Goodbye, St. Louis

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.

Kissing on the pier

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

Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals. Very new but built to look old.

Drive through coffee

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:

Gateway Arch 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.

Gateway arch wide

When approach­ing the Arch, it does­n’t look so tall. You can just bare­ly make out the slot­ted obser­va­tion win­dows at the top.

Gateway arch midrange

But then you sort of get an idea of how high it is when you see how small things look when under it.

Grass under arch

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.

Family in the grass


Gateway arch angle


Scratches on metal

At the base of each leg is a fair amount of graf­fi­ti.

Gateway arch centred

Underneath the Arch is a muse­um where you can also buy tick­ets to ride a tram up to the top.

Gateway arch detail

The weld­ed seams are def­i­nite­ly an inte­gral part of the look.

Hand on arch

Scar from a Grade 12 physics class.

Food Diary

Carrot cake cookie sandwiches

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.

popcorn kernels

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.

Steak 'n Shake Shooters

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”.

Aya Sofia

St. Louis’s only Turkish restau­rant, known for it’s tra­di­tion­al and mod­ern Turkish and Mediterranean Cuisine.

Assorted hummus

From left to right: tra­di­tion­al hum­mus, red pep­per hum­mus, and egg­plant hum­mus. They were all good.

Pita bread

And with the hum­mus comes much deli­cious pita bread, kept hot and fresh by a cloth cov­ered bas­ket.

karides sis kebab

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.

Shrimp appetizer

This was a flash-fried shrimp appe­tiz­er in soy-gin­ger vinai­grette. Part of me wish­es I just ordered four of these plates.

Cheese and nut platter

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

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.

BLT sandwich

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.

Vietnamese crepe

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.

Vietnamese spring rolls

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 scallops

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.

Cassava cake

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.

Ted Drewes frozen custard


custard line


custard flavours

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

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.

Cosimo Cavallaro, Knots

Cosimo Cavallaro, Knots

Linda Fleming, Necklace

Linda Fleming, Necklace

Robert Lobe, The Palm

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.

sculpture miniature

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 angle

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.

Ronald Gonzalez, Birds Fly Through Us sunlight


Ronald Gonzalez, Birds Fly Through Us detail

I’m pret­ty sure the artist kept in mind the way nat­ur­al foliage that was going to fall on his piece.

sculpture angles


Vito Accondi, Face of the Earth 3

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

Sol Lewitt, Intricate Wall

Steve Tobin, Walking Roots

Steve Tobin, Walking Roots.

Tony Tasset, Eye

Tony Tasset, Eye

This one real­ly stands out because most of the sculp­tures are bare met­al and have a sin­gle flat colour.

Tony Tasset, Eye detail

A bit more detail. I could­n’t find a sin­gle seam or weld.

Manuel Neri, Aurelia Roma

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.


  1. These are great pho­tos Jeff. I bet you’re lov­ing the big pho­to lay­out of the new blog design now! I need to start tak­ing pho­tos!

    • Thanks, Jin. I def­i­nite­ly appre­ci­ate the fact that I can more eas­i­ly view these pho­tos with­out hav­ing to click any­thing. It makes the cod­ing sim­pler too.And yes, you need to start tak­ing more pho­tos!

  2. My favorite of all the pic­tures were the ones of Birds Fly Through Us.…there was some­thing so…whimsical about them. :-) They were all great shots though! Thanks for shar­ing.

    • I know what you mean…even though it was­n’t as large and flashy as oth­er pieces, that one real­ly stood out.

  3. Thanks so much for the tour, I tend to write St. Louis off, but it has some great stuff in the cor­ners. I just could­n’t live there. Harsh win­ters, sticky sum­mers, mos­qui­toes, and a cul­ture that likes to stay just where it is and always has been.

    I LOVE the Birds Fly Through Us piece by Ronald Gonzalez; real­ly says every­thing it needs to say.
    Just in case you or any­one is inter­est­ed, there’s a site ask­ing for pic­tures of it and com­ments on the work — I just bumped into it:

    Just what is that eye­ball made out of?? Resin? that’s an amaz­ing tech­ni­cal forte if so.

    • Heh, it’s fun­ny that you say you write off St. Louis. I won­der if I’ve seen every­thing there is to see already.

      I have no idea what the giant eye was made out of, but I sus­pect it was some kind of met­al, from the way it would give a tin­ny ring when tapped.

  4. Wow! I recent­ly went to this sculp­ture park and see­ing these from your per­spec­tive was real­ly great! Also, you cam­era takes aMAZing pho­tos!! What kind of cam­era do you use??

    • Thanks, I use a Canon 5D Mark II.

  5. Macro and super macro have to be the most fun way to take pho­tos. Stumbled on your blog look­ing for WordPress themes. I like the clean min­i­mal feel you’ve got with this one.

  6. Your a fuck­ing stu­pid fag. I hope that scar stays there for­ev­er you fuck­ing prick. You fuck­ing cheat­ed with my gf.

  7. So much more to see! The Missouri Botanical Garden (one of my fav places in the city); St. Louis Zoo, which is world-class; Cherokee Street (full of lit­tle gal­leries, cof­fee­hous­es and authen­tic taque­rias); South Grand (excel­lent Vietnamese, Japanese, Ethiopian, Middle-Eastern and every­thing else restau­rants); Shaw Nature Reserve; excep­tion­al restau­rants (as you have dis­cov­ered); Citygarden; Saint Louis Art Museum; Kemper Art Museum (on Wash U.‘s cam­pus); Forest Park (larg­er than Central Park in NYC)…the list goes on. You’ll have to come back!

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