it was wonderful food with amazing desserts and a fun atmosphere. They took a couple of pictures at the restaurant.. one of Mom with a cardboard Paula Deen cutout that makes me laugh everytime I look at it. Here they are during lunch with "Paula!" ;)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Post by: Beth

Hi again everyone.. Sorry we've been so behind, but we've been super busy and just haven't had a whole lot of time to update. I hope we still have some loyal readers out there despite our absence.. ;)

A few weekends ago, we were lucky enough to have LOTS of visitors here in St. Louis! My mom, cousin Casey, and little cousin Alex got to come from Thursday - Sunday. Raja's brother, Rishi got to come from Friday - Tuesday that same weekend. It was the perfect time to get out and do some of the fun things we'd been wanting to do, so we took full advantage of the weekend and company.

Casey and Alex did make a trip to the zoo Friday, so visit her blog for zoo pictures. Mom & I were running around doing passport errands and shopping on Washington Ave while they were at the zoo, so we didn't get to go on that journey. We did all meet up that night for dinner after Raja got off from work -- We ate at one of my fav restaurants here in St. Louis, Stir Crazy. Back at the apartment after dinner, Alex requested a pool lesson from Raja, which of course resulted in a slight injury for Raja.

Saturday, we cooked out in the early afternoon, then headed off to City Museum, which is "an eclectic mixture of children's playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel made out of unique, found objects. The artist and his longtime crew of 20 artisans have constructed the museum from the very stuff of the city; and, as a result, it has urban roots deeper than any other institutions'. Reaching no farther than municipal borders for its reclaimed building materials, CITY MUSEUM boasts features such as old chimneys, salvaged bridges, construction cranes, miles of tile, and even two abandoned planes!" That's what the website says about the place, but for a 5 year old and me, it just meant lots of fun. It's basically an enormous jungle gym that runs inside and out of a huge building that used to be a shoe warehouse. There's more to see and do than you can possibly get to in a day, and you can climb up on top of the building, into an abandoned airplane, slide down huge pieces of metal that have been fashioned into slides, swing from ropes that sit over skateboard ramps, and do just about anything. It has caves made out of materials from the city, classes that teach pottery and painting, tunnels that you get lost in, and circus productions. Here are some pictures of us during the morning and then playing in the museum.

The City Museum had an area where visitors can make all different types of arts and crafts. Alex took this opportunity to make a sign. To all of you who didn't take the time to come visit us in St. Louis, you really must have missed out. Apparently, Raja and I are some of the best hosts in the world. After only being in St. Louis and visiting with us for 2 days, Alex took her one arts-and-craft opportunity and made a sign that proudly declared "I LOVE ST LOUIS!!!!"

The night ended with fireworks in the park near our apartment, and that was cool.. Each weekend of the summer season, St. Louis hosts a free concert and fireworks show, and the fireworks shows are actually REALLY good. They last a long time, are timed to music, and are quite impressive. We forgot to take the camera out to the concert and fireworks, but Alex was in awe of all the lights in the sky. After that, it was Mexican food at Beso -- a restaurant on Washington Ave right behind our home. Alex of course fell asleep 15 minutes into the meal, bless her heart -- it was about 10pm and she'd had a VERY full day. We were all exhausted when we got home, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one that woke up sporting bruises and sore muscles from our City Museum trip the day before. ;)

We'd planned to go to the Arch the next day, so we took everyone to brunch at Urban Eats -- a new cafe in the city that serves paninis, flatbread pizzas, and wraps with pesto and basil and red pepper and spinach and herb chicken .. all kinds of yummy things. It's fairly new in St. Louis and Raja and I visited them the 2nd weekend they were open. We've been back about 4 times already -- The employees are super nice, the food is inexpensive and really fresh, and the atmosphere is laid-back and casual. Great brunch place, so we took our visitors there so they could see where we like to go on lazy Saturday or Sunday mornings. After that, it was off to Ted Drewe's for ice cream, then the Arch! Here of some of our photos around the Riverfront and Arch area. It was a great ending to a fun weekend. :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Winery Trip

Post by: Beth

Sorry we've been a little slow posting lately.. we've been busy with trips home, visitors (yey!), holidays, and of course, work. I had a few minutes tonight so wanted to post some pictures from a trip to one of the wineries here in Missouri. This is apparently a bit of a tradition for St. Louis residents and visitors and our friends Kim & Calvin invited us when the opportunity became available. I think Calvin's work does this every year.. gets a bunch of people together and takes a bus up to a select winery. You spend the whole day there trying different wines, eating lunch, laying on blankets in the sun, looking at the miles and miles of fields, and listening to blues bands. It was a great time, and we were very excited to be able to take part in this tradition before our time here is over. On a side note, Kim & Calvin are recently engaged, so huge congratulations to them!! :)

Not a ton of time to blog tonight.. Rishi is in town visiting and Mom, Casey, & Alex just left, so we have some cleaning up and more entertaining to do. :) Such a great weekend w/visitors.. We'll post pictures from that soon!

For now, here's some shots from our winery trip!

As you can see, we had a great time.. we ate good food, drank great wine, spent time with fun friends, and laughed a lot. Of course it warranted a nap for me on the way home on the bus.. you know it was a good day when you can't make it home without a nap! ;)