Sunday, April 3, 2011

St. Louis, MO

A few weeks ago, I took another road trip adventure with the Cline Family for an extended weekend in St. Louis.  The main purpose of the trip was to cheer on these guys....
Wichita State Shockers
Although, I think Jordan secretly wished we were there to watch him play some ball.

Jordan posing with his "twin" for Missouri State.
They were all playing for the Missouri Valley Conference post season championship, also referred to as Arch Madness.  The winner of this tournament would be granted a spot in the NCAA tournament.  Unfortunately, the Shocks lost in the 2nd round.  But the Cline's still had fun!

Jordan and I before Game 2, looking hopeful...
One of my favorite spots we hit up was Anheuser-Busch.  It's the world's largest brewing company and got its start in 1860.  Eberhard Anheuser bought the brewery and married the daughter of Adolphus Busch.  Budweiser became the first beer available across the US when Busch decided to use refrigerated rail cars and set up ice houses to distribute beer across the country.  Today, the company has 12 breweries in the United States, and 2 overseas.  The St. Louis location is the largest.  I know my favorite part of the brewery tour SHOULD have been the free beer in the hospitality room, but it was actually getting to see the Clydesdale's.  And even better, the Budweiser Dalmatians.  The dogs roam free in the stables for the visitors to pet.  As a dog lover, I was in love!
After the brewery, we were hungry.  Hmmm...what goes well with beer?  Custard!  Not really, but we had some anyway.  Ted Drewes Frozen Custard has been open since 1931 and has become a St. Louis tradition.  It's a little white stand with a walk-up window to place your order.  There are two locations in St. Louis.  And this place is SOOOOO good that one of the stands stays open year around.  It's so good, people walk up in the freezing cold to enjoy some freezing cold custard.  And even better, they sell Christmas trees during December!  Custard and Christmas trees, they go together if you live in St. Louie. 

I have been lucky enough to visit once before, but this was a first time visit for the rest of my family.  As a chocolate lover family, they were a bit disturbed when they found out you can only get the custard in vanilla.  But once we arrived, and the menu of "mix-ins" was provided, only silence could be heard as we all carefully weighed our flavorful options.  We all decided to get a concrete or crete if you are a regular.  It's a milkshake so thick they hand it to you upside down with a spoon inserted.  The lady at the counter could tell we were family visiting from out of town.  Although, I'm not sure what gave us away?  Maybe it was because we were all dressed alike in our Shocker gear, OR, the fact we all ordered Oreo Cretes.  I'm sure it was one or the other, or maybe a combination of the two.  
Jordan demonstrating the "thickness" of the Concrete.
Me vs. Jordan...When it comes to sweets, I win EVERY time!
And last but not least, we visited the St. Louis Arch.  Because who visits St. Louis and doesn't see the Arch?!?!  Jordan does!  His beloved Jayhawks were playing when we scheduled our trip to the Arch.  Gag!  So, he elected not to come.  This was my 4th trip up in the Arch, and I still think it's pretty cool.  Here are some little history tidbits for you.  At 630 feet above the Mississippi River, the Arch is more than twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty.  It represents the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.  President Thomas Jefferson doubled the size of the United States when the US payed France $15 million for a stretch of land from New Orleans to Montana that totaled 530,000 acres.  Lewis and Clark met in St. Louis after Jefferson sent them to explore the land. St. Louis became a major stop for people heading to Santa Fe, California, and Oregon.  It became known as the "Gateway to the West."

Although Jordan wasn't with us, he stayed with us in spirit.  Our hotel was one block away from the Arch, and you could view it from our window.  Jordan told me to call him when we reached the top.  And in true Jordan form, he mooned us from the hotel room.  I have to admit, it was pretty funny.  And for some reason, my sweet mother thought she needed a picture from the top of the Arch zoomed in on Jordan's bright white buttocks pressed up against the hotel window.  After some careful persuasion, I was successfully able to convince her that it would be weird to take a picture of her 23 year old son's bottom. Whew!  Awkwardness adverted!

My Aunt and Uncle also came along to cheer on the Shocks.  On our last evening, we met them in "The Hill" for dinner.  The Hill is a residential Italian neighborhood.  What makes the neighborhood so unique is its collection of Italian restaurants standing in the middle of a residential neighborhood.  This neighborhood is not listed in my book, and I am very surprised.  We ate at Rigazzi's and it was deliziosa.  I had the Pasta con Zucchini with Chicken.  It's grilled chicken, zucchini, mushrooms, and red peppers in a garlic butter sauce served over ziti noodles.  MMMM.  I didn't get any pictures, but you can visit them here

Minus the Shocker's loss, it was an excellent weekend getaway!

Quote of the trip:  "What's wrong with my straw?"--Mom
Family:  "Uh, it's a coffee stirrer!" ;)