Working hard and playing hard. It felt like vacation even though I was down there for business, just because I ended up doing so much stuff packed into four nights. I didn’t stop moving once I touched down and ended up learning so much, simply by constantly being around the right people.
Goodbye, St. Louis. We’ll see each other again soon enough.
Many, many, many more pictures under the cut.
I’m not sure what the nature of their relationship was. Both African-American girls, one clearly older than the other, kissing for several moments.
Across the river is Illinois.
Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals. Very new but built to look old.
We stopped for freshly brewed coffee at this tiny drive-through coffee stand every morning. The proprietor roasts his beans every day, and must be on his feet for most of it.
The Gateway Arch
The Gateway Arch is the iconic image of St. Louis, built to honour the history of westward expansion and trade. It’s on the logos of many companies, schools, and parks here. The architecture can be represented by a single equation:
The two legs (equilateral triangles) were built first and the final piece on top was dropped down by helicopter, but it was such a hot day when it happened that the metal swelled and it wouldn’t fit. Eventually, the city brought in firetrucks to hose off the sides in an effort to cool them down.
When approaching the Arch, it doesn’t look so tall. You can just barely make out the slotted observation windows at the top.
But then you sort of get an idea of how high it is when you see how small things look when under it.
Downtown St. Louis faces the Arch, with lots of well-kept grass. You can’t possibly be in a bad mood when you’re here and the sun is spilling out around you.
At the base of each leg is a fair amount of graffiti.
Underneath the Arch is a museum where you can also buy tickets to ride a tram up to the top.
The welded seams are definitely an integral part of the look.
Scar from a Grade 12 physics class.
Maggie’s Lunchbox, a restaurant only open 8am–2pm in the industrial park where I was working. There are no restaurants in close proximity, and apparently the owner of an electrical company in the park asked his son to open a daytime restaurant to feed his workers, and it ended up doing so well that it serves a lot of the area now.
His son is mainly trained as a pastry chef, so when you wait in line you walk by a glass case with all these delicious pastries inside. I’m pretty sure he also has a degree in marketing cause of this.
In the lobby of my hotel was an authentic old-school style of popcorn stand. Made fresh daily at 2pm, and lightly covered in salt.
At a Steak ‘n Shake diner, known for their steak burgers and milkshakes, and seen almost everywhere in St. Louis (as well as much of the Midwest). The atmosphere is decidedly classic American diner, but so clean and modern that it feels like it was built yesterday. I believe they also made milkshakes of anything, including Kool-Aid.
These little burgers were called “Shooters”.
St. Louis’s only Turkish restaurant, known for it’s traditional and modern Turkish and Mediterranean Cuisine.
From left to right: traditional hummus, red pepper hummus, and eggplant hummus. They were all good.
And with the hummus comes much delicious pita bread, kept hot and fresh by a cloth covered basket.
Karides Sis Kebab — marinated shrimp, skewered and grilled. They weren’t extraordinarily meaty, but fresh and seasoned with something salty and smoky. I had been craving shrimp the entire week, so I had to order this on the last day. It was totally worth the wait.
Sarma, or stuffed grape leaves with seasoned ground beef, rice, and onions. A very strong, sharp taste, which is set off by the tomato sauce and sour cream on top.
Eleven Eleven Missisipi
A wine country bistro in the heart of old St. Louis, where the cars park on cobblestone roads.
At the entrance of the restaurant on the patio is a water fountain made of wine bottles and wire. The same motif follows through the rest of establishment.
This was a flash-fried shrimp appetizer in soy-ginger vinaigrette. Part of me wishes I just ordered four of these plates.
A sampler platter. Assorted regional cheeses were: cotswold which tasted like creamy aged cheddar, smoked gouda which wasn’t to my taste, and port-salut which was an ultra-creamy soft and mild cheese (and my favourite of the three). Also with walnuts, barbecued-seasoned pecans, grapes, cured meats, and a dab of whole grain mustard at the end. This is also an appetizer that could well serve as an entré.
Braised duckling, with a port wine-rhubarb reduction and fresh pea risotto. My main course. Absolutely amazing, as the meat was tender enough to fall off the bone. I also had a side dish of lemon asparagus.
An Eleven Eleven version of a “BLT”: bourbon apples, Maine lobster, thyme remoulade and watercress. I didn’t eat this, but it sounded and looked so good I had to take a picture of it. You can see giant chunks of lobster bulging out of the bread.
Monsoon Vietnamese Bistro
Owned by an old Vietnamese couple who never come out to the front of the restaurant. I imagine them slaving away at a stove together all day, and not speaking a lick of English.
Saigon sizzling crepes — Vietnamese rice flour filled with shrimp, pork, mung bean, scallions, and steamed bean sprouts, served with fresh lettuce, assorted mints and lime sauce. It wasn’t used to having a salty crepe, as the only crepes I’ve ever had were filled with peanut butter and jam that my maternal grandmother cooked for me when I was young. Good memories.
Vegetarian salad rolls, filled with fried tofu, jicama, peanuts, and basil leaves served with sweet peanut dipping sauce. It was really hard to share these with other people.
Tamarind scallop — flame-broiled sea scallops with scallions, garlic, and peppercorn in tamarind (a uniquely sour fruit) sauce served with rice. I was pretty disappointed because the scallops tasted fishy, the pepper wasn’t freshly ground, and even though it wasn’t considered à la carte, there were no vegetables.
Banana and cassava cake with coconut milk served warm with crushed peanut and ice cream. This was amazing. We also get tapioca from the cassava plant, so this cake was tasted very similar but was much thicker. The warm, gooey coconut milk gave it a really sweet taste, and was pleasantly balanced by the cold ice cream. The owner’s family recipe.
Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
A St. Louis landmark, this frozen custard stand is bustling in hot weather. Frozen custard is very similar to ice cream, but includes buttermilk, and makes it much smoother, creamier, thicker, and consistent.
Next time I’m getting Strawberry Shortcake.
I ordered the Cindermint, which had a very crisp mint taste with the texture of crushed peppermint candy canes. The perfect after-dinner dessert.
Laumeier Sculpture Park
Privately owned and operated, this sculpture park is free and open to the public. They generate revenue from running art fairs. There’s one going on this weekend, with about 300 artists. Entrance tickets are $12, and you can try unlimited wine from all the local wineries. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay another day.
Alexander Liberman, The Way.
This is the signature piece of the park. You can tell how big it is from the person standing underneath it. Something the artists have to consider when designing things of this scale is the ability to transport and construct the piece at the final location too. I can’t imagine doing it at this size.
Robert Lobe, The Palm at the End of the Parking Lot
This one doesn’t stand out because it’s sort of close to a field of trees, until you see that it’s missing all the branches. The texture for the bark is made of hammered metal.
This isn’t a sculpture itself, but a miniature version of another one, so blind people can tell what’s being displayed, since some of the sculptures are much too large to get your hands on all parts of them. Genius.
Ronald Gonzalez, Birds Fly Through Us
This was definitely my favourite piece. They looked like birdhouses, and the smoky glass gave off such an interesting texture when the light hit it at the right way.
I’m pretty sure the artist kept in mind the way natural foliage that was going to fall on his piece.
Vito Acconci, Face of the Earth #3
I didn’t like this piece, but I have to appreciate the way it’s built into the ground, the entire sculpture recessed by about two feet under the surface, and the features another two feet down.
Sol Lewitt, Intricate Wall
Steve Tobin, Walking Roots.
Tony Tasset, Eye
This one really stands out because most of the sculptures are bare metal and have a single flat colour.
A bit more detail. I couldn’t find a single seam or weld.
Manuel Neri, Aurelia Roma
This was sitting in front of a clubhouse, surrounded by a small concrete pond. The water of the pond was green, and in it were dozens of tadpoles. I could see them swimming up and spinning around to search for food from the surface.