Monday, August 2, 2010

Eat, Shop, Read

That pretty much encapsulates our weekend excursion to St Louis, Missouri! We ate so much yummy food, shopped at all our favorite stores, and read great books while relaxing in our hotel room. First, the shopping. When we arrived on Friday we made a beeline for Webster Groves, a sweet little town just a few miles from downtown St. Louis. Here I spent a blissful couple of hours at Red Lead, one of my favorite stores in the whole world (as I've mentioned before in this post!)
Red Lead is a small store, but it's chock full of artsy/crafty inspiration! The owners, Chris and Sharon,  are a pair of incredibly creative sisters. They recently introduced their own line of rubber stamps and ink pads to accompany their already popular collage sheets. I left with a rather large stash of stamps, papers, glass lockets, charms, ribbons, and other goodies that I just couldn't resist!

Megan loves to collect vinyl albums, so she and Randy hit a great record store just a few blocks over called Euclid Records, where she found several albums on her wish list. All that shopping made us hungry, so we headed over to the Cheesecake Factory at the St. Louis Galleria. Yum!!! I adore the stuffed chicken torillas with grilled corn cakes, so I always order them, and they're always delicious! And lo and behold, Friday was National Cheesecake Day! All cheesecakes were 1/2 price! I thought about just buying a whole cheesecake, but reason prevailed, and I got one scrumptious piece of original cheesecake to savor at the hotel later. (In my opinion, reason is overrated! I really wanted another slice of that deliciousness!) While we were munching away, Megan mentioned that she had seen an Anthropologie store on her way in to the restaurant. ANTHROPOLOGIE! The heavens parted, light shone down, and I swooned with joy! I absolutely love Anthropologie, and I didn't know St. Louis even had one! After dinner, we happily browsed through the store, admiring all the amazing displays. I took lots of photos, and bought Megan some unusual colored pencils from Thailand. I wanted to buy the entire store, but that was just a tiny bit beyond my budget!

On a side note, I've been DVRing Man Shops Globe, and watching Anthropologie buyer, Keith Johnson, jet around the world finding fabulous stuff for the store. I watch every episode over and over again, but my favorite so far is the Australia episode with stylist Sibella Court. Last year on our way back from the beach, we stopped at the Anthropologie in Birmingham, AL, and I purchased her book, Etcetara etc. It's full of incredible photos, vintage treasures, textures, paints, and inspiration on every page! It's a bit spendy, but my sweet MIL had given me money for our trip, and I blew most of it on this great read.
But I digress...Back to St. Louis! Tired but happy, we snuggled down at our hotel, ate cheesecake, read, watched TV, and generally lounged about - our favorite vacation activities!
Bright and early the next day, (around noonish in our case) we headed out for St. Charles and a delicious breakfast at a local favorite, Gingham's Homestyle Restaurant. Did I mention that it was delicious? It was SO good! I even had to embarass my family and take a picture of my plate before I demolished every single bit, and gobbled down one of Randy's pancakes as well! We loved it so much, we returned the next day for another midday breakfast feast!

St Charles has a gorgeous historic district alongside the Missouri River. Shops and restaurants abound on the thirteen linear blocks of brick lined streets. We visited Main Street Books and of course I had to pop in at Rock Paper Scissors, a little gem of a papercrafts shop in an adorable cottage. The owner graciously allowed me to take some photos of this sweet find.

Two more stops rounded out our shopping spree: For Keeps Sake a great scrapbook store, and Artmart. Ah...Artmart. Gleaming rows of pristine art supplies, colored pencil scented air, rack upon rack of luxurious handmade papers...25,000 sqaure feet of bliss. Enough said.
We ended our evening at BARcelona, a wonderful tapas restaurant in the trendy Clayton area. If you've never had tapas, you need to get some! They're basically little plates of delectable morsels like grilled beef tenderloin with blue cheese and a succulent sauce, or chicken and serrano ham croquettes with cumin alioli. My mouth is watering even as I type the names! Here's how it works: you peruse the menu, choose 3 or 4 tempting dishes, and they're delivered one by one to your table along with loaves of crusty bread, to share with your tablemates. Then you order 2 or 3 more dishes and so on until you are so stuffed you can't move pleasantly sated. Megan had a delicious warm brownie with spanish bittersweet chocolate for dessert, but I was too full for one more bite (after I had a bite of her brownie of course!) I knew I would want something sweet to nosh on later though, so we stopped at Trader Joe's in search of French Macarons.
I keep seeing these luscious treats on other blogs, and I read that someone had found them at TJs. I was thrilled to find them myself in the freezer section! They are nothing like the more familiar coconut macaroons. They are heavenly little pillows of vanilla or chocolate meringue cookies, filled with vanilla buttercream or chocolate ganache, that melt in your mouth leaving only a sweet memory behind. I am waxing a bit lyrical, but they are heavenly! A perfectly sweet ending to our busy day.
On Sunday morning (actually noon again!) after the aforementioned feast at Gingham's, we trekked back to the St. Louis Galleria, and the emporium of delight that is Teavana. If you love tea, this is a must see destination! We were greeted at the store entry with little cups of hot tea, and then ushered to the counter to have large tins of fragant tea blends wafted into our faces. I left with way more than I meant to purchase, but we've already sipped a dozen cups of Haute Chocolate, and custom blends of Precious White Peach/Zingiber Ginger Coconut, and White Ayrvedic Chai/Saurai Chai Mate just since yesterday! These teas smell wonderful and are gorgeous to look at with chunky bits and pieces of leaves and seed pods, and tiny slivers of chocolate. A feast for the eyes as well as the palate!

We rounded out the day with a stop at Whole Foods for Kona coffee to brew at home, Borders for more reading material, and then sailed on home for dinner at Greek's, one of our favorite local pizzerias in Evansville, IN.
Our weekend in St. Louis was so fun and relaxing! Can't wait to eat, shop, and read there again soon!


  1. you had me at MACAROONS!
    sounds like a fun trip!

  2. WOW! I SO need to vacation with you!! BARcelona's is SO good - love it there!! I NEED macaroons!! I NEED to go to Red Lead! I NEED to go to Anthropologie, etc. . . I apparently am very NEEDy!

  3. Roni, I knew you would love those macarons! Or at the least the picture anyway! Michelle, thanks for telling us about BARcelona. We love it so much! We had such a wonderful time on this trip! It was a nice way to end the summer!

  4. Wow! What a great trip. I haven't been to St Charles in many years. Sounds like I need to make a road trip! Also, I've never heard of Greeks. I'll have to check them out.

  5. St Charles was great Lynda! You'll definitely have to try Greek's Pizzeria. Their breadsticks and the Gourmet House Pizza with feta and meatballs is our favorite!

  6. Wow! We must have been following each other around St. Louis last week. I was there with my husband and mom and we, too, had a great time visiting many of the same places you did.
    I didn't know about Webster Groves, though, darn it. I'll have to include that on my next trip.
    Thanks for sharing your trip.

  7. Hi Robin! Glad you enjoyed St. Louis too! You definitely don't want to miss Webster Groves on your next trip. It's such a cute little town, and I've already gushed about my love for Red Lead! Thanks for reading about our adventures!

  8. Kimberly, this was great fun to read. I think you are excellent with the written word. I am longing to go the Botanical Garden in St. Louis. I haven't been there for a while. If I get to go I am going to have to add all these places to my trip. I felt like I had a mini vacation this morning. I'm glad you had so much fun.

  9. Thanks Linda! This trip was so special that I wanted to share it with everyone. I haven't been to the Botanical Garden in years, but I remember how beautiful it was. We barely scratched the surface of fun things to do in St. Louis! So we'll defintely have to return.

  10. Oh my goodness! Such culinary inspiration here. I just ate a panini sandwich I grilled on my panini maker and popcorn. But then I'm trying to lose weight. I probably gained five pounds back just reading this scrumptious post!

  11. A panini sounds great Brenda! I have to admit I'm a bit embarassed by that gigantic breakfast plate, but it was truly delicious! Thanks for visiting my blog!

  12. The only thing I can see as a downside for this trip was "I DID NOT GET TO GO WITH YOU". However it is fun to live vicariously through my favorite firstborn niece!!
    I have to post as anonymous because I do not know what my URL is!
    Love ya,Marie

  13. I agree with Marie. Sounds like you know your way around St Louis and your descriptions are tasty and enthralling.
    Love you, Marleta