On our first proper day in St. Louis, the weather turned out to be the thorn in our side for the day. Most of the sightseeing I had planned for our trip involved being outdoors, and somehow I had failed to take into account St. Louis' miserably hot and humid weather. I suppose I thought just because it would technically be September that St. Louis would be enjoying fall temperatures, but I was woefully mistaken. Instead, it was over 100 degrees, and the afternoon and evening were punctuated by intense storms. Still, we managed to have a good, albeit low-key day in our new environs.
We started off our day with a light breakfast at Kaldi's, a local coffee chain that focuses on sustainably farmed, organic, free-trade products. While that is eco-friendly and socially responsible and all, the main reason why I wanted to take Justin there was their Aztec hot chocolate. You see, Wash U featured Kaldi's products in all their on-campus cafes, and whereas I don't drink coffee, those cinnamon-spiked, gently spicy hot chocolates were my salvation in college. I used to stop and pick one up with a scone or croissant and consume the two very slowly throughout the course of a boring lecture in an effort to keep awake. Though my sinus infection kept me tasting my morning dose of nostalgia properly, I was really excited to share something I once loved so greatly with the man who I love now, and I think he enjoyed it too.
Although we wanted to use this trip to focus on us instead of spending all our time with family like we did the last time we got out of town, I did get in touch with my Aunt Faye to schedule a little family get-together. She graciously invited us over to her lovely suburban home for a homemade lunch. She prepared a few of my Nana's specialties, namely lasagna and peach pie (my grandmother was famous for her pies, and I'd expressed to Faye my summer flirtation with pie-making in hopes of comparing notes with the inheritor of my nana's recipes). Sadly, I couldn't taste a thing, but Justin enjoyed the food, and I enjoyed the food-centric family stories.
|Can you tell that Faye's kids helped with the decorating?|
It was nice to spend time with my family, even though their cats were giving my already infected sinuses a run for their money. My dad's cousin Linda also came over with her two daughters, Jill and Alicia, the latter of which brought along her ridiculously adorable new baby, Bobby. Cuddly babies make any family gathering immediately more entertaining, though I was sad I couldn't touch or interact with him more for fear of transmitting my germs.
Faye and her partner Paula also offered to let Justin and I borrow their pool and beautifully landscaped backyard for a swim while they took their kids to a St. Louis Cardinals game. Though we'd originally planned to spend our afternoon at the zoo, we were intimidated by the insane weather, so we decided to take them up on their offer and use the water to beat the heat. We had a refreshing little dip, but it was cut all too short by the onset of a rainstorm, so we packed up our gear and moved on.
In an effort to kill time before dinner, I took Justin on a drive around Forest Park, one of the largest urban parks in the United States, and home to numerous cultural institutions such as the St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri History Museum, St. Louis Science Center, the St. Louis Zoo, the Muny (an outdoor musical theater venue), a golf course, and several event venues. It was home to the 1904 World's Fair, as well as the 1904 Summer Olympic Games, and it is by far, the most scenic spot in the city in my opinion. We drove around, taking in ponds, waterfalls, and a large quantity of wedding parties using the park for a photographic background, until I finally located the series of waterfalls and picturesque stone bridge that I remembered from my college days. That spot was one of our favorites for picnics, and we had Scott's birthday party there shortly before we graduated in 2007. It holds a lot of happy memories for me, and I was glad I was able to locate it after all this time.
|Justin and I at my favorite spot in Forest Park.|
For dinner, I had yet another old favorite I wanted to share with Justin -- Dewey's Pizza. It took me three years to find decent pizza in St. Louis as a college student, and their perfectly constructed pies are just about the thing I miss about St. Louis culinarily speaking. Though it is not ordinarily his favorite, I convinced Justin to try their Hawaiian pizza, and I made a believer out of him. Something about their mildly spicy sauce works perfectly with the sweetness of the pineapple and makes for a memorable pie. I'd been looking forward to Dewey's from the moment we made the reservations to come to town, and I was a little bit crushed that I could barely taste it at all. At least Justin enjoyed it though, and I was glad to be able to share something so important to me with him.
|A half-Hawaiian, half-Canadian bacon and green olive pizza from Dewey's.|