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Monday, February 25, 2013

Brunch at SqWires in St. Louis

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 I love a good Bloody Mary.  This was a very good one.  Actually it's a Bloody Mary Bar.  You get a carafe of Bloody Mary already mixed with Vodka, and add whatever your heart desires.  They had lemon, lime, celery, horseradish, pickles, olives, blue cheese squares, hot peppers, and more.  I went with banana peppers, pickles, olives, and celery and horseradish in mine.  It was yummy.  I refilled several times and still had mix left in my carafe.  You'll see the carafe further down in pictures.

 My Darling Daughter is partial to Mimosa's, which is also an option as they have a Mimosa Bar  with lots of choices of fruit and goodies to add to your drink.
 The environment is very comfortable.  Check out the piano player under all the neat antique radios.  They have entertainment for Happy Hours on both Friday and Sat nights, as well as Sunday morning brunch.  Brunch starts at 10 am.

 Decorations are interesting, flowers, and unusual arrangements like this one in the window by our table with pussy willows and purple thistles.  Notice my carafe of Bloddy Mary's?  Our table was a bit crowded so I placed it on the window ledge.
To give you an idea what it looks like, look up...see pulleys and coils?   Okay, so you're probably wondering where I am, what this place was.  This is SqWires located in historic Lafayette Square in St. Louis.  1415 South 18th Street, St. Louis, Missouri  63104.  Lafayette Square is a short 3 minute cab ride from downtown St. Louis and is the oldest Historic District in St. Louis.  400 Victorian homes have been restored in this area.  There's a 30 acres park, Lafayette Square Park which is the oldest park west of The Mississippi!  Impressive and very interesting area.  SqWires has outside eating during warm weather and a banquet area.  They have an extensive wine list (50) along with an impressive choice of beers.  The restaurant serves local fare and won The Open Table Diner Choice Award in 2012.

 Brunch was fabulous.  I had beef brisket hash with eggs and would most definitely order that again.  The menu is varied offering something for everyone.

My Darling Daughter had an egg sandwich with fresh goodies oozing out.  She would also re-order this item.
I mentioned coils and pulley's above...historically this building was part of a wire factory that encompassed the whole block.  The area now has 80 businesses and residential lofts.  

I highly recommend having brunch here, and exploring the area.  In June and December there is a tour of homes which I would love to do, if I happened to be in St. Louis then.

**This awesome brunch with my Darling Daughter was only part of our wonderful "Girls Wkend"

Saturday, February 23, 2013

HandleBar in The Grove St. Louis

There's a story behind the animal prints and me climbing up on this rather large bike sculpture, (HERE), but for now let me tell you about Handle Bar.

The bike sculpture is outside the bar, and once inside you understand why.  Bikes also hang from the walls and ceiling,
It's a friendly, neighborhood establishment located in The Grove in St. Louis on Manchester Avenue (4127)
Where it's not uncommon to see people really relaxing, playing games or cards.
Born in Moscow, Tatyana immigrated in 1999.  She was homesick for her native land, but soon fell in love with the city of St. Louis and moved there in 2005.  She rode her bike through all the parks, The Riverfront, and interesting neighborhoods St. Louis has to offer and realized she could truly commute on her bike, not something possible in Moscow.  She was free to pick a destination, hop on her bike and just pedal.  She opened HandleBar in 2010 at the Old ChurchKey Bar5 location to share her interest in healthy food with a bit of a Russian influence (unusual for bars), local beers, local artists, and bikes.  Bikes as art, bikes to sell, bikes to ride. 

The Grove..seems to be a newly named neighborhood area in St. Louis.  Manchester Road, parts there off are part of Historic Route 66.  St. Alopysius Church was vacant for years, demolished and some of the brick and other items were used in the building/rehab of ChurchKey, now HandleBar.

**I'm reminded of a saying, Get your kicks on Route 66.......and you still can.

Stop in, enjoy a brew, play a game and enjoy!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Reservations for Two at Your Marriott Villa

 Here we are with another Menu Monday adventure.  This however, isn't about which restaurant to eat out, this is an alternative.  Traveling can be expensive, eating out all the time even more so.  We like to stay in condo's where we have a kitchen and care prepare most of our meals in.  We picked up a delicious stuffed chicken breast from Whole Foods.  One was more then enough for a really good meal for the two of us.  We had left overs which came into play another night.  Nice dinner rolls, stuffed chicken breast baked in the oven, fresh green beans seasoned with fresh Pancetta, and nice bottle of wine.  A meal as nice as many out.  The chicken is easy, put it in the oven for about an hour while you're having cocktails.  Lightly brown a few pieces of Pancetta in a skillet (and you really only need a few pieces because it's so flavorable), then add the green beans after they've cook for a few minutes in the microwave.  A meal for about 12.00 without the cost of the wine.
 Skillet pasta.  Cook pasta as you normally would (I had Linguini), but drain it just a bit before it's done, as it will finish cooking in the skillet.  Brown some Pancetta, add onions, and peppers (I like red ones).  Have half a pound of shrimp washed (with or without tails, I prefer without), and toss those in along with a good handful of fresh spinach.  When it looks like the shrimp are almost there (almost pink), add your pasta.  Blend, turn off heat and add fresh cracked pepper.  Serve with dinner rolls and a nice bottle of wine, and freshly grated Romano or Parm. Cheese...Again a easy, affordable splendid meal.  
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Not perhaps the best sounded name, but how bout left over stir fry?  This meal can abe done in a skillet on top of the stove, and or in a wire basket/pan with holes on top of a grill.  We have a small pan with holes that travels with us.  Even the handle folds.  Remember the left over chicken from the stuffed chicken....perfect as it's already cooked and will require time only to heat it through.  Cut up peppers (here I used yellow and red for color), onions.  About 1/4 pound of shrimp (again I prefer without tails as they're so much easier to eat).  Cook veggies first, add chicken, shortly there after add shrimp.  Naturally we're still serving nice dinner rolls and a bottle of wine.

**We have a shopping list we print and take on all trips.  We add add appropriate items based on where we are.  Hilton Head, we added shrimp.  We cook in, we cook on the grill.  Shopping well helps you save time and money.  We bought 1 pound of shrimp and got 2 meals plus I did a shrimp cocktail one evening with our cocktails.  We bought one stuffed chicken breast and got 2 nice meals from that.  Standards are always onion, peppers, fresh spinach.  I don't think it's possible to cook without those items.  A bag of dinner rolls, wrapping a few in foil to bake with each can't go wrong.

We had steak on the grill one night, typically we top that off with a foil pouch of cut up veggies...onions, mushrooms, and peppers and or fresh green beans.  Having items you can use for multiple meals is the way to go. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Historic Churches Bluffton South Carolina

As you walked around Olde Town Bluffton, you can stop and read these signs and maps.  Though I think it's still best to get the free pamphlet at Heyward House Museum.

This is The Church of the Cross.  Beautiful gardens surround it.  The colors really caught our attention and we actually parked and started our tour here.  However, The Heyward House Museum is considered to be the first stop and probably the best place to begin.   This is a Gothic style, built in 1854 as a replacement for a smaller Chapel of The Cross.  Rev. James Stoney was the first Rector. 

The church was not burned during the fire1863, it was spared by the Union troops.  Sadly the great storm of 1893 caused lots of damage.  In 1975 the church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The windows are quite large and very deep.  They must have let lots of air in during the summers heat.
The beautiful organ.  The name Stoney might ring a bell with you.  On Hilton Head Island The Stoney-Baynard Ruins Exist.  The same prominent families appear in multiple areas in the Low Country.
Not an historic building, but a church within the historic district has a bit of story and history to it just the same.  The Methodist Soc began in 1853 with a church.  During the Civil War 2 Confederate Soldiers were able to keep the church from being destroyed.  In 1875 it was sold to The AME Church and a new church was build in this location in 1890.  But, a 1940 hurricane destroyed the church.
Hurricanes have been very damaging to communities in The Low Country, but the people are resilient, they rebuild.

Campbell Chapel A.M.E. Church mentioned above, built in 1853 is a good example of Greek temple style.  Although damaged by the fire of 1863, it was not destroyed. 

It was sold to the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1874.  The members have held services here for more than 100 years.  Some alterations, mainly to the interior were made back in 1969. 

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Take and Bake Pizza

*It's Menu Monday*
 Mama Mimi's Take and Bake Pizza.  Always made with fresh tasty ingredients.  A nice way to do quick, easy, affordable gourmet pizza at home.  There are several locations here in Columbus, Ohio.  These came from the Grandview location at King and North Star.  Picked them up on my way home from work.  I like the lighter pizza's with white sauce and or oils.
Add to Technorati FavoritesHubby prefers red sauce and a combo of meat and veggies.  A small pizza a piece is perfect.  If you've not tried Mama Mimi's Take and Bake Pizza, I encourage you to do so.  Pizza's come with directions about how to cook them.  You'll not be disappointed.  Generally cheaper then a wood fired pizza you'd get out, perhaps a bit more then a regular pizza...depending on what you put on your pizza.

When we travel, we also enjoy Take and Bake.  In Hitlon Head we've ordered from TJ's multiple times and have never been disappointed.  There too there are multiple locations.  We've always ordered from The South End location on Palmentto Bay Road.  Their menu is varied with plenty of choices for all appetites.  I highly recommend TJ's Pizza in Hilton Head.

Take and Bake Pizza, add it to your menu list while vacationing.  Check for locations near you and enjoy. 

Hope to see you again next Monday for Menu Monday 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Foggy Day on Hilton Head

 You may not be able to tell, but this looking out at the beach from my balcony at Marriott's Monarch on Hilton Head Island.  It was an unusual morning in January of 2013.  Some fog rolled in the previous evening around 4 pm, but only lasted a short while.  This morning fog lasted several hours.
 It was odd, pretty, and sorta eery all at the same time.   Was interesting how quiet everything seemed as well.  Hubby and I relaxed after breakfast in the villa until the fog lifted and then went out and enjoyed the day.
Add to Technorati FavoritesIf you look real carefully, you can see the pool.  We've never experienced this before even though we've been to Hilton Head 4 times, so thought I'd share these few pictures with you.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Olde Town Bluffton, South Carolina

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 The Heyward House, Visitor Center, in Olde Town Bluffton.  This house is one of only 15 buildings that survived being burned in 1863 by The Union.  But, let's back up a bit.  Bluffton is an easy day trip for anyone visiting Hilton Head Island.  It's about 8 miles one way, around 15 minutes depending on traffic.  Bluffton is situated on the May River, has bluffs over looking Glenn Cove, Heyward Cove, Huger Cove, and Verdier Cove.  You get the picture of lots of water.  Bluffton was once a summer place for the rich and famous.  Though plantations were vast holdings of land and typically worked by slaves, the land owners apparently still needed to "get away".  The area, the low country wasn't the nicest or easiest place to live with rats, mosquito's, alligators and the like.  The very weather and swampy conditions that could make a white plantation owner wealthy were also the very conditions that were hard on his family.  Yellow fever was a constant threat in the low country.  Wealthy families "summered" elsewhere while their plantation overseers and slaves worked the land back on the plantation.  Bluffton provided cooler breezes being on higher ground,  protection from the mosquitoes, rats, and alligators, and transportation for goods with the water ways. 

 Because the rich land owners gathered here many political discussions took place.  Now we all know South Carolina is where the Civil War began, but Bluffton, not Charleston is probably where the talk of secession took hold first.  Discussions about secession took place as early as 1844.  When war did in fact break out, and Hilton Head Island and Beaufort were occupied by The Union families vacated Bluffton.  Bluffton was utilized by Confederate Pickets as a base to spy on Union activities. 

 The house was originally built as a summer house for John Cole and is the 4th oldest structure remaining southern Beaufort County.  Guided tours of the house are available, as well as free maps of a olde town walking tour.  This old elaborate mirror is signed by a Union Soldier from New York.  Though it's hard to read, it gives the date of July 12, 1863.  I can't make out the name, and sadly I don't remember it, but you can read it's Company E 6th NY.
 Much in the house is in fact original.  Beautiful quilts.

 A game that looks similar to checkers.
 A singer sewing machine.  This one is much smaller then an old treadle machine I have.
 A beautiful wedding dress.  You may not be able to tell from the picture, but when you stand next to it, you realize how much smaller women/people were in those days.
 This 2nd Singer predates the treadle.  It's in fabulous condition and you see the carry case even.  Can you imagine the skill it took to crank the wheel with one hand while using the other hand to feed the fabric through the machine? 
 I don't recall seeing Slave Tiles before this tour; but our tour guide said we probably had but they might not have been discussed, or labeled.  Tiles were hand made by slaves and unique to that property.  While on a tour in Savannah, we saw an entire building made from bricks from slave tiles.  These bricks are very expensive and highly sought after.
 A slave dwelling remains on property.  Records indicate this slave dwelling was probably built before the main house and used while the slaves built the main house.  While not the smallest of similar dwellings I've seen on tours in The South, you wonder how many people lived in this one small room.
The name Heyward, has a huge presence in South Carolina.  You see streets with the name, we've toured plantations where Heywards lived, and other large family homes.  Prominent family members graves are scattered about The Hilton Head, Charleston, Beaufort area.  As you travel around the low country "rich" takes on a how different picture.  The wealthy plantation owners owned so much, houses and land here there and everywhere it seems. 

Thomas Heyward was a signer of The Declaration
as well as The Articles of The Confederacy.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Waving Girl, Florence Martus in Savannah

Add to Technorati FavoritesFlorence Martus the daughter of German immigrant is memorialized here in Savannah, Georgia.  There is much folk lore about this woman, and a fair amount of confusion/mystery about her.  Some information indicated she was born in 1869 and other information reports the date of 1868.  Her father immigrated to this country at the age of 14, served in The Civil War and later a Sergeant at Fort Pulaski.  

She was born in Elba Island, not Savannah and lived the bulk of her life in Elba.  However, stories indicate she had a fascination with ships in the harbor.  She waved a white handkerchief by day and lantern by night for 44 years.  She greeted the ships and the sailors.  She may have been in love with one that returned, say some; though others question there is nothing documented that indicates this was in fact, fact.  Either way, she is fondly remembered as the women who welcome ships into the harbor.

She lived with brother, George who for a time was The Lighthouse Keeper at Cockspur.  There are tales where she and her brother saved many a life.  A fire out in the water caught their attention, as did several wrecks and they rowed out in their Dorry and saved as many lives as they could.  Those stories are documented and deemed to be factual.

This statue by Felix DeWeldon, indicates her faithful Collie was her feet.  That seems to be well documented, except she apparently had 2 dogs who helped wake her during the night when they heard ships coming.  Felix is known for his famous sculpture, Iwo Jima.  

A local tour guide told us to notice her shoes.  Not sure this picture (taken from the moving tour trolley) let's you see them.  But, when you see them in person, you realize how irregular they are.  They're much to large for a person with such a small frame.  We were told, she wasn't wearning shoes originally, and people took offense and so shoes were added.  It's unlikely a poor single girl would have worn shoes except on special occasions in a warm climate.  Shoes were often considered a luxury back in the day and expensive to own, thus saved and not worn sun up to sun down.

After she and brother retired they lived out their lives at Bone Bella outside of Savannah.  She is buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery, North in Chatham County, Georgia with her parents and brother.  Interestingly, I noted her father was born in Baden, Wurttemberg (don't remember how to make  the umlaunt over the u), same place my Great Great Grandfather, Wilhelm Heinrich Mader was born.

**Be sure and check out this beautiful sculpture when you're on the water front in Savannah, either walking or taking one of the many tours.  You know her waving all those years is something like our current Pay It Forward**  

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lunch in Bluffton South Carolina at 55 Vineyard

The 55 Winery in Olde Town Bluffton also called 55 Vineyard is located at 55 Calhoun St and is a must stop when visiting Olde Town Bluffton.  A great day trip, only about half an hour from Hilton Head.  As you can see very quaint little winery with a wonderful wine selection.  It's rustic interior is very comfortable whether sitting at one of tables made from wine barrels or the small bar.
 They have an excellent and very comfortable patio, covered for sun protection with outside fans during warmer weather.  The menu is varied.  We opted for personal pizza and a choice of adult beverages for lunch.  It's peaceful and relaxing there on the patio.  Even has a porch swing at one end, several rocking chairs in addition to the tables and chairs. 
 Another view of the inside.
 Oophs, my wine glass is empty.  This problem can be solved as I preview the list of what we've already seen and what we'll see next on our walking tour of Bluffton.
 Hey, let's try a picture of the two of us.  The kids manage to do it all the time.  Typically, we're not able to get both of us actually in the picture, so this was a surprise.
You can see the rockers, the pretty greenery.  It doesn't get alot better folks.  Great food, super service, wonderful atmosphere and lunch outside on the patio.  Add this to your list of places to stop and enjoy yourself.

*hope you've enjoyed the newest Menu Monday post, even a wee bit early, check back next week*


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